“You’re the last passenger, off we go!”
The poor guy was standing on the sidewalk with the puzzled look of someone who has no idea what has just been said in Portuguese.
Trust me, I know that look.
“Ah, Argentinian,” the van driver/day trip guide assessed. “Perfect, you can sit in the front with the Argentinian girl.”
That would be me. In Brazil, in my spare time, I’m not French, living in Canada, and married to a Chinese—I’m Argentinian. I’m Argentinian because I’m not Brazilian, and apparently this is the only other citizenship option available in Brazil.
The Argentinian guy was actually from Argentina.
He quickly understood I wasn’t Argentinian because I asked “¿Cómo te llamas?” instead of “¿Cómo te chamas”? Busted. Argentinians have… ahem… a bit of an accent in Spanish.
It was already 9 a.m. and I had been sitting in the van for almost two hours. The driver picked me up first and it took a while to drive from hotels to Airbnbs, from pousadas to random meeting points to finally get to twenty sleepy people eager to explore the coast of Natal.
We had all I signed up for Pipa—where else?
Pipa beach is super famous in Brazil and possibly abroad as well, who knows. It’s always the same story—a fishing village, then a surfers paradise, then a backpackers stop, then at one point it ends up on Instagram and the town becomes gimmicky and crowded.
I don’t hate Instagram, by the way. I just hate the way some people use it.
Pipa is still small, with the main Avenida Baía dos Golfinhos and two Instagrammable streets—the Rua do Céu with painted cobblestones and another one with red lanterns. The rest is a chaotic mess of souvenir shops and pousadas. I don’t think I would enjoy staying in Pipa, it feels a bit Tulum-ish.
But how about Pipa beach? It’s… nice. But it’s also very crowded, and I’m sure it was much nicer when tourists weren’t lining up for boat trips and when you could actually see the sand.
The Argentinian guy and I were stuck together for the day as the only two accidental solo travellers. The rest of the group were already big groups, families of four or five. Of course, we didn’t have to stay together but it’s just easier on such trips to keep an eye on the clock and on bags at the beach.
He turned out to be an easy partner. He was probably in his early sixties, a teacher, and he was living in Ushuaia (!), spending a week in Natal.
“That’s crazy! How many flights did it take for you to get there?”
Four. Or five. I forgot. I mean, Ushuaia is literally the end of the world.
I strolled around Pipa for a while to take pictures, then I joined him at the beach for about an hour. We walked back to the van together. Next stop, heart-shaped Praia de Amor.
Now, this beach was amazing. It’s very close to Pipa but it’s a completely different vibe. It’s hidden at the bottom of tall cliffs—the stairs are brutal—and it’s half rough sea, half natural pools. This is where we spent most of the day, and this beach alone was worth the trip.
The sun was already low in the sky when we got to the last beach, Praia do Madeiro, but the view from the cliffs was amazing.
Second and last day trip in Natal… time to move on to the next destination!
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