About 90km south of Ponta Negra is Pipa. There are 2 ways to get there, if you rent a normal car, you must take the major highways. If you get a buggy, you can take the ocean road which ends in sandy beach. At the sand you drive right on the beach until it ends at an inlet where you place your car on a boat to cross the water to Pipa.
Since I had a normal car and could not go on the beach, I went via the highway to Pipa, and on the way back, cut in and took the Ocean road on back to Ponta Negra - so I got the best of both worlds, but missed the boat, so to speak. :-)
Both ways offer beautiful scenery but the highway road offers more of a taste of real brazil as you drive through small towns and villages where real life is taking place. Wide open spaces, clean air, Chickens, horses, cows, cats, three legged dogs and small shacks abound.
Also on the highway you stand a good chance of hitting a Military Police roadblock! Always fun! LOL - we were stopped 4 times in the same day when we visited Pipa - I don't know who they were looking for but as a tourist, encountering the police is always an adventure :)
Anyway, Pipa was a small fishing village that has now become a mecca for tourists of all kinds - especially heads. Small shops, restaurants, bars and Pousadas line the tiny roads (sometimes hard to fit more than one car). It's great, and the rock face cliffs and expansive beaches are great for photos and fun.
We ate at a tiny little bar (I forget the name) but all the food was served in a crepe - very unique and tasty - put whetever you want in the crepe and enjoy - it was very cool. :)
Definitely worth the trip!
The biggest cashew tree in the world is found at the district of Pirangi do Norte, 24 km south from Natal . The tree covers an area of about 7000 m2, with a perimeter of about 500m. The tree grew so much because of the combination of two genetic anomalies.
Admittance to the park is R$3 (adults) and R$ 2 (students, over 65 years old); money is invested towards improving the structure of the parks. Bi-lingual guides (English and Spanish spoken) are available. Outside the park, there are several kioskes selling t-shirts, handcrafts, postcards etc.
CARISSIMI AMICI MIEI,
VI RINGRAZIO UN SACCO DEL CALORE CHE MI FATE SENTIRE.
SONO A NATAL ANCHE ORA, E' LA MIA ULTIMA SERA QUI, E MI DISPIACE MOLTO RIPARTIRE DOMANI. OGGI COME VI AVEVO PREANNUNCIATO HO FATTO LA GITA COL BUGGY, E' STATO INCREDIBILE, AVEVO L'ADRENALINA A TREMILA, ERO CON DUE RAGAZZE BRASILIANE DENTRO,E NON POTEVO DIRE CHE VOLEVO LA GITA SENZA EMOZIONE, SENNO' MI AVREBBERO ESURPATO IL TITOLO DI BRASILIANA DOC IHIH
It's a great and fun ride where you can know many beautiful places, riding through all the beaches around and the greatest sand dunes! And before you getting down on the sand hills the jeep driver always asks you: WITH OR WITHOUT EMOTION? You should choose with emotion and he goes down the hill really fast and doing all kinds of skillful moves! It's a lot of fun!
In Natal you can take shortcurts by driving a buggy along the beach rather than driving a car on the paved roads. Visiting one of the fantastic beaches around 20 km south of Natal , we were given the choice of going back by tourist bus or by renting a buggy for cheap and drive back along the beach.... which , of course , we did....( pic # 1 ) . Very nice , do that if you get the chance....
Then , the miraculous dunes of Genipabu , just north of Natal. First we took a walk , climb , descent within the dunes , a fantastic landscape and , to our surprise , there were various sweet water lakes. I took a dip of course and in no time was surrounded by thousands of little fish , all moving in the same direction all the time thus giving the impression of just being one gigantic fish....Charlotte always had bread with her ( in case we got hungry ) so I fed this to the fish and it was a real treat to see them tearing the bread apart like crazy and instantly return to the others swimming by radar again....
Next the buggy ride in the dunes but first some intimate tenderness between me and the lizard , perfect foto op. The buggy ride then with a professional bugueiro ( buggy driver ) was like riding on a roller coaster..... The bugueiro made it a point to go to the limit and make us believe that the buggy would overturn at any moment , sometimes actually riding on two tires leaned completely to one side . I held on for dear life , Charlotte screamed her lungs out , the bugueiro was grinning...... It was a lot of fun you shouldn't miss when you go there....
The fortress was built in 1598, using wood, stones, sand and whale oil; it was the first building in Natal. Gaspar de Samperes, designer of the building, adopted the conventional design for a maritime fortress: a five corners stars.
In 12th December 1633, the fortress was taken over by the Dutch, who stayed until January of 1654, when the Portuguese got back the place.
You won't find any furniture there, just empty rooms. But the views are very nice.
Just north of Ponta Negra via the Via Costaria you will come to the Praia do Meio. Although we heard that this area is less safe than the Ponta Negra area (at night), the beaches and Jedis here are beautiful to see and there are great opportunities to get some great photos along the way.
If you are going to Genipabu, this beach is on the way, so leave early and stop at the beach for a few hours and enjoy some different scenery.
A little further north is the Fortaleza Dos Reis Magos erected in 1598.
Dunes are located north of Natal, between these dunes you can find sweetwater lakes which are brilliant for swimming and cooling down. Water is clear and so much more nicer than seawater which is salty.
Ponta Negra Beach:
Located approximately 14 km (9 mi.) south of downtown Natal, the beach is formed by a small 3-km wide bay (1.8 mi). The sand is white, the water clean and its temperature invites to stay, play, swim and enjoy it for hours. Windsurfing, Jet-ski, Banana-Boat riding, diving or just resting on a “Jangada” softly sailing close to the coast, this is high life style! To the north, surfers can find an open beach with strong waves. To the far south, the many fisherman rafts and Morro do Careca (a 120-meter high dune) form one of the most beautiful postcards of Brazil. The beach of Ponta Negra is known for the finest seafood restaurants and the most vibrant nightlife. Not far from here, one comes to the world’s largest cashew tree. In order to give an idea of the size of this gigantic tree, which now reaches 7,000 m2, it is bigger than 70 normal-sized cashew trees. Its age is estimated at 110 to 120 years. The most famous tours leaving from Ponta Negra are done by Buggy – along the beaches and up & down through the dunes… “...with or without emotion…?”.., the drivers ask... one gets it anyway!
North of Natal you can go on a ski bunda ride that involves sliding down a sand hill sitting on a wooden board ending up in a fresh water pool. You can ask for a slow or fast ride, the faster the more fun of course. It was then onto another location where you sit in a canvas harness and fly through the air above the sand hill, landing in the water. These rides great fun. Most tourists hire a buggy for the day to get into these places, however if you have an ordinary car you can also get there. We hired a driver / guide for the day & visited these places in our hire car for a fraction of the cost of a full day buggy tour.
This fortress was built on the water by the Portuguese in 1598. It was shortly in the possession of the Dutch from 1633 to 1654 before the Dutch were expelled from Brazil.
Well worth a visit. Beautifully situated on the ocean
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 :)
POI ANDAVAMO A 10 CM DALLA FINE DI ALCUNI DIRUPI ROCCIOSI, IO AVEVO PAURA CHE I FRENI NON ANDASSERO E CHE SAREI PRECIPITATA GIU' DALLA SCARPATA!!WOWW CHE EMOZIONE! SONO SOPRAVVISSUTAAAAA YUUUUUUUHUUUUUU! IHIHIH
pOI AL RITORNO SIAMO ANCHE ANDATI AD UNA LAGUNA DI ACQUA DOLCE, A FARE IL BAGNO, CHE BELLA CHE ERA, C'ERA LA TERRA ROSSA IN QUESTA LAGOA, CIOE' IN QUESTO LAGO, E ANDAVA SFUMANDO AL LILLA E POI AL BLU MAN MANO CHE L'ACQUA SI FACEVA PIU' PROFONDA.
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).