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Ceará is one of the 27 states of Brazil and is located in the northeastern part of the country, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the states of Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco and Piauí. Ceará is also known as the "sunshine coast". With thousands of kilometres of beach and hundreds of small towns, Ceará is a mecca for kiteboarders and surfers alike. There is unparalleled wind in Ceará, for more than 7 months, which has tourists coming from all over the world to learn to kitesurf or kiteboard. One of the better locations to kiteboard is Ilha do Guajiru, just north of Itarema, 230 kilometres from Fortaleza, the capital and biggest city in the state of Ceará. Here there's a large flat water lagoon which makes it popular with both beginners and more advanced kiteboarders.
Ceará has an area of 148,016 square kilometres. It is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by the states of Rio Grande do Norte and Paraiba, on the south by Pernambuco state, and on the west by Piaui.
Ceará lies partly upon the northeast slope of the Brazilian Highlands, and partly upon the sandy coastal plain. Its surface is a succession of great terraces, facing north and northeast, formed by the denudation of the ancient sandstone plateau which once covered this part of the continent; the terraces are seamed by watercourses, and their valleys are broken by hills and ranges of highlands. The latter are the remains of the ancient plateau, capped with horizontal strata of sandstone, with a uniform altitude of 610 to 730 metres. The flat top of such a range is called a chapada or taboleira, and its width in places is from 51 to 90 kilometres. The boundary line with Piauí follows one of these ranges, the Serra de Ibiapaba, which unites with another range on the southern boundary of the state, known as the Serra do Araripe. Another range, or escarpment, crosses the state from east to west, but is broken into two principal divisions, each having several local names. These ranges are not continuous, the breaking down of the ancient plateau having been irregular and uneven.
The rivers of the state are small and, with one or two exceptions, become completely dry in the dry season. The largest is the Jaguaribe, which flows entirely across the state in a northeast direction.
Ceará has a varied environment, with mangroves, caatinga, jungle, scrubland and tropical forest. The higher ranges intercept considerable moisture from the prevailing trade winds, and their flanks and valleys are covered with a tropical forest which is typical of the region, gathering species from tropical forests, caatinga and cerrado. The less elevated areas of the plateaus are either thinly wooded or open campo. Most of the region at the lower altitudes is characterized by scrubby forests called caatingas, which is an endemic Brazilian vegetation. The sandy, coastal plain, with a width of 19 to 29 kilometres, is nearly bare of vegetation, although the coast has many enclaves of restingas (coastal forests) and mangroves.
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The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil. It takes place from 12 June to 13 July 2014. It will be the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the previous being in 1950. The national teams of 32 countries will join the second biggest sports event in the world (after the Olympic Games). A total of 64 matches are to be played in twelve cities across Brazil, with the tournament beginning with a group stage. For the first time at a World Cup Finals, the matches will use goal-line technology. Twelve locations will be World Cup host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo. They cover all the main regions of Brazil and create more evenly distributed hosting than the 1950 finals in Brazil provided, when matches were concentrated in the south-east and south. As a result the tournament will require significant long-distance travel for teams. Brazil opens the tournament against Croatia, played in Sao Paulo on the 12th of June, and the final will be played on the 13th of July in Rio de Janeiro.
The climate of Ceará is hot almost all year. The temperature in the state varies from 22 to 36 °C. The coast is hot and humid, tempered by the cool trade winds; in the more elevated, semi-arid regions it is very hot and dry (often above 22 °C, but seldom above 30 °C), although the nights are cool. In the higher ranges (Serra da Ibiapaba, Chapada do Araripe and several smaller highlands) the temperatures are cooler and vary from about 14 to 18 °C. The record minimum temperature registered in Ceará was 8 °C, recorded in Jardim, a small city in Chapada do Araripe.
The year is divided into a rainy and dry season, the rains beginning in January to March and lasting until June. The dry season, July to December, is sometimes broken by slight showers in September and October, but these are of slight importance. Sometimes the rains fail altogether, and then a drought (seca) ensues, causing famine and pestilence throughout the entire region. Because of the constant risk of droughts, many dams (called açudes) have been built throughout Ceará, the largest of them the Açude Castanhão. Because of the dams, the Jaguaribe River no longer dries up completely.
Pinto Martins International Airport (FOR) has a reasonable range of flights, mainly with domestic choices but also with some intercontinental charter flights. Destinations include Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Belem, Recife, Manaus, Belo Horizonte, Salvador da Bahia, Porto Alegre, Natal, Porto Velho, Santarem, Praia, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan and Lisbon, among several other smaller Brazilian cities.
Even though the coconut can be found along most of the Brazilian coastline, Ceará is the state that arguable has the most of it, and sometimes priced as low as 50 centavos cold and ready to drink.
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