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Popular Activities & Attractions in Fortaleza, Brazil

Sunny day on a red and white sand beach near Fortaleza Brazil

Started in the 17th century as a colonial fort, Fortaleza (meaning fortress in Portugese) soon developed into the urban center and capital of the Ceará region of Brazil. With an explosion of economic enrichment, it became the 5th largest city in the country, transforming from a small fishing village into a hub of cultural influence. Home to such South American literary movements as "the Spiritual Bakery," Fortaleza today is an integral center for the artistic side of Brazil.

The tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and rich intellectual history of the area attract a wide variety of visitors from all around the globe. The world-famous beaches, breathtaking architecture, and vibrant night-life all come together to make this a surefire place for a great vacation!

Things to Do in Fortaleza:

The beaches of Morro Branco offer a stunning panoramic of the Atlantic Ocean. The backdrop of gorgeous blue stands in sharp contrast with the deep reds of the sand, providing a picturesque scene all year round. The ocean winds have carved the rocky ledges into formations that are at once haunting and amazing. Once you are there, be sure to take a swim in the warmth of the ocean, or rent a dune buggy for the ride of your life!

If you are looking for a more traditional beach, try the nearby village of Cumbuco. Relax on the white sands of this quaint fishermen town and watch the yellow sun sink between the ocean and the sky. Or if you are feeling a bit more adventurous, try out kite-surfing. The unique climate of Cumbuco has made it into the kite-surfing capital of the world, with multiple festivals and instruction schools open during the summer.

Once you've had your fill of sunshine and the ocean breeze, try heading down to Fortaleza's own historical museum, the Dragon of the Sea Cultural Center. Discover the rich history Ceará and its people by taking in the expert exhibitions, ranging from religious artifacts to traditional Brazilian toys. After you're done, explore the playful pastel architecture of the Cultural Center; just remember to keep your camera at the ready! And when you're done soaking up your knowledge for the day, you can relax in the surrounding downtown area, filled with live-music and bars.

But that's not all that Fortaleza has. If you have more of a craving for architecture, check out the ornate designs of the Jose de Alencar Theater, or the Metropolitana Cathedral and Ingleses Bridge. Or, if you are looking for more aquatic fun, cool off at the water parks at Porto das Dunas and the many other beaches in the areas.

With its rich history as a major capital of Northeastern Brazil, Fortaleza has everything needed for a relaxing beach vacation with an intellectual twist. Come for the beaches, but stay for the relaxed atmosphere and culture. As a cultural center and tropical paradise at the same time, it is hard to find a reason not to make a reservation.

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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