Live and eat like a local, and get off the tourist track with our Fortaleza hit list from the host and producer of SBS travel show, This is Brazil!.
Fernanda de Paula, Shelley Hepworth

12 May 2014 - 2:43 PM  UPDATED 25 Jun 2015 - 1:47 PM

1. Escape to a coastal haven

The coast of Ceará state is renowned for it’s beautiful beaches and Jericoacoara is regarded by many as the most beautiful of them all. It’s only few hours away from Fortaleza and still somewhat secluded. While you’re there, it’s also worth a visit to the freshwater, inland ‘Paradise Lagoon’ where hammocks hanging between wooden posts dip into the crystal blue waters.


2. Keep an ear out for improvisation

While sitting on the beach, it’s not uncommon to be approached by a ‘Repentistas’ duo with guitars in hand, improvising comedic verses and poetry for hours on end. They will usually continue until you wave them off! It may get lost in translation, but it’s a one of a kind experience that only costs a few dollars in tips.


3. Surf for a cause

Titanzinho is a beachfront favela that sits next to Future Beach, the famous postcard of Fortaleza. It’s a place that has been forgotten by authorities, and drugs and violence reign. However, there is hope with local father João Fera running a surfing school for kids that has brewed champions like Tita Tavares. It’s a dangerous place, but worth a guided visit and is a great opportunity to contribute to a worthwhile cause.


4. Slip, slide and go wild

Brazilians never do things by halves and Fortaleza’s Beach Park is home to the ‘Insano’ - the highest waterslide on the planet. It’s as tall as a 14 storey building and riders can reach speeds of 100km per hour. If you’re not game to take it on, there’s plenty of smaller rides that will allow you to cool off from the heat without staining your pants.


5. Get the movie star treatment

Brazilians take their looks seriously and they have a multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry to prove it, but you’ll only understand their commitment to pampering after experiencing a full service treatment in a place like Mulher Cheirosa women’s beauty salon in the Dionísio Torres neighbourhood. There’s a list of treatments as long as your arm and once you’ve chosen, a hostess dressed in a uniform with headset will bustle you off through a maze of rooms where hundreds of staff are busy cutting, primping and manicuring. While you’re getting your nails done you can munch on popcorn and a cool glass of acerola juice that are served for patrons. And your nails will look like they are ready for a photoshoot.


6. Where to eat

Cantinho do Faustino (Rua Bauxita, 58)


This is Brazil! airs Fridays at 7.30pm on SBS ONE.