New and the old in Praia da Pipa: Once elected by the NYT as a place to visit in Brazil, still is.

They say this is why it's called Praia do Amor (love beach). Do you see a heart?

Distant about 80 km from Natal, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte (RN), the beach of Pipa has that name due to the fact that the Portuguese, when they arrived in the place a long time ago (not in the 90s), spotted a rock in the form of a ‘Pipa’ or small barrel that the sailors used to carry water. This originated the name of the beach that has always been one of the most beautiful in northeast Brazil. From a simple fishing village (you’ve heard that before huh ?!), today Pipa Beach has complete infrastructure of tourism and leisure, with great hotels, resorts and restaurants. If you enjoy a good gastronomy, Pipa is a special place to taste its culinary riches. The accommodation options, also very diverse, caters to all profiles.

The place has a lovely scenery with cliffs, clear waters, quiet and pleasant temperature. Dolphins Bay is a must see, where dolphins usually approach the beach looking for shoals. Sometimes they even stand side by side with the bathers. A great point for surfers is Praia do Amor, with strong waves for surfing and open water. Also visit the Ecological Sanctuary of Pipa, perfect for walks, picnics and a beautiful exclusive view to the Dolphins Bay. A strong nightlife also happens in Pipa. Like other young tourist destinations, the central avenue is the meeting point of many beautiful people of all parts of the world. The nightclubs also go until dawn.

What also draws attention in Praia da Pipa is that the modern and the rustic go hand in hand without any problem. At the same time, the tourists come across French restaurants, shopping malls, wooden rafts and fishermen complete the landscape.

For being so varied we prepared a route with activities that can be done in Pipa, some free and some paid. While the surrounding area is made up of small towns, more deserted beaches and simplicity, Pipa is busier and crowded on the streets. There is no such thing as a low season. During the whole year the region receives tourists, Brazilians in the summer and foreigners in winter (when it is summer in the northern hemisphere). During Brazilian vacation season and holidays it is always full and it is even difficult to find places in hotels and inns.

1) Surfing on Praia do Amor

They say this is why it's called Praia do Amor (love beach). Do you see a heart?
They say this is why it’s called Praia do Amor (love beach). Do you see a heart?

praia-do-amor-afogados-pipa

According to the official website of Pipa, some of the most important surfing competitions in the region are held at Praia da Amor, also known as Praia dos Afogados, which gave Pipa its reputation. The beach of Love is great for sunbathing too, a bit hectic for bathers, but super beautiful and pleasant. The right corner is quieter and in the left corner there are stones that form a special corner, worth exploring.

To learn to surf, visit Madeiro Beach (below) and its surf schools.

How to get to Praia do Amor (Ou Afogados): follow the main road south, Baia dos Golfinhos Avenue, to the intersection with the street that gives access to the beach. There are several signs indicating the path. From there, just take the staircase next to the parking lot that borders the end of the street.
From the top of the Chapadão you can see on the left side the Praia do Amor, and the format that guarantees this name to her, from above. Beautiful!!

2) Watching the Sunrise on the Chapadão

Reddish cliffs are gaining shape around them as the sun rises on the horizon. If the sky is clouded, the coloring becomes even more spectacular. It’s a beautiful, perfect place to recharge your mind.
How to get there: on the main avenue, passing the entrance of Praia do Amor, continue south, following the signs that signify the Chapadão. It is about 500m after the entrance to Praia do Amor.

Watching the sunrise from the Chapadao is beautiful. That empty beach down below is great too.
Watching the sunrise from the Chapadao is beautiful. That empty beach down below is great too.

3) Sunset on Tibau do Sul Beach

This is one of those to applaud. On one side the sea, on the other the entrance of the Lagoon of Guaraíra and, in front, almost virgin dunes. In the midst of it all, the sun was setting in front of him, behind the lagoon and the dunes.
Not enough, the sea is a delight for bathing and the calm waters are almost a swimming pool. Remembering that the water in the Northeast is warm!

The lagoon in Tibau do Sul. The sun sets right behind those trees in the back and reflect in the waters of the lagoon.
The lagoon in Tibau do Sul. The sun sets right behind those trees in the back and reflect in the waters of the lagoon.

Want another special tip in Tibau do Sul? Go eat a Crepe at the Creperia Marina to watch the sun set inside the lagoon.

4) Learn to Surf and Swim with the Dolphins at Madeiro Beach

This beach is a delight to relax, with calm and inviting emerald green waters. A walk along the beach with a dive with the reflection of the cliffs and trees in the water, will you find practically a handpainted picture in front of you.
How to get there: Located between Cacimbinhas and Baia dos Golfinhos, you have access to the main street and you can park your car at the top of the cliffs near the Ecological Sanctuary. From there you will see the access through the stairs.

Praia do Madeiro is great for learning to surf at the bay that forms. The scenery is beautiful and the dolphins will be surfing right next to you.
Praia do Madeiro is great for learning to surf at the bay that forms. The scenery is beautiful and the dolphins will be surfing right next to you.

Madeiro Beach is ideal to learn to surf with its long and shallow bay, there is surf school, SUP and kayak boards for rent, the perfect view to play a coolbol or take a walk on the beach. Unmissable! There are currently some restaurants in the sand of the beach.

5) Cacimbinhas

The viewpoint of Cacimbinha Beach is an obligatory stop along the RN-003 road. Between Tibau and Madeiro Beach, Cacimbinhas is located. You can reach the beach by going down the steps of the beachfront road or walking along the beach. There are many kitesurfers as well as sand dunes and cliffs that are the base for free flight.
It is possible to access Cacimbinhas Beach also along the beach. ‘And just walk north on Madeiro Beach. But beware, the Cacimbinhas Beach, because it is open sea, has currents and some people have already drowned there.

The sand dunes at Cacimbinhas are ideal for sandboarding and the sunset at the lagoon from there is awesome!

6) Kayaking on the Guaraíra Lagoon

A Paulista (native of Sao Paulo) known as Farm’acia, has organized a few years ago, a cayaque tour that uses the schedules of the mare to go and return. The time varies according to the tide, as we go upriver when the tide is almost full, and we ride back with the tide when it is emptying.
Do not forget: it is important to reserve in advance!

The Guarairas Lagoon in Tibau do Sul hosts kayak trips that leave depending on the tide.
The Guarairas Lagoon in Tibau do Sul hosts kayak trips that leave depending on the tide.

7) Visit the ex-slaves village of Sibaúma

An almost deserted beach and total calm, this is what we found when making a stop in Sibaúma. Although lovely to die for, our hotel staff indicated that we should not stay in such deserted places, just so as not to risk someone with a fish in our hand. Fishing is the main activity of the village, an old quilombola(ex- slaves) community, but tourism is coming and in high season the beach attracts lots of day visitors to its natural pools. Its possible to use the jacuzzi like natural pools when the tide goes down.
How to get there: It is possible to arrive by buggy, car or bike, so it depends on the reference. It is after the Chapadão. Then, if you are at Av. Baía dos Golfinhos, head south and you will get there if you have a 4×4 car. If you don’t, you can take the road by Madeiro beach.

8) Rafting tour in Barra do Cunhaú

This was one of my favorite places in Pipa and deserves an entire post dedicated to it. Tranquility is the word that defines the village where you find some rafts parked on the river bank and a lot of wind for the joy of kitesurfers. They have defined Barra do Cunha’u as one of the best spots for kitesurfing in Brazil.

9) Shopping and eating at the CENTRINHO of Pipa

There are lots of small shops to buy stuff in Pipa’s ‘dowtown’! And it serves all the pockets too, from expensive stores, brand stores, to other more on the budget. You can buy many beach things (bikinis, slippers, beach outlets), but also many clothes, accessories and cool crafts.
And of course, restaurants are not lacking – Pipa has pizzerias, Japanese restaurants, pasta houses, and even Thai food. The  ice cream at Preciosa, an artisanal ice cream parlor, with good creamy ice cream and the price of 5 Reais!.
In Pipa you will find the largest concentration of cool hotels, international cuisine restaurants, a great offer of tours, people from all over the world, besides the nightlife with several options of bars and nightclubs.

10)Enjoy the nightlife in Pipa

Pipa is a very good place to enjoy the nightlife and the life of the party! There are several bars on the main street that have a night stand, such as Oz and Tribos (across the street) – the two are open, there is no entrance fee, you can go in and out whenever you want. On a few days of the week there’s a special party with a samba show!
Even on normal days the the area boils at night, it is full of people drinking on the street. Another nice bar, more alternative, is the Mikroponto – this one is very small, but it makes a nice little gallery.
And for those who like electronic music, there is a nightclub that starts at three o’clock in the morning and goes until nine o’clock in the morning! Calango is the place and it’s after Praia do Amor, continuing through the main avenue.

How to get to Praia de Pipa

Transfers and buses by road approximately 1 hour from Natal airport.
Best season
The region can be visited all year round. Between April and June, it is considered a period of rain showers and milder temperatures. In September the wind is stronger and ideal for activities like kite, surf and sailboat.

Map of Pipa Brazil

To mount your script, follow a map of the beaches of Pipa to make your life easier. All beaches are very close, if you do this route from end to end (without stops), should give a maximum of 40min.

WHERE TO STAY IN PIPA

This climate also caught the attention of entrepreneurs. Many businesses are managed by people who have known and loved Pipa for 15 years or more. Many looking for quality of life and ended up opening negotiations like hostels and hotels. Pipa has 180 lodging options, ranging from hostels to luxury hotels. Values can range from R$ 30 to R$ 295.

Pipa Beach Hotels

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Max Francisco
Max Francisco has been involved with the Internet in Brazil and has been doing digital projects in the country for the last 15 years.