North of Natal, Genipabu is a former fishing village turned tourist trap. The beach here is less crowed and just as good as Ponta Negra, with many of the same amenities. The sand dunes are massive, and buggy rides, ski bunda, and camel rides and a host of other tourist-driven activities are available.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to spend any considerable amount of time in the Natal area without giving in and taking a buggy ride. The full-day and half-day rides are akin to spending several hours on a roller coaster. Instead of putting your trust in a computer-operated machine, you are putting your trust in a buggy driver who, chances are good, is stoned out of his mind. Coming up blindly to the top of a sand dune, only to discover another buggy or a horse coming in the opposite direction is quite nerve racking. And, in many ways, the buggy rides are a complete tourist trap, with additional payment required for ferry rides, areo bunda, ski bunda, and the multitude of other joyrides that await along the way. Indeed, the only thing that seemed to be included on my trip, other than the buggy ride itself, was an unlimited number of hits for the passengers off the driver's seemingly never-ending supply of weed.
10 Reviews and Opinions
Av Eng Roberto Freire 3090, 3090, Ponta Negra, RN,
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
Wednesday night is the party night in Ponta Negra, at which time the streets around the Albergue Lua Cheia are heaving with people.
Many of the girls in Ponta Negra are working girls - be careful. A staff member at Lua Cheia told me how an officer showed up late one night at the hostel after one of the guests failed to pay. He said the officer wanted $800 reais, split three ways (with him, the staffer, and the prostitute) as a fine. The staffer refused, noting that prostitution was illegal, but, without him, the guest could have been in some serious trouble. A friend who had been dancing with a working girl all night and then refused to go to the motel with her had a similar experience. After she started sobbing, called him a catastrophe, and threatened to go to the police, he paid her $20 reais and paid for her cab ride home.
The hawkers at the beach will be more than happy to rent you a chair, table, and umbrella. Don't be foolish enough to pay for these. Most of the time, if you agree to buy food and drinks from them, they will throw the chairs, table, and umbrella in for free - or at the very least for half price. Only foolish tourists pay full price.