Foreigners need to be able to present their passport at any time to the police. Failure to do so may result in being taken to the Federal Police station and a fine. This law has been enforced a couple of times in the last year so please do carry your passport at all time.
Currency change agencies are available at the airport and in several touristic and shopping areas. The change agency closest to the airport is located at "Praia Shopping" center. You will need to bring your passport to do the transaction (but since you are supposed to carry your passport with you, this should not be a problem).
Brazil is a bi-volt country (110V and 220V), and Natal is a 220V area, and it is very easy to find here voltage converters. Frequency is 60Hz. The electric adapters usually accept both round pin and flat blade plugs. For extensive details on electric adapters in Brazil, please have a look here.
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. If you speak spanish or italian, you may be able to communicate without too much difficulties with most people. As Natal has received an increasing number of foreign tourists in the last few years from a variety of different countries, more and more people are trained to work with foreign visitors.
How to get there
Airports: The only major airport in the State of Rio Grande do Norte is Aeroporto Augusto Severo, in Parnamirim, about 18 km from downtown Natal. In 2000, the aiport was completely refurbished, becoming of one the most modern in Brazil today. Natal is not a major hub. There are a few direct flights to Natal from other major Brazilian state capitals but many flights have a connection in Recife or Salvador. In the past few years, Natal also become the destination of an increasing number of direct flights from Europe: regular flights from Lisbon and charter flights from several european countries (Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden).
The taxi fare from the airport to the hotel Imirá is BR$35,00 while the return fare is BR$32,00. The responsible taxi company is Coopertaxi (phone: +55 84 3643 1183); taxi tickets can be purchased at the company desk, located in the airport.
Several car rental companies have an outlet at the airport:
- Avis - +55 84 3644-1112
- Hertz - +55 84 3644-1227
- Good - +55 84 3643-2323
- Localiza - +55 84 3643-2290
- Unidas - +55 84 3643-2072
Important information: Direct flights from Europe to Natal have a very high level of occupancy. It is wise to make early reservation in order to guarantee your seat on such flights (at least, you will get cheapest fares).
Buses: The main bus station of Natal is Rodoviária de Natal. There are buses to and fro, all major cities in northeast. Distances: João Pessoa: 180 km; Recife: 288 km; Fortaleza: 533 km.
Check out these bus companies:
- Viação Nordeste from Natal to João Pessoa and Fortaleza
- Viação Progresso from Natal to Recife and São Luís
- São Geraldo from Natal to Maceió, Aracaju, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo
SBMF 2006 and ICGT 2006 will take place at Imirá Plaza. The hotel is located on the Via Costeira, a driveway along the Atlantic ocean from downtown Natal to the touristic Ponta Negra beach. We have negotiated discounted daily fares for the conference attendees:
- Superior (single or double) : BR$ 140.00
- Touristic (single or double) : BR$ 90.00
- Touristic (triple) : BR$ 117.00
- Touristic (quadruple) : BR$ 144.00
If you prefer to stay in a different place, the following list have more information about negotiated fees in other hotels/inns.
Participants are expected to make their reservations directly at the hotel. To benefit from these fees you should mention that your reservation is the context of the joint organisation of SBMF/ICGT 2006.
The brazilian currency is the Real (plural: Reais, abbreviation: BRL). At the date of this writing, 1USD = 2,16BRL and 1EUR = 2,60BRL. Most shops, restaurants and hotels accept Visa or Mastercard. You can also change quite easily several foreign currencies (mainly US dollar, Euro, Scandinavian currencies, British pound) to Reais. Prices are cheaper than in Europe or than in North-America, especially in the services industry as the cost of labor is much lower.
Please access the following link for the latest financial news, including main change rates (change is câmbio in portuguese), and Brazil Central Bank for complete currency exchange rates.
As Natal is located only 5 degrees south of the equator, the population enjoys year-long mild (22C) to hot (35C) temperatures. A constant breeze from the ocean tricks people into forgetting that the sun is very strong. The incidence of UV rays is one of the highest of Brazil and it is strongly recommended to avoid sun-bathing during the hours of the technical session!
Extend your stay for a few days and discover some of the following activities:
- Rest at the hotel, walk on the beach, swim in a lukewarm ocean, sip an exotic dream to refill your energies and come back full force to your daily occupations.
- Visit the ecological paradise of the Fernando de Noronha island, a World Heritage property of Unesco, just one hour away of plane from Natal.
- Dive in the reefs of Maracajaú.
- Practice or learn surf, kite surf, wind surf, sand board, etc.
- Discover the magnificent beaches of the state of Rio Grande do Norte: Pipa, São Miguel do Gostoso, Genipabu, etc., etc.