Known as “City of the Sun”, the northeastern Brazilian city of Natal is bathed in warmth for almost 10 hours a day, 12 months a year. No wonder so many visitors are attracted here, despite the presence just hours away of cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Natal offer something different. As well as being famous for its beautiful weather, it also boasts stunning natural sand dunes, some of which span more than 10 kilometres of land.
Not only are the dunes great to look at, but they are also an adventure junkie’s paradise, offering as they do the opportunity for an array of activities – the most popular of which is buggy rides.
Buggy excursions are big business in Natal. And unlike so many other tourist activities, the great thing about them is their intimacy. Each buggy fits a maximum of five, so you really get to know your buggy driver over the course of the day and also have the chance to develop a friendship with your fellow thrill seekers.
The enormous sand dunes are the ideal landscape for the excitement of dune buggy rides. The buggy drivers will ask you “With Emotion or Without Emotion”? If you say “With Emotion,” it will be an exhilarating ride as you go up and down the towering dunes at rapid speeds.
Besides being a lot of fun, dune buggies are able to go where other vehicles can’t – and that includes some of the best beaches in Natal. You can access the lakes and the northern coast in one day with a dune buggy. And you can try “sand boarding” at a steep descent on the dunes, sliding into the water.
Dunas de Genipabu Park is one of the most popular sites for the most adventuresome of dune buggy riders. The buggies here can descend at an inclination of 90 degrees.
But Natal and its surrounding areas are not just about riding the crest of a sand wave. They also comprise 15 beaches with cliffs, coconut trees, hills, reefs and some natural swimming pools.
One of the most significant symbols of the city, the famed Morro do Careca Dune, can also be found near to Natal. You can dip in the natural pools, formed at low tide; enjoy dolphin watching; ride jet skis; and explore the cave of Pedra Oca on the South Coast Beach.
Pipa Beach, one of the most important seaside resorts in the Northeast, attracts nature lovers, surfers, artisans, and more who are captivated by the beauty of its beaches, dune, cliffs, Atlantic forest, dolphins and turtles. Once a small village, many of its traditions still exist today, and has become a must for visitors from all over the world.
As for nightlife, several venues in Natal offer live shows of folk music, rock, reggae and forro (Brazilian dance music). Many bars have live music, nightclubs play Brazilian popular tunes, and there are several great outdoor discos.
In a nutshell, visiting Natal is a great way to experience the best of brazil whilst avoiding the tourist throngs of Rio or Sao Paulo. And the buggy rides across the sand dunes will stay with you forever.