Fortaleza, Ceará

Iracema beach

Fortaleza beaches

The name Iracema refers to an Indian female of the same name, who became part of the History of Ceará.

The New Statue
of Iracema

History books say that a Portuguese called Martim Soares Moreno was one of the greatest heroes of the war against the Dutch invasors, in the first half of the 17th century; Martim Moreno chose to live in Ceará, among the Indians.
In the 19th century, José de Alencar, one of the greatest Brazilian writers, wrote a book called Iracema; in the book, Iracema was the wife of Martim Moreno. Iracema provided the strenght that Moreno needed to fight. The name Iracema doesn't appear in the History books, but Alencar said that his novel was inspired by tales he heard since childhood.
Iracema is so entrenched in Fortaleza History that there are five statues of her in the city. The oldest one was dates back to 1965, when the novel Iracema was turning the 100th anniversary, and is located in the beach of Mucuripe.
This statue in the beach of Iracema is known as "Iracema, Guardiã" (Iracema, the Guardian), and is from 1996. Whereas the other statues portray Iracema and her family, this one shows the Indian holding a large bow, as if ready for a battle.

View of the Ponte dos Ingleses (Bridge of the
Englishemen) by night.
Notice the sails of Pirata in the foreground.

The District of Iracema starts to get busy in the afternoon and becomes crowded at nights, when people come to the many restaurants and night clubs in the area.

Iracema used to be a decadent portuary zone, until the late 1980s, when the Government started a refurbishing programme, by means incentives to new businesses.
Old buildings were overhauled, and many restaurants, art shops and night clubs were opened in the area.
The Centro Cultural Dragão do Mar was built by the government; the nearby Ponte dos Ingleses was not only refurbished, but also gained a small souvenirs shop.

Below, some photos of Iracema beach:

restaurants in Iracema Iracema beach

There are many restaurants in Iracema, with diversified cuisines. Competition is fierce, shop around; some places offer bonus, like a free beer; expect agressive canvassing.
The restaurant Estoril, in main Tabajaras street, is located in a Historic building, which was turned into a Cultural Center, and today is again a regional cuisine restaurant. The restaurant with the nicest view is probably Sobre as Ondas (Over the Waves), by the beach near the Bridge of the Englishmen. Estoril and Sobre as Ondas are the most expensive restaurants in Iracema.
Looking for cheap food? Go to the area near the entrance of the Bridge, where you will find rustic restaurants and kioskes where snacks, pizzas and regional delicacies (tapioca, corn, etc) which cater for the locals.

Bridge of the Englishmen Metallic Bridge Fortaleza bridge

The bridge is busy until late. People come to drink beer before going to the clubs, to have a coffee after partying, or just to appreciate the nice view of the coastline.

Lupus Bier Haus Lupus Bier Haus Lupus Bier Haus

This is the entrance of Lupus Bier House, one of the most popular night houses in Fortaleza (there are people pushing tickets everyday in the walkway of the beaches, as well as folders in most hotels). Besides producing their own beer, the house is known for staging the most popular humorists in Fortaleza. Shows in Portuguese only. Check out schedule at the site

Nightclubs in Iracema

Iracema concentrates most nightclubs in Fortaleza.

Pirata, Fortaleza

Inside Pirata

The most famous club is Pirata, which opens on Monday nights only. Pirata was opened in 1986, and it was after visiting it that the New York Times published an article considering Fortaleza to have the wildest Monday in the world.
Pirata is located right in front of the Ponte dos Ingleses, in the heart of Iracema.
From 8pm, when the place opens, until around 5am (when a free soup is served, to recover energies), a few bands perform at Pirata: forró, axé and other dancing rythms.
In early 2006, admittance ticket was R$ 30.

Another well known place is a big house located right in front of the lower exit of Dragão do Mar Cultural Center. This place changes names quite often. In 2005, it was called Orbita, and in 2006 it was called Armazém (Warehouse). Here, you will find three different large ambiences, each playing a different rythm (forró, techno, dancing).
Some warnings: this is the main destination of single travellers looking for companion; also, the control of drinks is made by a magnetic card, and there is no record, until check out time, of how much you consumed (over charging is common).

Iracema beach: more info

Other sites about Iracema:

  • Hotels in Iracema beach

  • This page contains old photos of Iracema, some a few decades old, some as recent as of 2000. It shows how fast the area grew in recent years, because of the tourism.

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