The mountains of Ceará and its mountain towns have a pleasant climate that varies from 17ºC to 22ºC, which attracts tourists from all over the world who seek tranquility as well as fresh air and contact with nature.
The Sierras do Ceará, far from the coastal area, is marked by several mountainous formations, with altitudes that reach over a thousand meters.
The serras do Ceará, where the minimum temperature reaches 17º C, stand out the flattened valleys used for fruit growing and the springs of rivers, waterfalls and mineral water sources.
The mountains of Ceará have a topography and climate that form the ideal setting for the practice of adventure sports.
Gruta Ubajarão humid relief brings together the greatest vegetation potential in the state, with forests having trees up to 30 meters high.
The main reserves of the State are found on the humid slopes of the Ceará Mountains, such as the Chapadas da Ibiapaba and Araripe, where the Ubajara National Park and the Araripe National Forest are located.
In the two plateaus the altitude varies between 700 and 900 meters.
Other areas of plant concentrations are found in the Meruoca mountain range, on the southeastern slope of the state, and in the Guaramiranga – Pico Alto mountain ranges of Maranguape and Baturité. The latter is home to Pico Alto, at 1,114 meters.
Located in the municipality of Guaramiranga, it is one of the highest points in Ceará. The steep climb and the contact with the exuberant nature has attracted thousands of tourists annually.
The highest point of the state is the Pico da Serra Branca, located in the municipality of Monsenhor Tabosa, with 1,154 meters.
In addition to cozy inns, the mountainous regions have a geography conducive to adventure tourism, with breathtaking ecological trails.
Serras do Ceará – Mountains of Ceará
1. Serra de Aratanha
Serra da Aratanha, also known as Serra de Pacatuba is a mountain range located in the north of Ceará, in the Metropolitan Region of Fortaleza in the municipalities of Maracanaú, Maranguape, Guaiúba and Pacatuba, 30 km from Fortaleza.
The mountain range is one of the residual massifs scattered in the Ceará hinterland depressions.
Together with the Maranguape mountain range, the Aratanha mountain range is practically an extension of the Baturité Massif.
2. Serra de Baturité
It is distributed over the territory of twelve municipalities, some below the high reliefs as Canindé, Palmácia, Itapiúna, Capistrano, Caridade and Redenção.
The cities of Aratuba, Mulungu, Guaramiranga, Pacoti, Baturité and Acarape are in the mountainous regions.
The region is home to the first and largest environmental protection area in the state, covering an area of 32,690 hectares.
3. Serra de Ibiapaba
The Serra da Ibiapaba, also known as Serra Grande, Chapada da Ibiabapa and Cuesta da Ibiapaba, is a mountainous region located in the northwest of the state of Ceará.
The oldest city in the mountains is Viçosa do Ceará, which was colonized by the Jesuits of the Society of Jesus from the 16th century, has the architecture listed by IPHAN.
4. Serra de Meruoca
Serra da Meruoca is located in the municipality of Sobral, 200 km from Fortaleza. Its estimated population in 2015 is 14,674 inhabitants.
From its lands flow crystalline waters that sometimes flow through the relief in splendid waterfalls and “enchanting” waterfalls and that, for others, passes rubbing between patient and sliding granites, sculpting them.
Videos about the mountains and mountain towns of Ceará
TOURIST POINTS OF THE SERRAS DO CEARÁ
The main mountain municipalities of Ceará for tourism are Aratuba, Baturité, Guaramiranga, Maranguape, Mulungu, Pacoti, Palmácia and Redenção.
Maranguape is close to the capital, only 30 km from Fortaleza, in the metropolitan region, the Serra de Maranguape mountain corridor begins.
In Maranguape, a city with approximately 103 thousand inhabitants and the birthplace of great national personalities such as Chico Anísio, Manassés and Capistrano de Abreu.
The city of Maranguape in Ceará has the Ypióca Tourist Complex, which combines leisure, entertainment, cuisine, and regionalism as well as a lot of history with the famous Cachaça Museum.
In addition, the city has sports attractions in nature such as trails that bring inspiration for hiking where the practitioner, at each step can contemplate a variety of landscapes, fauna and flora, which will illustrate the route.
2. Sobral at the foot of the Serra de Meruoca
Sobral is another spectacular destination among the mountains of Ceará is the Serra da Meruoca located 251 km from Fortaleza, in the north of the state in the municipalities of Meruoca, Coreaú, Alcântaras, Massapê and Sobral.
It is one of the residual massifs scattered in the depressions of the hinterland of the interior of Ceará and its vegetation at low altitudes forest with evergreen trees, broad leaves, dense and thorny trunks and a humid mountainous forest, at the highest altitudes.
One of the main cultural events of this city is the feast of the patron saint Nossa Senhora da Conceição, which is always celebrated between November 28 and December 8 every year.
Another well-known event in the region is the “Winter Festival”, held since 2004, with the presence of great artists of national renown.
Born from an 18th century village, Sobral, the second largest municipality in Ceará, was named a city in 1841.
Sobral is located at the foot of the Meruoca mountain range, on the left side of the Aracaú River, on the road that joined Pernambuco to Piauí and Maranhão.
The vocation for commerce gained momentum with the construction, in 1882, of the railroad that connected it to the port of Camocim; at the time, Sobral was the main commercial center of the north of the state.
The townhouses, churches, museums and theaters built at the time, now listed as historical heritage, give a special shine to the city that is easy to get around.
The city’s main attractions are the São João square and its surroundings, the Ernesto Deocleciano street with the Dores and Rosário churches, the João Pessoa square in art nouveau style, the Arco do Triunfo and the José Sabóia square, as well as the Sé square, where the cathedral is located.
The bank of the river Acaraú is another charm – a pleasant place for a walk at dawn or in the late afternoon, when the illuminated bridges make Sobral even more beautiful.
The best time to visit is from January to June, when the temperature is milder; outside this period, the average is 30˚C.
The city can be reached by BR-222, both by those leaving Fortaleza, from where it is 235 kilometers away, and by those leaving Teresina, on a route with holes and heavy truck traffic in the Tainguá mountain range.
CATEDRAL DA SÉ IN SOBRAL
The grandeur and grandeur of the Cathedral of the Cathedral (also known as the matrix of Our Lady of the Conception) were described in prose by the writer Domingos Olímpio (1850-1906), in the book Luzia-Homem, of 1903.
At night, when its two towers are illuminated, the church is even more beautiful, and in the background you can see the silhouette of the foothills of the Meruoca mountain range.
The foundation stone dates back to 1778 and construction was completed in 1783.
The Portuguese lias portico and the nave of the high altar are impressive. The chancel features a wooden tabernacle with Corinthian columns. Pça. da Sé, 100, Center.
SÃO JOÃO STREET AND THEATRE IN SOBRAL
The São João square is the nicest and most wooded in the city. At night, cars are not allowed here, and students from the local university spread out under the trees.
Among the buildings are the Casa de Cultura, with workshops and exhibitions, the Menino Deus church and other mansions. The São João Theater, inaugurated in 1880, dominates the landscape.
The image of the neoclassical façade reflected in the lake, amid the well-kept garden, deserves a longer look.
MUSEU DOM JOSÉ IN SOBRAL
The first sacred art museum in Ceará was founded in 1951 in Sobral by Bishop José Tupinambá da Frota, who collected a large part of the collection of 30 thousand works.
In addition to sacred pieces, the space brings together a vast collection of objects representative of everyday life in Sobral from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as porcelain, crystal, furniture, weapons and clothing.
The neoclassical building built in 1844 is very well preserved, but the museum is not air-conditioned. Av. D. José, 878, Center.
3. Ubajara at the top of the Ibiapaba mountain range
Another mountainous region with landscapes capable of filling the eyes is the “Serra da Ibiapaba”, which is formed by the municipalities of Viçosa do Ceará, Tianguá, Ubajara, Ibiapina, São Benedito, Carnaubal, Guaraciaba do Norte, Croatá and Ipu.
Surrounded by Atlantic forest, the city of Ubajara, 324 kilometers from Fortaleza by BR-222, is located at the top of the Ibiapaba mountain range, 847 meters above sea level.
In July, the most suitable month for visiting, the dawn is covered in mists, and the low temperature calls for warm clothes.
The main attraction of the small and quiet municipality is the Ubajara National Park, 4 kilometers from the center.
In this park, created in 1959 and located high in the mountains, there are several limestone caves.
In its 6288 hectares of area there are stretches of Atlantic forest and plateaus, in the high part, with strips of cerrado and patches of caatinga in the low, where the vegetation of cactaceae predominates.
Some waterfalls cut through the immense green landscape, where jatobás, pau-d’arcos, copaíbas and babaçus can be seen; its fauna is represented by mocós, capuchin monkeys, star monkeys, armadillos, snakes, lizards, cotias and anteaters.
Other attractions are the trails and viewpoints, which can be explored in a single day.
Visitors should bring repellent, snacks and plenty of water for the trails, as the snack bar operates at irregular hours. Estrada do Teleférico, km 4.
GRUTA DE UBAJARA
Portuguese in search of silver discovered the cave in the 18th century. According to legend, it was inhabited by an old Indian who wandered with his canoe along the rivers of the region – Ubajara, in fact, comes from uba, “canoe”, ejara, “lord”.
In the early 20th century, the place attracted pilgrims devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes, whose image still adorns its entrance. Of the 1120 meters of the cave, only 420 can be walked.
It is enough for the visitor to admire the magnificent speleothems, delicate limestone formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, columns, waterfalls and curtains.
Highlights include the grandiose Image Room, the Corridor of Wonders, with stalactites and stalagmites and a dinosaur-like stone, and the Shining Room, filled with crystals.
You can descend to the mouth of the cave by the Ubajara-Araticum trail, a three-hour journey, or by cable car, in just three minutes. As the cable car is usually closed for maintenance, it is best to call ahead (Av. César Caos, s/n).
TRILLS AND WATERFALLS IN UBAJARA
The park’s classic trail, called Ubajara-Araticum, connects the Visitor Center to the mouth of the Ubajara cave.
It is a three-hour walk downhill, during which you pass through the Atlantic forest, with stops at viewpoints, natural pools and waterfalls such as Cafundó, 50 meters high, dangerous for bathing.
You can return by cable car or on foot, in a five-hour journey.
The easiest trail is that of the Ferns, ideal for children.
The viewpoint of the Gameleira waterfall, which is also inadvisable for bathing, can be reached in half an hour from the Visitor Center; from there you can see the Ubajara cave, the Cafundó waterfall and the route of the Ubajara-Araticum trail.
To reach the 80-meter-high Gavião waterfall, you must take a trail in the forest that is considered difficult (round trip takes about three hours); on the way, cool off in the waterfalls that precede the main fall.
4. Guaramiranga in the Baturité massif
Maciço do Baturité is the name of the region that encompasses 13 easily accessible municipalities and promises to enter the national ecotourism route.
In the Maciço de Baturité there are old private and religious historical buildings, the centenary railway station, museums, waterfalls, trails, lakes and a landscape that brings together all the beauty of plants and flowers.
Several activities related to the practice of adventurous sports are also carried out in the region of the Baturité Massif, such as canoeing, abseiling and hiking.
Guaramiranga is located in the environmental protection area of the Baturité Massif and stands out for its mild climate: in the coldest period, the temperature reaches 15˚C.
In the mountain town, just 120 kilometers from Fortaleza, are the last remnants of Atlantic forest in Ceará.
The region of the Baturité Massif allows the practice of adventure sports, bird watching and contemplation of nature.
Among the attractions is the Alto peak, with 1115 meters of altitude, one of the highest in the state, 13 kilometers from the center, accessible by paved road.
In Guaramiranga the cultural program is intense: in the Carnival, the Jazz and Blues Festival is an alternative for those who want to escape the marchinhas and axé music.
At the Guaramiranga Theater Show in July, local companies present themselves to the public.
In September it is the turn of the Northeastern Theater Festival and, in October, the Gastronomy Meeting. In November 2005, the first edition of the Wine Festival was held.
Access from Fortaleza is via CE-060, a longer but safer route, or via CE-065, with many curves.
Radical and Adventure Sports
Rappelling, trekking, free flight, off-road 4×4 and mountain biking. The mountainous region of Ceará is an appropriate place for various types of adventure sports, although it is still technically prepared to receive lovers of only a few of them.
Pedra da Agulha, in Guaramiranga, is the most popular place for abseiling. There, the waterfalls increase the adventurers’ itinerary. Perigo is the one that most attracts practitioners, and the trail that leads to it is prepared to receive tourists.
The degree of difficulty of access is medium, with stretches of closed forest that give an extra charm to the tour. Access is through the property of Clarear Environmental School.
For trekking lovers, there are many trails. In addition to the one that leads to the Perigo waterfall, there are those of Talyta and Veada, as well as the trail of the Hotel Management School, that of Mirante do Parador, that of the Jesuits and that of the Remanso da Serra hotel.
It is not uncommon to come across animals of the local fauna on walks, including the chameleon and the eagle. You can also spot a multitude of species of butterflies and birds. To rest, you can take advantage of the hospitality of the locals, who even offer coffee to walkers.
It is essential to have a specialized guide to venture through these landscapes. Ceará ecotourism operators offer packages that include vehicles and drivers. Adaptations to the itinerary can be made at the request of visitors.
Tourism and Travel Guide to the mountain towns and hills of Ceará