Natal City Guide
OVERVIEW: A city in northeastern Brazil that is a popular destination for Brazilian tourists, but is still neglected by most non-Argentine foreigner travellers. Although, this is changing rapidly. It has great beaches, plenty of natural beauty and is relatively safe. It's a very tranquil and is liveable city for folks who are overwhelmed by the size of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
WEATHER: Hot and humid (20-36 °C). Dry season September to January. It rains quite a bit in Natal.
SAFETY: Safer than most large Brazilian cities. Unfortunately, that ain't saying much. Attacks and robberies can occur on empty beaches and streets. Take taxis, and only walk long distances in heavily populated areas.
MUST DO: Beaches. The main historical attraction of Natal is an old fort designed to protect again pirates, but unless you are a Brazilian history geek I doubt you'll get any pleasure from it.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN NATAL: $400.00. It used to be about $100.00 cheaper, but the 2014 World Cup and the strengthening real have influenced prices.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $15.00
NIGHTLIFE IN NATAL: 6.75/10
Kind of a sleepy town compared to other Brazilian cities in this aspect. The wealthy Ponta Negra neighbourhood in the south of the city is where you will find the best options. The north of the city also has a few choices, but frankly, it is poorer, and more dangerous area with lower quality women.
I recommend: Botequim ta na Hora. A good vibe and you are unlikely to have to dance to a style of music that you've never heard of.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $1.75
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN NATAL: 6.75/10
Competition is too high here. It is a vacation destination for wealthy people and thus you will find extremely good-looking and muscular Brazilian men who are richer and just as horny as your non-Portuguese speaking self. This, accompanied by the fact that men seem to greatly outnumber women at every bar in the city means that you're unlikely to hook-up easily here. You many still be able to use your exotic factor by telling girls where you're from (only if they ask), but, physically speaking, if you're a a white guy - good-looking or not - you're not going to stand out here.
*If you plan on using online dating in Brazil, I recommend Brazil Cupid as your best option for meeting trustworthy local women.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN NATAL?: 8/10.
It's hard to tell who's a tourist and who isn't, but regardless I'd say the quality of girls here is very high. Not quite as high as Rio or Florianopolis, but still impressive. There are many tall, statuesque white/blonde women here which might surprise you if you're unfamiliar with Brazil. Because of this, Ponta Negra could easily be mistaken for an upscale beachfront neighbourhood in Southern California. Only difference is that women here are even sexier than anything you'd find in the Golden State.
If you want to meet women in Brazil, you will definitely need to learn some Portuguese. The Rocket Portuguese Program will teach you the basics faster than almost any other program.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.25 Loaf of Bread= $1.70 Eggs= $1.90 Water (1.5L)= $1.00 Cigarettes= $2.75
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Nothing much. The city isn't big enough to require a huge demand for English teachers, and if you're Portuguese is anything less than fluent, you won't have much luck in the tourist sector.
NOTES: One of the prettier cities in northeastern Brazil. Unfortunately, the girls are hard to get and there isn't very much to do aside from the beach. Natal would be a good place to settle down, or a good place to spend the weekend. As a tourist, if you stay longer than a week you'll probably start to get a bit anxious. It isn't the most interesting city in Brazil, but it certainly warrants a visit if you're doing a tour of the northeast.
OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10
*More city guides from Brazil here!