(Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil)
The northern beaches of Natal draw literally thousands of tourists each year and stretch for more than 5 km / 3 miles, heading in a southerly direction from the Farol da Mae Luiza.
Located just 2 km / 1.5 miles from the Forte dos Reis Magos is the popular urban beach named the Praia do Meio, which is home to a number of reefs and tends to attract a fairly youthful crowd. Further south and next to Natal's Areia Preta and Petropolis neighbourhoods is the Praia dos Artistas, where strong waves lend themselves to surfing.
Head along the Via Costeira (Coastal Road) and past the peaceful Praia da Barreira d'Agua and you will soon reach Ponta Negra, which is approximately 7 km / 4 miles from central Natal. The main stretch of the Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach) runs alongside the Avenida Erivan Franca and this is widely considered to be the city's best beach.
Ponto Negra Beach is just under 3 km / 2 miles in length and lined by hotels, restaurants and bars, as well as many sailing boats. Do bear in mind that both Natal locals and tourists favour Ponta Negra, and as a result, this beach can become extremely busy, particularly at the weekend, although the northern stretch is usually noticeably quieter, since it is less accessible.
This part of Natal is known for its reliable surfing conditions and visitors will find that surf boards are readily available for rental around the Ponta Negra Beach. If you have time and can drag yourself away from your sun lounger, take a stroll to the southern side of Ponta Negra, to admire the impressive sand dune named the Morro da Careca.
Just a short distance to the north of Natal is the very popular Praia de Genipabu, close to the Ponta de Santa Rita and the Parque das Dunas, where exciting beach buggy rides ply the enormous sand dunes and make for a memorable holiday experience. Sandboarding is also a very popular activity at Genipabu Beach.