Getting Around, Natal Travel, Transport and Car Rental
(Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil)
The transport network of Natal is well developed and includes Augusto Severo International Airport, a busy cargo port, surrounding highways, buses, shuttle buses, air-conditioned long-distance coaches and taxis. Aimed at tourists, dune buggies are regularly used to travel along the beachfront and offer a memorable and enjoyable experience, with most being driven by drivers who have been certified by the Tourist Authority.
Bus transport is the cheapest way to travel around Natal, and while bus passes are available, most tourists simply choose to pay the conductor as they board. In total there are 166 individual municipalities that combine with Natal to make up the state of Rio Grande do Norte. Buses connect Natal with each of these municipalities and many further destinations, with the busiest routes often meaning that passengers will need to stand.
Augusto Severo International Airport (NAT) / Arriving by Air
Address: Avenida Piloto Pereira Tim, Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, BR
Tel: +55 084 644 1000
Located within the neighbouring city of Parnamirim, Augusto Severo International Airport is approximately 18 km / 11 miles to the south, being close to the Parque de Exposicoes. This airport has steadily grown in popularity and now serves around two million passengers annually. Most destinations are Brazilian, although some airlines fly to international cities such as Amsterdam
. The principal airlines are Gol and TAM, both of which travel to and from Brasilia, Fortaleza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador da Bahia and Sao Paulo. Being so close, the airport is easy to reach and regular 'aeroporto' buses travel between the city centre (a change will be required if you are heading to Ponto Negra). Alternatively, taxis are on hand, although are understandably more expensive.
Visitors renting a car in Natal will find that the city is well connected to the rest of Rio Grande do Norte by a series of major roads and highways. Those driving to the north-west, towards Ceara Mirim, will use the BR-406 / Igapó Bridge to cross the Potengi River, while to the south, the BR-101 links the suburbs of Candelaria, Neopolis and Parnamirim, next to Augusto Severo Airport. At the airport, the BR-101 joins with the BR-304, which travels in a westerly direction, to Macaiba. From Natal city centre, the BR-226 also heads towards Macaiba, via Guarapes. To reach the southerly beach resorts, take the RN-063, which is known to many as the Rota do Sol (Sun Route) and leads to the Praia de Pirangi, the Praia de Buzios and the Praia de Tabatinga beaches, as well as the municipality of Nisia Floresta.
Buses and Coaches
Buses are an extremely inexpensive way to travel around both the city and the state, with the terminal (Terminal Rodoviário de Passageiros) being located 6 km / 4 miles to the south of the city centre (10 km / 6 miles to the north-west of Ponta Negra). Buses regularly run between the Avenida Engenheiro Roberto Freire in Ponta Negra and the Praia Shopping mall, while a further route stops at the Via Costeira, the Rodoviário Velha and the Praia de Areia Preta, where a 3-km / 2-mile walk will take you to the Forte dos Reis Magos.
Long-distance bus transport is also available in Natal, with the most popular destinations being Aracati (six hours), Fortaleza (eight hours), Joao Pessoa (two hours and 30 minutes), Recife (four hours), Rio de Janeiro (45 hours) and Salvador (20 hours).
There are a large number of taxis in Natal, offering a convenient way to travel around. However, metered-taxis are relatively pricey and so best left for short journeys only, unless you are able to negotiate and secure a more favourable rate. if should be noted that taxi travel by night (between 22:00 and 06:00) generally incurs a 20 percent surcharge.