Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ceará, other main attractions

Photo flickr by Paulo Sergio

Canoa Quebrada (meaning broken canoe in Portuguese), known as the pearl of the east coast of Ceará, Brazil, is an international tourist beach resort 164 km from Fortaleza, in the municipality of Aracati.

This small fishing village, among dunes and cliffs, has good views and is becoming popular with tourists. The main street of Canoa, where most accommodation, restaurants and shops are concentrated, is called Broadway. The nights of Canoa Quebrada are known for animation and diversity.

The Tourism Authority of Ceará rates Canoa Quebrada as the most important tourist attraction of the state, after Fortaleza.

Tourist activities include outdoor activities such as excursions in dune buggies, horse riding, sailing in a 'jangada' boat, mountain biking, sandboarding, kitesurfing and windsurfing (search: wikipedia)

Canoa Quebrada was discovered for tourism in the 70s. Hippies found in it, almost inaccessible place, a simple and hospitable people. The native preserve the tradition of fishing with rafts at sea.
Photo flickr by viaggionelmondo

Canoa Quebrada Beach. Photo flickr by serlunar

Aracati and its colonial buildings: The historic city center, 13 kilometers from Canoa Quebrada, is filled with buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Preserved the houses that spreads the street Coronel Alexanzito displays beautiful ornaments made ​​with Portuguese tiles. Also adorn the landscape of the old county jail building - which now houses the City Council - and the churches of Our Lady of the Rosary, dated 1785, and Our Lord of Bonfim, 1774. The architectural complex is now considered national patrimony, being listed by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) in April 2000.

Juazeiro do Norte: is a city in the State of Ceará.  It is located 528 km south of the State capital Fortaleza in the semi arid sertão (backlands). It is best known as the base of the charismatic priest and politician Padre Cícero (Cícero Romão Batista) (1844-1934). A pilgrimage in his honour takes place every November, attracting thousands of followers.

Juazeiro do Norte was initially a district of the nearby city of Crato, until a young Padre Cícero Romão Batista decided to stay as a cleric in the village. Padre Cícero was then responsible for the independence and emancipation of the city. Because of the so-called "milagre de Juazeiro" ("miracle in Juazeiro", when Padre Cícero gave the sacred host to the religious sister Maria de Araújo, the host became blood), the priest was associated with mystical characteristics and began to be venerated by the people as a saint. Today the city is the second largest in the state and a reference in the Northeast region thanks to the priest. (wikipedia)

Memorial Padre Cícero. Photo flickr by heliodaluz

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel. Photo flickr by allanpatrick

Songs and prayers chanted by pilgrims form the atmosphere at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel, where Padre Cícero Romão Batista was buried on July 20th of 1934; witnesses say that 80 thousand people attended the funeral. The Chapel was built by order of 'Padre Cícero' in 1908.

Also in front of the church, built in a neoclassical style, there is an oratory and a plaster image of Cícero. Next to it, the House of Miracles, where pilgrims leave pictures, objects, notes and ex-votes (wounded body parts made of wood to be cured by divine force). On top of the tombstone, inside the chapel, people place objects to be blessed by Padre Cícero. Also next to it, there is a cemetery where the pious women devoted to the priest are buried. 
Pilgrimage. Photo flickr by fotojornalismo

Padre Cícero Statue

Tombstone of Cícero

Jericoacoara beach: Jericoacoara is a virgin beach hidden behind the dunes of the west coast of Jijoca de Jericoacoara, Ceará, Brazil. Selected by The Washington Post as one of the Top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, nicknamed Jeri, consists of blue lagoons, calm seas and huge dunes.

Getting to Jeri can still be challenging. The road from Fortaleza to Jericoacoara presents beaches and rustic villages. The last 45 minutes of the journey takes place off-road, "on-sand", among dunes and along a beach.

The village has streets covered in sand from the dunes by the sea. Jericoacoara is a popular spot for windsurfing and sailing.

Jericoacoara is one of several places in Brazil from where you can see the sun sink into the ocean. This show is often viewed by many, both visitors and locals, from the tall "Sunset dune" just next to the village.(wikipedia)
Jericoacoara. Photo flickr by Michael Strugale

Jericoacoara beach. Photo flickr by crisyw

Photo flickr by EdgardGuerra




Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fortaleza, the charming Capital of Ceará State!

Fortaleza is Brazil's fifth-largest city, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the northeast with or without the World Cup. The city will be one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, it hosted the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Iracema Beach. It's the bohemian beach, with bars and nightclubs

Fortaleza has a typical tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate, with high temperatures and high relative humidity throughout the year. However, these conditions are usually relieved by pleasant winds blowing from the ocean. Average temperatures are not much different throughout the year. December and January are the warmest months, with a high of 31 °C (88 °F) and low of 25 °C (77 °F). The rainy season spans from February to May (locally called "winter" due to the rain, not the temperature), with rainfall particularly prodigious in March and April. The average annual temperature is 27 °C (81 °F). Its relative humidity is 77%, with average annual rainfall of 1,378.3 millimeters (54.26 in).

Fortaleza means "fortress" in Portuguese. The city owes its name to a period in the 1600s when the Dutch established a fort there.

Most of the tourist attractions in Fortaleza revolve around its beaches: the Praia do Futuro(Future Beach) popular for its several barracas - simple kiosk-restaurants built on the sand that serve fresh, typical seafood - while Iracema is the place for bars and nightclubs. There is also more bucolic Mucuripe Beach, from where fishermen venture into the sea with their jangadas (handmade wooden boats). The coastal Beira Mar avenue is also the place for a traditional daily craftsmen's fair and for some of the top spots to dance the forró, a typical rhythm from the north-east of Brazil.
Praia do Futuro. Praia do Futuro was made famous by its barracas (rustic and sophisticated restaurants built on the beach sand)

Praia do Futuro

Iracema Statue. Iracema is the main character of a novel with the same name written by Brazilian writer José de Alencar. The novel tells the story of Iracema and Martim Soares Moreno; Moreno was one of the first Portuguese to come to explore Fortaleza, and Iracema would be his wife. Iracema became so associated with Fortaleza (hence the name of Iracema beach) that a few statues of her were built and are exhibited in the city. 

Mucuripe Beach is the place of jangadas (handmade wooden boats). Still used by fishermen to go into high seas, jangadas can be seen along the way during the afternoon and evenings, and returning from the sea in the morning; part of the catch of the day is sold in an old style fish market. Also, the boat trips leave from this area.

Fortaleza Cathedral. The third biggest church in Brazil

Inside of Cathedral

Cumbuco Beach

Handicraft Shopping in Fortaleza

There are handicraft shops all around the city, but the best places to go are the Feirinha da Beira-Mar (Beach Fair) and the Mercado Público (Public Market). These places have a large number of stalls (fair) and shops (market), and competition drives prices down. The hundreds of stalls where handicraft is sold are assembled and disassembled every day; the first stalls are opened at around 4 pm.

The area around the fair is one the busiest parts of Fortaleza, surrounded by several hotels and restaurants. It is safe and fun to walk from Meireles and Mucuripe to the fair; walking from Iracema is possible (about 1 km from the central Iracema area), but a bus may be more convenient.

Feirinha da Beira Mar. Photo flickr by Luiz Roberto Serrano

Feirinha da Beira Mar (Beach Fair).

bobbin lace
Pieces of Ceará handicraft

Public Market

Meireles Beach is where locals and tourists go to stroll, bring their children to the several play grounds, drink a coconut water, sit down and watch people passing by. The "feirinha de artesanato" (handicraft market) is in Meireles. Photo flickr by Persona Turismo
Ponte dos Ingleses. Inaugurated in 1923, the British Bridge stands as one of the main sights of the city, much appreciated by observers of the sunset.

Over the decades, Fortaleza has invested in infra-structure for tourism and in new features such as the Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura (Sea Dragon Art and Culture Center) and the Beach Park, Brazil's largest water park, with several cutting-edge speed-slides distributed along 35,000 square kilometers.

Central Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura

The Beach Park complex is ocean front and is located in Porto das Dunas, self-sufficient and only 16 kilometers (9.9 mi) from the city of Fortaleza. The Beach Park is the largest aquatic park of South America.

Beach Park. Photo flickr by Udo Matiello

Beach Park. Photo flickr by Udo Matiello

Beach Park
And there is a tradition in the city, every Thursday called Thursday's Crab. Especially on this day, the "king of the night" is crab cooked with parsley, onion and coconut milk. Restaurants and beach bars open at night to welcome tourists and fortalezenses, all accompanied with good music, cold beer, friends and fun.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Brazil: State of Ceará
Ceará flag

Ceará (Portuguese pronunciation: [siaˈɾa]) is one of the 27 states of Brazil, located in the northeastern part of the country, on the Atlantic coast. It is currently the 8th largest Brazilian State by population and the 17th by area. It is also one of the main touristic destinations in Brazil. The state capital is the city of Fortaleza that is the principal cultural, commercial, and seaboard shipping centre. Other principal towns are Juazeiro do Norte, Sobral, Crato, Iguatu, and Crateus.

Literally, the name Ceará means "sings the jandaia" - jandaia = specie of parakeet. According to José de Alencar, one of the most important writers of Brazil and an authority in Tupi Guaraní, Ceará means turquoise or green waters. There are also theories that the state name would derive from Siriará, a reference to the crabs from the seashore.

The state is best known for its extensive and beautiful coastline, with 600 kilometers (370 mi) of sand. There are also mountains and valleys producing tropical fruits. To the south, on the border of Paraíba, Pernambuco and Piauí, is the National Forest of Araripe. (search: Wikipedia) 
The raft, still common along the coast, is considered one of the greatest symbols of the people and culture of Ceará. Land of the writers Rachel de Queiroz, Patativa do Assaré and José de Alencar, Ceará also found the greatest humorists of the Country as Renato Aragão, Tom Cavalcante and Chico Anysio.
Raft. Photo flickr by Francisco Aragão
Trail on National Forest of Araripe
Significantly, Ceará was one of the very first places in the country to do away with the system of slavery.

The state of Ceará has a total area of just under 150 000 square kilometres. It is bordered by Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco and Piauí as well as by the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The vegetation of this state varies from mangroves and jungles to scrublands and dense tropical forests. Caatinga is another prevalent form of vegetation in Ceará, and is characterized by scrubby forests. This is a type of vegetation that is endemic to Brazil but Ceará concentrates 55% of all caatinga of the Country. This state suffers from very dry, harsh conditions during some seasons, resulting in the desertification of many areas at these times. In general, the climate is humid on the coast and dry further inland, but always hot. The average noon temperature is between 33 and 40 degrees Celsius. The rainy season is between January and June, while July to December is the dry season.
Caatinga vegetation. Photo
The carnauba tree is the symbol of Ceará and occupy large tracts in the backcountry.
Carnauba trees. Photo
Ceará exports, amongst other products, leather shoes, crustaceans, cashew nuts and fruit.

The main tourist attractions in Ceará include:

• Canoa Quebrada Beach

• Morro Branco

• Praia Do Futuro

• The colonial buildings of Aracati

• The House of Miracles in Fortaleza (credit to brazil)

Ceará Government web site: