Meireles Beach

You'll find Meireles Beach in Fortaleza (Portuguese for fort), the capital city of the state of Ceara. Ceara is one of Brazil's smallest states, but it boasts one of the longest coastlines and some of the best Brazil beaches in the country. Fortaleza itself is a vibrant city boasting some great urban beaches similar to their more famous cousins in Rio de Janeiro, though on a slightly smaller scale.

It is Meireles Beach that is most reminiscent of the Rio de Janeiro beaches, with the same sort of busy, vibrant activity from beach volleyball and surfing to laid-back beach bars and bronzed sunbathers. This is the widest of the beaches in Fortaleza and is dotted with rustic barracas (palm-thatched bars set right on the sand) and throngs of bathing suit-clad beachgoers. On the other side is a picturesque curving bay lined with high-rise apartments and tourist hotels overlooking the scene below and the crystal blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. One of the things to do in Fortaleza is to be seen on Meireles Beach even if you're just going for a stroll.

Meireles Beach in Fortaleza is located right where the outdoor crafts market (Feirinha de Artesanato) occurs in front of the big hotels lining the main beach avenue. Of all the beaches in Fortaleza you'll find that Meireles Beach probably has the best choices for dining venues, Brazil hotels, and other places to stay and shopping opportunities. It's also easy to get from here to the neighboring beaches. The nightlife is hopping after sundown, and you can hear the strains of traditional forro music emanating from restaurants and bars all the way down the beach.

Other things to do that can be booked at Meireles include schooner cruises out into the bay or a Brazil day trip deep sea fishing excursion. This is the most popular vacation spot for Brazilians, and is becoming more and more popular with Europeans. A trip here can be booked as part of Rio or Sao Paulo vacation packages or as a package on its own. If you're planning on staying in the city, you'll probably end up at a hotel on Meireles Beach in Fortaleza and use that as your base of exploration, since this is where the majority of the restaurants, bars and hotels are concentrated.
In addition to Meireles Beach there are three other beaches close by along the city's coastline. They include Mucuripe Beach, the fisherman's beach dotted with traditional jangadas (boats). If you want to go fishing the way the locals do instead of the high-tech deep sea fishing that's available, it is possible to book a Brazil cruise trip on one of these little fishing boats. There is also Iracema Beach, named for the native Indian associated with the founding of Fortelaza and closest to the old town area. Finally, there is Praia do Futuru, which is popular with surfers and swimmers. However, it is Meireles Beach that is the most popular overall and which has the most activities, including a surf school, forro music venues and shopping at the handcraft market on Beira Mar (seaside) Avenue.

If you venture further afield than Meireles and the other beaches in Fortaleza you will also find numerous fabulous beaches both north and south of the city, including lovely Jericoacoara Beach set in the great sand dunes north of the city. All of the beaches up and down the coast are accessible via Fortaleza. Direct flights to Brazil land in Fortelza from the U.S. and Europe, as well as from other major Brazilian cities like Rio, Belem and Sao Paulo. Car transportation along the coast is fairly straightforward should you want to rent a vehicle for a Brazil day trip outside the city. Most people who venture out to the other Ceara beaches will spend time in Fortaleza on Miereles Beach either at the beginning or end of their trip.

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