Natal Travel Guide

Natal Overview

With 300 sunny days throughout the year and rolling sand dunes in all directions, Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte, is a true city of sun and sand and fast becoming a popular destination for Europeans and North Americans. As a state capital the city certainly does not posses the cultural attributes some may expect, however, this is more than made up for by sand dune upon majestic sand dune spilling out onto the miles of pristine beaches and creating an adventure playground along Brazils Atlantic coast. This is a place to soak up the sun, surf, sand-board and dance the night away at the post-carnival celebration, Carnatal.

 
Natals growing European popularity comes as a result of charter flights arriving at Augusto Severo Airport from Lisbon and Madrid. Flights can also be found here departing for numerous Brazilian destinations. In addition, Natal welcomes bus loads of tourists from long distance cities such as Fortaleza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. When not meandering around the urban beaches close to town the best way to get around is via one of the many dune buggies that can be seen whizzing up and down the coast.

Things to do in Natal

Natal Beaches

The urban beaches of Natal stretch for miles along the Atlantic coast, offering plenty of opportunities to bask in the glorious sunshine and try various water sports. Ponta Negra, at the southern end of the city, is the most appealing beach, peppered with guesthouses, cafés and beach bars. It is frequented by surfers and also a good place to learn to surf.
 
Forte de Reis Magos - Founded in 1598, the star-shaped fort of Natal sits proudly at the mouth of the PotengiRiver separated from the mainland by a small sandbank. An iconic city landmark, the fort is home to a chapel, original cannons and preserved soldiers quarters. Open daily, 8am - 4.30pm. Entrance fee R$3.
 
Museu Camara Cascudo - Natals best museum is an interesting collection of displays on the natural history and anthropology of the Rio Grande do Norte state. Highlights count a life size salt mine and original jangada rafts. Open times are 8 - 11am & 2-5pm, Tuesday to Friday & Sunday. Entrance fee R$3.
 
Natal Dune Buggy Tours - Stretching north for hundreds of miles are a feast of pristine sand dunes, beaches and lagoons all waiting to be explored and the best way to reach them is on a dune buggy. Favored stop of points on tours include Genipabu, for sand boarding and camel rides, and Maracajau, a mystical collection of offshore coral reef that turns into natural pools at low tide. Buggy e Cia has been arranging tours for years.
 
Sand Boarding Natal - With the amount of sand dunes surrounding the city, sand boarding opportunities are boundless and makes for an entertaining afternoon of activity. Soul Rider Camp at Ponta Negra is good for arranging tours and renting equipment.
 
Carnatal - Arriving at the right time in December, travelers may be treated to the sights and sounds of Natals off-season carnival. During the celebration the streets surrounding Machadao stadium come alive with live bands and national music and dance.
 
Natal Nightlife
Ponta Negra is the focal point of Natals nightlife, with a small yet eclectic collection of open-air bars, clubs and theatres. Favourite bars include the dingy yet popular Taverna Pub and Cervejeria Via Costiera, serving up homebrewed beers. An alternative option is to get the dancing shoes on and head to Forro com Turista for live music and forro dancing in the old prison courtyard.

Hotels in Natal

Budget Hotels Natal

Albergue Pousada Meu Canto - Simple digs and an overly charming owner. Tel (55) 84 3212 2811.
Pousada Recanto das Flores - Small welcoming guesthouse with swimming pool. Tel (55) 84 3219 4065.
Lua Cheia Hostel - Funky looking hostel, modelled on a castle, good for those wanting to party. Tel (55) 84 3236 3696.
 
Midrange Hotels Natal
Soleil Suite Hotel - Great suites and swimming pool at Ponta Negra. Tel (55) 84 3219 5959.
Ocean Palace Beach Resort & Bungalows - Large resort with hotel and ocean facing bungalows. Tel (55) 84 3220 4144.
 
Luxury Hotels Natal
Serhs Natal Grand - Huge luxury resort only two steps from the beach. Tel (55) 84 4005 2000.
Manary Praia Hotel - Overlooking Ponta Negra Beach is an elegant and deluxe hotel resort. Tel (55) 84 3204 2900.

Natal Weather

Natal Travel Resources

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This page was last modified on 14 Mar 2011 by Matt