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Pipa, Brazil: A Hidden Gem of South America

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Welcome to a true hidden gem of South America, and a little slice of paradise- Pipa, Brazil.


While most people flock to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, many don't realize that there are so many other incredible places to explore in Brazil. The north east of the country is home some of the most beautiful beaches, and are becoming more increasingly popular with foreigners, especially Argentinians.


When my friend from Natal took me for a weekend in Pipa, I had the time of my life! 7 years later, Fede and I went to visit her together, and knew we had to take another trip down to the adorable beach town of Pipa. This time, we gathered all the info necessary, so that you too can experience Pipa, Brazil the way we did. Here is everything you need to know!

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Where is Pipa in Brazil?

Pipa is located on the north eastern coast of Brazil, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. It is just south of the capital of the state, Natal. It is about 84 km away, and an hour and a half by car.

where is Pipa, Brazil

Pipa is located in the north east of Brazil, just south of Natal.


How Do You Get to Pipa, Brazil?

Depending on where you are coming from, depends on the different options that you can choose from to get to Pipa Beach in Brazil.


What Airports are Near Pipa, Brazil?

The closest airport to Pipa is Natal International Airport, which is 94 km north of Pipa, and the next closest airport is Joao Pessoa, which is 140 km south.


Two other alternatives are Fortaleza and Recife. While they would require a long bus ride or rental car to reach Pipa, they sometimes have cheaper flights.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Brazil". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly. Also, you can use  the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for your destination!

Search for a flight near Pipa:

How to Get to Pipa Beach from Natal

From Natal you can easily get a bus to Pipa Beach from the main bus terminal. The ride is 2 hours, and they leave quite frequently. The intercity bus is the cheapest option, but you can also get a shuttle from Natal Airport to Pipa, or rent a car from Natal Airport


Take a Tour to Pipa from Natal

Another option to visit Pipa Beach from Natal is to take an organized excursion. This is the easiest option for those that are short on time, or that don't have their own vehicle. Here are a few that we found for you to take:

How to Get to Pipa Beach from Joao Pessoa

Despite Pipa being on the way to Natal from Joao Pessoa, the only way to get to Pipa from there is to go take a bus from Joao Pessoa to Natal first. (This may change, or you may want to check at the Joao Pessoa bus station just in case). We suggest if you are coming from Joao Pessoa to rent a car at the Joao Pessoa Airport so that you can save time and potentially money as well.


How to Get to Pipa Beach from Fortaleza

When we were in Natal we took an overnight bus to Fortaleza. The seats reclined all the way back, and it was super spacious and comfortable. Not only that, but it saved us money by not having to pay for an extra night at a hotel!


Fortaleza has much more flight options than Natal does, so flying to Fortaleza and then taking an overnight bus to Natal might be a much more budget-friendly option. Overnight buses from Natal can be booked right in the station, or you can get bus tickets online in advance to make sure you don't risk the buses being full.


How to Get to Pipa Beach from Recife

Just like Joao Pessoa and Fortaleza, the first step to getting to Pipa from Recife would be getting a bus. The ride is between 5-7 hours, depending on the time of day/traffic. There are a variety of options , from early in the morning, or an 11:55 pm bus from Recife to Natal that arrives at 5:20 in the morning.


If you plan on traveling back to Recife, then a good option can also be to rent a car from Recife airport.

 

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Entry Requirements for Brazil

Whenever traveling somewhere new, it's important to know the requirements for entering the country. Here's what you need to know for visiting Pipa, Brazil.


Visa Entry Requirements for Brazil

Americans used to need a visa for Brazil, but now that requirement has been lifted, and all you need is your passport. 


Other countries that are exempt from tourist visas in Brazil include AndorraArgentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Canada, ChileColombiaCosta RicaDenmarkEcuador, Finland, France, GermanyGreece, Japan, Iceland, IrelandItaly, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, The Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, San Marino, South Africa, SpainSuriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United KingdomUruguay, and Venezuela.


Those that are a part of the Mercosur region don't have to bring their passport in order to enter Brazil, and they can simply just bring their ID card. The countries that are included in Mercosur are ArgentinaUruguay, and Paraguay.


Covid Entry Requirements for Brazil

Brazil is one of the few countries that still requires you to either be vaccinated or to have a negative Covid-19 test result. Masks are no longer required in many places, with the exception of passing through security in the airport. Make sure to carry one with you (even if it's just a few minutes you'll need to wear it), because if not they'll make you purchase one.

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Local Adjustments for Pipa, Brazil

Whenever traveling to a new country there are certain things you may have to adapt to such as the language, electrical outlets, or tipping culture. Here are some of them to keep in mind when traveling to Pipa, Brazil.


What Language Do They Speak in Pipa, Brazil?

The official language in Pipa, Brazil is Portuguese. You'll also find that there are a lot of Argentinians that move to Pipa, so if you speak Spanish you'll be able to easily get by as well with that.


Currency Used in Brazil

The currency used in Brazil is the Brazilian Real. Currently (May 2023) the exchange rate is 5 Real for every 1 USD or Euro.


Most places in Pipa accept credit card, so you won't need to carry too much cash on you. We do suggest having a bit of cash for people selling things on the beach, or for activities like boat rides.


Electrical Outlets in Pipa, Brazil

Brazil uses the same electrical plugs as Europe, which are types C and N. The country operates on a 127/220V supply voltage and 60Hz.


Is the Water Safe to Drink in Pipa, Brazil?

Overall the water in Brazil really isn't safe to drink. We suggest buying large bottles of water and then refilling your own water bottle.


Tipping Culture in Pipa, Brazil

The tipping culture in Pipa is similar to other areas of Brazil, which is a standard 10%.

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Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil

Now that you know almost everything you need to know about the basics, here are the best things to do in Pipa, Brazil.


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Pipa, Brazil Pin
Pipa, Brazil Pin

Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #1: Enjoy the Beaches

While Natal does have some beaches, truly the best beaches are in the outskirts, with Pipa being one of the most popular beach towns in the area.


There are quite a few beaches to check out, so here are the different ones to add to your list:


Pipa Beach

Located steps away from the heart of Pipa Town is the main beach. This is a smaller beach, but is convenient if you just want something close. Here you can find restaurants, as well as people selling food and drinks on the beach. Locals come by selling hammocks, cover ups, and other textiles or souvenirs, and this is the main spot for signing up for some of the top tours in Pipa.


Pipa beach
Beach in Pipa Brazil
Pipa Beach, Pipa Brazil


Praia do Amor 

This is hands down the most popular beach in Pipa, Brazil. With swaying palms trees, and plenty of amenities, this is a must if you are visiting Pipa. To get here you'll have to walk down a long set of stairs, and you'll reach a tiny slice of paradise.

Praia do Amor, Pipa, Brazil

Praia do Amor is the most popular beach in Pipa, Brazil.

Praia do Amor also has a really cool beach club that sits above it with a restaurant, hammocks, and fun photo opps.


Praia do Amor, Pipa, Brazil
Praia do Amor, Pipa, Brazil
Praia do Amor, Pipa, Brazil

There is a cute beach club located right above Praia do Amor.


Praia das Minas

Located past Praia do Amora, Praia das Minas sits under a set of red cliffs. It is extremely beautiful, and a little bit more low key than Praia do Amor.


Praia do Madeiro

This is one of our favorite beaches in Pipa, as it is surrounded by gorgeous cliffs, and isn't quite as busy as the main beach of Pipa. This is also a popular place for surfers to come.


Praia Madeiro, Pipa, Brazil
Praia Madeiro, Pipa, Brazil
Praia Madeiro, Pipa, Brazil
Praia Madeiro, Pipa, Brazil


Praia Baia dos Golfinhos

This beach is just north of Pipa Beach, and is popular for spotting dolphins!


Praia das Cacimbinhas

If you're looking for a wide beach that is empty and quiet, then you can head to Praia das Cacimbinhas, which is the beach that is furthest north in Pipa. We suggest if you come here to pack a lunch and anything you may need, as there aren't any amenities in this area.


Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #2: Visit the Cliffs

One of the features that makes Pipa so special is that it is surrounded by giant cliffs. These are a great place to enjoy the views of the beaches below, and can be accessed in various areas.


Falesias de Cacimbinhas

Located in the north of Pipa, Falesias de Cacimbinhas are are the massive cliffs that tower over Praia das Cacimbinhas. We suggest going here for sunrise!


cliffs in Pipa, Brazil
cliffs in Pipa, Brazil
cliffs in Pipa, Brazil

The cliffs are beautiful to visit at sunrise.

Chapadão

This is the most famous area of the cliffs, as it is a wide open area of striking red rock sitting above Playa las Minas. The views are simply stunning, and you can drive right up to  Chapadão, making it very easily accessible.


cliffs in Pipa, Brazil
cliffs in Pipa, Brazil
cliffs in Pipa, Brazil
cliffs in Pipa, Brazil
cliffs in Pipa, Brazil
cliffs in Pipa, Brazil


Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #3: Take a Surf Class

Pipa is known for its great surfing, and you can easily find classes on Praia do Madeiro for reasonable rates.


If you already know how to surf and want to know all of the best surf spots, you can check the list of the different surf spots in Pipa, Brazil.


Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #4: Go on a Boat Tour

One of our favorite ways to explore beach areas is to explore them along the water! Everyday from Pipa Beach there are boat tours that go out regularly between 9 am and 3 pm.


beaches in Pipa, Brazil
beaches in Pipa, Brazil
beaches in Pipa, Brazil

Boat trips take you to al of the top beaches in Pipa.


Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #5: Party on a Booze Cruise

Boat tours are a great way to explore the area, but there's nothing quite like a booze cruise. Sail around the area of Pipa while you enjoy drinks and music onboard. Pipa Boat Party is definitely something you won't want to miss out on!


In the off-season they have weekend sailings, and in the summertime (December to February) there are several sailings each week. Tickets are from 100-130 Real for the shared boat, and they also offer private events if you have a big group.


Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #6: Visit the Sand Dunes

The northern coast of Brazil is known for its outstanding sand dunes. They typically sit above the beaches, giving you beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes. Just make sure to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon so that you don't burn your feet!


Being that Pipa is lpocated on the east coast, you can't watch the sunset at the beach. So we decided to visit Caimbinhas Dunes for sunset. As the highest point in town, it's the perfect place for watching the sun set over the lush greenery surrounding the dunes.


Pipa Brazil sand dunes
sunset at dunes in Pipa, Brazil
dunes of Pipa, Brazil


Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #7: Go Sand Boarding

While you're at the sand dunes, a fun activity to try is sand boarding! Surfing on the water may be a highlight, but surfing on the sand isn't something you can do anywhere, so we definitely recommend trying it out!


Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #8: Go Horse Back Riding

Another great activity to do at the sand dunes is horse back riding. While we didn't particularly get the details of the excursion itself, we did see a big group around sunset riding all around the dunes. We suggest checking with the different tour offices when you get to Pipa to sign up for the horse back riding there.

horseback riding in Pipa, Brazil
horseback riding in Pipa, Brazil

In Pipa you can go horse back riding along the sand dunes.

Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #9: Go Paragliding

Another fun activity I got to experience while in Pipa, Brazil was paragliding. Unlike Tenerife, where I soared about the clouds and landed on the beach, their paraglide actually have motors, allowing you to stay in the air for a long period of time! 


Soar above the beach and take in some incredible views of Pipa, Brazil. My friend had the trip set up for me by a local, so as soon as you arrive you can inquire at the local tour offices for prices and availability.


Paragliding in Pipa, Brazil
Paragliding in Pipa, Brazil
Paragliding in Pipa, Brazil

Paragliding is one of the most fun ways to experience Pipa, Brazil.


Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #10: Witness the Sea Turtles Hatch

The first time I visited Pipa (February 2017), my friends and I were super hungover having lunch when all of the locals started getting excited- "it's happening". As my Portuguese wasn't so great, I couldn't quite understand what was going on. Moments later my friend told me "we need to pay and run". 


It just so happened that this day that we were visiting was the one day of the year that the sea turtles were hatching! I honestly couldn't believe it. We paid the bill and ran for a full 20 minutes down the beach.


Hundreds and hundreds of baby sea turtles were hatching from their eggs laid beneath the sand, and their tiny fins and heads started to peak out to the surface one after the other. One by one they would all start to flap their way towards the ocean, as the locals would ensure that no one touched them, and that they would safely make it to their new home.

sea turtles hatching, Pipa

Baby sea turtles hatching in Pipa, Brazil

It was truly one of the most incredible sights I had ever seen. While it's hard to plan to visit in the right moment, you can reach out to this local site, and see if it in fact is happening when you plan to visit Pipa.


sea turtles in Pipa, Brazil
sea turtles in Pipa, Brazil
sea turtles in Pipa, Brazil


Things to Do in Pipa, Brazil #11: Get a Massage

Want to have a relaxing moment after exploring all that Pipa has to offer? A great way to unwind is getting a massage! They have them right on the main beach, allowing for the perfect atmosphere. Massages are between 60-140 Real, and they are available from 9 am to 5 pm.