Fortaleza (joao Thome)
Fortaleza (For-tah-leza), meaning “Fortress,” is the state capital of the state of Ceará which is located in the Northeast of Brazil. With a population of 2.5 million within city limits and over 3.5 million in the greater metropolitan area, it is the fifth largest city in the country.
Fortaleza lies a little over 400km from the equator. This means that it is HOT. But, there is often a nice ocean wind blowing across the city to cool it off. The wind is also a major reason that tourists flock to the area. Not only are the beaches beautiful but they are ideal for wind-driven water sports, such as Kite Surfing and Windsurfing.
Many beaches in and around Fortaleza are in fact world renown for water sports. Cumbuco, 40 km from Fortaleza, is a flat water lagoon with up to 35 knot winds. On any given day, one can find dozens of wind and kite surfers in the water. The beach, as with most Brazilian beaches, is lined with little bars and restaurants, each with a clutter of umbrellas in the sand out front to sit under while enjoying the scene. Other such beaches to look into are Lagoa do Cauipe, Pera, Taiba, and Paracuru. Each is a paradise of water sports.
In the city of Fortaleza one will find plenty to do. Praia do Futuro is one of the more popular of the many beaches. There, you can find little straw huts instead of umbrellas to sit under and enjoy coconut water fresh out of the coconut. The local cuisine is spectacular and the seafood is always fresh.
For those who like to dance, Forro (Faw-haw) is a popular dance in the region. The music is performed by a trio with a big drum, a triangle and an accordion. The dance comes from European ballroom dancing. It is a dance for couples, where the man holds the lady tightly by the waste with his left hand, nice and snug, and the dancer’s left hands are held together. From there, the foot movements are very basic to quite complex. Try it out! One of the possible origins of the name is “For All,” the early colonizer’s way of inviting locals to their private ballroom dances.
Fortaleza is a fun city, known for it relaxed and good times atmosphere. This is one reason that it is becoming so well known internationally. It will also be a host city of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
To travel to and from Fortaleza by bus, one will need to use the Fortaleza bus station; Terminal Rodoviária Engenheiro João Thomé. This is the formal name. The normal day to day name is Rodoviaria Bus Station.
While searching for a bus ticket, it is important to pay attention to the bus stations.
Some destinations only have routes to one bus station and others more than one station. Depending on where you will stay in the city, it can make a difference in time and price if you have a choice in bus stations. Here is a brief summary of each station:
Terminal Rodoviária Engenheiro João Thomé – Fortaleza Bus Station
When speaking to a Portuguese speaker you can just say: Rodoviaria Fortaleza or
The Fortaleza Bus Station is an older structure but has all of the basic amenities of a modern terminal. There are 35 bus companies running around 200 lines to and from the station. There are also restaurants, mail service and small stores to buy necessities and so forth. Taxis and local buses are accessible to arrive at your final destination.