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East Coast of Ceará Travel Guide

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The stretch of coast between Aquiraz and Rio Grande do Norte is known as Costa do Sol Nascente (Sunrise Coast).

Common morning sights include white sails on the horizon before sunrise and fishermen pushing their jangadas into the ocean.

A visit to Ceara's coast reveals a culture rich in tradition, cast against a beautiful landscape of dunes and lively beaches.

The CE-040 highway, which skirts the many beaches along this coast, leads the way to various pleasurable day trips.

Map of Ceará East Coast Brazil

Map of the Ceará East Coast

AQUIRAZ

Porto das Dunas: hotels, guesthouses and condominiums complement the shore's white, powdery sands and surfer-friendly waves.

Prainha: a popular tourist destination. Be prepared for intense harrassement from guides offering trips and accommodations.

Presídio: the Salinas River runs along this stretch of white sand, famous for its beach Carnival.

Iguape: the most built-up beach in Aquiraz attracts visitors with its white sands, calm seas, and a single lone sand dune.

Barro Preto: coconut groves line this stretch of dark sand. Dune buggies usually stop at Giovane Cavaleante's eponymous kiosk, decora ted in scrap metal.

Praia do Batoque: cross the Barro Preto River to reach this isolated calm of pale sands, tranquil waters, and sun-kissed cliffs.

CASCAVEL

Caponga: this cove houses one of the biggest jangada ports on the coast of Ceará. Many of the beach's summer homes belong to denizens of Fortaleza.

Aguas Belas: the tranquil fishing community of Aguas Belas begins at the end of Caponga cove. Dunes, coconut palms, the Malcozinhado River, and mangroves dominate the landscape.

Barra Nova: access to this small, often deserted beach is possible via a 4X4 vehicle or on foot from Aguas Belas. A reef barrier rests just off the shoreline.

BEBERIBE

Morro Branco: by far the most popular beach in Beberibe, with limitless bars and restaurants to prove it Praia das Fontes and Praia do Diogo Red cliffs face the coast of Praia das Fontes, a beach with calm seas and a shoreline of summer homes. Houses at Praia do Diogo sit atop cliffs.

Praia de Uruaú and Lagoa de Uruaú: also known as Praia de Marambaia, this stretch of white sand is an APA (Environmentally Protected Area). Water sports, but not certain other activities, are permitted in the lake.

Barra de Sucatinga: red sand formations and a host of jangadas create a pleasant seascape here.

ARACATI

Majorlandia: a beach with bar, restaurant, and guesthouse fac ilities, framed by red and white cliffs.

Quixaba: coconut palms dot this cliffside fishing village.

Porto Canoa: fishermen dock their boats at the foot of this beach's red cliffs, hence the name ("canoe port").

Lagoa do Mato: a deserted, well-preserved beach that often serves as a stopover for roaming dune-buggies.

Fontainha: the pale sands and colorful dunes of Fontainha may be visua lly tempting, but only fishermen brave the sea's strong waves

Retirinho: during high tide in the bay, the ocean waters reach the bottoms of the cliffs. Low tide reveals a reef barrier along the shore.

Retiro Grande: a handful of houses overlook the dark sands and seaweed-capped water of this small fishing village.

ICAPUÍ

Ponta Grossa: gentle waves make this small beach perfect for swimming. Catch a wonderful view of the sunset from the clifftops.

Redondas: admire the red cliffs but mind the strong waves on this beach, accessible on foot from Ponta Grossa.

AQUIRAZ

In 1713 the small settlement of Aquirás, once a stage for violent clashes between Europeans and Indians, became the capital of the Siará captaincy, and held the title until 1726.

About 32 kilometers (20 miles) east of Fortaleza, the town still contains buildings from colonial times. Today the area attracts tourists for its wildly popular water park, Beach Park.

SÃO JOSÉ DE RIBAMAR CHURCH AND SACRED ART MUSEUM

Built in the mid- 18th century, the Igreja Matriz de São José de Ribamar (Praҫa Conego Araripe) has undergone many renovations, resulting in a mix of neo-classical and baroque elements.

The three great paneled doors at the main entrance date from the original construction, as do the carved wooden pulpit and the painted ceiling depicting scenes from the life of São José de Ribamar.

The Museu Sacro São José de Ribamar (Praҫa Conego Araripe, 22), is a museum of sacred art. The collection of almost five hundred pieces from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries is housed in a well-preserved building from 1877, which once served as the council chamber and prison.

Canaúba-wood structural beams in the upstairs portion of the museum are noteworthy. The most important piece in the museum is an 18th century silver cross that the Jesuits took to Aquiraz.

BEACH PARK

This amusement park on the beach at Porto das Dunas offers a wide range of facilities for families, with 17 water rides and attractions. The complex also features snack bars, restaurants, and retail stores. There is no entrance fee, so you can enter just to enjoy the beach area or the bars and restaurants. Rua Porta das Dunas, 2734, Porto das Dunas.

LACE MAKERS

The Centro de Rendeiras da Prainha (Rua Damião Tavares, Prainha) features seven kiosks of women making and selling renda de bilro, a bobbin lace made with either thick or thin thread (the finer thread can take several days to weave into lace).

The Centra de Rendeiras do Iguape (Avenida da Praia, Iguape), near the dune and a shed used by local fishermen, sells labirinto and bobbin lace items, including table runners, beach wear, tray cloths, appliques, and bags.

CRAFTS MARKET

The Mercado das Artes is a cultural center housed in an old 19th century trading post and meat market, with art workshops, handicrafts stores, a restaurant, and library. The geometric harmony of the roof tiles and the technical precision of the construction , which utilizes carnauba wood and adobe, are attractions in and of themselves. Rua Santos Dumont, 76, Centro.

CASCAVEL AND BEBERIBE

Lovely beaches and rich craftwork are the twin appeals of Cascavel, 64 kilometers (40 miles) east of Fortaleza on the CE-040 highway. Beberibe is a small town 83 kilometers (52 miles) east of Fortaleza and 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast from Cascavel.

This region boasts the two most famous beaches on the east coast: Morro Branco and Praia das Fontes.

CRAFT CENTER

The Pólo Artesanal de Cascavel is at the entrance to town. Among the pieces on display are ceramics of Indian and Portuguese influence, made in the neighboring community of Moita Redonda, as well as furniture and other items made from liana. CE-040, Km 56, entrance to Cascavel.

RAPADURA MILLS

The CE-040 state highway, between Aquiraz and Cascavel, is dotted with sugar mills that ofter visitors the chance to watch the production of rapadura, alfenim (caramel candy), light molasses, cachaҫa, and brown sugar.

CANOA QUEBRADA

The most famous beach on the east coast of Ceará lies within the municipality of Aracati, about 161 kilometers (100 miles) outside Fortaleza.

The town grew rich during the 18th century thanks to a brisk trade in dried beef. Today, it's known for its lively street Carnival, but accommodations remain scarce.

A trip across town will reveal a handful of colonial-era buildings in unfortunate shape, though some remain preserved in their original Portuguese tiles. Follow the BR-304 highway for main access to Canoa Quebrada - by far the greatest local attraction.

From Aracati you can also reach CE-261 highway, which extends from the Ceará coast to the border of Rio Grande do Norte.

Since hippies discovered Canoa in the 1970s, the village has assumed an air of independence. This is best symbolized by the former name of the main street: Rua Dragão do Mar, after the nickname of a jangadeiro who gained fame through his anti-slavery militancy.

Regrettably, the avenue today is called Broadway, where bars draw a loud and flashy crowd until the early morning hours.

SAND IN A BOTTLE

Decorative glass bottles filled with layers of colored sand first gained popularity on Majorlandia beach, but can now be found in kiosks all along the Ceará coast, and sometimes in Fortaleza craft markets.

The sands, often presented in 12 different shades, were originally collected from the dunes at Majorlandia. Today industrial dyes mimic the sands' natural spectrum of color. During a minutely detailed process achieved with the help of tiny spatulas, colored sand takes on the form of landscapes and sea scenes inside the bottles. It is impossible to leave Ceará without buying one.

 

THE COAST BY DUNE BUGGY

Two dune-buggy trips depart from Canoa Quebrada. One crosses the beaches of Porto Canoa, Majorlandia, Quixaba, Lagoa do Mato, Fontainha, Retirinho, and Retiro Grande, and ends with a spectacular sunset atop the dunes at Ponta Grossa. To make the most of the outing and escape the searing sun, start the three- hour-plus trek in the afternoon.

The alternative journey is shorter - just over an hour - and follows a route from Porto Canoa to Quixaba. Buggy drivers can be hired at most Canoa Quebrada guesthouses and hotels, as well as in the village center. Be sure your driver is accredited by the Secretaria de Turismo do Ceará.

REGIONAL BEACHES

One can walk to Porto Canoa from neighboring Canoa Quebrada. The red cliffs here contrast with jangada sails at rest on the sand.

Majorlandia is ideal for swimming and the trademark locale for collecting sand from multi-colored cliffs to fill the bottles sold throughout the state of Ceará. In October this beach serves as the starting point for the Regata de Jangadas de Majorlandia raft regatta.

For those in search of peace and quiet, the white cliffs at Quixaba and the often deserted Praia de Lagoa do Mato are recommended. To reach the small lake that gives the latter beach its name, you must climb over the dunes.

Though swimming at Fontainha beach does not come recommended, swing by just to see the colorful dunes similar to those at Majorlandia. Last but not least, it's important to mention the reef barrier at Retirinho, the seaweed smothering Retiro Grande and Ponta Grossa, and tiny Redondas, a small fishing village perched atop beautiful cliffs.

East Coast of Ceará travel guide and tourism information such as accommodation, festivals, transport, maps, activities and attractions in Ceará, Brazil - Brazil Travel Guide

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