Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte, is a clean, bright and rather bland city that has swelled as the entry point for coastal package tourism. Surrounded by impressively large sand dunes, Natal's main attractions are beaches, buggy rides and nightlife – It makes no sense if you seek museums and theater.
The city's northern beaches of Praia do Meio and Praia dos Artistas are no longer the attraction they once were. These days, most visitors stay in the southern beach neighborhood of Ponta Negra, 12km from the center. It is a striking location, overlooked by fantastic dunes, and with steady surf and some great nightlife in the Alto de Ponta Negra area.
Natal's Carnatal (out-of-season Carnaval), at the beginning of December, draws huge crowds from all over Brazil, and is a much bigger deal here than Carnaval itself.