While in Natal, I was very sick and couldn’t do much. On a day I was feeling better, Mike and I decided to do a day trip to the beach towns of Punaú and Maracajaú.
We booked with one of the many tour offices along the beachfront in Ponta Negra. The trip cost BRA$100 per person. We were picked up about 45 minutes later than we were told (Brazilian time), but the trip went smoothly.
Our first stop was Punaú, about an hour north of Natal. We were dropped off at a resort in the sand dunes and weren’t quite sure what to do. About 30 minutes later, more people arrived and we saw them crossing the river next to the resort.
On the other side was a man renting ATVs for BRA$40 per hour. We rented them and followed him through some trails on the dunes, riding to the ocean and back. It was good fun.
When we returned, we climbed to the top of a dune to get a good view of the surrounding area. It was also possible to zip line across the water for a bit extra.
For the other half of the tour, we made a stop at Maracajaú. This town is famous for a coral reef about 7km offshore. We had a quick but terrible lunch at a restaurant before boarding a boat to the reef.
The boat docked up against a platform and everyone climbed onto it. Here, the staff distributed free masks and snorkels. Mike decided to go scuba diving at an extra cost.
I went snorkeling for about 45 minutes. The water was warm but cloudy and there weren’t many fish. A few of the fish were colorful. It wasn’t a very good snorkeling experience, especially after having done it at the Red Sea and Great Barrier Reef. I also got a weird rash on the palms of my hands after touching some seaweed. It made my palms tingly, red, and itchy, but went away after 24 hours.
Overall, the tour was enjoyable but I was expecting it to be better organized. There wasn’t much direction from the guides on what to do. He kind of sat back and did nothing after we arrived at each place. We had to follow the lead of the Brazilian tourists.