Probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Brazil are paradise beaches and an endless sun! And not to forget the samba, football, caipirinha… And then when you have to name a place in Brazil you would say Rio de Janeiro, wouldn’t you?! Fair enough as Rio is a good example of those too. But we are here to present you an another option for your trip to Brazil – Located in the Northen side up to Rio, following the light blue sea tone of the coastline, there is Natal.
Natal is the main city of the state Rio Grande do Norte. It’s famous for its alluring beaches summer temperatures all-year-round, making it a popular summer destination among locals (and where the locals go we go!) So if you want to experience Brazil without tripping over tourist but still be one this is the place to be! Here are all the places that you cannot miss out on once in Natal.
1. PONTA NEGRA BEACH
Ponta Negra is THE most famous beach of Natal. It is the perfect coastal holiday destination without having to leave the comfort of a big and modern city (read good wifi and nice restaurant options). The huge dune at the end of the beach – aka Morro do Careca, is Ponta Negra’s symbol and can practically be found on every single postcard. In the early days it was possible to climb it but sadly that is now forbidden due to preservations reasons. But no worries, you still can enjoy the dunes at another beach nearby.
Insiders tip: Rent a paddle board for BRL 50 and enjoy the amazing landscape from the sea.
2. DUNES OF GENIPABÚ
Located just 32 km from Ponta Negra is a beach that will cater the needs of all you adventurers amongst us! Go sandboarding, take a buggy ride, ride a quad or even a camel through these amazing dunes of Genipabu – literally anything is possible! And afterward, take a well-deserved cold drink at the beach (I couldn’t think of a better day!).
3. PIPA BEACH
They say foreigners will arrive in Pipa and never leave! Quite understandable as Pipa is paradise beach heaven, the favorite spot of surfers and home to countless foodie places. I definitely recommend you to stay in this trendy city for a few days.
4. PARRACHOS DE MARACAJAÚ
Maracajaú is a cute fishermans village and the perfect place to go snorkel. The Parrachos is a coral barrier in the middle of the sea located 7 km away from the beach of Maracajú, hence forming natural pools when the sea is low being perfect to see the corals and some fishes as the water is crystal clear. Once you get in the city, you will be stopped on the way by some groups of people offering their services which include the boat to take you to the Parrachos and the equipment to do snorkel.
~Fee 75 BRL
Insiders tip: Buy your own snorkel is more hygienic and it will fit you better than those they offer. 150 BRL
The Chapadão is a huge cliff of reddish tone located next to Praia do Amor, in Pipa. From here you can have a nice view of the beach and what makes it special is the stunning and strong contrast of the red sands of the cliffs with the deep blue of the sea.
6. WISE KINGS FORTRESS
Founded by Portugueses, the fortress was strategically built on one of the banks of the river Potengi so they could be the first ones to see when the enemy arrive. Nowadays is a great symbol of the history of the city, the meaning of the name and the origins of the people that formed Natal. Unfortunately, they just offer guides in Portuguese and Spanish, so I suggest to visit the city tourism website to learn more about it before visiting (otherwise the place doesn’t have much to offer other then a nice view).
~Fee 3 BRL
7. ROTA DO SOL (SUN ROUTE)
Rota do Sol is a mini road trip in the direction of the Cotovelo Beach, Pirangi do Sul and Mirante dos Golfinhos. We did a quick stop at Cotovelo Beach to have lunch and contemplate the view, then we proceed to our next stop: Pirangi do Sul.
In Pirangi do Sul you have to stop to check the Largest Cashew Tree in the world (O Cajueiro) according to the Guinness Book. The tree suffers from two genetic anomalies which make it grow instead of upwards to sideways and eventually because of the weight, the branches would bend downwards and touch the ground. The second anomaly is that all the branches create also roots which will grow up again like if they were new stems, thus giving the impression that instead of one big tree there are several trees. That is why it’s so impressive and nice to go and take a look.
In the end of the tour you get a fresh cashew juice and if you go on the season, you can eat the fresh fruit from the trees. The tree makes more than 200.000 fruits which aren’t sold but giving to the visitors. At the end of the tour, it’s also possible to check the top view from the beach here.
Insiders tip: The cashew season is from December to March.
~Fee 6 BRL
Go from here to the next stop, Mirante dos Golfinhos which means Dolphin Watch-Tower, where you can see surprise surprise: dolphins! Unfortunately, I couldn’t see any but the locals gave me the tip and the best time that they are visible is after 4 pm.
Wherever your mood is, Natal has it for all! So bring your sunglasses and sunscreen and enjoy!