FIFA World Cup 2014: A Guide to Natal
By Dhrubajyoti Biswas | April 9, 2014 4:59 PM EST
Unlike other cities of Brazil, Natal is considered the safest city of the country. It is capital and the largest city of Rio Grande do Norte.
An ideal location for tourists due to the abundance of natural beauty and historical remnants, the city grew up alongside the Atlantic Ocean coastline, presenting some pristine sea beaches well frequented by travellers.
Owing to the influx of tourists, the city houses ga ood number of accommodations for varied budgets.
The Augusto Severo International Airport is the main airport, connecting to other cities in the country and some specific locations in Europe.
The city also offers decent public transport with taxi and bus services. There is also an available train service but less frequented by travellers.
Arena das Dunas
Natal will host four group matches of the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2014. The new stadium, Arena das Dunas, was built especially to cater the coveted tournament. The old stadium, Machadão, was demolished in 2011 and replaced with the new structure.
The stadium finished construction in December 2013 and was opened to the public in January 2014. The new stadium has focused the development on increased security and sustainability, along with other measures as required by FIFA authorities.
Arena das Dunas has 43,000 seating capacity in two tiers. The roof of the stadium was designed and constructed to look like a petal. The gap between these petals was made to allow cooler breeze inside the stadium. The theme of the stadium was inspired by the sand dunes of Natal.
After the end of World Cup, the seating arrangement would be reduced to 10,000 and will mainly be used to host local football matches. The ABC Futebol Clube is also slated to use the arena to host some important matches.
How to Reach
Arena das Dunas is located in a not-so-vibrant area and is around 5 km from the old town of Riberia and Cidade Alta. However, the central location of the stadium facilitates good transport services to connect with other parts of the city.
Ponta Negra, the main tourist hotspot, lies around 7 km from the stadium and there are direct bus services to reach the venue.
Natal has a tropical dry and wet climate. The weather remains hot and humid all throughout the year. However, the presence of sea breeze from the ocean reduces the soaring temperature at times. January is recorded the warmest month, while July is much cooler with temperature hanging between 27 °C (Maximum) and 22 °C (Minimum). Rainfall is also frequent all throughout the year.
The following are the group matches slated to be hosted at Arena das Dunas: Mexico vs. Cameroon (June 13), Ghana vs. United States (June 16), Japan vs. Greece (June 19) and Italy vs. Uruguay (June 24).
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