How to go from Natal to Pipa

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Going from Natal to Pipa should takes between 1 and 2 hours, depending on how you go.
There are no airports in Pipa. Also, as of early 2006, there is no pier to dock a yatch in Pipa.
The most common ways go to to Pipa are driving your own (or a rented) car, taking a bus, taking a buggy tour (all the way along the beach) or being driven by someone else.

Driving your own car

The pink line in the map below shows the main roads connecting Natal to Pipa.
This route comprises about 15 km in the urban area of Natal and Parnamirim, then about 45 km in the federal BR-101 as far as Goianinha, then about 19 km in State road RN-003 as far as Tibau do Sul, and then about 7 km in a local road to Pipa.


going from Natal to Pipa

Map of the main roads connecting Natal to Pipa

  • The international airport of Natal is located in the city of Parnamirim. If you are flying into Brazil and going directly to Pipa, there is no need to enter Natal.
  • The roads within Natal and Parnamirim are well paved and signalized.
    Throughout the year of 2007, there shall be men at work along the federal highway BR-101; this road will have its width doubled, to meet the increasing traffic. Read here to check road conditions. Speed limit is 110 km/h, except where signs say otherwise. This highway has no night illumination, no medical assistance along the way. Be particularly careful in the days immediately before and after holidays, when crowds from Natal are going back and forth.
  • Fill up in the gas station in Goianinha. There is no gas station in Tibau and Pipa.
  • The State road RN-003 and the local road from Tibau do Sul from Pipa are well paved, but are narrow and with many curves. Always exercize care; remember that Brazilian drivers are not the most well educated in the world.
  • It is possible to take a State road which follows along the beach as far as Búzios, and then divert to the main BR-101. This is a good option if you are in Ponta Negra; the road which follows the coast is called Rota do Sol, and is marked in purple at this map of Ponta Negra. To go all the way along the beach, you must take a buggy or a 4WD (read below).

    Taking a bus

    This is the cheapest way to get from Pipa to Natal.
    Buses from Natal to Pipa leave from the main Rodoviária. Take bus #66 to go from Ponta Negra to the Rodoviária.
    The company Oceano Express operates micro-buses (30 seats) to Pipa. Ticket is R$ 8.50 (about US$ 4) per person (prices in mid-2006). There are ten buses each way from Monday to Saturday, and only four on Sundays and holidays.
    Time table: from Monday to Saturday, buses leave Natal at: 7:15am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11:30am, 1:15pm, 2:10am, 4pm, 5:15pm and 6:45pm; from Pipa to Natal, buses leave at approximately the same times, but a bit earlier.
    On Sundays, buses leave from Natal to Pipa at: 8am, 10am, 4pm and 6:15pm.
    Remember that delays are common. Call (or have your hotel desk call) Oceano to confirm; phones are 3205-3656, 3203-2440 and 3205-3833.
    To move between Goianinha, Tibau and Pipa, the best way is to take local vans, which cost about R$ 1. Goianinha is small, you will soon spot the main roads where vans pass by.
    People coming from Recife or João Pessoa will drop off at Goianinha (tell the driver you are going to Pipa); there are usually taxi drivers hustling passengers, but if you can, use the local vans. Also, it is possible to go from Goianinha (but not from Tibau or Pipa) to Recife or João Pessoa; the "bus station", in this case, is the kioske of Viação Progresso.

    Buggy trips

    One of the main tourist attractions in Natal is the buggy trips along the beach. These trips cover all the coast of the State, going North, towards Galinhos, and South, towards Pipa and beyond. Read more about Pipa buggy tours and other Natal buggy tours.
    Notice that these are one day trips. You leave Natal in the morning and come back in the afternoon; there is no discount if you bring your luggage and stay in Pipa. These trips are good if your focus is Natal, and you want just to take a look at Pipa and the southern beaches.
    There are many other buggy operators in Pipa which also offer trips.

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