Parnamirim is a city in Rio Grande do Norte, in the metropolitan area of Natal. It is frequently considered to be part of Natal by visitors, due to the conurbation between the two cities. Among its attractions are the Barreira do Inferno launch center, the Pirangi and Cotovelo beaches, and the largest cashew tree of the World.
In 1927, the Portuguese land owner Manuel Machado donated part of his lands to Compagnie Générale d´Entreprise Aéronautique, a French aviation company that installed an airport there to be used by aviation pioneers. Parnamirim grew with the airport, which was used as a base for the Americans during World War II and is now a base for the Brazilian Air Force and an international airport.
Beginning in the 1990s, Parnamirim started to grow faster due to the urban expansion of Natal in toward the south, eventually leading to conurbation. The east parts of the two cities, however, remain separated by the airport and the Barreira do Inferno launch center.
Buses between Natal and Pirangi beach are operated by Viação Campos [dead link]. Buses depart from either downtown or the intercity bus terminal of Natal (Rodoviária) and can be caught at Ponta Negra. Check the company website for itineraries and other information.
By car or by bicycleEdit
Cotovelo Beach is 10 km from Ponta Negra, in Natal, and can be reached by taking RN-063 (Rota do Sol). A bit further is Pirangi Beach. Due to the short distance, cycling (along RN-063) is also a popular way to reach these beaches.
To go to downtown Parnamirim, take BR-101.
Parnamirim has a train station downtown, close to the airport. However, it is not very useful to tourists, as downtown Parnamirim is quite far from the major attractions.
- [dead link] Barreira do Inferno Launch Center, Rodovia RN063 - Km 11, ☏ . Appointment only. A rocket launch and research center for the Brazilian Air Force. It is only open for group visits with appointment, although a museum open to the public is planned on the site.
- Cotovelo Beach. Calm beach surrounded by cliffs and trees.
- Pirangi do Norte Beach. Along with Ponta Negra and Genipabu, Pirangi do Norte is one of the beaches of the metro area of Natal most popular among tourists. It has calm waters and is famous for its natural swimming pools about 500 m from the coast. A boat ride service to the swimming pools, including snorkelling equipment, is offered by Marina Badauê. The beach has some tourist infrastructure but much less than Ponta Negra.
- World's Biggest Cashew Tree, Av. Dep. Márcio Marinho, Pirangi do Norte, ☏ . 07:30-17:30. The "one-tree forest" covering an 8,500-m² area is the city's most famous sight, as well as one of the most famous sights of Rio Grande do Norte. The tree yearly produces about 2.5 tons of cashews. It contains also a 10-meter high viewpoint for those wishing to see the whole tree from above. free to R$4.
- [formerly dead link] Boat ride Marina Badauê, Av. Dep. Márcio Marinho, Pirangi do Norte, ☏ . 07:00-19:00. Marina Badauê provides boat rides to the natural swimming pools of Pirangi do Norte (with the listed price) or to the south coast (R$ 80). Snorkelling equipment is provided. Reservation is possible but generally only needed for groups. R$35-50 (discount for kids).
Most visitors to Parnamirim stay at Natal, but there is a small range of accommodation at Cotovelo and Pirangi do Norte, mostly pousadas.
- [dead link] Blue Marlin Resort, Av. Humberto Campus, 3730 - Cotovelo, ☏ . The fanciest accommodation you can find in the city, in front of Cotovelo Beach.