Besides being the beautiful capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, the city can also be a good starting point to get to know other destinations in the state.
Therefore, when considering what to do in Natal, the traveler cannot leave out some sights in the vicinity of Natal.
Some tours are quite classic, others less known but no less important.
Natal reveals some good options for round trips. They are essential to make the trip to Rio Grande do Norte even better.
Brazil’s most beautiful beaches or lagoons? dunes or cliffs? buggy or boat trips? natural pools or swimming with dolphins?
There’s everything we love about this coast of RN. Check out some of the must-see tourist attractions outside of Natal Brazil.
So here’s the tip when traveling to Natal and surroundings: calculate the number of days for this trip from Rio Grande do Norte.
The recommended minimum is 7 days. There is a lot to check out.
Brief history of Natal Rio Grande do Norte
Natal, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, was founded in 1599 on the banks of the Potengi River.
With an area of 170,298 km², and a population of 817,590 inhabitants, according to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), 2012, it is known for its natural beauty, beautiful beaches, dunes, lagoons and coconut trees.
It is also known as the City of the Sun, because the sun shines all year round and only rests during the rainy season between March and July.
In addition to these advantages, Natal is considered the city with the purest air in South America.
It has one of the most beautiful coasts of Brazil, which extends for more than 400 km and a hospitable people that welcomes visitors with open arms.
What to do in Natal?
Ponta Negra is one of the most popular beaches in Natal, good for swimming, with an infrastructure of hotels, restaurants and a lively nightlife.
The most paradisiacal beaches are located in the neighboring cities, between the beaches of Búzios and Barra de Tabatinga to the south of the capital, and the dunes of Genipabu, to the north, in addition to Praia da Pipa which is 80 km away.
From Natal it is easy to see the most beautiful places in Rio Grande do Norte.
From the dunes of Genipabu to the cliffs of Pipa, get to know the must-see places to visit in Rio Grande do Norte.
Ponta Negra, Natal Brazil beaches
This is the main beach of the city of Natal. Ponta Negra is the best neighborhood to stay in the capital.
Besides being a beautiful beach, the Ponta Negra region gathers great restaurants, bars and nightlife (it is also worth visiting the Natal Food Park, an area that gathers several food trucks) and the famous Morro do Careca, making it one of the best places to see in Natal.
- Why visit it: Morro do Careca, in Ponta Negra beach, is the main postcard of Natal.
- How to get there: Getting to Ponta Negra beach is easy, although you have to look up a hill depending on where you are staying.
Morro do Careca
What to do in Morro do Careca: On the edge of Ponta Negra, there is a wooden deck and a town sign, both perfect for photos.
On the right corner, near Morro do Careca, it is possible to take a jangalancha ride.
In the old days, the tour was done by raft and then changed to a speedboat around Morro do Careca (Cerro Calvo).
The tour goes to Alagamar beach, where you can see dolphins and turtles. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to do it.
How it works: The beach has a lot of infrastructure of tents on the sand. There are also stores and restaurants on the promenade.
The sea is rough (the right corner is the quietest part) and the beach is always crowded.
It is not suitable for those who prefer a quieter place. On more crowded days, the excess of umbrellas and chairs can even make it difficult to move around.
How much it costs: We ended up not renting umbrellas or beach chairs, so we have no reference to the amount charged.
Where to sleep in Natal – Ponta Negra
As we have already mentioned, Ponta Negra is the best neighborhood to look for hotels, but there are also good accommodations in Via Costeira. Natal hotels on the beach that you will love.
The central region (near Praia do Meio and Praia dos Artistas) also offers lodging options, but the sense of security is less.
The Best Western Premier Majestic is another good alternative in the Ponta Negra neighborhood. The location is perfect, right in the center of Ponta Negra. Daily rates are R$ 270,00.
For those who want to save a little more, Flat em Ponta Negra is very close to Morro do Careca. Agua marinha academia is also another option.
A series of comfortable apartments at a very good price! And as if that wasn’t enough, it has a Booking score of 9.8.
Natal Resort Dunnas also offers accommodation near Ponta Negra beach. It has a beautiful indoor area, which favors leisure activities and swimming pool. Daily rates from R$ 205,00.
Natal hotel vila do mar
An intermediate accommodation alternative is the Kristie Resort Hotel, also just a few minutes from Ponta Negra beach.
The hotel has a beautiful panoramic swimming pool, overlooking Morro do Careca. Daily rates are R$ 250,00.
Although not located in Ponta Negra, the Wish Natal complex is located on Via Costeira, near the neighborhood.
The hotel faces the sea and is one of the best rated on TripAdvisor and Booking.com, with an average daily rate of R$ 427,00.
Natal to know, Genipabu Dunes
Genipabu is probably the most famous place among the options of what to do in Natal, depending on the dune buggy tour.
Tourists can request the tour with or without thrill, which indicates the level of adrenaline when it comes to buggy rides on the moving dunes.
Why to know: The appearance of the dunes is incredible. It is possible to contemplate the entire Genipabu beach and also a panoramic view of the city of Natal.
How to get there: Genipabu is located in the city of Extremoz. The cities are separated by a river, which can be crossed by the Newton Navarro Bridge.
From Natal, the trip takes about 40 minutes by car. The traveler can go by car (as we did) or rent a tour through tour operators in Natal.
A buggy ride through Genipabu… pure excitement!
Among the activities in Natal, the buggy ride is the most obvious and unmissable program in Genipabu, although it is a bit expensive.
Genipabu beach is also beautiful and it is worth walking to the dune located in the right corner.
Or even take a very different tour by charrete na praia (carriage along the beach at R$ 10,00) with its Manoel, who keeps singing while driving tourists.
At the top of the dune, there is also the option of taking a camel ride.
How it works: You can choose to do only the buggy ride on the fixed and mobile dunes (shorter, about 1h30).
Or the longer one that also includes the lagoons and/or the Natural Aquarium. It is also possible to negotiate the closing of the buggy just for you (more expensive) or to share it with other people (each buggy has capacity for 4 people).
How much it costs: Taking an exclusive buggy and you will pay something like R$ 180,00 for 2 people.
But doing the tour in the late afternoon (less sought after) and without the lagoons included. The normal price is around R$ 300,00 to R$ 500,00 depending on the time of the year, which can be divided in up to 4 people.
Operators in Natal sell the tour from R$ 150,00 per person, with the lakes included.
Consider also additional tour expenses, such as ferry crossing (R$ 30,00 per car), environmental tax (R$ 10,00) and extra activities such as esquibunda, aerobunda or kamikaze (around R$ 15,00 each).
Pipa, Tibau do Sul
Yes, you can visit Pipa in a small tour leaving from natal. But it’s not the right thing to do.
There is a lot of fun to be had in Pipa, which you can’t get to know in a simple round trip.
Besides being one of the most beautiful beaches near Natal and the fun rides, the town also offers great accommodation and nightlife options. And for that we created a special article on what to do in Pipa Brazil.
Parrachos of Maracajaú
Rio Grande do Norte also has its own little piece of the Caribbean. That destination of such crystal clear and blue waters that you can call it the Brazilian Caribbean.
The best thing is that Maracajaú can be reached in 1h30 by car from Natal.
Why visit it: The Parrachos de Maracajaú is 7 km from the sea. On days of low tide the place becomes a large natural pool, where it is possible to see reef formations and small fish.
How to get to Parrachos de Maracajaú: It is possible to get to Maracajaú by own car (in about 1h30 by road, but you have to book the trip to Parrachos in advance).
There are also options for round trips from Natal, very easy to find.
The catamaran or motorboat ride is the main attraction.
Why do it: The catamaran or speedboat ride to the Maracajaú parrachos (natural reef formations) is the main attraction of the beach. But it is also possible to take buggy, ATV or truck rides.
How it works: Choosing the structure of a daily use with pool, restaurant and showers also helps you to better enjoy the day.
We stayed at Parrachos Praia Clube, which also organizes catamaran rides in the region (buying the trip, you don’t have to pay for the day use).
How much it costs: The catamaran ride costs R$ 90,00 per person (includes snorkeling, daily use at the beach club and catamaran).
For those who book the tour through an agency in Natal, the average price is R$ 130,00 (includes transfer from Natal to Maracajaú and vice versa).
Pitangui Lake and Jacumã Lake
There are many people who fall more in love with the lagoons of Natal than with the beaches.
For this reason, visiting at least one lagoon is one of the must-see programs among the options of what to do in Natal.
The lagoons have calm waters, warm and always with good structure.
Why visit them: How about sitting with your feet in a cool lagoon while drinking a beer or even lying in a hammock inside a lagoon?
It’s the kind of experience that relaxes anyone. It ends up being the object of desire of most tourists in Natal.
How to get to Lagoa de Pitangui and Lagoa de Jacumã: Although the lagoons are included in the buggy tours in Genipabu, it is also possible to get there by car.
There are two options, one of them is to cross the Ceará-Mirim river by ferry (R$ 30,00). It ends up being the most picturesque option, as each car embarks on an exclusive ferry.
By road (BR-101), the route can be even faster and also save on the ferry cost. We were accompanied by a local guide, the JJ who is located at the Veio Restaurant, in Genipabu.
The company of a guide always helps with legal information about the places and also the best options along the way. However, it is always a good idea to agree before the tour what the stops will be.
From the tranquility of the lagoons to the adrenaline rush of the esquibunda
What to do: In addition to relaxing or having lunch at the lagoons, you can also do the famous activities at the lagoons.
Among them are the esquibunda, the aerobunda (zip line) and the kamikaze (be careful, the descent is very fast and it is not uncommon to grab your arm in the sand).
The beaches of Jacumã, Porto Mirim and Muriú are also in this region.
How it works: The structure of Lagoa de Pitangui is very good, with bathrooms, restaurants and good music.
Tables and chairs are placed at the edge of the lagoon or even in the water. While Lagoa de Pitangui is quieter, Lagoa de Jacumã is much bigger and has more activities for tourists.
How much does it cost: We did the tour in our own vehicle, accompanied by a local guide (R$ 100,00), but it is not essential. It is not necessary to pay to enjoy the structure of the lagoons, except for what is consumed.
South Coast Beaches: Route of the Sun to Camurupim Beach
The tour to the south coast includes probably the most beautiful beaches of the coast of the RN.
Therefore, choosing to book a few days in Pipa will be an excellent base for exploring the region.
For those who choose to visit the region from Natal, it is possible to visit several beaches, but superficially.
Why discover Camurupim Beach: The Rota do Sol, which leaves Natal and continues to Pipa, has several incredible beaches and breathtaking views.
How to get there: The road is well signposted and so are the stops. The route to Camurupim beach takes about 1 hour.
But as you will be making several stops, reserve the whole day for this route. There are also round trip options from Natal, a good option for those who don’t have a car.
From beach to beach along Rota do Sol: Cotovelo, Pirangi, Búzios, Tabatinga and Camurupim.
What to do: The main beaches and tourist spots of this itinerary are Praia de Cotovelo (Parnamirim, RN), Praia de Pirangi, Praia de Búzios, Barra de Tabatinga, Mirante dos Golfinhos and finally Praia de Camurupim.
All this in the city of Nísia Floresta. In the region there are also the Carcará Lagoon and the Arituba Lagoon.
How it works: The beaches are urbanized and easily accessible by road. The beach with less construction is Camurupim.
But it has a good infrastructure of restaurants by the sea. On low tide days, this beach has a delicious and huge natural swimming pool.
How much does it cost: You don’t have to pay to enter any of the beaches, but you may have to spend on parking.
Apart from the costs of consuming drinks and food if you stay in a tent or restaurant on the beach.
Cajueiro do Mundo, Pirangi
With more than 100 years of existence, this tree is considered not only the largest cashew tree in the world, but also the largest fruit tree on the planet.
It is one of the most famous attractions in Rio Grande do Norte.
Why visit Cajueiro do Mundo: Despite being a well-known and traditional tourist attraction, the cashew tree always impresses with its size. The internal structure, with wooden walkways, facilitates and makes the visit very pleasant.
How to get to Cajueiro do Mundo: The largest cashew tree in the world is located in Pirangi do Norte, a beach that is on the route of the Southern Route (the road that goes from Natal to Pipa).
So it’s worth a stop if you’re driving to Pipa. Round trips from Natal also usually include cashew on the itinerary.
What to do in Natal when it rains?
The city is really sunny and warm, it has a delightful wind during all seasons, but at some periods of the year you will find the city very rainy.
You have arrived in the city, you have a few days to get to know this beautiful city and it is raining.
Natal beaches What to do?
Well, we have some suggestions for you who are facing this rainy weather. It doesn’t usually rain that much in Natal, but you should be aware of the rains in April, May and June.
Natalians say this is rare, but if you are traveling to Natal and experience these days we will present you some suggestions for city tours.
- Visit the Natal Aquarium
- Visit the Câmara Cascudo Museum
- State Art Gallery
- Visit the Tourism Center
- Captaincy of Arts
- Visit the Solar Bela Vista
- Djalma Maranhão Museum of Popular Culture
Natal Fernando de Noronha
If you want to take a short flight to the paradise of Fernando de Noronha, the best option is to take these tips and schedule the complete guide with all the activities you have to do.
Distances to Natal Br
How far from Rio de Janeiro to Natal: 38 h (2,592.8 km) by BR-116 and BR-101.
What not to miss in Natal RN?
- 1 – Pipa Beach, Tibau do Sul.
- 2 – Ponta Negra Beach, Natal.
- 3 – tourism in natal brazil and the Genipabu Dunes.
- 4 – Parrachos of Maracajaú
- 5 – Lagoons of Pitangui and Jacumã
- 6 – Beaches of the South: Rota do Sol to the beach of Camurupim.
Natal tourism beyond the beaches
What to do in Natal in 1 or 2 days?
- Forte dos Reis Magos and Praia do Forte. Mateus Bassani.
- Praia de Ponta Negra and Morro do Careca. Maria Eduarda Serejo.
- Mangai – Ponta Negra. Mangai Restaurants.
- Camarões. Natal Camarões.
- Lagoa de Alcaçuz. Wilton de Medeiros.
- Enjoy the best Cajueiro do Mundo. Descobri na Viagem.
What to do in Natal RN at night?
- Visit the Genipabu Dunes. Geological formations.
- Fall in love with Parrachos de Maracajaú Reefs.
- Park of the Dunes. Public parks – Parks.
- Ponta Negra Beach. Beaches.
- Morro do Careca. Beaches – Nature and Wildlife.
- Genipabu Beach – Beaches.
- Jacumã Lagoon
- Jacumã Beach.