- Rio Grande do Norte (NE Coast)
Rio Grande do Norte has so much to offer with an annual average temperature of 26°C (or c.78° F) and 365 sunny days a year. Translated to mean the Great River of the North, this state of Brazil is famed for its beaches and sand dunes which share the 400 kilometres of stunning coastline. Despite the beautiful coastline it has only been relatively recently that the area has been developed for tourism. About eighty years ago when investment started in the state capital Natal, it was from this point in time that the area grew in popularity. The natural beauty of the area cannot be overstated. When travelling inland, the avid explorer will find themselves amongst mountain ranges and rainforest, with staggering mangrove plantations.
The capital of the region Natal, is said to be the safest capital city in Brazil. It has become a popular tourist destination for both Brazilian and international visitors. It is a lively city with plenty to do and has some really good restaurants and dance locations. It is well served by resorts and it is the centre for comfort and leisure. It is an area famed for its glorious beaches including Maracajau, which is excellent for diving.
Nearby Pipa is an old resort and village often called the ‘Bali of Brazil’. This area is an unspoilt environment and a perfect place for an ecological sanctuary. It is home to dolphins, turtles and tree monkeys, and plenty of amenities to keep visitors well entertained. There are also many activities to be found such as riding, canoeing and motor-cross, all set amongst a backdrop of spectacular views.
It is also possible to get in some really good hiking and if you are ready for a real unusual challenge, try the climb up the volcano in the east. You will come across several large boulders which need to be scrambled over. It is well worth the trip, with a panoramic view over the plains which lead to Natal.
Most of all, the most beautiful beaches bless this area and along with this come the full range of wonderful water sports. Surfing is possible all year round and you can snorkel, swim and dive every day of the year. The added bonus of this area is wonderful sand dunes where it is possible to take a buggy ride or why not try the exhilarating experience of sand surfing!
This area benefits from two climates and both of them are wonderful. One is tropical, hence the rain forest flourishes, and the other is semi-arid which helps produce the sand dunes for which the state is so famous. Even in the Brazilian winter there is plenty of sun and wonderful temperatures of rarely less than 26°C and water temperatures of c. 25°C.
Each year there are ever increasing number of visitors to Brazil and as a result there are now several options to get to Rio Grande do Norte from most European and American airports. The international airport Augusto Severo is approximately 18 kilometres from Natal.
Most major European carriers will fly to Natal via a connection in Lisbon or Faro in Portugal. Flight time is approximately 13 hours. Direct flights can be found with charter companies such as Thomson Fly, flying London Gatwick to Natal.
From the east coast of the US, flights take 15+ hours depending on how many connections are required. Most regularly scheduled carriers including Brazil’s TAM Linhas Aereas will require a connection in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Car hire is available at the airport and taxis and are also readily available.