|Most popular in||December||High demand for flights, 22% potential price rise|
|Cheapest in||March||Best time to find cheap flights, 6% potential price drop|
|Average price||$862||Price for this month|
|Cheapest price||$652||From New York to Natal|
Resembling the planet Tatooine in the Star Wars saga, Natal, the capital of Rio Grande Do Norte, is a city built on sand. And everywhere you go, north or south, you’re surrounded by it. Founded in 1599 by the Portuguese, Natal became somewhat of a forgotten city for years. It suddenly reemerged during World War II as a military base and was known as the “Trampoline to Victory” because of its proximity to North Africa. Today, it is simply referred to as the “City of the Sun”, blessed with ten hours of endless sunshine a day.
The landscape throughout the city is dominated by beaches, quaint fishing villages and, of course, the omnipresent sand dunes. Most visitors explore these sights by buggy and head south of the city to the popular village of Punta Negra which has a 3km beach and perfect waves for surfing. More adventurous travelers venture north to Genipabu home of the largest sand dunes in the state. These 50 meter dunes lie between the calm beach and a fresh water lake, and there’s even lazy Dromedary Camels wondering around ready to give anyone a ride.
Due to its location on the Atlantic Ocean, Natal’s weather can be described as semi-equatorial with warm temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.
Natal’s summer is from December to March which tends to be the busiest times in the coastal cities, and when most travelers book Natal flights and accommodations.
Although the sun shines almost every day of the year, it does rain in June to August, and in January to February.
The bus is the best way to get around the city and beach towns. You may want to rent a car, since traffic is light and the roads are safe. But it could be more fun to rent a buggy and driver, for a quick way to the beaches and dunes outside of the city. Taxis can easily be hailed on the street, and you can always phone ahead for a cab as well.
If you insist on visiting at least one museum on your trip, then head to the Museu Câmara Cascudo which boasts an interesting collection of original jangada rafts and reproductions of some archaeological sites. There’s also a salt mine and a cave that you can explore.
Take a buggy ride to the village of Maracajaú, 63 kilometers from Natal, where you can snorkel among the magnificent coral reefs or relax in its warm, shallow waters.
Visiting the city in December? Then you can’t miss Carnatal: Natal’s version of Carnaval, which draws huge crowds from all over the country ready to party.
Enjoy the stunning views of the city and its dominant dunes from the Forte Dos Reis Magos which was occupied by the Dutch in the mid 17th-century.
For something a little different try sand boarding. And where better to indulge in such a unique sport than in the city built on sand. Avid sand boarders hit the dunes at the south end of Genipabu beach for some of the best sand in the state.