Parque Turístico Ecológico Dunas de Genipabu.
Extremoz (or Estremoz) is a municipality of Rio Grande do Norte, located in the metropolitan area of Natal. Its main attraction are its fields of sand dunes and its beaches, including Genipabu, one of the most famous of the state and easily accessible from Natal.
In the XVII century, jesuits constructed a church in a native Brazilian tribe in the area where the town of Extremoz sits now. The tribe would be destroyed, and the church left in ruins, but in 1758, the village of Extremoz, the first of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, would be founded.
Extremoz grew with the expansion of Natal in north direction, but it remains as a small and quiet town. The beaches are actually far from the town itself, and contain coastal suburbs, where many Natalenses keep vacation houses.
The Santa Rita and Genipabu beaches may be reached from Natal by buses 160A and 160B operated by Expresso Oceano. Both buses depart from the East region of Natal.
Santa Rita beach is reached by taking Av. Litorânea, in the northeast of Natal. But you cannot cross to Genipabu beach by car due to the dune park (although you may leave the car at Santa Rita and just walk to Genipabu). To go directly to the Genipabu and Pitangui beaches, you need to take Estrada do Genipabu, from the northwest of Natal.
Most visitors go to the Genipabu and Pitangui beaches by dune buggy rides along the coast. Such rides are offered by various tourism agencies; your hotel will probably be able to provide you the phone number of one.
- Parque Turístico Ecológico Dunas de Genipabu, (near bus terminal Santa Rita). The main reason to visit Extremoz, and one of the main attractions of the Rio Grande do Norte state as a whole. With 11.7 million square meters, the park contains white sand dunes, a freshwater lake, some forests and naturally the beach of Genipabu, with calm waters. In the park it is possible to do various activities (see #Do)
- Pitangui / Barra do Rio / Grassandú beaches, Av. Rocco Rosso (north of Genipabu beach). If you take a ferry from the north side of Genipabu beach, crossing the Ceará-Mirim river, you reach these three beaches. Like Genipabu, the beaches are surrounded by a dune field, that contains a pleasant lake and a waterfall. They are considerably less crowded than Genipabu, since their distance to Natal is higher.
- Santa Rita / Redinha Nova beaches, Av. Litorânea. These beaches are contiguous with the Redinha beach, in the north of Natal. Santa Rita is where dunes start to appear, and it is quiet since it does not contain many houses.
- Ruínas da Igreja São Miguel, Rua Guadalajara (Near Extremoz train station). The ruins of the Jesuit Church built in the XVII century can still be seen in Extremoz. It is speculated that the church was destroyed when its inhabitants tried to find a hidden treasure on it.
- At Parque Turístico Ecológico Dunas de Genipabu, it possible to do
- Trekking with a guide
- Dromedary rides from 9h until the sunset
- Buggy rides from 8h to 19h
- Ride a paddle boat or do nautical sports in the lake
- Simply sliding down on the dunes, an activity known as eski-bunda
- Watch the sunset
A local handcraft are pots with dune sands, colored to make pictures.
- Bar e Restaurante 21, Praia de Genipabu, ☎ 3224-2484. Located between the sea and dunes of Genipabu beach. Excellent view. Specialized in seafood. R$ 25-50.
- Cheap snacks can be found around the Santa Rita bus terminal
- Bar da Lagoa, Lagoa de Pitangui. 9981-1600 / 9985-1433. Bar located at Lagoa de Pitangui (at the dunes of the Pitangui beach), where the tables and chairs are partly immersed in the lake.
There is a sizeable amount of acommodation in the coast of Extremoz, mostly bed & breakfast or budget hotels. However, most visitors stay at Natal.