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Road trip along the beaches of Ceará

The urban beaches of Fortaleza are beautiful, however the loveliest stretches of tropical sand are found to the southeast of the city, along the Costa do Sol Nascente. Walk through an alien landscape of towering red cliffs, take a ride in a beach buggy (extra excitement is optional) and feast on lobster in a laid-back hippie town. The ‘Coast of the Rising Sun’ is perfect for a sunny and sandy two-day road trip.

The Rota do Sol Nascente, also known as the CE-040, snakes southeast from Fortaleza along the coast of the state of Ceará, winding its way through a string of fishing villages with delightful beaches. We picked three that can be reached in three different ways. The least expensive option is to travel by bus, but that does require some planning. A rental car gives you more flexibility, allowing you to visit several villages in a day. But the most fun option is to book an all-inclusive excursion, including transportation, food, and a ride in a dune buggy, a boat tour or a horseback ride along the beach, exploring the beach, the sea or the dunes.

The beach of the Canoa Quebrada hippie town
The beach of the Canoa Quebrada hippie town

Fortaleza

Beach Park: 7.7 million litres of water fun

Aquiraz: sandy beaches and water fun

Leave the city of Fortaleza via highway CE-040 and you will hit the beach in no time. Only 30 kilometres outside of the city lies the village of Aquiraz. The village's small colonial centre is worth a visit and a great excuse to check out two lovely sandy beaches: Prainha and Iguape. For families with children the biggest attraction is the Beach Park. The largest water park in South America boasts 4 hotels, numerous restaurants, a spa, 7.7 million litres of water, 18 exciting attractions, and of course a beach! Definitely more than enough for a fun-filled day of water play – children of all ages will have a splashing good time.

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Aquiraz, Ceará, Brazil

The red Martian landscape of Morro Branco

From Aquiraz it's a 50-kilometre drive to Beberibe. The coast west of Fortaleza is famous for its impressive sand dunes, but this particular stretch is dotted with rugged red sandstone cliffs. The number one attraction of Beberibe is the paradise beach of Morro Branco. In addition to sun, sea, sand and chilled coconuts, the area is known for a unique natural phenomenon: the Labirinto de Falésias, a maze of red cliffs eroded by wind and weather. A stroll through this small canyon is like a walk on Mars. Guides are ready to take you on a tour (for a small fee), but you can easily explore on your own.

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Morro Branco: a maze of red cliffs

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Beberibe, Ceará, Brazil
Canoa Quebrada is a laid-back hippie town

Laid-back hippie town: Canoa Quebrada

From Beberibe it takes you another 80 kilometres to reach Aracati. This city also has a small historic city centre, with Portuguese mansions and hand-painted azulejos (murals made of decorated tiles). Nearby lies the final destination and tropical highlight of this road trip: Canoa Quebrada. Despite its growing popularity, this small hippie village still exudes a laid-back vibe. The main street Broadway is a long string of outdoor cafés, bars and restaurants that stay open until the early hours of the morning. We highly recommend spending the night here. Don't expect to find major hotels; small, charming pousadas (bed and breakfasts) are the norm here.

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Aracati, Ceará, Brazil