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Mountains of Ceará Travel Guide

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Situated at the foot of Baturité Mountains (Serra de Baturité), with an altitude of 175m above sea level, this town, used to be one of the richest in the State during the coffee epoch.

Today, full of farms, the town explores fruit growing and horticulture very well. Baturité has one of the last reserves of Atlantic Forest in Ceará and the natural surrounds make it a perfect place for Ecotourism.

It is the ideal place to go for walks on ecologic tracks, where it's possible to watch Nature closely, breathe fresh air and enjoy the cold weather. Amid the beautiful landscape, tourists have the opportunity to become familiar with the Volta, Frade and Perigo Waterfalls.

Willing to know the history of the town, tourists can visit monuments such as the holy path with 365 steps, the Apostolic School of the Jesuits, also known as the Jesuits' Monastery (Monastério dos Jesuítas) and Jesuits Hotel (Hotel Parador dos Jesuitas), Commander Ananias Arruda's House and also Serra do Vicente Archaeological Site.

93 km from the capital and with approximately 31.1mil inhabitants, Baturité has a rich bamboo handcraft. For tourists who like or want to learn about forró, there is the famous Chitão party, which happens every year during the June Festival, with big forró bands, attracting thousands of people. Access to the town is possible by the highways CE-060 and CE-356.

SOBRAL

From its roots as a small, 18th century village, Sobral has grown to become the second largest city in Ceará.

Sobral sits at the foot of the Serra de Meruoca mountain range, on the left bank of the Aracaú River, along the BR-222, the road that connects Pernambuco to Piauí and Maranhão. Commercial development in the area began with the construction of a local railroad in 1882, which linked it to the port of Camocim and made the city the main commercial center in the north of the state.

Houses, churches, museums, and theaters built around the turn of the 19th century are today national heritage sites, and lend the city a special brilliance.

Highlights include Praҫa São João square, art nouveau-style Praҫa João Pessoa square, Praҫa Jose Sabóia, Praҫa da Sé, the Arco de Triunfo arch, Rua Ernesto Deocleciano street, and the street's two churches, Igreja das Dores and Igreja do Rosário. The Acaraú riverbank is a very pleasant place for a walk at daybreak or in the late afternoon, when the sun illuminates the bridges, making Sobral look even more beautiful.

The best time to visit is between January and June, when temperatures are mild as opposed to an average 30°C (86°F) the rest of the year. Sobral can be reached by taking the BR-222 highway northeast from Fortaleza, a 235 kilometer (146 mile) drive. This stretch of road is full of holes, and a significant number of trucks travel the highway through the Serra de Tainguá mountain range.

SÉ CATHEDRAL

The imposing grandeur of the Catedral da Sé, also known as Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Conceiҫão is impressive and has been described by local writer, Domingos Olímpio (1850-1906).

At night, the illuminated church forms a particularly beautiful tableau with the silhouette of the Serra da Meruoca rising darkly behind. The foundation stone dates to 1778 and construction was completed in 1783.

The Portuguese limestone portico and high altar nave are exceptionally grand. In the main chapel, be sure to take a look at the beautiful wood tabern acle with Corinthian columns. Praҫa da Sé, 100, Centro.

SÃO JOÃO SQUARE AND THEATER

Home to many lovely trees, Praҫa São João is the most pleasant square in the city. At night, when the square becomes a pedestrian-only zone, local university students sit around under the trees and talk.

On the edge of the square you'll Atlantic forest and includes several beautiful lookout points, natural pools, and roaring watelfalls, like the 50-meter (165-foot) Cachoeira do Cafundó (it is not safe to swim here).

The trip back from the cave to the visitors' center can be made by cable car or on foot. The latter is uphill and takes approximately five hours. Travelers with small children may want to stick to the easier Trilha das Samambaias trail, instead. The trail passes by Cachoeira da Gameleira (another waterfall unsuitable for swimming), which can be reached in half an hour from the visitors' center.

From the Cachoeira da Gameleira lookout point you can see Gruta de Ubajara, Cachoeira do Cafundó, and the Ubajara-Araticum trail. Cachoeira do Gavião, an 80 meter (260 foot) watelfall, is a dificult three-hour, round-trip hike; exhausted hikers sornetimes refresh themselves in the cascades that precede the main waterfall.

GUARAMIRANGA

Guaramiranga, a mountain town in the Baturité nature reserve, is known for its mild climate.

During the winter the average temperature dips to 15°C (59°F). Only 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of Fortaleza, the town is home to the last remaining patches of Atlantic forest in Ceará.

The region attracts visitors who enjoy adventure sports, bird watching, and/ or simply admiring
nature. Its actractions include Pico Alto, one of the highest peaks in the state at a height of 1,115 meters (3,660 feet).The peak is 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the town center and can be reached by an unnamed but well-surfaced road.

Guaramiranga is also home to several cultural events. During Carnival, the Festival de Jazz and Blues offers an alternative for tired partygoers looking to escape the beat of the marchinahas and axé.

Local drama companies perform for the public during the Mostra deTeatro de Guaramiranga, in July, and again in September during the Festival Nordestino de Teatro.

October sees the air come alive with delicious smells emanating from the Encontro de Gastronomia food festival, and you can wash it all down in November 2005 with a visit to the Festival de Vinhos (Wine Festival).

Guaramiranga can be accessed from Fortaleza by taking the CE-060 highway southwest bound. Though longer, this is considered a safer route than state highway CE-065, which has some dangerous curves.

Mountains 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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