Natal(Rio Grande do Norte), Brazil Cruise Port

Sailing through the Atlantic Ocean, you may come across the gorgeous cruise port of Natal, Brazil. The largest city in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal is famous for its extensive and towering coastal sand dunes and a sparkling freshwater lagoon. History also rules this city of more than 800,000 residents, where you can explore buildings such as the Forte dos Reis Magos and Alberto Maranhão Theatre. Like many Brazilian cities, Natal has its version of Carnival called Carnatal: this one is held off-season in December. The nearby town of Cape São Roque was first visited by Amerigo Vespucci and his expedition of European explorers in 1501; Natal wasn't founded until almost 100 years later. Because of its location close to western Europe and Africa, it's an extremely popular spot for travelers. Here are some of our favorite experiences when cruising to Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil:
 
  • The historic Forte dos Reis Magos (Fortress of the Three Wise Men) was built in 1598 on the right side of the Potengi River, and remains in its original five-pointed star shape. While the fort itself is fascinating to explore, its location serves up spectacular views of the dunes and river below.
     
  • To truly experience the high dunes that make the city famous, touring them by beach buggy is the way to go. There are several outfits in Natal that will take you to Dunas de Genipabu for a thrill ride that can be turned up or down in intensity, depending on your constitution.
     
  • In a city full of beaches, Ponta Negra is one of the most popular, although not the largest. With a sand dune towering nearby and plenty of places to eat and drink, its location close to the city center makes it the place to go if time is of the essence.
     
  • If you're interested in ecology and preservation (or just want to sit and relax), visit the Natal City Park. Here you'll find eco-trails, jogging lanes, an orchidarium, and more; the space age-looking tower that looms over the park houses some historical exhibits about the city.
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