Things to do in Natal: Dune Buggies, Beaches, and Cashews
February 10, 2017
Natal is an amazing city in Northeast Brazil. While we were there for only a couple of days we made the most of our time and did a ton of exploring. These are the best things to do in Natal, Brazil – things that you will not want to miss!
Things to do in Natal, Brazil
Natal is an iconic city of northeastern Brazil. I remember it for its culture, beautiful beaches, sand dunes, and skyline. But, I also remember Natal for the amazing time I had there which is due mostly to the great things to do in Natal!
There are a few different, and awesome things to do in Natal, Brazil that will keep you busy while you’re there. These are my favourites, and likely to be yours too!
Visit the World’s Largest Cashew Tree
The first day in Natal we ventured out with an English guy, a Brazilian, and an Italian from our hostel to take a bus a few kilometres south to the world’s largest cashew tree.
We tried cashew juice, cashew cachaca (alcohol similar to vodka but made from sugar cane), and many different coated cashews. We got to walk around under the tree and lookout over the top of it from a platform.
The entrance fee to the cashew tree is R$2 per person.
It was a good day excursion, and it was very handy to have someone who spoke Portuguese with us (we love Brazilians who travel their own country and help clueless tourists like ourselves get around!).
Go on a Sand Dune Buggy Tour
The following day we went on a sand dune buggy tour. This is a very popular thing to do in Natal and for good reason, it was so much fun! The tour takes you to various sand dunes north of Natal as well as beaches and freshwater pools that are created from rainwater in the dunes.
There are many different companies and drivers in Natal but we went with a very professional company called Net Buggy Turismo. Our driver was named Pedro and he spoke great English and explained fun facts for us the entire way. The buggy was in perfect condition and although Pedro made the ride crazy (as we requested) we felt totally safe.
The ride is full of adrenaline! The drivers go very fast and sometimes you feel like the buggy is going to flip or you will fall out – but it never happens. It’s better than any rollercoaster for sure!
Besides the craziness, you get some beautiful views of some beaches and golden sand dunes. The driver also stops at sand slides, zip lines, sand boarding, cocktail stands, and a restaurant. It makes for a fun filled day! You absolutely cannot come to the Northeast of Brazil and miss this. In fact, the buggy tour was one of Brazil highlights!
Expect to pay around R$150-R$200 per person for a full day dune buggy tour. The drivers usually speak English and will pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation in Ponta Negra, Natal. It is worth every penny!
Explore the Fort
Our final day in Natal we ventured into the actual city to check out a piece of history, the fort (Fortaleza dos Reis Magos in Portuguese).
It was interesting to see a building from the 1600’s but the views from the fort were what was the best! We could see beaches, the city, and even a guy riding a miniature pony up and down the beach.
The fort is most easily reached by UBER. It is also possible to take the local bus from Ponta Negra, just be wary of your valuables and be sure to go in a group for safety reasons. We were told by the hostel and UBER driver that robberies are common in the city of Natal, but we had no problems.
Check out the beach
We walked to the main city beach after exploring the fort. We ended up enjoying some lunch and watching the locals on the beach.
This area was definitely your poorer and would be very dangerous at night, but in a group during the day it was fine. We even found fresh coconuts for R$1 which is less than $0.25 USD!
Take a photo with the I <3 Natal Sign
Be a real tourist and take a photo with the sign! While this isn’t the most exciting out of the things to do in Natal, just do it, I know you want to!
The sign is found just on the outskirts of Ponta Negra along the beach.
Other important info for visiting Natal
How to get to Natal
From Fortaleza, we caught a bus for R$80 to Natal. The journey is about 8 or 9 hours.
Unfortunately the bus station in Natal in about 20km from the tourist area and our hostel. Natal is quite a dangerous city at the moment due to current gang violence in the prisons causing riots. Besides that, there are many people living in extreme poverty right in the city.
The area of Natal that tourists stay in is called Ponta Negra. The safest way to get from the bus station to Ponta Negra is with an UBER.
In the opposite direction, Natal is easily reached by a short 2-hour bus from Pipa or a longer 5-hour bus from Recife. Expect to pay about R$90 for this bus.
To plan your bus route, use busbud.com. Here, you can find out bus times, distances and prices to and from practically anywhere!
Where to Stay in Natal
We caught an uber to our hostel – Republika hostel. It is the most reasonably priced in the area and has good facilities and a central location. The staff are quite helpful as well.
Overall our time in Natal was great! It was a beautiful city was several things to do and see. I easily could’ve spent another two or three days there just relaxing on the beach drinking coconuts and caipirinhas – but all good things must come to an end and we were off to a neighbouring town called Pipa next.
We hope our list of things to do in Natal has inspired you to check out Natal. We know you will love it as much as we did!
Have you been to Natal? Did you do something we missed? Tell us about it in the comments!