By Alison McGowan
May 13, 2008

Pousada Mirante de Pipa, for me, was a wonderful find. Having arrived in Pipa after a 6 hour journey, with a confirmed reservation for a different pousada, the promised rooms in the original pousada turned out not to exist. If they had, we would probably never have found the much nicer hidden” pousada, tucked away on re-forested sand dunes at the end of the village.

Mirante de Pipa has 12 chalets dotted about the woods, all rustic in style but very comfortable, with spacious verandas, table for writing and hammock for relaxing. Tiny sagui monkeys, beijaflor humming birds and butterflies keep you company. Breakfasts here are fabulous, and the breakfast area has panoramic views over Pipa beach and the cliffs beyond (with free wi-fi available).

The whole pousada functions on ecological principles, from the design of the chalets to the re-forestation and care of the environment. You will still need earplugs to shut out the noise of the village below at times during the night; the majority of time the pousada is an oasis of tranquility.

About the location
Pipa is the old Ibiza of Brazil and has a similar atmosphere to Praia do Forte (Bahia) and Buzios (Rio de Janeiro) further south. A former fishing village, it has now been taken over by pousadas, bars, restaurants and boutiques. The main street is cobbled and busy with beach buggies and tourists, both Brazilian and foreign. Several tracks go down to the beaches, the further ones flanked by impressive dark pink cliffs. Surfing is great; the atmosphere cool and laid back.

The town has grown a lot in recent years, and attracts the package tourist as much as the individual traveller these days, hence the different feel to the place from others on our trip. Parts of it are still charming, but for anyone looking for “quiet” and “hidden”, the centre of Pipa at least is long gone.

Not to be missed
– Watching the sunsets from the mirantes (viewing points) in the pousada
– A trek over to the Praia do Amor (Love beach), which is like Pipa used to be
– Buggy trip down south to the Coca Cola lake and Sagi
– Gastronomic boat trip down the coast
– Dining at the Restaurante Pacifico: great food at excellent prices
– A caipirinha or two with Marcus, owner of the Coconut Bar at the end of the beach

And then there is the famous Pipa bookshop (usually open from 4pm, but closed on Mondays), where the owner “hangs” books of authors she doesn’t like from the ceiling and refuses to let people “resurrect” (buy) them! She also refuses to lend to, or exchange with, anyone she doesn’t like, which can be quite disconcerting if you find you are one of them!

Getting there without a car
The easiest way is by air to Natal and then airport transfer (R$120 during the day; R$150 at night). Ask the pousada to organise it.

If travelling by bus, take the Empresa Progresso which has the Natal/Joao Pessoa/ Recife line and get off at Goianinha (a stop by the side of the road, not a town as such!). From Goianinha there are buses, vans and taxis at R$30, the latter well worth it, if you don’t know where you are going.

Starpoints at the Pousada Mirante de Pipa
* Location close to the centre, but slightly off the beaten track
* Comfortable, rustic style, chalets, all with verandas and hammocks
* Wonderful breakfasts, overlooking the sea
* Generosity and hospitality of Gisela and all the staff

Try a different place…
– if you have difficulty walking, particularly uphill
– if you have heavy luggage
– if you need/want a pool

Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on alison@hiddenpousadasbrazil.com. Visit her blog at http://www.hiddenpousadasbrazil.com/.

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia