World Cup 2014

Top things to do in Natal

Everything you must see and visit, from outdoor activities and postcards views to restaurants and museums

The up and down movement of the beach buggies at Genipabu: a “smooth” or a “wild” ride?

The up and down movement of the beach buggies at Genipabu: a “smooth” or a “wild” ride?

22.mai.2014 14:48:55 | por Redação VEJA Cidades
 
Natal is easily recalled not only by its beaches with green-blue sea but for also its beautiful sand dunes that shift in the landscape driven by the winds. It is not by chance that this natural ballet served as an inspiration for the structure of the Arena das Dunas stadium where four games will be played in the first stage of the World Cup. The stadium is less than 10 kilometers from the Ponta Negra district, the main tourist corridor of the city with hotels, restaurants, bars and places to dance, as well as the Ponta Negra beach, where the famous Morro do Careca hill is located. This is also from where the traditional buggy rides along the sands start. The favorite destination on the northern shoreline is Genipabu, a trip that is almost a must for first-time tourists to Natal. On the way you pass beaches, pools and, of course, dunes and more dunes, through which the buggy offers a “smooth” or a “wild” ride depending on how the passengers feel.
 
Matches schedule
June 13 (Friday) - 13:00 - Mexico vs Cameroon
June 16 (Monday) - 19:00 - Ghana vs United States
June 19 (Thursday) - 19:00 - Japan vs Greece
June 24 (Tuesday) - 13:00 - Italy vs Uruguay
 
HOW TO GET AROUND: the initial fare by taxi through the Via Costeira is R$ 4.55 and another R$ 2.35 per kilometer (meter 1) or R$ 3.30 (meter 2). Circular buses (R$ 2.20) are also good alternative in the city. On match days, four special lines will carry supporters free of charge to the Arena das Dunas stadium (Av. Prudente de Morais, 5121, Lagoa Nova).
 
We only have this here!
Ginga with tapioca. This is the name of the most popular dish among the people of Natal. It is simple to make and uses the small fish fishermen throw away. They are fried in dendê palm oil, skewered on coconut twigs and served wrapped with tapioca and coconut dough. It is also called a “sandwich”. This recipe is a great success at the Barraca da Sandra e Ivanize stall (Rua Francisco Ivo, s/nº, Mercado da Redinha, box 13, ? 84-8849-3794) and in the Bar do Pernambuco (Canto do Mangue, s/nº, Rocas, ? 84-8724-0835).
 
 
3 good places for selfies
 
Morro do Careca: The dune is more than 100 meters high and seems to emerge from the sea in Ponta Negra.
 
Parque das Dunas: A wide area of Atlantic Rainforest with lots of dunes. At the end of Av. Alexandrino de Alencar, Tirol.
 
Forte dos Reis Magos: This star-shaped fort houses the oldest historic monument in Brazil that dates from 1501. Praia do Forte, 5 km.
 
 
Pipa, the tourists' favorite beach
The famous Praia da Pipa is 84 kilometers from Natal, located in district of Tibau do Sul, and is an enchanting long strip of smooth sand, with green sea and steep cliffs. It has long been a favorite with foreigners and is a Babel of languages, particularly in Avenida Baía dos Golfinhos where there are bars and restaurants. Among the unbeatable trips are the beaches of Praia do Amor, where the coastline is in the shape of a heart, and Praia do Curral — where with luck you can swim in the company of dolphins. If you are hungry, the Cruzeiro do Pescador restaurant (Rua dos Concrizes, 1, Chapadão, ? 84-3246-2026) focuses on fish and seafood.
 
 
Where the shrimp is king
A native of Rio Grande do Norte is known as a potiguar which means “shrimp eater” in the Tupi indigenous language. This is a perfect description for local people and the state is the second-largest producer of shrimps in Brazil. Shrimps appear on local menus cooked in coconut milk, fried in garlic and oil, breaded and as a filling for pumpkin. Among the good places to try shrimp are Camarões Potiguar (Rua Pedro Fonseca Filho, 8887, ? 84-3209-2425), Camarões (Av. Eng.Roberto Freire, 2610, ? 84-3209-2424)
and Manary Gastronomia & Arte (Rua Francisco Gurgel, 9067, ? 84-3204-2900), all in Ponta Negra.
 
Bars to have fun
 
Dom Vinicius: Get ready to order a round of beer at the best happy hour in the city. Rua Ângelo Varela, 1041, Tirol, ? 84-3201-4310.
 
Real Botequim: If you prefer draught beer then you will like this place that maintains the style of the traditional bars from Rio de Janeiro. Shopping Cidade Jardim, ? 84-3217-8999.
 
Espaço Cultural Buraco da Catita: This place is jumping on Friday and Saturday nights when samba and shows with Brazilian Popular Music and choro are put on. Trav. José Alexandre Garcia, 95, Ribeira, ? 84-2010-9185.
 
 
Peppers Hall: The fun goes onto until dawn here with a varied musical program. Av. Eng. Roberto Freire, 3071, Ponta Negra, ? 84-3236-2886.
 
A perfect day...
 
MORNING: Bread, cakes and Northeastern dishes make up the generous breakfast at the Padaria Mercatto (Av. Nascimento de Castro, 1890, Lagoa Nova, ? 84-2010-5555). Then head for Praia de Ponta Negra, the most popular tourist beach in the city. If you want peace and quiet, stay in the northern shore. The central part is usually busier with families while the southern end, near the Morro do Careca, is much livelier. If you choose this last stretch it´s worth going to Pirangi do Norte to see the world´s biggest cashew tree which is featured in the Guinness Book of Records.
 
 
AFTERNOON: The suggestion is to enjoy the menu at Camarões Potiguar (see alongside) where shrimps are prepared in 30 different ways. If you feel like sertaneja food, try the buffet at Mangai (Av. Amintas Barros, 3300, Lagoa Nova, ? 84-3206-3344). You can continue investigating local culture in the Instituto Câmara Cascudo (Av. Câmara Cascudo, 377, Cidade Alta, ? 84-3222-3293), which has a collection of indigenous and sacred art, and then have some ice cream made with typical fruit s at the Sorveteria Tropical (Rua Jundiaí, 455, Tirol).
 
NIGHT: Take advantage and try the delicious tapioca at the Casa de Taipa (Rua Dr. Manoel Augusto Bezerra de Araújo, 130-A, Alto de Ponta Negra, ? 84-3219-5798). Fully charged, you can then have a drink in one of the lively bars in the region. Old Five (Praia de Ponta Negra, s/nº, next to the Morro do Careca, ? 84-3025-7005) was elected the best beach bar by the VEJA COMER & BEBER (EAT & DRINK) guide and has live music at weekends.