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University Federal of Rio Grande do Norte - Natal

UFRN Website: http://www.ufrn.br/ufrn/

Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, is a city on the Atlantic coast, known for its beaches.

Understand

Natal was first settled in the 1500s, but unlike other Northeastern capitals, it did not quite benefit from the economic boom resulting from the region's sugar cane production. Instead it grew moderately and more organizedly, burgeoning on the state's cattle-raising activities and salt and oil extraction.

During World War II the city hosted a U.S. military base established there because of its strategic position as the easternmost point on the Atlantic. Nowadays Natal is becoming a popular tourist destination with Brazilians and foreigners alike, offering gorgeous beaches and a few good hotels and restaurants.

Get in

By plane

The region is served by Augusto Severo International Airport (Aeroporto Internacional Augusto Severo) 20 km from Natal's center, in the neighbouring Parnamirim. There are numerous direct flights from most important Brazilian capitals, including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Fortaleza, Salvador, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia.

  • TAP[1] flies daily to Lisbon.
  • Weekly to Amsterdam with ArkeFly[2], often cheaper if bought at FlyBrazil[3].

To get to the city, take the Natal bus at the doorstep of the terminal, R$ 2,60. To get to Ponta Negra, get off after abot 15 minutes at Natal Shopping, cross the pedestrian bridge and take any bus with Ponta Negra in its name, -another R$ 2.

A taxi to Ponta Negra is 40 reais at fixed prices, possibly a few reais cheaper on the meter. 20 minutes.

By bus

Natal's bus station is about 3 km southwest of the city center, and some 5 km northwest of the Ponta Negra beach. A taxi to the latter is about R$ 25.

  • To Fortaleza 8 times daily (3 of these stopping in Mossoró) by Nordeste[4]. R$ 35-150, 8-10 hours. Also by Guanabara[5].
  • To Recife you can pay about R$56,00, The trip lasts about 4 hours.

Get around

  • Taxis flag at R$ 3,88. Rate 2 is about 50% more expensive than rate 1. All taxi prices in this article are rate 1.
  • Buses cost R$ 2 and get get very crowded at peak hours.

See

  • Forte dos Reis Magos, the star-shaped fort at the northern tip of the beach, was built in 1598.
  • The Sunset by Potengi River is really wonderful to watch. A good spot is near the Army base and there are some ships on the river.
  • Museum Câmara Cascudo It's in city downtown and have lots of stuff about the region's culture and folklore. Good for who want meet the "soul" of the people.
  • Zumbi beach (to the North) - Only by Buggy - One day trip.
  • Teatro Alberto Maranhão - The biggest and oldest theatre of the city. Was inaugurated at 1904. It's located at center of Natal.
  • Morro do careca - The biggest sand dune of the city. Located at Ponta Negra Beach, in the south.

Do

  • Natal's urban beaches stretch for several kilometers, each section having its own name. If you sit down for a drink or a bite in the sand, it is quite common being charged for the chairs and table (typically 5 RS for the lot). This can be negotiated up front.

From the north, there's Praia do Forte, Praia do Meio, and Praia dos Artistas. Next there is a stretch of 10 km called Via Costeira, where Natal's best hotels , and little more than that, are located. Further south is Ponta Negra, the most developed beach with Morro do Careca, the best known landmark of Natal.

  • Hire a buggy with a driver and travel along the coast, both North and Southwards.

The coast of the State of Rio Grande do Norte affords a rare combination of dunes, lagoons, sandstone cliffs and vegetation in between.

  • The To a Toa Boat Cruise[6] at the Potengi river to watch the sunset. You will see the city from different angles, pass through historical places and neighborhoods, mangrooves, river beaches. Recorded guiding in English and Portuguese.

Eat

There are many ways to eat at the city. Each way depends on your preferred food or price you able to pay. Search them at shopping centers and neighborhood.

Plenty of seafood restaurants with outdoor seating can be found along the beaches.

  • Abade[7] - Once voted the best restaurant in town.
  • Fast food - There are many fast food place in the city like; Habib's, MacDonalds, Bob's, Subway, Pittsburg. Most of them can be found at shopping centers and in neighborhoods.
  • Pizza - If you like pizza, there are three main pizzerias that offer a fixed price menu (about R$15) and you can eat all that you want. "Bella Natal" can be found in "Cidade Jardim" shopping center, and "Vila Mangiare" and "Cantina La Nonna" can be found on Salgado Filho avenue.
  • Beach food - There are many sellers of typical food at the beach. If you don't bargain with them, they will charge a higher price than usual. The most typical beach food is "ginga com tapioca" and the best is served at Redinha market (don´t go there on sundays it´s very crowded).

Drink

Ponta Negra nightlife has concentrated along Rua Dr. Manoel Arauju, aso known as Rua da Salsa, a few blocks inland from the beach at kiosk 11. A significant amount of holiday prostitutes blend in. Near the city center is the Ribeira district with quite a few options. A nighttime cab to Ponta Negra runs close to R$ 50. Buses 46 and 54 do the stretch in about 45 minutes.

  • <drink name="Buraco da Catita" alt="" address="Rua Câmara Cascudo, Ribeira" directions="Near the Rodoviaria Velha" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="Wed - Sat 7 PM - midnight" price="">Live music most nights.</drink>

Sleep

Most tourist lodgings are in Ponta Negra, heaps and heaps of them. Posted prices are negotiable in low season.

  • <sleep name="Missionebrasile" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="http://www.missionebrasile.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Rental apartments in Ponta Negra </sleep>

Budget

  • <sleep name="Pousada Ponta Negra" alt="" address="Rua Afonso Magalhães 115" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Dorm bed R$ 30, also has singles and doubles">Kitchen facilities.</sleep>

Mid-range

  • <sleep name="Pousada Maravista" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.maravistabrasil.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="Single R$ 70, Double R$ 120, Triple R$ 150">One small block from the beach. Balcony breakfast with a view.</sleep>
  • <sleep name="Albergue Lua Cheia" alt="Albergue da Bruxinha" address="Rua Dr. Manoel A. B. de Araújo, nº 500 Praia de Ponta Negra" directions="" phone="" url="http://www.luacheia.com.br/ingles/index1.htm" checkin="" checkout="10AM" price="Dorm R$52, single and double R$115" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">A purpose-built hostel. Nice facilities, excellent atmosphere. Right in the nightlife street.</sleep>

Splurge

  • <sleep name="Esmeralda Praia Hotel" alt="" address="Rua Francisco Gurgel, 1160 - Ponta Negra - Natal

" directions="" phone="+55 84 4005 0000" email="emarketing@esmeraldapraiahotel.com.br" fax="+55 84 3219 5594" url="http://www.esmeraldapraiahotel.com.br/" checkin="" checkout="" price=""></sleep>


  • <sleep name="Pestana Natal Beach Resort" alt="" address="Av. Senador Dinarte de Mariz 5525

Via Costeira - Natal " directions="" phone="+55 84 3220 8900" email="reservas@pestananatal.com.br" fax="+55 84 3220 8920" url="http://www.pestana.com/hotels/en/hotels/southamerica/NatalHotels/Natal/Home/PestanaNatal.htm" checkin="" checkout="" price=""></sleep>

Stay safe

If visiting the Forte dos Reis Magos, it's highly recommended that you take a taxi there, and not walk along Praia Forte; recently there have been an increasing number of robberies and assaults of tourists along the beach, past the populated areas (actually, one should not walk to the Forte because it is far away - about 3 km - from the nearest hotel or bus stop). Official statistics show that Natal is the safest city among the Brazilian capitals. Pick pockets follow the tourists, but robbery is rare. The city is conscious of the importance of tourism, which causes the Government to invest heavily on ostensive security of the busiest spots.

Get out

  • Genipabu beach (to the North) - Big sand dunes at beach, that you can sandboard your way down. And camel rides! From Ponta Negra take bus 73. Get off at Estrada da Redinha somewhat after crossing the bridge, then catch any Santa Rita-bus all the way to its terminus. At least 1 hour in total.
  • Barra de Cunhaú beach (to the South) - Only by Buggy - One day trip.
  • Redinha Beach (to the North) - Northern urban beach. Cheap food, and nice view of the city and Newton Navarro Bridge.
  • Praia de Pipa can be done as a daytrip, but is really worth a night or two.