Spread over 1.172 hectares (2.9 acres), the Parque Das Dunas is one of the largest parks in the the region. The nature reserve was established in 1977 to conserve the sensitive ecosystem of the dunes in the region. The park is home to a spectacular variety of flora and fauna, and is of much interest to keen naturalists and botanists. The numerous interpretative trails on offer at the park are a good way to explore its rich natural diversity. Facilities at the park include a visitor center, a play area, a research center, a library as well as a restaurant. Opening hours vary. Check website or call ahead for more.
One of the venues for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Arena das Dunas (Dunas Arena) is a state-of-the-art, versatile stadium that was built in 2013. Influenced by the city's dunes, the stadium has a petal-shaped roof which allows the sea-breeze to waft through the gaps and also protects the spectators from sunlight. Featuring two giant electronic screens, a great sound system, VIP zones with lounges, eateries, a fitness room and shops, this multifaceted arena was designed to host concerts, shows and workshops. Offering the best of infrastructure, Arena das Dunas is a coveted stadium of the city of Natal.
The Museu Câmara Cascudo is a unit under the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte. Founded in 1960, the institution was originally set up as the Institute of Anthropology. The museum is a anthropological research center that works to preserve and teach the science. There are also reconstructed sites of excavations, such as the Look D'Stair cave site, where scientists found fossils and other remains, and the Peak Cabugi geology site. Pre-historic and medieval artwork, tools, equipments and much more also find a place here at the museum. Besides the regular exhibits, the museum conducts regular workshops, educational sessions for schools and large groups.
Situated on the mouth of the river Potengi and on the easternmost point of Brazil, the Forte de Reis Magos (also known as Three Wise Men Fort) is a magnificent star shaped monument built at the end of 16th Century by the Portuguese. The construction marked the beginning of the development of Natal, which was subsequently established 23 months later. The monument is separated from the coast of Natal by a sand bar and was built to serve as a strategic standoff for advances from Europe and African countries. Today, the place serves as a magnificent tourist attraction not just famous for its military history, but for the panoramic view of the surroundings.
Origninally called the Teatro Carlos Gomes, this Art Nouveau heritage monument was built between 1898-1904 and has been entertaining theater lovers ever since. It was renamed Teatro Alberto Maranhão in 1957 and has an old worldly charm to it though now it features modern amenities such as central air conditioning, a cafe and lighting. The elegant venue is home to the best of entertainment that the city has to offer in the form of rich plays and musicals.
Previously used as a prison, the Centro de Turismo is now a major tourist attraction and handicraft market. With myriad shops selling arts and crafts, the markets are a favorite among tourists who like to pick up some souvenirs. Prices are quite reasonable, however, more bargaining can be done. The artwork sold here reflects the culture and heritage of Natal in true sense. The center also has some spaces which are available for parties or social gatherings. Do call ahead for further information.
Tucked away in a quiet little street in Cidade Alta, Igreja de Santo Antônio is one of the oldest places of worship in the city. Also known as Igreja do Galo, the beautiful edifice was built in 1766 and features stunning Baroque elements. Besides the ornate facade, the church interiors also feature beautiful architectural details, in a fairly well-preserved state. Visitors can also check out stunning religious art from the time at the Museu de Arte Sacra, housed within the church building.
Genipabu is one of the most picturesque locations on the Rio Grande do Norte coast. It features a freshwater lagoon and a maze of dunes that are best explored on a buggy ride. Pristine sand, clear water, and a beachfront of restaurants and hotels make it a popular check mark on tourist itineraries as well as that of locals. Get an adrenaline rush with esquibunda, where you can slide down the dunes.
Covered in vegetation on most of its surface, with large patches of visible sand traipsing to the ground, Morro do Careca is easily one of the city's most unique sights. The unusually tall sand dune is a spectacular natural phenomenon and forms a picturesque backdrop to the Ponta Negra Beach. Once among the city's most visited tourist attractions, the dune has been closed to the public to conserve its sensitive natural elements. Some of the best views of the dune can be enjoyed from the southern part of the beach.
Sandwiched between the sea and the Parque Das Dunas, Via Costeira is one of the city's most picturesque avenues. Also known as the Avenida Senador Dinarte Mariz, the coastal stretch spans nearly 10 kilometers (6.21 miles), and skirts some of the city's best beaches, from the Ponte Negra beach, to a host of secluded beaches. The stretch sees some of the highest tourist activity and is replete with top-notch dining and accommodation options.
Located near the Espaço Cultural Palácio Potengi, the Instituto Histórico e Geográfico do Rio Grande do Norte gives a glimpse of what the city looked like in the years gone by. Containing the oldest archive data of the city in the form of newspapers, magazines and photographs, it takes you through a cultural and historical journey of Natal's bygone eras. You will surely like this place if you are a history enthusiast.