Shining star of the Northeast
Located just below the equator, Fortaleza is one of Brazil's largest cities, a star of the country's northeast, with lovely urban beaches, a rich cultural tradition of visual arts, music, folklore, and popular festivals. It is quite close to a series of vast beaches, the most famous being Jericoacoara, whose dunes rival the Sahara. As the closest point to the United States, Europe, and Africa, Fortaleza is a gateway to South America, both by air and by sea. Modern architecture lines the urban beaches where barracas and restaurants serve local delicacies, including the most flavorful fish dishes known to man. Fishing is a popular activity due to a wealth of marine life, as is windsurfing. It is 10 miles (16 km) from Beach Park, the largest water park in Latin America, attracting visitors from all over. Fortaleza's thriving arts and music scene reaches its apex during the yearly festivals, such as the Ceará Music Festival, the Festival Vida e Arte, Festival Cine Ceará, and the New Year's Eve parties at Praia do Futuro, where national stars entertain revelers along the long stretch of beach. The Dragão do Mar cultural center is a popular point of interest for locals and tourists alike, with a planetarium, museums, restaurants, and more. Public transportation is good within the city, but to reach many of the nearby fishing villages, dune buggies are required. Warm all year round, conditions for surfing, diving, fishing, and other water sports are ideal.