Cruising Pipa, Brazil

Pipa is a Magical little town situated in the largest ecological sanctuary in the State of Rio Grande do Norte. A formerly quiet fishermen’s village with cobble stone streets, breathtaking views and warm waters, Pipa got ” discovered” by surfers internationallyin the late 70’s. It’s population and cuisine is almost like a ” Little Europe”… Nowadays, it’s a Gem for surfers, kiteriders ( Pipa means ” Kite” in Portuguese), down to earth, ecological, independent travelers that enjoy Nature. As well as for Lovers seeking for the perfect romantic spot. We landed in Natal, the closes big city and took a transfer for an hour and a half into the Beautiful jungle. Our Incredible Hotel awaited. Pipa has a great selection of Pousadas and Hotels and even hostels to choose from. Make sure if you stay by the beach, that your hotel’s STAIRCASE is in good conditions!!! Ask ahead since hotels by the cliff have 200 steps to go down to the water. We saw several in awful conditions and that could really be a challenge for your stay. Pipa has several Dreamy beaches, we stayed at Praia Do Madeiro but in a full day you can actually take a walk by all the local, Beautiful beaches. Towards the North side, you’ll see incredible, breathtaking cliffs that look almost hand painted, the earth changing it’s colours before your eyes as you blink! Praia da Casimbinhas is on your way to Tibau do Sul, where Lagoa de Guarairas is. This incredible phenomenon will amaze you as a sweet water lake merges into the ocean giving place to all forms of life such as beautiful pink dolphins, camaleons, turtles, lizzards…The entire Pipa area will amaze you. Watching the sunset at Tibau do Sul is a definite must!

Walking toward the South from Praia do Madeiro, you’ll run into Praia Do Amor, Bahia dos Golfinhos ( Dolphins’ Bay) where waters are very calm, there’s less surf and you can actually spot dolphins and relax from the wind as the mountain surrounds you. Pipa is a very windy area, so come prepared, whatever that means to you! ( And thank the wind, otherwise temperatures would be waaay higher! ;-D ).

Every single day, if you hang around long enough, you’ll get to make BEST FRIENDS with the local little monkeys that come by to say hello, looking for bananas, papayas, cashews and anything you’ll offer them! They’re kind, friendly and don’t bite.

Most hotels have transfers for a few bucks;  you can schedule pick ups and drop offs and go downtown Pipa to dine, shop, enjoy fun nightlife ( downtown Pipa is well known in the area for it’s Ecological vibe, Surf and Nightlife) and walk all the way passed downtown and stumble as we did with the ” real town” where it may not be so glam or cool but it has -THE BEST- restaurants the town can offer!

Pipa will bewitch you, even upon arrival you’ll see large coconut plantations, impressive cliffs, white sand dunes, coves and precipices. All surrounded by pristine , warm turquoise waters which you’ll be able to enjoy every day sipping some coconut water straight out of the fruit, kicking back and wishing time will stay still for ever!




Traveling through the Argentinean North

” I would never again be the same. This is the magic of travel. Any travel.  You leave your home secure in your own knowledge and identity, but as you travel, the world in all its richness intervenes. You meet people you could not invent; you see scenes you could not imagine. Your own world, which was so large as to consume your whole life, becomes smaller and smaller until it is only one tiny dot in space and time. You return a different person.”

( From Letters to my Son, by Kent Nerburn)

Martin and I decided to take a drive through the Argentinean North from Cordoba, where we live….It’s a 10 hour drive taking the freeway.( Make sure you bring enough food and lots of water since there aren’t enough stops on the way!!!)

The best way we found, is to make sure you have hotel arrangements in Salta, and from there take day trips. We stayed in a very reasonable yet beautiful Hotel in Quebrada de San Lorenzo. It’s 10 minutes from Downtown Salta, but you definitely need a car , otherwise, if you’re walking, we saw plenty Hostels and Hotels in the Downtown area.

From there we went to the Saltworks or “Salinas Grandes”in the Province of Jujuy, all the way North, almost by the limits with Chile, Cachi, a dreamy small town within the Salta Province where we found “Olivers” -THE- best empanada restaurant we’ve ever been to. The owner has been flown to London to special events just to make his famous Empanadas Saltenãs that are like no others in the country! Cachi also has a Fantastic Archealogical Museum and a Beautiful Church.

Salta is a wonderful, colonial city filled with amazing churches, there are a couple Museums, one of them is the World known Museum of the Llullaillaco children. Inca Mumies, sacrificed as children, kept in the Ice for hundreds of years ( very interesting, very well done, pretty morbid for my taste, being a children’s Art teacher and Art Therapist, couldn’t get through the end…). Here’s a website on it…

Salta is very impressive by night, make sure you spend an evening walking around or dining…Churches are glouriously illuminated!

Driving everywhere through such hights, we found ourselves dizzy while we kept seeing people everywhere chewing something , the actually looked sort of like squirrels!!! 😉 So we asked around and we found out you can chew coke leaves ( hojas de Coca) and it helps tons with the dizziness…You can ask around ( people are very friendly) or find your little bag for $ 10 Argentinean pesos ( about a buck or two) and problem solved!!!

Driving North from the Province of Salta, we went through the amazing Salta Jungle, passed through a dessert filled with an incredible variation of cacti and ruins that date hundreds of years and we finally reached Purmamarca,  in the Province of Jujuy.

Now THAT was our Absolute Favourite!

It’s home for the Cerro de siete colores ( Seven colour Hill). We realized for next time, we’ll definitely stay there a couple nights. Although small, this Magical little town stole our hearts; it’s got this Incredible Hill that steals the scene as its background, a wonderful market where you can find regional gifts for yourself and to take home such as hand made sweaters, blankets, preserved fruit, belts, dolls that imitate the ancient dolls Inca children used to play with and delicious Restaurants. Plenty of Hostels and EVERYTHING there is walking distance. If you stay overnight, you can take a small hike ( guided or on your own) up the Seven colours Hill and just delight your eyes with the view of Gorgeous Purmamarca.    ally hostal

Salta by night

Salta Church by night

7 clores

Seven colours Mountain, Purmamarca, Province of Jujuy

salta ruins martin

What’s left of an Ancient home….on our way to Purmamarca, Province of Jujuy

martin n ally purmamarca

Purmamarca, Province of Jujuy

purmamarca market  Purmamarca Market

salt owl

Saltworks…Jujuy, almost at the limits with Chile!

franklin sister lamb ally best New Friends! 😉

cachi church

Cachi church, Province of Salta

devil's throat the monk

Calchaquies Valley; ” The Devil’s Throat” and ” The Monk”, Amazing rock formations the entire way!

federico n ally

Purmamarca: Hangin’ with Baby Federico! ❤

salta winery

” La Esteca ” Winery

I, as a crazy Animal lover, was so excited to see Llama everywhere! At some stops, people sell their regional sweaters, jewlery and blankets and there , just like dogs, sit their pets, very sweet Llamas that will cuddle up to you, and you can take photos with by leaving a small donation 🙂

After our eighth day we finally started our way back to the Province of Cordoba. We said goodbye to relaxing Salta and it’s kind people, and in a blink of the eye we were going through Cafayate, still in Salta. It’s a town located at the central zone of the Valles Calchaquies ( Calchaquies Valley) . It sits 1,683 metres (5,522 ft) above sea level. Many of the most impressive sights in the Valley ( due to Incredible Rock formations that ACTUALLY have names and look like things such as a Frog, or a Monk) of the Rio las Conchas ( Conchas River) (Quebrada de Cafayate) are along the paved, 183-kilometres-long National Route 68 that goes from Salta to Cafayate….. And get ready!!! since you’ll find Delicious to the sight and buds wineries along your way!

….After a 10 hour drive, we finally got back to Cordoba, welcomed by our Beautiful Sierras, amazing fresh green sights and weather…a nice break after so much desert on our way!!

It’s been a couple months now, and as I close my eyes, I can still feel the quiet, from Salta’s Mountains, when I’d open our Hotel window every day…being received by Birds, the colonial rooftop view and gorgeous trees in a protected area ❤