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Natal Brazil


 Natal is located on the far northeastern coast of Brazil and is closer to locations in the United States and Europe than Brazil’s better-known cities. The capital of Rio Grande de Norte, Natal has a reputation for safety and it is one of Brazil’s most scenic coastal locations.

 Although long overshadowed by other Brazilian beach areas like Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana and Ipanema, Natal’s popularity is rising among both local and international travelers.

 Relatively clean and less crowded than the more popular Brazilian beach destinations, Natal also is a great starting point to explore other great beaches in the state such as Praia da Pipa and Tibau do Sul. Located near the equator, the climate here is tropical with a wet and dry season. The temperatures are warm and humid throughout the year, but during the wet season from February through July the rainfall can be very heavy. The average rainfall in April, the wettest month, is 25 cm (9.8 in.).

 The name “Natal” means “birth” and the city was so named because it was founded by the Portuguese on Christmas Day, December 25, 1599. Geographically, the city is surrounded by large, fixed sand dunes and the beaches, like Ponta Negra, Pipa and Redinha, are white and sandy.

 Like other cities in Brazil, Natal celebrates Carnival, but the most popular event here is Carnatal in December. A Christmas time celebration, Carnatal employs many of the same entertainers who play elsewhere in Brazil during Carnival festivities. For those who cannot make it to Carnival, this is a great alternative.

 Another festival that takes place in June is the Festa Junina, or Saint John Festival. Unlike in Europe, where the festival takes place during the summer solstice, in Natal the celebration occurs during the winter solstice, which marks the cold season in the Southern Hemisphere. Starting on June 13, celebrants congregate around bonfires with fireworks and dancing that lasts for 15 days.


 In addition to great beaches, Natal also has other attractions for visitors. The city has preserved many historic buildings including the Palacio Felipe Camarao a government building painted mostly in light blue. The Centro de Turismo is a magnet for visitors and is a Brazilian National Heritage Site. Here you can dance the popular Forró dance during the Forró com Turista. On Thursday nights, the Centro also hosts late night celebrations that start at 10 pm.

 The Dunas State Ecological Park is the country’s second largest urban park with many plant and animals species preserved in its 1,172 hectare domain. Nature lovers can also visit the city’s aquarium, which hosts a number of different species including seahorses and penguins.

 Of course, most people visit Natal for its beaches and the sea and one great attraction for divers and snorkelers is the Parrachos de Maracajaú coral reefs. The water is clear here and the reefs are high enough during low tide to accommodate snorkelers.

 Natal is serviced by the Augusto Severo International Airport, which receives both international and domestic flights.
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