At the North East coast of Brazil (Rio Grande Do Norte) you’ll find a small place called Pipa. A colourful, happy and tropical place, surrounded by beaches and glorious views of the ocean.
While it is touristic among Brazilians who are looking for a get-away in their own country, it is still a hidden gem for most foreigners. This leaves you stranded in a pure city, where Brazilian music, habits and food takes over, giving you the taste of Brazilian life as it is meant to feel.
Recently I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in this small town, enjoying the beaches, the fauna and flora, the locals and the atmosphere. Pipa is a place where beach life defines your days and fantastic moments describe your nights. While I never heard of this little place before, it didn’t stop me from falling in love. I guess that walking into a destination with no expectations is the best way to explore.
The first time I actually visited the center of Pipa it was still midday. The town center looked small – only existing out of one long street with small alleys at the sides. At some points in the town I could catch a glimpse of the ocean, which was closer by than I initially thought. I couldn’t get a good impression of the atmosphere of Pipa at that point, but I could get an impression of what the town was about.
Pipa screams out ‘beach-paradise’ and while tourism has taken hold over the last couple of years you can still notice that Pipa has her own vibe and identity – packed with Brazilian restaurants, cocktail bars, beach shops and stores that sell local items. The colours of the buildings look cheerful and festive. And the weather makes it feel like a tropical paradise.
During the days I spent most of my time on of beautiful beaches that surround the little town. All equally pretty. Locals and tourists were swimming and tanning at the beach, but none of the beaches felt too crowded. The ocean looked clear blue, and here and there you could spot a dolphin or watch groups of (kite) surfers conquer the waves.
At nights, when we made our way back to the center of Pipa to eat dinner, I fell in love over and over again (I really wish I had the time to take photos at night). Pipa at night was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. There was music everywhere, the streets were crowded and overall it was just bursting with an amazing, energetic, fun and happy atmosphere. I can’t even remember how often I screamed ‘this is so awesome’, ‘oh my god,’ and ‘I don’t want to leave anymore’. The difference between day and night is huge – you won’t recognise the town anymore.
I don’t think I can explain how energetic Pipa feels. It is just something you have to witness for yourself. It felt like everyone – locals and tourists – came together to eat, dance, drink and laugh after the sun set (read: when the temperature was bearable enough to get active). It felt relaxing – like you could be 100% yourself and enjoy every minute in this Brazilian gem. I truly wish I had the time to eat at every restaurant and to walk in every shop. Everything looked great, and if you will ever visit yourself you’ll notice how difficult it is to choose a good restaurant where you want to spend your night. Because really: you want to spend your nights at all of them.
My trip to Pipa has got to be one of the most relaxing yet coolest trips I’ve ever taken. But like every trip: there were absolutely things that topped my stay in Pipa. For example the boat tour that we took: chasing dolphins and watching the sun set over the ocean. Or the even more exciting moment when we swam in between wild dolphins ourselves(!) and followed them around with kayaks. Or the dozens of times when we had interactions with friendly locals who always tried their best to help us – even though there was a significant language barrier. And the surf and dance competitions we saw, the number of coconuts and palm trees at the beach and the monkeys who would steal your breakfast at the hotel.
I didn’t think I would fall in love with Pipa the way I did. The truth is that I really didn’t know what to expect before arriving. However, after arriving it quickly turned into one of the top places I’ve ever visited. I love the ambiance of countries and cities like this. I love how a beautiful town like this is surrounded by even more beautiful nature. I love how everyone comes together at night – how friends and family seems to be the most important thing in the world. I love how everyone feels happy and relaxed and I love how different it is from Europe. From the Netherlands.
One thing is for sure. One day, I will return back to Pipa. Forever, if it’s possible.
I want to thank GoBrazil for giving me the amazing opportunity to visit Brazil and Pipa!
We're excited to be collaborating with Yvonne Derksen of The Tourist of Life. A solo traveller since the age of 16, Yvonne (who is now 21 and comes from The Netherlands) has visited over 25 countries across 4 continents.
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