The Nightlife in Fortaleza
Brazilians may flock to Miami like bees to a honey pot, but they have their very own version of it in the northern state of Ceará: Fortaleza. This city of 2.5 million boasts more than 12 miles of sugary beaches encased in high-rise apartments. Known internationally for its sun-kissed sands, it's even more famous within Brazil for its legendary nightlife. The action kicks off during the day with tangy caipirinhas at the ad hoc barracas (basic beach bars with plastic tables and thatched umbrellas) lining Futuro and Meireles beaches. The focus shifts after dark to the colonial center, with some of the best clubs located within pastel-colored mansions around the dragon-shaped Dragão do Mar Cultural Center. A more alternative crowd gathers nearby at Mercado dos Pinhões, a wrought-iron market in the city center with cheap drinks and live samba, axé (Afro-Brazilian) and forró (folklore) bands Tuesday to Sunday evenings.
What you need to know: Fortaleza is Brazil's fifth largest city, and its airport receives both flights from Miami and connections from Rio and São Paulo.