Travel guide to the coast North of Natal in Brazil: advice on Muriu, Maracajau, Genipabu and other lovely beach destinations nearby.
Visited: 27 May 2008
We planned on staying in Muriu, which is about 40km North of Natal, but were a little dissapointed when we arrived. Muriu is more a town that the laid back fishing village we’d been lead to expect by the Footprint Brazil travel guidebook, which is turning out to be a little disappointing [edit - almost useless with hindsight]. We drove around the town a while - there were plenty of decent looking restaurants along the coastal promenade, but there was only one hotel we could find - Pousada Algarve which was clean and simple. While Muriu’s beach was pretty, it was nothing special, so instead we travelled further northwards seeking something better.
We drove North along the scenic coastal hugging road through Maxaranguape and the lovely village of Caraubas, which sadly didn’t have any pousadas because we’d have liked to stay there (real estate here is ideal for any hunters…). 6km further North we stumbled across the village of Maracajau, which is hardly written about in the Brazil travel guidebooks, but should be. The nearby beaches are undeveloped but beautiful, and there’s about 10 pousadas in town. Many of the pousadas were thoroughly overpriced. One of the few beachfront options is Pousada Parracho, were we stayed for R$ 50. Pousada Parracho was just about OK, but the rooms should have been cleaner and the breakfast disappointing. With hindsight we should have opted to stay at Pousada Ponto Dos Aneis, which has a lovely beachfront setting right on the edge of town. Restaurant options in Maracajau are lacking, and those that are present are overpriced. We ate at Cacua Restaurant, which deserves mention as it was so poor, overpriced, misleading and the staff tried to give me my change in chocolate bars as they didn’t have two Reias the cheeky monkeys.
We could have easily stayed longer in pretty Maracajua but opted for just one night and half the following day as the food and accommodation we were in wasn’t up to much. However there’s some lovely walks along the coastline possible, and I’d have loved to drive further North along the road that hugs the coast almost as far as the package holiday resort town of Touros, which sounds awful.
Instead we travelled South. We stopped briefly at Genipabu, which has a very beautiful beach, which is in part lined with the personally dreaded ‘plastic chair on beach restaurants all cramed together in one spot’ syndrome. At just 25km distance North of Natal, Genipabu is popular with Brazilian city dwellers wanting a break from the city, but having said that they all invariably sit on those plastic chairs in those restaurants, and if you wanted a little more peace you’d only have to walk a few hundred metres up the coast. Genipabu is popular with Brazilians and I can see why - it’s so close to Natal, the beach is lovely and the nearby sand dunes are spectacular.
However we travelled onwards, South along the Ruta do Sol to the South of Natal, with a few nights in Pipa in mind…
See our Brazil travel guide for further advice and articles on dozens of Brazil’s other beach destinations.