Rio Grande do Norte is located in Brazil’s Northeast region with Natal as its capitol city. With nearly 3 million inhabitants, the state has a strong appeal for tourists and attracts more than 2 million visitors a year. These are allured by the natural beauty of its beaches, mountains, and backlands, the richness of its natural resources such as petroleum and minerals and the hospitality of the ‘potiguar’ people, which is the name its inhabitants are known by. Situated on the “corner” of the continent, RN has 410 km of shore line molded by dunes and cliffs making the state the number 1 destination in Northeast Brazil. The tropical climate favors the economy, being that the state is known as a great exporter if fruits and also of shrimp. Rio Grande do Norte is made up of 167 municipalities and presents the best index of human development in the Norteast.Besides the capitol, Natal, the other destintions most visited is the city of Mossoró and the beaches of Pipa, Genipapu and Maracajaú. But it’s not only the sea and sun that enchant the visitors. The cuisine is a strong point , all over the state, being rich in seafood, ‘carne do sol’ , green beans and ‘macaxeira’.
RN is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the North and East, with the state of Ceará to the West and the state of Paraíba to the South. The principle access by land is on highway BR 101 going south in Brazil and highway BR 304 in the direction of northeastern Brazil. The access by sea would be by the Port of Natal and by the Port of Areia Branca in the North of the state. RN can be reached by plane arriving at Augusto Severo International Airport , located in the city of Parnarmirim in the metropolitan region of Natal.
The original inhabitants of the region are Potiguar indians, that in the Tupi language means “shrimp eater” The name of the state, however, alludes to the Potengi river that springs in the municipality of Cerro Corá and has its mouth in the Praia do Meio in Natal. The first Portuguese and Spanish expeditions came through the region betwen 1499 and 1501. during the first decades of the XVI Century, however, the area was dominated by French privateers that established the trading of pau-brasil and other riches with the indians and remained dominating the region until around 1530 when they were expulsed by the Portuguese.During the following twenty years ,the Portuguese ‘donatários’, official owners of the land donated by the Portuguese Crown, engaged in an intense battle with the indian tribes of the region , in the attempt to colonize the Capitania of Rio Grande do Norte. Victory arrived in 1598 and was crowned with the constructon of the Fortaleza dos Reis Magos. The region would suffer another turbulent moment in history with the Dutch invasion, who had maintained their first contact with the region that occured in 1625. Without meeting much resistance and having the indians as their allies , the Dutch took control of the region in 1633 and the occupation lasted 21 years. In 1654, the Dutch were ousted definitely by the Portuguese , who finally colonized the region.
Getting to know RN
The tourist potential of Rio Grande do Norte was divided into 5 poles: Agreste/Trairi ( formed by the Southeast region of the State and that which borders Paraíba), Costa das Dunas (formed by the North and South coastline), Costa Branca (formed by the Northern coast up to the border with the Ceára coast and following inland to the state’s countryside) , Serrano (formed by the cities of the state’s meridian region) In this way the principle tourism of the State is mapped out according to the principle attractions , where each pole offers surprises and unique experiences to its visitors. The principle attractions of RN are : the rocks and flagstones that make adventure tourism , the tourism of sea and sun, economical tourism, scientific archeological tourism, ecotourism, and business and event tourism , among others. To navegate by the Official Tourism Portal of RN is a virtual journey through hundreds of outstanding attractions that the state offers. When in doubt about which is the best itinerary, choose them all and welcome to Rio Grande do Norte!