Natal: Vacations and travel info
Welcome to the beautiful beaches of Natal! This small city is located in northeastern Brazil, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. When the first conquerors arrived here they were amazed by its beauty and abundance of natural resources. It is known to many as "the corner of the continent" or "the city of the sun". Natal still plays an important role in Brazil's economic activity, because 20 miles to the north of the city is the town of Cabo Sao Roque, the closest point in South America to the continents of Europe and Africa.
Natal has a great selection of gorgeous beaches and natural areas where you can enjoy extreme sports, eco-touristic activities and more! The city has plenty of things to do for all tastes and ages. It is the eighth most popular city to visit in Brazil and one of the safest areas in the country for tourists. The friendly locals, beautiful hotels, and stunning scenery all add up to make Natal a great place for an unforgettable vacation.
Surrounded by the Potengi River, Natal has a population of roughly 700,000 people. The tropical climate makes for an average temperature of 26°C, with a maximum of 32°C and a minimum of 20°C. The weather doesn't change much between seasons, in fact you will only notice an increase in rainfall between April and September, as those are the cooler months. Because of its proximity to the equator, Natal enjoys 3000 hours of sunshine a year, and has up to 15 hours of daylight per day, giving you more time to enjoy the beaches and explore all that this beautiful city has to offer.
With stunning beaches, long sunny days and warm blue waters, Natal is growing rapidly, becoming one of Brazil's most popular tourist destinations for both international visitors and Brazilians alike. The city has made a conscious effort to preserve Natal's historic buildings that date back to the colonial era, many of which are open to the public. Tourism is the most important part of the economy, and thus the city has an excellent infrastructure to meet the needs of tourists.
Natal's history really began in 1535 with the arrival of the fleet "Aires da Cunha" sailing under orders of the King of Portugal. Their goal, like most sailors at the time, was to colonize the lands of this region. There were several attempts to settle in the area, but all efforts were cut short by the resistance of the Potiguares indigenous people and the presence of French pirates in the vicinity.
It took more than sixty years for a settlement to at last be established. Finally, on December 25th, 1597, a fleet commanded by Admiral Antonio Valente da Costa succeeded in landing on the banks of the Potengi River. This location was then named "Natal", which means nativity, to honor the fact that it was Christmas day. The first step of this expedition was to create a strong fort beside the reef, for protection against attacks by the indigenous population and French pirates. On January 6th, they began to build the fort at Boca da Barra which was formally called Fortaleza da Barra do Rio Grande, but is popularly known as the Fortaleza dos Reis Magos. It took less than a year for a village to form around the fort.
Between 1633 and 1654 the Dutch occupied Natal, and changed the name of the city to New Amsterdam, but eventually it returned to Portuguese rule. Growth was slow over the centuries, until the first decades of the twentieth century. With the advent of World War II, the city's growth was aided by the construction of a U.S. military base. Natal was a strategic point for the war because of its proximity to Africa and Europe. The presence of the American military attracted many workers from around Brazil for the construction of naval and air bases. The Americans, on the other hand, brought over new products to the area, such as chewing gum and Coca Cola.
After World War II, Natal continued to grow at a steady rate, and by 1999 it already had a population of 700,000 people. Today the city is on a road to becoming one of the great cities in Brazil. Natal is one of the spots in Brazil with the highest number of immigrants, second only to Sao Paulo. Today, Natal is a very modern city with a large middle class and an extremely dynamic, strong economy. Due to these factors, the inhabitants enjoy a high standard of living, higher than any other developing city in Brazil.
In 1980 they created a long coastal avenue through the dunes, called Via Costeira, which really assisted the growth of tourism in the state. Located on this road, you'll find all the cities major restaurants and hotels. Along with the improved infrastructure, Natal has also been able to preserve the natural beauty of the area, through programs such as the Dunes Park, which protects a long chain of sand dunes.
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