Journal Day 11

Day eleven in Brazil was spent exploring Pipa’s wonderful beaches. I had learned my lesson from the first day, and this time I wore more comfortable shoes that I could switch out of once I got to the beach so that my legs did not hurt walking traversing the hills to get to the beach.

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If you can believe it, the sky was even more blue than in this picture

 

Crab, along with other seafood, is inexpensive along the beach, but some restaurants try to trick tourists and have it surprisingly high in their menu. Doing a little bit of comparison between the adjacent restaurants can save you a bunch of money. I would also highly recommend you only eat at places that have the menu printed with the prices – some might try to overcharge you because you are a gringo, or, more innocently, there is far more opportunity for confusion without printed prices.

 

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Seafood in Northeastern Brazil is amazing!

Minha Namorada (my girlfriend) and I did notice that some of the prices for items from the various beach vendors would change if they heard me speaking. At least once they tried to change the price even after we’d already agreed to pay, but Minha Namorada pushed back and got the price we previously agreed – but you might not be travelling with a local like I was. That being said, the beach vendors do have products that work well – selfie sticks, underwater camera bags, beer, various types of food. Check out the stores as you are heading down to the beach, and you should know enough about local prices in order to haggle successfully. I would not recommend you buy sunglasses from any of the beach vendors though, as you can’t be sure about the UV protection, and sunglasses with no protection can actually be worse than none at all. So, it is important you buy proper sunglasses.

This day I had one of my favourite experiences to date, which was riding on a boat to see the dolphins. The dolphins were wild and just chose to swim near the people because they were as excited to see us as we were to see them. They even let you off the boat to swim in the same area, although the dolphins tended to keep their distance at that point. It was still well worth the money though, as there is something so much more majestic about seeing animals because they choose to see us, rather than seeing them in a zoo where they have no choice.

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Sadly, I didn’t get the dolphins on video, but I wouldn’t recommend you try – its too hard to capture, and you’ll end up missing opportunities to see them with your own eyes
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We found Aventureiro Pipa to be the best company for the boat tour, and they offered a money back guarantee if we didn’t see any dolphins.

We ended the day back downtown enjoying the nightlife. We stopped into a pizza place, because neither of us could decide what we wanted, and pizza is a good default food choice. What I did not expect is how lovely the local twist on pizza tastes. We had carne de sol pizza, which was absolutely wonderful, and I still find my mouth watering when I think about it. Foods like that are the reason I have to diet before I go. I think most people say they put on a pound a day when on a cruise ship, and I’m sure I’m the same when I visit Brazil.

Journal Day 10

 

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Our Hotel in Pipa, the Recanto De Sophie.

Minha Namorada (My Girlfriend) and I had finally arrived in Praia de Pipa. This city had one of the largest nightlife I have seen in Brazil – the streets actually are probably the quietest betwen 7-10 p.m., as everyone is inside getting food before they go out for the night. The street fills with giant crowds and become one large party every night. Given the relaxed drinking rules in Brazil, they don’t mind if you buy a beer from one bar, but then go wandering with the drink in hand (making sure to pay first). This is where I encountered the most amount of tourists during all of the my times to Brazil – our neighbors in the adjoining chalet were British, I overheard German a few times, and it was not out of place to overhear people speaking English in any bar. I really liked the city because it still felt like authentic Brazil, but my Portuguese was not what it is now (although I’m still far from fluent), so I did enjoy the tourist-nature of the city, so that menus were available in English, with most servers understanding me.

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Pipa is gorgeous, with pure white sand beaches, and gorgeous red sand beaches adjoining each other. There is a big cliff face to get down to the beaches though, with natural stairs built into the hillsides, so you need to be careful when walking – bars are mostly located on the beach (of course), but that means you eventually have to ascend the cliff at the end of the day when you might be slightly inebriated. This also means you should bring everything you need with you for the beach, as you probably won’t want to walk up and down those stairs just to grab your Sunscreen or a bottle of water.

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Red cliffs just outside of Pipa Beach

Minha Namorada and I spent the day at the beach, and then went to this beautiful bar that is only open in the evening to watch the sunset – Mirante Sunset Bar. There is a small cover charge to just be there, and the food is nothing to write home about, but the view is absolutely stunning. I took some pictures, but even they don’t do it justice. I highly recommend you visit to see for yourself. The bar doesn’t let too many people in, so that everyone can enjoy their time there, so I’d recommend getting there right as it opens, but every seat is designed to allow you to take in the breathtaking view.

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It rained briefly while we were there, but luckily the rain never tends to stay for long (it tends to be short, intense bursts), and even then the sun still shines while its raining. Sun Showers are actually my favourite type of weather – rain doesn’t really bother me when its 25 and I can still feel sun on the back of my neck.

Praia da Pipa

Pipa is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to.

Pipa used to have a very small population, but as a result of the pristine beaches, and the beautiful horizons, it has become a tourist hotspot. While there are many places in Brazil where people do not speak English (which is actually wonderful – I’ll discuss that later), in Pipa you will find many people that speak English with ease.

We stayed in a wonderful hotel called the Recanto De Sophie,  (which I’ll discuss more later), and the guests in the neighboring chalet were a British couple who didn’t speak a word of Portuguese – we saw them at all the same events we went to, and they seemed to have no issues with getting around.

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I found the main streets in Pipa to have a feel very similar to other places in Canada and the USA which I’ve been, specifically the ones that are themed to be like New Orleans. I’ve never been to New Orleans, only areas themed as such, but I felt a similar vibe.
Pipa has a very vibrant nightlife, which is important because, being near the equator, the sun sets very early in Northeastern Brazil. Every night in Pipa there are large crowds having a street party. In Brazil, it is not unusual to ask for a beer to go, and public drinking is acceptable.

As such, the entire street essentially becomes one big bar. The crowds generally start to grow around 10 p.m., and the parties lasts late into the night.
However, even though the nightlife is amazing, don’t miss out on the wonderful experiences during the day. The beaches are what made the area grow so quickly, and they do not disappoint.

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There are sheer cliffs which mark the edge of the beaches, with man-made paths to descend. This keeps development away from the beaches themselves (although there are always bars nearby), and provides for some stunning views.

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I also saw, for the first time in my life, wild dolphins playing. There is something so much more spectacular in seeing them in the wild, because they are choosing to be with us – they want to be seen.

One important tip though, is to wear very comfortable shoes when visiting Pipa – there are a lot of hilly streets, and the descent/ascent of the cliffs at the edge of the beach is not fun without support. Even though I exercise regularly, wearing only my Havianas led to bad calf pain, and the walks home were quite a struggle.

Another issue is to watch the tide – sometimes when walking you won’t realize just how quickly the tide can come in. Minha Namorada (My Girlfriend) and I were walking and exploring the beach, and we grabbed a quick snack, and by the time we were walking back, the tide had easily moved 100-200 meters in-land. The path we’d walked to get there was still open, but other paths I’d seen people walk had been submerged.