Fortaleza Guided Tour: the Cathedral, Market, & the Beaches
- Metropolitan Cathedral: This majestic Gothic-Roman cathedral is said to have been modeled after Cologne's, and features stunning stained glass windows and a magnificent altar made in Verona.
- Central Market: The famous mercado is a where the big-game bargain hunters go for handcrafts, paintings, clay sculptures, lace textiles, jewelry, leathers, rum, and more.
- Sightseeing: Admire the bold architecture of the vast Dragão do Mar cultural complex and the Branco Mausoleum, then view the Brazilian beach life at some of Fortaleza's best.
About This Fortaleza Tour
Fortaleza is an interesting mix of modern high-rises, historic landmarks, creative architecture, and beautiful beaches. The city takes its name from an old fort snatched from the Dutch and renamed Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora de Asunçao (Fort of Our Lady of the Assumption) by the Portuguese in 1654. The fort became a town 72 years later, and people have been flocking to it ever since.
Among the sites you'll visit is the imposing Metropolitan Cathedral, built over a humble adobe chapel that stood here in 1612. Enjoy your visit here – it took four decades to build Brazil's third-largest church, and it shows. The breathtaking stained glass windows alone make it worth the visit, but there's much more, including intricate mosaics and one of the world's few depictions of Jesus as a teenager.
You'll see the Castelo Branco Mausoleum, built five years after the 1967 death of President Castelo Branco in a midair plane collision. This striking modernist structure features a cantilevered design that makes it look as if it's floating over a pool.
Of course, there will be time to shop for everything from curios to exquisite handcrafted pieces in textiles, leather, wood, glass, sand, and more at the Central Market. This massive, four-story building holds 500 stores – and as we all know, competition drives prices down. So do a little scoping before you start haggling.
And no visit to this fun-loving resort town would be complete without a tour of its 16 miles of beaches, from the bars and clubs of bohemian Iracema Beach to the fishing center of Mucuripe to Praia do Futuro, the "beach of the future." You can ask your guide what's so futuristic about this particular beach – like the rest of Fortaleza, it's a mix of historic and trendy, fashionable and funky. But if you're looking for an easy and enjoyable orientation to Brazil's fifth-largest city, this tour belong in your futuro.
The girl from Iracema
The name of one of Fortaleza's most popular beaches – along with innumerable neighborhoods, streets, businesses, and statues – comes from an 1865 novel (and its beloved main character) by Jose de Alencar, Fortaleza's most famous son. The beautiful native woman Iracema falls in love with a Portuguese colonist; her father, the tribe's shaman, disapproves, and the couple runs off. Their son, in Alencar's telling, is thus the first true Brazilian.
Your guide will meet you on your ship's pier. Please look for our GoBe Representative with the displayed logo sign. Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise the GoBe Crew so we can meet you in the lobby.
The Central market sells handcrafts. Don't forget to bring local currency.
This tour is not recommended for wheelchairs due to moderate amount of walking required around the city.
Cultural, Private Tour, Bus Tour, Walking Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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