The Fortaleza (fort) here was built by the Dutch in 1598. it;s located just north of the Praia Do Meio on the way to Genipabu and for R$2 (less than 1$ US) you get a guided tour.
Like most tours in Brazil, you must speak Portuguese to understand what's being said.. but if you're here, you probably speak the language anyway. If you don't want a guided tour, you can tell them you just want to take some photos and look around and you will be free to wander the fort and enjoy the scenery unabated by the guide.
There are great photo ops. here from the top of the fort looking back towards Ponta Negra and Praia Do Meio.
You must park your car and walk a good distance to the fort itself. Where you park, there are some little open air flea market type shops where you can buy all kinds of shells and souvenirs very cheap. I picked up a few huge shells.. one of which I found to STINK of dead fish returning to the states. OK if it's going in the garden.. but be careful when buying these - smell first! For less than 5$ US you can buy 3 medium size shells or one huge Conch shell - not too mention all kinds of other local handmade crafts.
Where you park there are usually kids hanging out - they will offer watch your car for you while you walk around and tour the for. They want less than 1R$. It's a good idea to pay them to do so, not because it's needed, but because they may end up being the ones who break into your car while you're away if you don't!
North of the Fortaleza, you must place your car on a balsa (boat) for 6R$ to cross the inlet. The boat holds about 30 cars and comes every 20 minutes. While you wait there is a shop where you can get another beer (always need beer) and wait for the boat to arrive.
After crossing the Inlet you arrive in a small fising village (eat here for a real taste of brazil), then keep going north through Santa Rita and onto Genipabu.
Genipabu is THE place for dunes in Natal. They are HUGE! The area also offers great vistas of the ocean and more beaches to play and relax on.
Most people rent buggys or tours to come here, I drove there myself and therefore was free to to do and see whatever I wanted. If you park and walk the dunes it's quite tiring.. but worth it, for once at the top there are camels you can tour the dunes on - one person per side for 20R$ each (or 7+$ USD) or you can go Ski-Bunda (ski on your ass)! This was really cool - rent a prancha (board) for 5R$ and ride down the dunes on your butt - Sure you get sand in yer crack - but what's vacation for ?? :-) LOL.
At the bottom of the dunes, right on the ocean is a nice bar/restaurant where the music is good and the ppl. are very friendly.. stop in and have another beer (always necessary) - especially when they are 30 cents USD. :)
Then, stay here for the wonderful sunset over the basin from the top of the dunes. It was the most beautiful sunset I saw in Natal. Unfortunately for me, my camera battery died right as I was going to take the best picture of the trip - but I still have the image in my mind!
Sorry, I don't exactly remember where this fantastic place is, cause I had no map and our driver (Washington) spoke brenglish. It is north from Natal, probably in Genipabu area. But surely the drivers take you there if you direct to north.
The place is very cool, of course they serve beer and caipirinhas here. Avoid sand with bare foot, it's aproximately 1000 felsius degrees hot.
Take one caipirinha and just relax and enjoy!
When you travel to Pipa or south from Natal, stop for a while to Lagoon of Arituba. There's a restaurant, water is fresh and there are no waves which hedges your swimming in the ocean.
The only minus to this place is that the sand is very hot and you need some kind of slippers to your feet (I don't use, meaning I don't have ones).
When travelling to Pipa you meet the Dolphin Bay. There is a small restaurant on the hill and if you are lucky, you can see a couple of dolphins catching their food in the bay below your eyes.
We were there and saw tree doplhins, but I think that none of them burned to the film. But they are there, under the sea surface in the middle of the picture, at least in original high resolution shot.
This is must to all who has painted nails and/or is using feet heavily. It is relaxing and fun. Take any salon and you get service worth of every cent. Fingernails, footnails and foot care took 1,5 hours and the whole price was 20 reals. (Compared to finnish prices it was extremely cheep, foot care in Finland takes about 30 euros, which is 90 reals!).
I don't know how to call this "sport". Just jump to chair and drive to the lake. Again you get wet with five reals, but the most exiting thing is the way back.
There are old Volkswagen's (they build VW's earlier in Brazil) chassis from which they have build elevators. There elevators lift or pulls your again to the hill.
Noisy and gas smelling :)
When you are on buggy tour, you can find a place where you can dive to little lake with skiing in the sand.
The price is five reals, so only your mind is hedging the experience (the speed is not as fast as in snow).
Take a buggy for two days, first to north and spend second day in Pipa beach in south
It's easy, you can find some english speaking buggy drivers, no need to drive and the drivers knows the places worth of visiting. It's nice, hot, cool and sandy!
This is for professonals only. Take a surfing board and steerable parashute. Remember, the wind is on the average from 8 to 12 m/s, so you need a lot of power to steer the system and, of course, a lot of boarding skills.
Don't try this at home!
the boys of www.brazilever.com will lead you through the neighbourhood with a lot of love for the country and a low budget.
These are dutch guys,who live in Brasil for many years.
They speak english,dutch,german and of course portugese!
Parque das Dunas is a legally protected enviroment which occupies an area of 1,172 hectares (1 hectare = 10,000 square meters) in the urban area of Natal; it's the area you see when you drive along Via Costeira; actually, you can see the Parque from almost everywhere in southern Natal.
By visiting the park, one can learn much about the geological formation of dunes and the wild life of Brazilian forests
Natal is city with many beaches. Great beaches with sand dunes attract tourists, and the tropical weather makes it a nice place to have a vacation. The city was earlier a charter destination for foreign tourists.
There are a few places where you can do Aerobunda and Skibunda. But the best place to do it is in Lagoa de Jacumã! And now they added a new activity - Kamikaze! (the name says it all, hehe)
Describe the activity? You better see for yourself! (videos)
Aerobunda - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SbmbxB9CEw
Skibunda - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFJDMlMbyVA
Kamikaze - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_61FA7F8Oc
I got there by buggy (with an accredited "bugueiro"/driver), and I guess that's the only way to get there because it's in the middle of the sand dunes, but I'm not sure about that!
Anyway, if you get there by buggy, you can also enjoy the buggy ride in the sand dunes. It's fun and it gets your adrenaline running!
The videos and photos are not my property.
Come and be enchanted by the lagoons formed in the dunes, go for a buggy ride on the beaches of Jenipabu.
Have a swim in the cool waters, or relax at the bar before heading back to Natal.
Perhaps the most exciting part of your trip is maneuvering the buggies as you climb the famous dunes of Jenipabu, which has gained fame because of the mobile dunes, where your experienced buggy drivers take you for a wild ride.
You will also visit three large lagoons; Jenipabu, Pitangui e Jacuma, formed by the accumulation of water from rain over the dunes. Time is allowed for swimming and enjoying the various leisure activities or to have a refreshing drink in one of the many restaurants and bars.