Affordable, cute, and friendly: the Brazilian paradise you need to visit is called Rio Grande do Norte
Update: it seems like the whole state is now super dangerous to visit. This makes me so sad news, but I wouldn't advise foreigners to visit it anymore :(
Choosing a place to visit in Brazil is not an easy task. After all, to be fully immersed in all its diversity you need to visit more than just one state or region. And even though beautiful Rio de Janeiro is still the number one choice to get started, the surge in violence can scare one too many folks out of the country. And that's not fair at all.
I'm one of those scared folks (and I'm Brazilian!), but I'm still waiting for a better opportunity to visit Rio. I wasn't ready to bail on knowing my own country, though, so I've decided to kick 2017 off by getting to know a little more about the Northeast region of the country and boy was I pleasantly surprised. I already knew it was a beautiful place, but it's difficult to describe how magical this place really is. Let's see if a picture helps.
I took the picture above in a place called Praia do Amor (The Love Beach). The name is pretty self-explanatory once you pay attention to the way the sea meets the land. Not only this is a beautiful place, the water is as warm as a gently heated pool and the beach is quite empty. Drinks and snacks are cheap and served right by the water.
Even if you don't speak Portuguese you'll learn a phrase very quickly: "Com emoção or sem emoção?". Every tour guide will ask you if you want adrenaline (com emoção) or something more chill (sem emoção). That's because some of the tours will place you on the edge of cliffs or drive you all the way down sand dunes at a high speed.
When it comes to the nightlife, bars and nightclubs are right by the beach. I basically only go to parties when I'm staying at hostels. Here I decided to stay on a hotel, so I can't talk much about the whole Brazilian nightlife. What I can attest is every place you go for a drink, they'll have a mean caipirinha. All time favorite: caipirinha de maracujá (passion fruit).
The scenery between Natal and Pipa is out of this world. If you go there with a tour, they will for sure stop for a photo op.
Would you like to wake up and jump straight to the ocean? A 40-buck hotel gives you exactly that. It's called Hotel Morro do Careca and it's located in Ponta Negra beach. I stayed there for a week and it's definitely a very cute and cozy option. You don't even have to cross the street to get to the water. On top of that, they have a great regional breakfast (be sure to try the tapioca), and the owners are super laid-back. Also, the Internet is fast enough to get your nomadic lifestyle going.
The tiny and futuristic airport. A 45-minute Uber ride to and from the city costs around US$ 15.
For solo female travelers: even though I felt very safe during the whole stay, you of course need to be aware of your surroundings.
For digital nomads: you can find WiFi pretty much everywhere, but if you need a legit space to work, there's some co-working options with prices starting at US$ 15
Where to stay: look for hotels (US$ 40) or hostels (US$ 15) that are ridiculously close to the sea side (nothing more than four blocks away from the beach.) Some streets are very steep and it's not fun to walk a bunch when it gets super hot (think 87°F hot).