Fortaleza, Brazil Cruise Port

Soccer (or football, if you prefer) fans are well aware of the bustling cruise port of Fortaleza, Brazil: it was one of the 2014 FIFA World Cup host cities. The fifth largest city in Brazil with over 2.5 million people, Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, located on the Atlantic Ocean's coast in the northeast. The city was discovered in 1500 when Spanish explorer Vicente Pinzón landed here; after multiple settlements and claims on the land for the next couple hundred years, Fortaleza officially became Ceará's capital in 1799. By the end of the 20th century, Fortaleza became one of the top tourist destinations in Brazil. It’s not hard to see why, thanks to the tropical climate, ocean views, and historic attractions. Throw two large malls into the mix, and you have a thriving economy to boot. Here are some of our favorite experiences when cruising to Fortaleza, Brazil:
 
  • Don’t be surprised to find that along with its amazing beach, the scenic red cliffs of Morro Branco have been the backdrop for several TV productions. Depending on how the light hits them, they appear to change colors. Nearby restaurants feature plenty of fresh seafood.
     
  • The Dragon of the Sea Cultural Center (Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura) links multiple facilites together, such as Museum of Contemporary Art, Theater of the Sea Dragon, the Sergio Mota Amphitheatre, and Rubens de Azevedo Planetarium. Most of the programming is free, or donations are accepted; architecture buffs will also enjoy the center's modern design.
     
  • Cocó Park (Parque Ecológico do Cocó) is one of the largest urban parks in South America. An important part of Fortaleza’s ecological heritage, the park contains various threatened species of plant and animal life. Thanks to its location, tourists can come here to rest, animal-watch, and still be close to other areas of interest.
     
  • What's a large city without shopping? Mercado Central is the place to find local items, spanning three floors and offering more than 500 stalls. From leather goods to handmade jewelry to locally-made foods, you'll be hard-pressed to pick just a couple of items.
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