A Travellerspoint blog

No Need to Visit Vítoria, Brazil

sunny 87 °F
View South of the Equator on ReneeL's travel map.

So, I was reluctant to leave Búzios after 11 fabulous, fun filled days. Sad to leave all of my new friends and a nearly perfect location, but thus it was time to move on and make my way up to Bahia and Ceare in the northern part of Brazil in search of the perfect spot to learn how to kite surf.

Wanting to break up the 26 hour ride to my next destination, Porto Seguro, I decide to spend a night in Vítoria in Espirito Santo, Brazil. Not only did I not find any information in my handy dandy Lonely Planet guide, which should have been a major hint, but there also weren´t any hostels listed on HostelWorld.com, a second major hint. Still not reading the signs I grab an overnight bus on Aguia Branca from Rio (I had to catch a bus from Búzios to Rio first because there wasn´t a direct bus) scheduled to arrive in Vítoria around 7:00am.

I arrive in Vítoria tired, disoriented, and mapless. Most rodoviárias (bus terminals) have an information booth of some sort, but not in Vítoria, fyi third major hint. I´ve had bigger problems I think. I decide to splurge on a taxi to my hotel but after finding out they wanted to charge me R$15 for a 5 minute taxi ride (I´m way over budget so this is out of the question) I ask where I can catch a bus. Not quite understanding the directions that were being given to me, which of course were in Portuguese, the older gentleman who I later found out was a native Vítorian, kindly walked me to the bus stop where he scribbled the number and destination of the bus I needed to take.

After waiting several minutes and making small talk with some of the other people at the bus stop my bus arrives, #202 headed towards Curva da Jurema. I tell the driver with my best Portuguese accent that I need to go to the Vítoria Cathedral, which is where my hotel is located. I meet a very nice lady on the bus, again a native Vítorian, who had spent some time in Florida and invited me to stay with her at her house. I graciously declined exhausted at the thought of trying to maintain a conversation in Portuguese for the remainder of the day when I know a whole 3 phases and my Spanish is barely understood. The bus driver signals to me that we´ve arrived at my hotel, Cidade Alta. Major hint number 4.

I´m not sure if I had just been spoiled by my last couple of hostels or if this hotel was THAT bad, but I´m pretty sure it was the latter. My filthy, poorly lit, shoebox of a room (this should have been expected for R$30 or $14 a night) was probably tied for 1st place for scariest accommodations EVER! Then to top it off the bathroom, I can´t even begin to explain what was going on in there. I thought about taking a picture but didn´t want to make anyone sick.

I contemplated grabbing the next bus out to Porto Seguro, but trying to be the "glass half full" person that I am, I found a small little market/lanchonete (where they serve basic snack food and juices) where I happily ordered a pão con ovo (egg sandwich) and an abacaxi suco (pineapple juice). I finally decided to stay the night, thinking how bad could it really be, after finding a gym and place with a great Internet connection.

Posted by ReneeL 14:56 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Búzios for Easter

The Peninsula of Búzios, Brazil

semi-overcast 80 °F

DSC01010.jpgInitially, Búzios appeared to be too much of a tourist destination for my taste. However, that changed within a few days of being in the gorgeous, waterfront village. The Nomad Hostel, where Nora and I stayed, was perfectly located in the centro of Búzios right off the main street, Rua de Pedras. This is where most of the restaurants, shops, and bars are located. With an ocean view and the heavenly aroma of fresh Roman pizza coming in from the restaurant next door, this popular Brazilian tourist destination was enchanting. Even with the swarms of people in for the Paixão and Páscoa (Good Friday and Easter Sunday) holiday.

The island of Búzios, as I kept calling it even though it was actually a peninsula, is easy to get around by foot. Everything is centrally located, yet buggy rentals are available and extremely fun to ride in. Nora and I thought about renting one with some other girls we met, but never made it around to renting one.

The peninsula is surrounded by several beaches. Too many for Nora, myself and some Swedish guys we met our first day to see in the short amount of time we had in Búzios so we explored a handful of the ones that were recommended to us by one of the owners of the Nomad Hostel. Geribá was our favorite beach out of the ones we had a chance to explore. It was fun to play in the water at Geribá because the waves were bigger than some of the other beaches we had visited. Also, there is a wonderful petite acaí stand you may want to try while you're there. Other beaches I would recommend are João Fernandez, Ferradura and Tartaruga.

Posted by ReneeL 13:32 Archived in Brazil Tagged beaches travel brazil south_america nomad_hostel Comments (0)

Natural Pools, Ultimate Frisbee, & a Caipirinha Party

sunny 84 °F
View South of the Equator on ReneeL's travel map.

Matkakuvat_605.jpgAnother gorgeous day in Trindade. After our fresh fruit, homemade guava cake, and some brazilian tea Nora and I made our way to the natural pools. A 1200m hike through the forest or a 10 Realis boat ride from Praia do Meio, we decided we needed a little exercise after all the drinking and per kilo restaurants in Rio so we headed for the forest trail located just past Praia do Meio and a small river, as the owner of the hostel called it.

The natural pools were nice, basically just a bunch of large rocks dividing the little "pool" from the rest of the sea, quite similar to the one I went to in Florianopolis. There was a small restaurant close to the pools also located in the forest where you could have a suco or something more filling like fish. I don´t think the restaurant had any electricity because when we ordered Nora´s usual suco, abacaxi con hortela (pineapple juice with mint, may sound unsual but it´s a very common combination in Brazil and it´s very good), the owner used this hand powered blender instead of a traditional one. Interesting. I guess it´s difficult to get all the ammenities that we generally take for granted in the middle of a forest.

We met up with some of our new friends from our hostel, 2 young English couples, 2 American guys, and a German girl, at that pools. Another fun bunch of people we thought. After our sucos and a few hours baking on a rock, we headed back to Praia do Meio via the 10R boat ride and played a game of ultimate frisbee on the beach before heading back to the hostel to make some dinner.

Now, Trindade is a very small, very simple town. There aren´t any ATMs and currently the 2 or 3 internet shops seem to be closed, so no internet access as well. Our new European and American friends invited Nora and I to cook dinner with them, thinking they´d do a curry of some sort or something else a little more fancy like that. Well, I hated to break the news to them that the only cooking options they had were pretty much pasta or eggs, at least while they were in Trindade. So eggs it was for dinner.

Nora and my contribution to the dinner, after failing the "who can chop up onions without crying game," was 2 bottles of cheap vodka and a dozen limes. We preferred the caipirinhas with vodka instead of cachaça, which, I think, tastes horrible and gives you a bad hangover. Well, the cheap vodka didn´t go over too well the next day either so maybe I´ll have to give cachaça another try.

Posted by ReneeL 12:59 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Surfing in Trindade

sunny 84 °F
View South of the Equator on ReneeL's travel map.

Matkakuvat_661.jpgAfter successfully hiking 400m through the jungle with 2 very heavy surf boards Nora and I made it to Praia do Cachadaça where we were going to try to do some surfing. We were actually pretty impressed with ourselves given the fact that we had struggled with hike the previous day without the boards (some surfer guy with a surf board ran up the trail right in front of us!!!).

Nora has surfed maybe a dozen and a half times before and I have had maybe 3 really bad experiences attempting to learn how to surf so I don´t know why this sounded like a good idea, but it did. End result, same as before, I´m not a surfer, I´m a snowboarding....two completely different things!! The waves were getting up to about 2 or so meters and crashed pretty frequently making it very difficult to learn, but apparently it was a good day for surfing for "real" surfers because there were several other surfers out there having a great time (Nora included) and some were very good. Interesting thing about Brazilian surfers, that I haven´t seen anyway else, is that some of them surf without a leash!!!

I think some of the surfers felt bad for me and decided to try to help me out by giving me a little instruction on how to surf. Unfortunately, it was in Portugese so I only understood some of the gestures that the guy had made. Oh well it was a nice thought anyways. Later that evening we joined our brazilian surfer friends and several other people at Praia do Rancho for a bonfire. Several people switched off playing guitar as others sang these beautiful Brazilian songs. Not wanting the night to end I was one of the last people to leave. The waves crashing along the beach, millions of stars, bonfire, great people, it was a great night!!


Posted by ReneeL 03:58 Archived in Brazil Comments (1)

Trindade, Brazil's Hidden Paradise

sunny 84 °F
View South of the Equator on ReneeL's travel map.

DSC00805.jpgI was so happy I was able to convince Nora to extend her travels for a couple weeks and to come to Trindade with me. We had so much fun in Rio together I couldn't imagine it ending there. Besides, she wanted to get a little more surfing in before she left for Finland and I wanted to learn how to kite surf so heading to another beach town together was a perfect idea!

We arrived in the small, but charming little village of Trindade sometime around 11:30pm. Exhausted from the long series of buses (the last of which felt more like a rollercoaster ride set in the middle of a jungle rather than a bus), but too excited to sleep after realizing where we'd be spending the next several days we immediately found our hostel and then made our way back to explore our newly found paradise!

The hostel we stayed at, Trindade Sea and Forest Hostel, was lovely. Set in the middle of the Atlantic Rain Forest it resembled a little wooden cabin more than a hostel, and we basically had it all to ourselves (or at least the first night we did)!!

We had intially planned to spend three days in Trindade but quickly changed our plans to a week after our first day. The village itself is very small comprised of 2 main roads, a couple dozen restaurants and shops, and, from what I heard, 1000 residents during high season (roughly January to mid March) when thousands of Brazilian and Argentinean vacationers pack the village streets. Lucky for us high season just ended!

Posted by ReneeL 04:28 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

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