The Natal Port is your port of entry to Brazil’s “City of Sun”. The word Natal means Christmas in Portuguese; it was founded the day after Christmas. Many tourists visit the city to escape the winter blues; its hottest months are from December to February. The city’s equatorial position also makes daylight hours longer than nighttime.
Most tourists visit Natal for the sole purpose of seeing its beaches. Aside from its beaches, the city is home to the largest cashew tree in the world, which is 70 times larger than the normal cashew tree. You can ask the tour guide to bring you to this tree.
The Natal Shopping Center is the oldest shopping venue in Natal and houses about 200 shops and restaurants. The mall has two floors and two huge parking areas to accommodate the shoppers.
Across the Natal Shopping Center is the Via Direta Store. “Via Direta” is Portuguese for Direct Sell and is designed for producers to sell their goods at discounted prices to customers.
Another shopping center for tourists is the Praia Shopping Center near the Ponta Negra Beach. Restaurants, ATMs, internet cafes and other retail shops are housed inside the shopping center.
Things to See
There are around 20 beaches around the city. The Morro do Careca is the best known beach in Natal. The best hotels are located near the Via Costeira Beach. Other beaches in the northern and southern parts of the city can be reached by bus.
The Forte dos Reis Magos is a star-shaped fort and was considered to be the first building in Natal. Other must-see buildings include the Centro de Turismo de Natal and Aquarium Natal.
You should not miss the sunset at the Potengy River, a few meters away from downtown Natal.
If you want to check out the region’s folklore and culture, you can visit the Museum Camara Cascudo in the city’s downtown area. Other museums worth visiting are the Museu da Cultura Popular, Instituto Histórico e Geográfico do Rio Grande do Norte, Museo de Arte Sacra and Espaco Cultural Palacio Pontengi. These museums offer a glimpse of the city’s cultural archives, artworks and history.
Learn about the geological formation of the famous dunes and the Brazilian wildlife at the Parque das Dunas in Natal’s urban center. You can learn about 269 species found in the park’s flora and fauna.
Restaurants and Bars
The Tabua de Carne is a popular restaurant in Natal and serves local cuisine including the Feijoada, a stew of black beans, beef and pork. Guinza offers Japanese cuisine at its finest and a shrimp feast is available at the Barraca do Caranguejo. Other restaurants worth visiting are the Tabua de Carne, Sabor Regional and Farol Bar E Restaurante.
You should also try the acaraje sold by street vendors. Black-eyed peas are fried and are served with spicy shrimps and peanut paste.
A wide range of acai drinks, juices and snack meals are served at the Astral Sucos. The city’s nightlife is concentrated along Rua Da Salsa, a few meters away from the city’s main beach. Visitors should try Natal’s local drinks including the cachaca and caipirinha.