Arena das Dunas

Key facts

Club: América Futebol Clube | Opening: 2014 | Capacity: 33,000 seats (World Cup: 43,000 seats)

History and description

The Arena das Dunas got built to serve as one of the playing venues for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It replaced the old Machadão stadium, which got demolished in October 2011.

Construction of the stadium progressed slowly and it got only completed in December 2013, six months before the start of the World Cup. The Arenas das Dunas officially opened on the 26th of January 2014 with a double-header involving local sides América and ABC.

The design of the stadium by architecture firm Populous is inspired by Natal’s famous sand dunes. Its most characteristic features are the upper tier and roof in the shape of petals. The space between the petals allows the on-shore sea breeze to flow into the stadium while the roof shield the spectators from the at times intense sunlight. 

The Arena das Dunas is scheduled to host four group matches during the World Cup. After the tournament, the arena will become the home of local side América de Natal, while ABC FC will occasionally use the arena for important matches. Its capacity will get reduced with 10,000 places to a final 33,000 seats.

Getting there

The Arena das Dunas is located toward the south of the city of Natal at about 5 kilometres from its old town (Cidade Alta and Ribeira). The affluent and touristic Ponta Negra area lies about 7 kilometres further south along the Atlantic Coast.

The arena is situated directly adjacent to the BR-101, one of Natal’s main arteries. The stadium’s central location and it being close to two of the city’s major shopping centre makes that it is well-connected in terms of public transport. Bus 24, 33, 33a, 35, 42, and 43 all reach the Arena das Dunas from the north. Bus 66 can be taken from the Ponta Negra area (Praia Shopping).

Address: Arena das Dunas, Lagoa Nova, Natal

Eat, drink, and sleep

The Arena das Dunas is located in a not particularly interesting middle class residential area. There are a few local eateries around, while the sizeble Midway Mall, a 20-minute walk north of the stadium, also boasts a good selection of restaurants and cafés. Only a little further south of the stadium there is the similarly-sized Natal Shopping with comparable options. Otherwise, eating and drinking is best done in either the old town or Ponta Negra area, which is also where most nightlife is.

There are a few hotels in the vicinity of the Arena das Dunas, from all of which it takes 10 to 15 minutes walking to get to the arena. Monza Palace Hotel and Hotel Maine, which lie along the BR-101, are both basic options that get decent reviews. Casa do Holandes is a third option.

Most tourist, however, will decide to stay in the Ponta Negra area, which is packed with hotels. Alternatively, there are a few hotels on the eastern beaches closer to the old town.

Tickets

Tickets for América games can be bought online, at the ticket office of the Arena das Dunas, or at the América club office at the Av. Rodrigues Alves 950 in central Natal not far from the old town.

Ticket are generally available from the day before the match until the start of the match. Expect to pay around BR$60.00 to BR$80.00 for a ticket.

Photos

Relevant Internet links

Americadenatal.com.br – Official website of América de Natal.
Arenadasdunas.com.br – Official website of the Arena das Dunas.
Natal.rn.gov.br – Natal tourism information.

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