Still here in South America... travel blog


Natal is the state capital of Rio Grande do Norte and is said to have the 2nd purest air in the world next to Antarctica. Upon arriving in the city I couldn't really understand why. It has a huge airport where international flights, domestic flights and charter package holiday flights land and take off loads of times a day, it's big and has lots of cars. But anyway, I made the most of this pure air after São Paulo's not very pure air and we took a couple of buses to reach Ponta Negra, 12km's away. Described in my book as 'justifiably the most popular beach' - literally translated as 'everyone goes there as it caters for all the package holiday makers and they're going to charge just a teeny bit less than European prices as you'll all think it's cheaper than home anyway'.

As soon as we arrived there we wanted to leave. We found a HI hostel that was built just like a castle, complete with turrets, flags and a drawbridge. "I'm in Brazil" I thought..what is the connection here? They also wanted to charge $60 for a room for the privilege of being in this castle too. We ended up in a pousada with a resident HUUUUUUGE ugly, dribbling guard dog instead.

Ponta Negra reminded me of a British seaside resort but with sun and coconut trees...or maybe it was exactly like somewhere in the Costa del Sol in Spain. As we went to find something to eat, restaurant touts were thrusting menus in our faces and proudly announcing they serve chicken and chips. Bars played the latest Euro tunes and amusement arcades were in abundance...

However, on the plus side, Natal offers Europeans the chance to fly to Brazil for a couple of weeks with a night in Ponta Negra thrown in for less than 260 quid so that can't be bad if you fancy getting to Brazil cheap..just go there and get out..there are much better beaches to hang out on near Natal. Plus, the place is dodgy and a friend got mugged on the beach there.

So, armed with an equivalent to a Michelin guide to the beaches of Brazil (over 2,600 of them), we left in search of the 'real Brazil' and headed South to Bahia Formosa which sounded like a nice place to go...

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