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|Natal Beaches || top|
|From the old City, Cidade Alta, roads descend straight to the city beaches of Praia do Forte, Praia do Meio and Praia dos Artistas, and the coastal road to the southern beaches.
Praia do Meio stretches from the fort to the headland of the Ladeira do Sol, and Praia da Areia Preta curves between the headland and the lighthouse. Technically, the Praia do Meio is composed of three beaches: the small Praia do Forte next to the fort, the Praia do Meio and the Praia dos Artistas. All the beaches are lined with stalls serving the usual array of cold drinks and food, and numerous hotels and bars are strung along the inland side of the seafront, which gets lively on weekend evenings.
The beaches near the centre of town ought to be treated with respect: the combination of a shelving beach and rollers roaring in from the Atlantic often makes the surf dangerous, and a few tourists are drowned every year.
It's easy to rent a chair & umbrella but be sure to negotiate the price in advance so you're not in a position to be taken advantage of.
|South of Natal || top|
|Ponta Negra 10km south from Natal || top|
The most important City beach zone is Ponta Negra. The Ponta Negra district is upscale with lots of beautiful villas and even more attractive gardens behind imposing walls. Ponta Negra beach is about 4 km long. In the south end is Morro do Careca, the most famous sight of Natal.
Most of Natal's best hotels and restaurants are located here, as are the most persistent beggers.
"The village is up the hill. As soon as the beach street ends, you have to walk up a steep hill to go to the village. That means that a hotel "100 meters away from the beach" may end up being not so close as you thought; however, there is the advantage that you can have a good view of the sea even if you are a little far from the shore line."
|Pirangi 15km south from Natal || top|
Not far along highway RN 063 is Cotovelo, Pirangi do Norte and Pirangi do Sul.
In Pirangi, stop by the biggest cashew tree in the world (listed in the Guiness Book). It's over 100 years old. It has a circumference of 500 metres and occupies an area of 7,300m squared, making it 70 times the size of average cashew trees. Pirangi is also known for its natural pools.
|Nisia Floresta 20km south from Natal || top|
The beach of Búzios, in the city of Nísia Floresta, has strong waves that attract many surfers. The dunes are also worth checking out here.
The beaches of Pirangi do Sul and Pirambúzios have tame waves and very are looked for nautical sports such as wind surfing.
At Barra de Tabatinga, the Mirante dos Golfinhos has a beautiful view of the sea and dunes. If you come at the right time, you can see dolphins here.
There are natural swimming pools at Camurupim and Praia de Barreta. The Pontal Aquatic Park has swimming pools and the lagoon of Arituba is excellent for bathing.
|Pipa 80km from Natal || top|
|Pipa is known for its famous beaches like Praia do Amor. This is a magnet for the international jet-setters and wanna-bes trying to get away from it all, so it takes some attitude adjustment if you don't do casual cool naturally.
GETTING THERE: By Car
|Barra do Cunhaú south of Pipa || top|
A popular location for tourists looking for a little tranquility. It is the biggest producer and exporter of farmed shrimp in the country.
The boat rides on the the River Curimataú disclose to pretty landscapes and the rich life of the manguezais. The estuary of the rivers Catú and Curimataú form natural, excellent swimming pools.
|Baía Formosa 93km south of Natal || top|
Encircled by dunes, this is a beach that is becoming more popular with tourists seeking a natural, tranquil setting. The appearance of fishing boats in the bay is its registered mark. Further to the south, strong waves create an ideal area for surfing.
The regional reserve, Mata Estrela, has an an area of 2.365 ha. In the interior of the reserve is the Coca-Cola lagoon. Despite its appearance, the dark water is clean.
|Rio Grande do Norte Beaches || top|
|Beaches to the north of the city are generally less crowded and even more beautiful, but harder to get to.
Offshore--at places up the coast such as Maracajaú--there are wide coral reefs in shallow water, great places to spend a day snorkeling."
|Genipabu (aka Jenipabu) || top
a little bit north of the city center - follow the signs
|Natal's most famous beach zone on the other side of the Potengi river is about a 25 minute, well-marked drive from Natal. You'll find 3 beaches (Gracandu, Pitangui, Jacuma) and 2 extraordinarily pretty lagoons, with massive dunes. Lots of dune buggy vendors.|
|Jacumã 33km north of Natal || top|
|Located in a cove, this beach has mild waves which makes it ideal for swimming. There is an aerobunda, where fun-seekers slide down aerial cables and into the lagoon. Nearby, at a dammed river is the esquibunda, another attraction where people slide off dunes and into the water.|
|Maracajaú 54km north of Natal || top|
|This is the main beach in the city of Maxaranguape. The biggest attraction of Maracajaú are the choral formations off the coast. Dunes and lagoons complete the scene of this beach.
Motor boats and catamarans take tourists out to dive among the choral, and the transparent waters are perfect for observing colorful fish. Scuba diving lessons are available for those who want to fully explore the undersea panorama.
Ma-Noa Park is a tourist complex with swimming pools, aquatic park and kiosks by the sea. It also offers catamaran excursions to the reef.
In Maxaranguape, visit the Árvore do Amor (Tree of Love), or the beach of Roque, whose lighthouse is Brazil's closest point to Africa.
|Barra do Rio Punaú 65 km north of Natal || top|
|Between dunes and coconut palms, the waters of the river Punaú meet the sea. Many television commercials have been shot in this small paradise.
Horseback riding and esquibunda (sliding off the dunes and into the water) are two of the activities offered here.
To the south of Punaú is the calm beach of Pititinga. There is a popular spa located north, in the city center. Bars and restaurants nearby offer simple plates of fish and shrimp.
There are fishing villages nearby, but they do not offer much in the way of lodgings and restaurants.
|Perobas 88 km north of Natal || top|
Perobas is located by a tranquil fishing village where you can hear wind rustling through the palms. The beach in Perobas has access to Rio Punaú.The reef off the coast is a rarely explored beauty which can be visited during low tide.
Nearby are the beaches of Garças and Carnaubinha, followed by Calcanhar and Cajueiro. The Farol do Calcanhar (Lighthouse of the Heel) is the second tallest in the world, reaching 62 meters (and 296 steps!). Visits are only allowed on Saundays, between one and six o'clock.
|São Miguel do Gostoso 112 km north of Natal || top|
This tranquil area has attracted many tourists, since the winds in this region make it ideal for wind and kite surfing. At the beginning of the '90s, there was only one inn here. The number of inns and restaurants has steadily increased since that time, however. Latitude 5 and Vento Leste Restaurante are two of the more popular eating establishments. At praia do Marco (26 km to the north), where the Portuguese in 1501 first laid claim to this country in 1501, the restaurant Arraial do Marco has a very popular cashew and fish plate.
|Galinhos 160 km north of Natal || top|
|This has become a popular spot for tourists who want to get away from busier locales. With about two thousand inhabitants, Galinhos is situated ona small peninsula. The only access is by boat, or a buggy or 4x4 vehicle that can get through the dunes. The base of the economy if fishing, salt extraction and shrimp cultivation. Manguezais, dunes and salt mines compose the landscapes that enchant the tourists who visit this village, where wagons are used as taxis. Galinhos has few inns and restaurants, but simplicity is what makes this place so appealing. Boat and raft excursion, as well as dune buggies, are popular leisure options.|
|Macau 190 km north of Natal || top|
The mountains of salt look more like snow. With 25,000 inhabitants, Macau is located in the salt-making region of the state, also known as the White Coast. The carnival of Macau is considered among the best in RN. Considered an island, the city is in the estuary of the river Piranhas-Açu. Highways built on man-made earth bridges run between great tanks used to evaporate water and gather salt. Besides being the largest producer of sea salt in the country, Macau also produces pteroleum.
The beach of Camapum is the 3 km from the city center. De Barreiras, Diogo Lopes and Soledade are fishing villages between 22 and 28 km away.
The Alcalis salt mine can be visited during the week. Boat excursions through the estuary and buggy rides through the dunes of Diogo Lopes are popular activities. For more information, contact the city department of tourism: (84) 521-1331/521-1330 - branch 218.
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