The beaches of Northern Brazil between Fortaleza and Natal are often remote and beautifully bleak. As one heads away from the resorts near Natal and Fortaleza, the area becomes progessively less visited. First we'll mention the beaches heading east from Fortaleza, then we'll discuss the beaches heading West / North from Natal.
In addition, I've also written more extensive travel guides to:
Morro Branco & Praia das Fontes
Areia Branca & the Costa Branca
The Beaches & Resorts North of Natal.
Beaches East of Fortaleza:
Travel East from Fortaleza (to where there are cheap charter flights) to find beaches characterised by impressive sand cliffs, lobster fishing and rivers that need to be crossed by boat (see map). 31 km west of Fortaleza lies the colonial town of Aquiraz, while a further 6km east one finds the fishing village of Prainha, a popular weekend beach resort. The 10km beach is empty and good for surfing. Travel a further 20km west to Praia Iguape, another beautiful small fishing village with a lovely beach, and sand dunes where skiing/ dune-boarding is possible. 60km east of Fortaleza are the villages of Caponga and Aguas Belas, an area popular with Brazilians seeking weekend beach homes.
80 km east of Fortaleza is Beberibe, which is access point to Morro Branco and Praia das Fontes, some of the better known beautiful beaches on this section of Brazil's coastline. Morro Branco can get crowded during Brazil's peak tourism season. There's luxury resorts, holiday homes, beach buggy tourism and beautiful beaches in the area. Travel a few kilometres south of Praia das Fontes to find less crowded beaches. See our Morro Branco & Praia das Fontes trip report for more details on this part of Brazil.
120km east of Fortaleza is Prainha do Canto Verde, a small fishing village that has an award winning community ecotourism project - a great place for experiencing the coastal Brazilian way of life, in addition to relaxing on the nearby beaches.
Travelling further east, Canoa Quebrada, near Aracati, is a popular Brazilian beach resort, with lots of bars, restaurants and laid back nightlife. Just south / east is Porto Canoa, a resort town with apartments, hotels and lots of nightlife. It's more laid back to travel further along the coast to Majorlandia or Quixaba, both of which have a few small hotels and pousadas. Further along the coast lies Ponta Grossa, a fishing community characterised by fair haired locals (of dutch origin - due to a shipwreck) that's a good place for spotting manatees. There's more fine beaches further south at Redonda and Barreiras, a popular area for surfing that also has a few hotels.
Beaches North / West of Natal:
Like Fortaleza, Natal has an international airport, again popular for charter flights, and is similarly a gateway for travel to Brazil's fine beaches. The coast to the north of Natal, as if one was travelling towards Fortaleza, has many light coloured sand dunes and beautiful beaches. While Genipabu is a beach resort popular with the Brazilians, beyond it is off the beaten track in terms of tourism. The dramatic terrain is that of huge beaches backed by salt lakes - numerous biblical films have been filmed in this remote part of Brazil. We'll mention the beach resorts travelling North / West from Natal.
The first beach resort, that of Redinha, is 15km from Natal. It's an urban beach resort. 30km north of Natal is Genipabu, one of the most popular (busiest) beaches resorts near Natal - there's lots of nightlife, restaurants, bars, buggy rental and micro flights available. Upmarket hotels in Genipabu include Genipabu Hotel, Pousada Sinos do Vento, Do Gostosos, Mar Azul and Pousada Villa do Sol. There's further beaches and small fishing villages just north at Pitangui and Jacuma, an area popular for holiday homes. Travelling onwards the area is scattered with small villages and lovely beaches, including those of Muriu, Prainha and Coqueiro, until you come across Touros, a resort town popular with package holidays to Brazil. See our guide to the beaches North of Natal for further travel tips and suggestions on this area.
As on continues to travel North / West from Natal, the area becomes increasingly less visited and more laid back. The dramatic terrain is scattered with vast beaches and coves, with small little villages such as Galinhos, Areia Branca, Ponta do Mel, Tibau and Rosadao Beautiful and off the beaten track, if you want to get away from other tourists and find Brazil's empty beaches for yourself, this is a great area to visit. See our Costa Branca trip report for further travel advice on this area.
Travelling South From Natal, there's plenty of lovely small beach resorts between Natal and Recife .....