Natal & Praia da Pipa
The city started from a fortress built by the Portuguese in 1598 to fight French invaders (Forte dos Reis Magos) and remained relatively small until World War II, when the Allied Forces, recognizing its strategic location on the Eastern bulge of Brazil, decided to turn the sleepy city into the allied military base for operations in North Africa.
Today, the capital of the state “Rio Grande do Norte” in the Northeast of Brazil, is a clean and bright city, considered as the “beach capital” of the Northeast. With a population of about 660.000 people, Natal is quiet, safe and reasonably priced. It also has beautiful beaches, rides by beach buggies, and good nightlife full of attractive and cheerful people. In adittion to having the second purest air in the world – according to Nasa, Natal is only second to Antartica in this category – its natural assets include both urban and remote beaches and an ocean that is both calm and good for water sports, with natural pools, dunes and palm-tree groves.
Besides the historical buildings of the state capital, there are 20 kilometers of beaches, the most popular of which is the Ponta Negra, with nearly three km in length and full of hotels, pousadas, restaurants, barracas and sailboats – at weekends the place really jumps. At the far end of the beach there is a monstrous sand dune. Its face is inclined at 50° and drops straight into the sea. Bordered by jungle green, the slop is perfect for sand skiing.
Among the many tours available, the highlights are Genipabú, with beautiful dunes and lagoons; the Pitangui Lagoon, a fresh water inlet; or the Praia da Pipa to the south.
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