In case you were wondering, we are 83 days away from the most-watched sporting event in the world! The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be played in beautiful Brazil. This is not only a great opportunity for the USA to prove that it is a football nation to be proud of, but there’s another opportunity here as well. That opportunity, is the greatest excuse this year, to go on vacation 😉
Are you chaperoning a group? Maybe a wife traveling with a football obsessed husband? While there are plenty of games to watch, this is also a great opportunity to explore the country. Why not explore one of the most beautiful countries in South America while hosting the sporting event of a lifetime? If you are looking for an excuse to travel or looking for things to do while following our red, white, and blue, we’re here to help! Over the next few weeks we will help you guys out with “things to do” while following our boys on their quest to the Cup! The USA’s first game will be against Ghana on June 16, 2014 in Natal.
Natal is a humid and beautiful city with coconut trees and cliffs. If you want to break away from the traditional beach activities we suggest these: buggy rides, camel rides on the sand dunes, and some beaches even have natural pools formed by reefs and coconut trees.
If you’re looking for the best beach to start with you should try Ponta Negra beach, where the Morro do Careca (which translates to “Bald Hill”) stands 400 feet tall as the tallest sand dune in Natal. This sand dune is the infamous natural landmark printed on most postcards sent from Natal. Another item on the list for beach adventures is either riding a buggy or riding camel back to the sand dunes and lagoons of Genipabu beach and the Parque Turistico Ecologico. Lastly, the Parque das Dunas is another way to sightsee the sand dunes; its urban space provides children with playgrounds, and there are various hiking routes to enjoy with family and friends.
There are tons of beaches here in Natal and rightfully so. Natal translated to English means “Christmas”, so naturally, it’s Brazil’s gift to us! Lots and lots of beaches. Below you can find a picture of what we were explaining earlier in beach exploration via camel. Not something you’ll find wandering the beaches in Ocean City or Panama City Beach right?
After a long day on the beach it’ll be time to try one of the country’s many culinary masterpieces. We have a few suggestions for you:
· Tapioca – Manioc flattened into a crepe like dish filled with meats, cheeses or coconut.
· Carne de Sol – This is a sun-dried meat delicacy usually served with sides of beans, rice or salad.
· Paçoca – Manioc flour with pieces of dried meat seasoned with garlic and onions.
· Dolce de leite – A dessert of caramelized sweetened condensed milk pair with fruits, cashews or coconut.
A nice cold refreshing Chope, Brazilian draught beer, will compliment any of these dishes. Those are just a few Brazilian staples that you should try throughout your day.
After you’ve had your fill its time to delve into the deep culture of Natal (we’re so tempted to just say ‘Christmas’). The buildings and architecture in this city are amazing so you definitely need to go exploring. You may have a day or so before the match but if you decide to go afterwards, remember, you have 6 days until the next match. That’s plenty of time to see things/places like: Rosário Stone, Touros Mark, Potengi Palace, Felipe Camarão Palace, and Bela Vista Solar.
Last but not least, if all of this wasn’t enough to convince you to get out and explore Brazil this May? We give you this awesome video (Courtesy of Embratur) through the eyes of an American in Brazil:
Next time be prepared to see all the wonders and excitement of Manaus, as match 2 will take you to the Amazon!