ClimateFortaleza has a hot tropical weather (84,2ºF to 95ºF), being December and January the hottest months and July the coldest, but with very little variation. Fortaleza is famous for its warm green seawater. Usually there is no rain in November.
It's very important to hydrate yourself very often, even if there is rain and even if you are not thirsty. If you like, you can bring Gatorade powder to mix with the mineral water (there isn't this product in powder in Fortaleza, and Gatorade is more expensive there). And of course, don't forget a good sun block. The sun's rays are very intense because of how close Fortaleza is to the equator.
Sometimes, there are mosquitos tonight. So, it is good to bring a good spray to repel them.
DressingLight clothes, such as cotton, is suitable for outdoors, even though air conditioning might indicate the use of a light sweater indoors.
For site visits it is suggested to use light and comfortable clothes.
LanguageIn Brazil, Portuguese is the official language and used in the whole country, with no dialects. English is shortly spoken and understood in business and tourist areas. English and some European languages are spoken in major hotels.
Time zoneThe time in Fortaleza is three hours behind of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-3). There is no summer time in Fortaleza.
CurrencyThe Brazilian currency is called “Real” (R$). One “Real” is divided into 100 “Centavos” (cents). Bank notes are in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Reais. Currency exchange counters are available at the airport out of the arrival hall. Currency exchange is also possible in most of the hotels. Cashier machines can be found, but not extensively spread.
Credit CardsMajor credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Master Card and Visa are widely used and accepted. There is no additional charge applied, but you can get a discount in many stores by paying cash. Please check with the stores before using.
Business HoursMost commercial facilities in Fortaleza operate on a six-day week, usually from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm. Shopping centers and malls usually open from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm on Mondays – Saturdays and from 2.00 to 10.00 pm on Sundays. Government offices are generally open between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm Mondays to Fridays, except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, except on public holidays.
Electricity220 Volt. Plug adapters may be needed for the regular Brazilian 20 A sockets.
Orientation about the beachesSome beaches in Fortaleza are not recommended for swimming. For example, the seafront of Av. Beira Mar is in that category. But Praia do Futuro is good for bathing. It is important to check with friends about the situation of the beach.
Also it is wise to be careful with the waves - most of them are strong and some beaches don't have lifeguards.
The SocietyFortaleza is a big city, and unfortunately, there is a bit of a problem with crime. People are often robbed or pick pocketed in public places - except for in big malls. It is better not to wear a watch and always be aware of luggage, purses etc. If it is necessary to carry a handbag, it's better to face it forward and not backwards.
Some advices from the Internet:
- Do not display your expensive camera / watch / etc. when you are out and about.
- Do not make cash withdrawals at night.
- Make your cash withdrawals from closed areas such as shopping malls, supermarkets.
- Always be alert to any suspicious persons at or near the cash machine.
- If your card is taken by the machine, do not accept the help from anyone you don't know.
- Do not use the celular phone of strangers to call for help relating to the cash machine.
- Do not give your PIN code to anyone.
- Remember: Criminals can be well-dressed and have a good appearance.
Day to day:
- Do not go shopping alone or in the hours when there are few people around.
- Do not carry all of your cash in one place / pocket / purse.
- Avoid carrying all of your credit cards on you. Carry only the ones you need.
- Make sure there is a limit on the card for withdrawing cash from the cash machine.
- Get used to paying small bills in cash.
- Always have a list of the telephone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen.
- Get out of the habit of carrying a cheque book full of cheques. Carry only the number required.
- Do not carry all of your documents in your handbag or wallet. Carry authorised xerox copies of your passport or CIC and ID.
Source: some parts from or adapted from The Network