Take a long walk on any of Fortaleza's famous beaches, including Praia de Iracema.
Sink your toes into the golden sands of Fortaleza's famous beaches to see Brazil's North Atlantic coastline for yourself. Rent an umbrella at Praia do Futuro or Praia de Iracema and get some sun, or order a refreshing caipirinha cocktail from a passing beach vendor. Then, take a taxi a bit farther south to Praia Sabiaguaba, where the calm, crystalline waters of a lagoon meet sugar-white sand.
Learn about Fortaleza's surprising role in ending slavery at the Centro Dragão museum.
Take a break from the beach to immerse yourself in the history and culture of this region. Check out the Parque Estadual do Rio Cocó, which spotlights the plants and animals of the mangrove swamps typical of Fortaleza's surrounding Ceará state. Or, head instead to Centro Dragão do Mar Arte e Cultura. Take your time enjoying all of the exhibits, but make sure to visit the one dedicated to Francisco José do Naciomento — a local merchant whose refusal to participate in the slave trade contributed to its eventual end.
Marvel at the glittering skyscrapers of modern Fortaleza, but appreciate the city's older buildings as well. Set your GPS for Theatro José de Alencar, whose art nouveau facade and stained-glass panes provide a window into Fortaleza a century ago. Then, take a moment inside St. Joseph's Cathedral. The cathedral was only finished in 1978, but its neo-Gothic architecture makes it seem much older.
Stop at any of the restaurants along Fortaleza's beaches for a lunch of lobster, crab or fresh fish caught daily from the waters of the North Atlantic. Then for dinner, visit restaurants within the city center to dine on classics that illuminate broader Brazilian culinary culture. Choose a churrascaria for tender, grilled meats served on demand, or scarf down a sumptuous plate of feijoada bean stew if you happen to be visiting on Sunday, the only day it's usually served.
Spend the afternoon wandering around the Fortaleza Central Market. Shop for one-of-a-kind crafts you won't find anywhere else in the city. Visit shops selling handmade bobbin lace, particularly if any of them offer demonstrations of it being woven. Browse other authentic items, including hats, utensils and other items made with bamboo and palm fronds.
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