Fortaleza is a major city on Brazil's northeast coast, and the capital of Ceará state.
Fortaleza is one of the largest cities in Brazil (about 2,5 million ) and certainly one of the most vibrant. Temperatures range from 23-31 C with rare exceptions. July - November has virtually no rain. February - May can have its share, but mostly at night. The last years the city has seen an increase of crimes (ranging from petty to violent), so stay alert when wandering away from Beira Mar and other public areas, especially after dark. Despite being quite a party town, the carnival in Fortaleza is rather feeble, although growing bigger by the year, with the largest parades being Maracatu-style. The official history of Fortaleza as a permanent settlement dates back to the 17th century, when the Dutch had a brief dispute with the Portuguese over the territory. However some local historians fiercely defend the thesis that the very first European to land in South America -allegedly the Spaniard Vicente Yáñez Pinzón- did so where the city's port is situated today, in January 1500, i.e. a few months before Portuguese Pedro Alvares Cabral's much celebrated arrival in Porto Seguro.