June 22, 2013

Surfing with Dolphins

Over Memorial Day weekend, we had a chance to visit a town and beach that I've been wanting to visit for a long time.  Pipa is a small beach town two states to the north - in Rio Grande del Norte.  It's about 4 hours north of Recife.

Driving through the states of Paraiba and Rio Grande del Norte was just beautiful.  We passed lots of rolling hills with sugar cane,  rainforest (Mata Atlantica) as well as all the new factories that are being built for the booming northeast.  Eventually we came to the turn off town and headed over to the coast to Pipa.

Pipa's a small surfing village.  The primary industry is tourism so there are lots of little restaurants and art shops.

It attracts an international crowd so the restaurants have a wider variety of cuisines.  We were excited because we'd heard there was a Mexican restaurant, and a Japanese noodle place.  We tried them both and they were just fine.

Our hotel was great - right on the cliffs with great views of the ocean.

And wonderful beds to view the ocean, or the stars at night!

Pipa has 4 main beaches and we tried them all.  Our hotel was on a cliff above Praia do Amor.  It's the big surfing beach - lots of great waves and a whole crowd of surfers from the early morning on.

Our hotel had a long staircase down to the beach.

Our first morning we took a nice walk along the beach.

O. found some great climbing rocks.

And N. practiced her "crab dance"!

We checked out Praia do Madeiro - it's north of town and is in an ecological reserve.  It became our favorite beach - lovely waves just the right size, nice restaurants on the beach to get lunch and agua do coco, and dolphins!  When we were playing in the waves, we saw dolphins playing in the waves nearby.

We also took a surfing lesson!  Our instructor was Jean-Carlos and he was very patient and helpful.

We all were able to get up and surf a bit - although N. and O. got up the most.  Everyone loved it!  And, while we were out there surfing, the dolphins came over to check it out. They were playing in the waves about 20 yards from us.

The next day we checked out Baia dos Golfinhos (Bay of the Dolphins).  It's supposed to be the beach with all the dolphins, but we didn't see any - seems they were all over at Praia do Madeiro.

Baia dos Golfinhos has very, very calm waves and only a beverage guy - no food.  It's beautiful, but not as accessible as the other beaches.

To get there you have to walk around the point from the main beach - Praia do Pipa.  It's a nice walk, but you have to be aware of the tide schedule as the beach along the point disappears at high tide.

Praia do Pipa is the main beach in town - it has lots of restaurants and gets pretty crowded. The tide goes way out and exposes lots of natural pools.  It's nice, but a lot more crowded and touristy.


  1. Another place I'd love to visit!!

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    Richard Fleitas
    Richard P. Fleitas, Psy.D.
    Licensed Clinical Psychologist
    International Diagnostic Solutions