Fortaleza is the capital of the State of Ceará, and is a major city located on the northeast coast of Brazil. It is one of Brazil’s biggest cities that is a major tourist destination, and is known for its beautiful sandy beaches among other things. The city is a popular destination for Europeans as well as North and South Americans. Fortaleza is home to friendly people, delicious food, rich Brazilian culture, numerous shopping centres, parks, outdoor attractions, several landmarks, and of course to one of the longest coastlines in the country. For Muslim visitors, there is a small amount of Halal-friendly facilities including mosques and Halal food in Fortaleza. However, Muslim tourists must note that finding these facilities will not prove to be easy.
A good way to get to know Fortaleza is to visit Praça dos Mártires or Martyrs' Square, which is a protected national monument and is the oldest square of Fortaleza. The area is full of natural attractions, like trees that were planted centuries ago and is ideal for relaxing walks. The area is rich in history and is a must-visit when in Fortaleza.
With approximately 25 kilometres of urban beaches, Fortaleza is quite a popular place even among locals. The urban beaches of Fortaleza include; Iracema, Meireles, Mucuripe and Praia do Futuro. Most of these beaches are family friendly, but they may not be as Muslim-friendly as one would like. There are several bars and night clubs located along them, and therefore it is best to visit any of the above beaches during the day and to avoid them during the evenings and at night. The ideal beach for surfing and swimming is Praia do Futuro. Those interested in seeing fishing boats returning from the sea after a night of fishing can visit Mucuripe. Visitors will be able to see jangadas; which are traditional fishing boats, lined up along the beach, during the afternoon and evenings. It is not unusual for those visiting Fortaleza to end up spending over half their time on its many glorious beaches.
Visitors will also come across several shopping opportunities such as the handicraft shops which are located all over the city, or the Mercado Público, which is Public Market where they will be able to find a wide selection of unique items, souvenirs and so much more at affordable rates.
The airport that serves Fortaleza is Pinto Martins - Fortaleza International Airport, which is also its closest major airport; located approximately 8 kilometres from downtown Fortaleza. It is one of the busiest airports in the country and has both; domestic and international flights. The airport is easily accessible and can be reached by public transport including buses and taxis.
One known Halal restaurant in Fortaleza is Alibaba Kebabs. This restaurant serves delicious and authentic Turkish food and is Halal certified by CIBAL Halal, which is a Brazilian Halal monitoring authority. Muslim tourists also have the choice to dine on vegetarian dishes from local non-Halal restaurants after ensuring that the dishes do not consist of any non-Halal items. Visitors must also try out some of the fresh seafood available in the area; which includes crabs. Because Fortaleza has a small Muslim population, Muslim tourists may be able to obtain more information on the availability of Halal food in the area, at the local mosque. Muslim visitors must also be aware that most restaurants in Fortaleza also serve alcohol.
There are a couple of Mosques and other prayer facilities in Fortaleza. Musala As-Salaf As-Saalih is said to be open every Friday for Jumu`ah prayers and Saturday for Islamic studies. The Islamic Cultural Center Benefit of Ceara also has Jumu`ah prayers on Fridays, and Centro Islâmico do Ceará or the Islamic Center of Ceará conducts daily prayers as well as Jumu`ah prayers and offers other Muslim-friendly activities.