Things you can buy in Ponta Negra

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The entire Ponta Negra beach is looted between 'barraqueiros', the folks who run an informal business on the beach. The barraqueiros put their beach chairs and sun umbrellas at disposal of those who consume their products (they usually charge a fee if you don't consume a minimum; check out before taking a seat).
Because there are strict rules about selling food on the beach, most barraqueiros sell only water, coconuts, soft drinks and beer.
Ponta Negra

Many people make a living by selling stuff in Ponta Negra (and in all important beaches in Brazil).
This page shows some photos of the stuff you can buy in Ponta Negra.

popsicles in Ponta Negra


Popsicles: frozen juice with a skewer, a favorite of children.popsicles in Ponta Negra The word in Portuguese is "picolÚ". There is a big variety in price and quality. The best brands like Kibon and Nestle (which can also be also found in newstands and bookstores) are more expensive, but probably healthier. Some picolÚs are as cheap as R$ 0.20 (US$ 0.10), which barely buys a cup of mineral water. It is possible also to find ice cream, but this is less common than picolÚs.


caipirinha and Hula Hula


Caipirinha and Hula Hula.
Caipirinha is the most popular Brazilian drink among foreigners. Despite being easy to prepare, some bars and restaurants charge a high price for caipirinha.
These carts sell many alcoholic drinks, including pure cachaša, caipirinha, rum, vodka and other combinations with fruits, condensed milk, etc. Hula-hula is a drink served inside a pineapple shell, with cachaša, fruits, etc (you can ask the "barman" what you want).
The favorite brand of cachaša among Brazilians are 51 or Pitu, good enough to keep prices of caipirinha low and to avoid hang over.


coconut water


Coconuts.coconut water
People keep coconuts inside large white foam-thermal boxes, with ice (photo).
Coconut water is cheaper (price is about R$ 1) and healthier than coca-cola.


food in Ponta Negra beach

espetinhos

oysters


Food.
This is where there are more options.
Middle class Brazilians don't have the habit of bringing food to the beach.
Actually, some cities (including Natal) impose difficulties for the access of buses bringing lower class people from distant cities to the beach; these people try to save some money by bringing their own food, and so don't generate much business, and so are not much welcomed by hotels, restaurants and the city officials; on the other hand, those poor people leave their left overs on the beach, causing distress to other beachers.
So, there is an army of food sellers going around the beach.
The first photo shows a woman selling 'coxinhas', a popular kind of pastry. She probably fried the coxinhas early in the morning, saved them in tupperware boxes and spends the day walking about selling them. Instead of coxinha, other people do the same with other pre-made food, like fried fish, fried shrimps, pastries, crabs, etc.
Cases of intoxication and poisoning are rare. However, there is no vigilance on the healthy conditions of this food, so it is up to the consumer to make sure that the product is safe.
The second photo shows a guy preparing a 'espetinho', which is a skewer with small pieces of meat (beef, chicken, shrimps, cheese, etc); the cart has a small grill, where the meat is prepared in front of the client. This is safer than the pre-made food, because the meat is kept refrigerated until the time of grilling. Each espetinho is very cheap: R$ 1 for chicken and meat, R$ 2 for shrimp (early 2006 prices).
The third photo shows oysters. It used to be a bargain to buy oysters in Ponta Negra, but tourists have made the price surge; currently, price is about R$1 per oyster. Oysters are consumed raw; it is best to have them early in the morning, before they take tours around the beach under the sun.

Ponta Negra There are other options for fast food in Ponta Negra. In busy days, one may find sellers of: natural fruits (pineapples, watermelons); fruit salad; hot dogs; natural sandwiches; peanuts; cashew nuts; griled cheese (a particular kind of cheese, queijo coalho, takes more heat to melt, and is particulary good for being grilled); fried fish (very popular is the 'ginga', a skewer with a few of a very small kind of fish).


sunglasses




One can buy sunglasses for R$ 10 in the beach. Of course, it the glasses have a brand (like Ray-Ban or Ferrari), they are forged. These glasses do not have the same protection properties (against ultra-violet rays) as the original ones; the usage of such glasses may give a false sensation of protection which in turn may cause sight diseases.
There are also people selling 'natural sun screens', made of exotic ingredients such as urucum, a plant from the Amazon. Obviously (despite the fact that sun screen is terribly expensive in Brazil), these natural products are best avoided.

music CDs Other products are sold at discount prices at the beaches: music CDs (some folks assembled a small mobile discotheque to sell CDs; you will come across them all along Ponta Negra - see photo); DVDs; French perfumes; shirts of the Brazilian football team. Of course, these products are all illegal: they don't pay taxes, they don't have authorization from the copyright holders. Besides, the products are of lower quality; they are very popular among Brazilians, though, because of the huge difference in prices (an official Brazilian jacket costs over R$ 100, while the unofficial goes for R$ 10).


handicraft


Handicraft.
The photo shows a man selling a miniature of a ship. There are other people selling workcrafts in wood, coconuts, sand in bottles, lacery, etc.
If you are interested in this kind of stuff, buying in the beach may be a good business (when compared to buying in shops).
Often, the seller is the artist itself or someone closely related; that means, first, that you save the profit margin of the shops, and, second, you can talk directly to the artist to bargain the price (you should always do it) and to know more about the piece you're buying.
For more information, go to the page about handicraft in Natal.


surfing in Ponta Negra


Surfboards. Ponta Negra is one of the main meeting points of surfers in Natal.
There are several people renting boards in the beach. Prices depend on the size of the board; typical prices (high season) are R$ 15 for long boards, R$ 10 for small boards and R$ 5 for body boards (prices per hour).
There are also a few surfing teachers in Ponta Negra. A good one is Marcelo (degree in Physical Education, speaks English), who uses to stay in front of the Hotel Free Willy; cost is R$ 35 per hour, board included.


This is just a sample of the commerce in the beach of Ponta Negra. All photos above were taken in the same morning (February 2006). Several other products and services are also offered.


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