Fortaleza is one of the largest cities in Brazil 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. Fairly safe for a Brazilian city this size (about 2,5 million), but stay alert when wandering away from Beira Mar, 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.
Quite an effort has been put into restoring colonial architecture over the last years. Still there is no area that is completely "clean", but the stretch from the beachfront of Praia de Iracema, via Dragão do Mar and to Praça do Ferreira is steadily improving and worth a walk.
- History Train and Step-by-Step History are two free tours offered on alternating Saturdays in the city centre. Show up at Banco do Nordeste, Rua Floriano Peixoto 941, at 1:15 PM. Both last about 3 hours. Basic Portuguese is a must.
The monthly listing Olheiro can befound in he receptions of most large hotels, or downloaded as .pdf.
There are two nice city beaches, Praia de Iracema and Meireles. Some people discourage bathing here, although they are mostly rated green by authorities. The whole stretch from the Ponte Metálica (aka Ponte Inglesa) pier to the fish market is paralleled by the Avenida Beira Mar, very nice for an evening stroll. A string of shacks line the beachfront, mostly good for drinking and people watching.