Unexpected Brazil: Travel in Vitoria, Espirito Santo

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Vitoria. Photo by Flickr/Vinicius Depizzol
Vitoria. Photo by Flickr/Vinicius Depizzol

Beaches in Vitoria, Brazil

If you like the beach, I would recommend visiting the neighborhood called Ilha do Boi. This is a wealthier neighborhood that has several secluded beaches that offer some of the best views of the ocean. There are even a few islands that you can swim out to if you are really trying to work off those hot dogs.

Oh, and you can’t go to a beach in Brazil without trying the fresh coconut water served au naturale right from the shell.

Not every moment of my trip was beautiful. Brazil is a breath-taking country, but it is also ugly at times. There is extreme poverty as can be seen in the favelas (ghettos). There is also crime as was on display during the recent police strikes in Espirito Santo. But much like life, the ugliness gives way to beauty.

This was apparent to me after meeting a homeless man outside a street bar. He didn’t want my money; all he wanted to do was play his guitar and sing a song for my girlfriend and I. His rendition of “Pretty Woman” is still a highlight of the trip.

If you ever ask someone who has been to Brazil what it is like, they will probably tell you about the people and their energy. And I am no exception.

Despite the disparity of socioeconomic classes, what unites Brazilians is their passion for life. From the nightclubs to the streets of the favelas, I have never met a more welcoming and engaging people. Even without speaking a lick of Portuguese, I left Vitoria with a sense of connection to this effervescent culture. And that is ultimately the goal of travelling.

After reflecting on this trip my advice to you is this. Find your “Vitoria” and explore the heck out of it. If people only traveled to the iconic tourist destinations seen in the movies, many of the world’s gems would go unexplored.

This is not to say Paris, Rome and Tokyo aren’t worth every penny you’ll pay to visit them. But I have learned that the greatest joy of traveling is discovering something unexpected.

Things like:

A surprising run-in with a band of urban-dwelling monkeys.

The best hot dog I’ve ever had.

A picturesque view that rivals any in the world.

This is what I discovered in Vitoria. Now it’s your turn. Go explore somewhere new, even if you can’t point it out on a map. You’ll be surprised what you find.

If you go to Vitoria or elsewhere in Brazil:

Visit Brazil Tourism

Language: Portuguese is a very difficult language even for those who have a good understanding of Spanish. Having a dictionary or translation app on your smartphone will help you communicate. Luckily many Brazilians speak English as well.

Money: The Brazilian currency is the Real. Because the value of the Real has been rather inconsistent in recent years, I would recommend tracking the exchange rate and exchanging your money prior to your trip. I used Travelex Currency Services.

Hotels: Ibis is a good hotel chain in Brazil. Very affordable and you are guaranteed a clean room and good service. There are also plenty of high end hotels in Vitoria as well.

Author Bio: Mark Blank has a degree in Communications Studies and a background in Journalism and Marketing Copywriting. He currently works in marketing while writing as a freelance travel writer on the side.