Northeast Brazil has miles and miles of beaches, some of the best on the South American continent. I was based in Natal for a week. Unfortunately for me, I was very ill during this time and spent most of it in bed.
Because of the jacked up prices due to World Cup, we stayed at Pousada da Praia, a budget apartment. It was disgusting to say the least. The room had a funny smell, the bathroom sometimes had hot water, and the room overall was tiny. The kitchen utensils were old and ratty and there were bugs in the room. Not recommended at all. The location was the best thing about it – just a five minute walk to the beach and near several restaurants. Staff was also very friendly and helpful although they didn’t speak any English.
There are a few popular day trips offered by tour agencies in Natal. One is to Punaú and Maracajaú to do ATV rides on a beach and snorkeling at a reef. Another is to visit Praia da Pipa, about 45 minutes south of Natal. Praia da Pipa is supposed to be one of the best beaches in Brazil. The tour isn’t really a tour, but simply transportation to and from the beach for BRA$40.
Natal is reached by its international airport which opened in May 2014. It’s a very nice airport with direct flights to several cities in Brazil. The taxi ride from the airport can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on where you are going. To get into town, it’s best to pay for a set price taxi upon exiting the baggage claim area. We paid BRA$90 from the airport to Ponta Negra, and nearly BRA$150 to return to the airport via a reserved taxi from Pousada da Praia. On the way back to the airport, Mike and I are pretty sure we were taken for a ride – we weren’t taken on the same route from the airport to Ponta Negra.
Getting around Natal can be done by bus or taxi. Ask your hotel for bus routes to points of interest and beaches. You pay directly on the bus.