NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS I would have guessed that I was lucky enough to visit Brazil as soon as I did. At just the age of 21 – literally my first week as a 21-year old, I flew to the north-east of Brazil. Overshadowed by the capital Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon, the little village of Pipa hardly ever gets tourism from outside of Brazil – while for Brazilians themselves, this is the place to be.
Till this day I advice my fellow travelers to make their way over to Pipa as soon as possible, as it is still one of the best trips I’ve ever made. In my heart I know Pipa deserves more tourism than she gets. For me it’s pure logic, for you it’s brand new information.
Small but lush, energetic yet relaxing, addictive and mesmerizing. That’s how I would describe Pipa. While the vivid ambiance of Pipa says it for herself, it’s you who needs to live it before truly understanding the Brazilian passion that comes to life in this little village.
I hope I can convince you to travel to Pipa yourself. However; to just start at the beginning: these are the experiences you need to have when you finally arrive in Pipa!
Swim with dolphins
“There is a high chance you’re going to see some dolphins today.” our tour guide began when we walked over the beach of Dolphin’s Bay. He absolutely didn’t lie. Within just a matter of seconds I already spotted a fin peeking out of the water. The dolphins were hunting, they raced through the water and jumped out of it with their mouths wide open. Something special to see, our tour guide told us.
“Alright, you can go in now.”. Hesitating at first, me and one of my travel buddies jumped into a little kayak that was literally waiting for us. We could go into the water, kayaking – watching them up close.
Admitted: even without actually going into the water they were already pretty close by – swimming just a couple of meters away from shore.
Terrified with the irrational fear of hitting them in the head with my paddle we chased them through the water, watching them hunt, screening the horizon to see where they would pop up next. It was the perfect, little moment we had with these beautiful creatures, after which we could join them ourselves – no kayaks, just swimming. A perfect little adventure that made it so easy for us to get in touch with nature.
Watch the sunset at the beach
Salsa music plays in the background, while I lean back in my little chair. I’ve spent yet another day at the beach and stumble upon this little beachhut, across the dunes of Pipa. A small wooden ferry is still going back and forth between the dunes and the beach where I’m at – delivering beachbuggys a safe way of transport. The ferry plays her music. It’s salsa-like, festive, it’s everything you would expect with this view at this location.
My bare toes play around with the white sand beneath my feet while I watch the scenery in front of me. I can feel my shoulders burning now the sun is finally out of sight. Softly, through the music the ferry is playing I can hear the waves rolling on the beach. It feels like my own little happy place.
Every second the sky changes colors, reflecting on the water. From bright blue, to orange, purple and dark blue. And finally black.
Explore late night Pipa
We arrive in the center of Pipa by beachbuggy (as you do). The streets are already filled with Brazilians. Mostly tourists I assume, since Pipa is known to be a great location for locals to get away for a few days. During the day Pipa was quiet. The restaurants were empty, the bars were closed the stores were quiet. It’s far to hot to visit the center when the temperature is at her highest point. Now, it’s different.
The restaurants have hardly any tables left empty. The bars play their music and waitresses sell their cocktails as fast as they can (mostly caipirinhas). Even though we are the only western tourists we fit right in. We are welcomed friendly, expected to join the fun. And so we do. Choosing only one restaurant in Pipa has got to be one of the hardest tasks I’ve ever had. From tapas, to grill – even though Pipa is small, she literally has everything.
As the night continues the music gets louder and the streets busier. I smile, repeatedly mumble the word ‘awesome’, but mostly: I enjoy my time, praising myself lucky.
Join a beachbuggy tour
“If we fall, we die”, one of my travelbuddies stated. I agreed with her. But the thrill of the beach buggy rides was one to remember. Fast paced we drive through the dunes of Pipa, up and down the steep hills, through the loose sand and along side the beach. We scream, laugh from excitement and stop at some of the most wonderful places along the way. We discover new beaches, beautiful view points and new territories. The surroundings of Pipa are equally beautiful, and so diverse.
Hop on a boat
Known for her beaches, her clear blue water and her endless looking oceans it is no surprise that we get to join one of the boat tours Pipa has to offer, bringing us closer to the ocean, away from the beach.
The boat speeds up. We clash into every wave that comes our way, making our transportation look like a true speedboat. We race over to a ‘tropical’ looking scenery, where a dozen of mangroves pop out of the water. After our visit to the mangrove ‘forest’ we visit a sandbank. A small piece of sand that seems to decorate ‘the middle of nowhere’ giving us a bit of steady ground under our feet. Far away I can see the main land of Brazil. So far away from home.
During our boat tour we get company by dolphins, while they are shy, not familiar with boats nor tourists, we get to see them up close. I watch them for the moments we can, before they gently make their way towards the ocean. It’s time to leave them alone, and to return home.