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Pipa

Travel Guide
  • Located in the municipality of Tibau do Sul around 37 miles from Natal, Pipa has in recent years become a place extremely popular with Brazilians and tourists from around the world. It was discovered by a few professional surfers in the 1980s and since then its success has been on the up and up.

It must be said that Pipa has everything to seduce the international traveller: crystal-clear turquoise ...
    © Dorival Moreira Lucin / age fotostock
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Brazil

Located in the municipality of Tibau do Sul around 37 miles from Natal, Pipa has in recent years become a place extremely popular with Brazilians and tourists from around the world. It was discovered by a few professional surfers in the 1980s and since then its success has been on the up and up.

It must be said that Pipa has everything to seduce the international traveller: crystal-clear turquoise waters, beaches protected by the wind-sculpted red cliffs, lakes filled with warm water...

You will be able to choose from more than seven beaches, admire the dolphins and sea turtles, you on an excursion in a beach buggy or along the cliffs, discover the ecological sanctuary, practise kite-surfing, and much more.In short, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to activities here!

That's why this small village of 5,800 inhabitants welcomes a million tourists a year. Built on a hill, the village surrounds a main street strewn with shops and restaurants.

In terms of accommodation, Pipa has more than a hundred choices, of varying categories. After Natal, it has the second largest hotel capacity in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.

Pipa: what to do?

An excursion in a beach buggy along the Pipa coastline remains a classic. Several possibilities are available: a short jaunt or a full day's excursion. The traditional trip includes a boat crossing from the Guaraira lagoon to Barra de Tabatinga. It will give you the opportunity to swim in the freshwater and crystal-clear lagoons and to admire the nature, including notably the largest cashew tree in the world. Pedra Oca and the Arituba and Carcara lagoons are generally proposed as stopovers. Expect this excursion to last a full day. That way you can go at your own pace and stop whenever you feel like it. In fact, the driver will ask how quickly you want to go in order to determine the type of experience you are looking for.

For fans of water sports, Pipa, like Natal, is the ideal place to practice kite-surfing and sailing thanks its location in the far east of Brazil, where the wind blows year round. You can do this on any one of the many beaches here. Barra do Cunha, a village in the south of the Pipa, hosts an annual international kite-surfing championship in September.

If you haven't had any luck at spotting dolphins from the beach, you can plan to go out on a boat trip. The journey isn't exactly exciting but at least you'll be able to observe these mammals in their natural habitat.

To discover Mato, plan on an outing in the countryside. Located in Tibau do Sul, Haras Agua Boa proposes excursions of one to two hours up to excursions of one to five days. You can also go for a stroll in the dunes and on the beaches, cross the rivers, and even take a midnight walk under a full moon.

Dolphins are certainly one of Pipa's greatest attractions. You can spot them at high tide from the beaches of Los Golfinos and Madeiro. What's more, if you're lucky, generally in the morning, you might also get to swim alongside them; just remember that they move quickly!

Next to the centre of the village you will find the eco-sanctuary. This centre on a hill allows you to discover the local fauna (various species of birds, monkeys, and sea turtles) and to learn more about the laws governing the protection of the environment, an important element in the preservation of the flora in Pipa. It is composed of three areas and sixteen trails open to the public as well as various attractions. As well as the educational aspect, the sanctuary aims to protect the plants and wildlife of the northwest coast. In fact, it even participates in a conservation project that aims to protect the five endangered turtle species in Brazil.

South of Pipa you will find Chapadao, a flat orange-coloured plain above the cliffs. The nearly four miles of beach here feature deserted beaches, cliffs, natural pools, and beautiful views of the beaches of Las Minas and Sibauma. At the mouth of the Catu River, you can even sail through the village of Barra do Cunhaú by boat.

Don't miss the sunset over the lagoon of Tibau do Sul from the top of one of the surrounding hills: truly a unique experience!

 Brazil  Brazil
Pipa: the key figures

Surface area : 3,287,612 sq mi km2

Population : 190,732,694 inhabitants

Reminders

You can also rent a car during your stay to take full advantage of the landscapes and attractions in the region.

If you wish to come to Pipa from Natal, consider taking the bus, which is practical and has a regular schedule.

To avoid

The rainy season generally lasts from May to June. Outside of this period there isn't anything weather-wise to hold you back, as temperatures are more mild during the rest of the year.

Although the area is not dangerous, try not to carry around too many valuable objects.

Pipa: what to eat?

The cuisine in the north-east mainly consists of fish and seafood. You absolutely must try 'muquequa of peixe', a fish-based dish made with peppers, tomatoes, onions, and coconut milk. In Pipa as in Natal, it is impossible to count the number of shrimp-based recipes, cooked in all types of sauces.

We recommend the risotto with cuttlefish at the Gatos de Rua restaurant as well as the Tapas Restaurant and its excellent tuna.

Various meat dishes are available, on the condition that you like your meat well done. If not, go to a rodizio, a restaurant which offers only grilled meat and where you will have more choice.

Finally, the fruit juices are delicious and freshly squeezed on request. Another option is to dilute them with water, a common practice here.

Pipa: what to buy?

Most of the shops in Pipa sell bathing costumes and beach clothing, but you may also find cotton hammocks, tablecloths made with natural fibres, and traditional wooden objects. Musicians can take the opportunity to purchase a 'berimbau', a traditional local instrument. If you're a big fan of homeware, 'La Maison' is the place to go, a decor shop located in Tibau do Sul. There you will find antiques from all over Brazil (sometimes quite pricey) and various artisan crafts.

Try the delicious cashew nuts that you will find in speciality shops and supermarkets.

Furthermore, as a souvenir of Brazil, you will be able to choose from the traditional cachaca, to make a caipirinha, or the famous havaianas, the flip flops that have become all the rage in Spain and throughout Europe in general, and which are much cheaper here.

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