Introduction

Rio Grande do Norte's capital is a clean, bright and rather bland city that has swelled as a hub for coastal package tourism, much of it catering to Brazilian families. Its main attractions are touristic beaches, buggy rides and other organized excursions, restaurants and nightlife – it won't appeal too much if you seek museums, theater or wild empty strands.

Most visitors stay in the beach neighborhood of Ponta Negra; it's a striking location, overlooked by fantastic dunes, with steady surf and some lively nightlife. The older part of Natal, including the unexciting city center, Cidade Alta, about 12km northwest of Ponta Negra, is on a peninsula flanked to the west by the Rio Potengi and to the east by Atlantic beaches and reefs.