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When you want to get away from it all, bask in warm beach sunsets and steep yourself in local Brazilian culture and history, Natal is your destination. Home to many affluent locals and vacationers alike, this north Atlantic coastal city is safer than Salvador or Recife and features plenty of beautiful parks, scenic ocean views, historical architecture and modern shopping centers.
Whether you'd like to work up a tan on the warm sand dunes or hit the choppy waters aboard a water-buggy, Natal's variety of crystalline blue beaches have something for everyone.
From the Alberto Maranhão Theatre (a neoclassical style building) to the five-pointed, star-shaped Forte dos Reis Magos, Natal's architecture makes for postcard-ready shots.
Take the time to go swimming with the fishes on a snorkeling tour or take a hike on the trails of Parque das Dunas.
Here is where the youth and families looking for great food and an even better atmopshere converge. Enjoy live shows and events on Via Costeira and Artistas Beach.
Handicrafts and craft-making are at the heart of Natal's local market charm, so make sure to visit the Centre of Tourism in district of Petrópolis for lots of great options on local spices, crafts and even home decor.
While it is humid, the maximum temperature in Natal is between 68°F and 89°F due to the cool Atlantic coastal breeze that hits the town. It experiences almost 1900 hours of sunshine a year - so, visit any time!
Natal's Governador Aluízio Alves International Airport is 15.5 miles from the city center. Take the bus from the terminal for R$2.60. Alternatively, get to Ponta Negra using a taxi for R$43.
While there are a few different rail transport trains in Brazil, Natal does not have any.
Traveling from other cities like Recife to Natal takes no time at all. Use the BR 101 northwards and exit on the RN 120 halfway through. The journey takes about 4-5 hours.
Buses run frequently from Natal to cities like Fortaleza for R$35-150, to Recife for R$42-R$60 and to João Pessoa. The bus station is located 1.9 miles from the city center.
The Esmeralda Praia Hotel is one of the best spots for a luxury stay. The Pousada Maravista has rooms with beachfront views. For a central location that's budget-friendly, check into the Pousada Ponta Negra.
Ponta Negra - It is one of the most affluent neighborhoods, featuring upscale hotels, thronging nightlife venues and bars as well as great shopping centers and beaches.
Petrópolis - Tall, imposing residential buildings juxtapose the this neoclassical tourism center, with its long tradition of craft shops and local handiwork kiosks in this district.
São Gonçalo do Amarante - This neighborhood plays host to the São Sebastião festival and there are lots of beautiful churches and restaurants featuring fresh seafood.
Buses in Natal cost around R$2.65 but the routes can get crowded. You can use the city bus to get to major shopping centers, such as the Midway Mall.
Fares for taxis start at R$4.15 and it's R$3.48-R$4.68 per mile after that.
Rent a car in Natal using companies like Mirassol or Accesso, with rates starting from R$70.
Check out the Alecrim neighborhood for markets and fairs. Serious shoppers will love Midway Mall or Praia Shopping.
A quart of milk costs R$4 and a dozen eggs cost R$7.
When you're looking to chow down, head to A Cantina da Praia in Ponta Negra for all-you-can-eat meals for R$12.