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Rio Grande do Norte Travel Guide

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Gateway to the stunning beaches of Rio Grande do Norte, the city of Natal is perched on Brazil's Atlantic coast, at the mouth of the Potengi River. Escape the bustle at secluded Pipa and Pirangi beaches or live it up at Genipabu and Tibau do Sul.

The city is surrounded by Dune State Park. Go on a buggy ride over 30-foot sand dunes or tour the dunes on a dromedary tour. The city is home to the cleanest air on the continent, according to NASA, and also to the world's largest cashew tree.

The Portuguese settlement of Rio Grande do Norte began just one year after the discovery of Brazil.

In 1501, a squadron led by Gaspar Lemos landed on the coast of São Miguel do Gostoso (then known as Touros) and erected the Marco de Touros, the official emblem of the Portuguese crown.

True occupation of the region, however, took another century, due to French invasions and the resistance of the native Potiguar Indians ("Potiguar" means "shrimp-eater" in Tupi-Guarani.)

With the help of troops from Pernambuco and Paraiba, Portugal finally seized control in 1598, beginning construction on the Forte dos Reis Magos. Its site would become the city of Natal.

The well-preserved fort is worth visiting, both for its historic value and for its excellent view of the city and the sunny, seductive coastline beyond.

The state's natural scenery dazzles with shifting dunes in pink and beige, isolated beaches, and lakes of all sizes.

Dune buggy trips are the most pleasant way to explore the coastal areas. Farther inland, find the rich folk culture of those who have braved arid conditions to preserve both Portuguese and native Indian traditions.

Map of Rio Grande do Norte Brazil

Map of Rio Grande do Norte Brazil

Highlights

• The architecture and culture of Natal's Cidade Alta and Ribeira districts.
• The life and works of folklorist, historian, and ethnographer Luis da Camara Cascudo, whose memorial and home are in Natal.
• Dune buggy trips to beaches near the Ceará border. including Touros, São Miguel do Gostoso, Galinhos, and Ponta do Mel.
• Pleasant Pipa beach, in Tibau do Sul, and the other highly developed beaches to the south.
• The festivities, food, and archeological sites of Rio Grande do Norte's sertão.

 

WHEN TO GO

• Any time of year for the excellent beaches, though prices and crowds peak in summer (December to February).
• In June and July, to square dance and savor local delicacies during the Seridó region's popular São João festivities.

Rio Grande do Norte travel guide and tourism information such as accommodation, festivals, transport, maps, activities and attractions in Brazil - Brazil Travel Guide

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