Things to do in Pipa, Brazil & City Guide
Pipa, Brazil is one of the cutest towns in the whole country. If you’re looking for a laid back beach town, then it is for you! This blog includes the best things to do in Pipa, Brazil and other important info for visiting!
Brazil is home to so many amazing beaches, however, there is just one problem – they’re often over crowded.
Although this creates that amazing Brazilian atmosphere filled with people having a great time, we really wanted to get away from the crowds. That’s why we decided to visit Pipa!
Pipa is the perfect place in northeast Brazil to escape the larger crowds and enjoy some quiet time. The small hippie beach town is a relaxing change to places like Copacabana Beach or the beaches on Ilha Grande. So much so that I didn’t want to leave after I arrived!
With that said, there are some beaches in Pipa that are busy and lined with restaurants serving food and drinks. This makes Pipa the perfect balance for almost every traveler.
But what is there to do in Pipa? Where should I stay and how do I get there? Well, in this blog I’ll share with you my experience in Pipa, Brazil and lots of tips you need to know before you go!
About Pipa, Brazil
The town of Pipa is located only 84 kilometers from the large city of Natal. Due to strict environmental laws in Pipa, there are no highrise buildings, and development has been limited. This gives Pipa a unique look when compared with the rest of Brazil’s beach towns (which are often lined with highrise apartments and shopping complexes.)
Pipa is home to many beautiful beaches and they’re the highlight of this small town. These beaches include Pipa Beach, Baía dos Golfinhos, Praia Do Amor, Praia das Minas, and Madeiro Beach. With such a huge selection of beaches around Pipa, you can pick and choose depending on what makes a beach “perfect” for you.
Pipa is also a popular surf spot in Brazil and some of the beaches around the town are great for surfing. This has made Pipa somewhat of a hippie town that’s somewhat famous among young backpackers.
However, Pipa is no also very popular with Brazilians and is an ideal holiday spot in the northeast. This unique mix means there is as much rest and relaxation to be had as there is that classic Brazilian party vibe.
Pipa was without a doubt one of the best places I visited in Brazil. The mix of people, gravel roads, tiny shops, and selection of beaches made me never want to leave!
9 Best Things to do in Pipa, Brazil
1. Take a surf lesson
Pipa is a surf town and as such, surfing in one of the best things to do. Around Pipa, there are many different surf spots that can accommodate beginners all the way up to experienced surfers.
There are also surf schools and camps such as the Surf Camp Pipa Hostel. This hostel is a favorite among budget backpackers who love to surf and the hostel offers board rentals and surf lessons.
With that said, you can pretty much rent a surfboard from anywhere in town including at the beaches in Pipa. The only thing you need to do is choose the beach that’s right for your skill level.
These are the best surf beaches in Pipa and who they’re best suited to:
Praia do Amor: Praia do Amor (aka Love Beach) is easily the most accessible surf spot in Pipa. You can rent boards right from the beach and the surf here is great for all levels. The waves crash over sand with only few rocks so beginners can learn safely. This is where I surfed in Pipa mainly for convenience.
Lajão: Advanced surfers will love Lajão. This is the longest wave in Pipa and can reach up to 500 meters! It has a reef bottom and gets pretty large swells so this wave is only for experienced surfers.
Cacimbinhas: Cacimbinhas is located just north of Pipa and is a great beach all year round with waves for all levels. It’s a sand bottom wave with both right and lefts. This is a great alternative to Praia do Amor because it’s much less crowded.
Madeiro: This last surf spot around Pipa is perfect for all levels. There is a mix of sand and reef as well as left and right-handed waves. This spot is also popular with dolphins so there’s a great chance to surf with them! You can prebook a surf lesson at Madeiro beach that includes hotel pickup in Pipa.
With so many surf beaches around Pipa, it’s an ideal place to learn to surf or visit if you’re a keen surfer.
2. See dolpins at Baía dos Golfinhos
Baía dos Golfinhos literally translates to “Dolphins Bay” which makes sense seeing as you can regularly spot dolphins. The best time to see the dolphins is around lunchtime, however, you can see them at any time of the day depending on how lucky you are.
At Baía dos Golfinhos you can rent a kayak for around R$60 per hour and paddle out to get closer to the dolphins. There are also boat tours to the bay, but we don’t personally recommend joining them as they disturb the dolphins and are a reason that their pod numbers have fallen.
The truth is, you do not need to rent a kayak or do a boat tour to see dolphins as they come really close to the shore. You can literally just swim out and see them!
Baía dos Golfinhos is a great beach (not only for the dolphins) so be sure to come here just to swim and relax. Unfortunately for me, I never saw dolphins despite going to the beach on two occasions. However, I still enjoyed visiting this gorgeous beach. But, I really do hope you get luckier than me and see dolphins!
Getting there: Baía dos Golfinhos isn’t the easiest beach to get to and you do need to do some walking. From Pipa Beach, you need to walk north (to your left facing the beach) around some rocks to reach the bay. This must be done and low to the medium tide as at high tide the way through is covered in water. I’ve heard that there are now some stairs to the beach so you don’t have to walk around the rocks. So, just ask around.
3. Tour the sand dunes near Natal
The region around Pipa is filled with massive sand dunes and long beaches that are best explored by dune buggy. These tours have you exploring the beauty of this region all while having a great time speeding around.
From Pipa, dune buggy tours either head south to Sagí or north towards Natal. I personally did my dune buggy tour in Natal and visited the sand dunes near there. Our tour was amazing and all day we explored stunning beaches, enjoyed cocktails, and got an adrenaline rush while speeding over the sand dunes.
I loved the tour and it is definitely one of the best things to do in Natal. From Pipa, you can also do this exact tour you just need to be prepared for a slightly longer drive to and from the dunes.
If you choose to go south to Sagí then you’ll get pretty much the same experience but with different beaches and views. This is the recommended place to go to from Pipa just because it is much closer. However, I can only personally say that the dunes to the north near Natal are amazing!
Deciding where the do your tour should be the only question on your mind as this is a must-do in the northeast region f Brazil!
4. Watch the sunset at Chapadao Hill
If you’re looking for a viewpoint to enjoy the sunset or sunrise then you can’t beat Chapadao Hill in Pipa. This beautiful viewpoint overlooks Praia do Armor and was my favorite place to watch the sunset in Pipa.
From Praia do Armor you can reach the cliffs by walking and it only takes around 20 minutes. From the beach, you must walk up some stairs that are carved into the rock. These can be hard to find in the morning as no one is around, but during the day or at sunset lots of people will be walking up.
At the viewpoint, you can look down at the water and relax. You can also walk down to the water where there are some small pools to swim in at low tide.
Just be mindful that it can be very windy so try to pick a day without wind. You also need to be careful as this is a cliff-face and getting too close to the edge is not a good idea!
5. Take a yoga class
Being a hippie town, Pipa is filled with yoga studios and hostels that offer yoga classes. During my stay in Pipa, I started every day with a free yoga lesson at our hostel called Lagarto Na Banana Hostel. I am a novice but the classes were really good and I was surrounded by nature!
Of course, you can do yoga classes at many different hotels and retreats in Pipa. Some other places include:
Surf Pipa: This surf school offers the perfect mix of yoga and surfing. It’s recommended for surfers who love yoga or yogis that want to learn how to surf.
Sossego Surf Camp: Sossego is another surf camp that also does lots of yoga. They have packages that include 2 hours of yoga a day and a 1-hour surf lesson, as well as accommodation and food. The retreat is located just north of Pipa in a town called Tibau do Sul.
Orishas Resto Bar: This bar offers a free yoga class every Wednesday with a qualified instructor at the bar. This lesson takes place right on the beach!
There are many more places that offer yoga in Pipa. So, if these places don’t seem appealing, just ask around while you’re there!
6. Enjoy lunch and drinks at Praia do Centro
Remember those quiet secluded beaches in Pipa I was talking about before? Well, this isn’t one of them, but that’s what makes it such a fun place to hang out!
Praia do Central Pipa is the busiest beach in town and the entire beach is lined with tables and chairs. Although this can be offputting to some, if you want to enjoy a beer and some A-grade table service then this is the place to do it.
Literally everything will be brought to you as you sit back and relax. Street sellers will offer a range of foods and services including massages, fresh oysters, prawns, as well as souvenirs.
If you don’t want to purchase anything just remember to term “no obrigado” which means “no thank you”!
When we visited, we found a table shaded with an umbrella to enjoy cheap beers and seafood. We ordered a large plate of prawns and it was delicious! For us, the vibrant atmosphere of this busy beach was easily one of the best things to do in Pipa! Relaxing here with a cold drink definitely feels like you’re on holiday.
7. Eat fresh seafood
One of my favorite things about Pipa, Brazil is the fresh seafood. Being located on the coast and out of any major cities means there is so much fresh seafood on offer. From tuna to prawns to lobster, there is plenty to enjoy and it’s all fresh!
Although you can get seafood at just about every restaurant in Pipa, it’s best to do some research so you end up in a great place.
A few restaurants that I personally loved in Pipa were:
Camarao na Fazenda Pipa: This small hidden gem is the perfect place to go for a romantic seafood dinner. The dishes here are really fancy and well presented.
Tapas: Tapas is another fancy seafood restaurant that, in my opinion, serves the best tuna ever! It is covered is a sesame seed crust and wow, it’s delicious!
Restaurante Oca Toca: Oca Toca is actually a hotel restaurant so I was a little nervous about trying it. However, the food was so good! This place is a little pricey in comparison to the rest of the town though and meals here cost around R$50.
These restaurants were just my personal favorites but there are so many around Pipa. One thing is for sure though, trying seafood is one of those “must-do” things to do in Pipa!
8. Visit Cajueiro de Pirangi (Cashew Tree)
This next thing to do in Pipa is super cool and took me by total surprise. Cajueiro de Pirangi is the world’s largest cashew tree! The tree covers an area of around 8,000 square meters!
But the best part? You can visit the tree and walk around it through a small path under the canopy. There is also a viewpoint you can climb to get a birds-eye view of the tree.
Visiting was a great experience and once you see how these trees grow you’ll be amazed. You can also buy fresh cashews at the tree for really cheap prices and cashew juice or alcohol which is actually very similar to Cachaça.
Cajueiro de Pirangi is located in Pringi do Norte around 45 minutes from Pipa. You can either take a tour to the tree or get the local bus to the town and explore. The entrance to the tree is only R$2.
This is easily the most unique thing to do in Pipa, Brazil and one attraction I highly recommend!
9. Visit the Santuario Ecologico de Pipa
Visiting Santuario Ecologico de Pipa is a must-do activity while in Pipa. This small privately-owned reserve is one of the only places that protects Pipa’s beautiful coastline from development. It is now a sanctuary for birds and other animals such as monkeys and turtles.
The park is small, however, there are lots of trails that lead through it and you could spend a good half-day exploring if you wanted to. Entrance to the park is only R$15 so it’s a cheap activity that supports one of the only conservation projects in the area.
Where to Stay in Pipa, Brazil
Lagarto Na Banana Hostel: This is where I stayed during my time in Pipa, Brazil. It’s a simple hostel with a great atmosphere for meeting other travelers. It’s ideal for anyone who loves free yoga, communal dinners, playing music, and cheap drinks. It’s located a little out of town but is visited by monkeys every morning!
Pousada Catavento: This mid-range hotel is located in the heart of Pipa. The grounds are beautiful and the room rate includes a superb breakfast. There is also a large pool that’s perfect for quiet days when you don’t want to go to the beach.
You can check availability on Booking.com.
La Réserve Design Villas: This next hotel is perfect for those in groups, families, or a couple who want lots of privacy. Made up of private villas with private pools, the stunning apartments are the perfect place to stay while in Pipa.
You can check availability on Booking.com
Before you go…
Pipa, Brazil really is a magical place to visit. The beaches, wildlife, and fun atmosphere make it the perfect place to spend a few days or weeks. Looking back it really was one of the best places we visited in Brazil!
Thanks so much for reading our travel guide to the best thing to do in Pipa! If you loved this blog, then be sure to read all our other Brazil travel guides here or these related articles below!
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May 13, 2020