I spent one year living and working in Brazil. During this time, I travelled all over Brazil but ended up being drawn to Florianópolis and living there for three months. Florianópolis is not a city that’s on many foreigners’ radars. I think it is one of the most underrated destinations for visitors to Brazil, and here’s why.
1. Florianópolis is the Island of Magic
Florianópolis is known to Brazilians as “Ilha da Magia” – the Island of Magic. Need I say more? Although it’s a destination that many foreigners don’t hear about, it is actually a vacation hotspot for Brazilians. Florianópolis is called endearingly by Brazilians as “Floripa”.
2. The Dunas da Joaquina are a sight to behold
My favourite place in Florianópolis is without a doubt “Dunas da Joaquina”: “Joaquina Sand Dunes”. I have been to a lot of places but this was the only time I felt small against nature. When I was among the Dunes, the world went silent besides the gusting wind whirling around me. It was a very special feeling!
On the Dunas da Joaquina you can also rent boards to participate in a very fun Brazilian pastime… “ski bunda” (“butt skiing”). Sit on the board and zoom down the steep hills. Getting down is easy, but climbing back up is not.
3. You can find a beach for every taste
Florianópolis is home to 42 beaches – so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s literally a beach for every taste here:
- If you’re looking for a secluded beach, go to Praia do Mozambique.
- For a busy beach, check out Praia de Canasvieiras.
- For a posh beach with Miami-like vibes, go to Praia de Jurerê.
- If you’re into surfing, head to Campeche.
- For a gay beach, go to Praia do Mole.
- For a nude beach, hit up Praia da Galheta.
Find a spot that suits you, and enjoy a cold beer or caipirinha on the beach!
Interested in more about the beaches? Check out this Florianópolis beach guide.
4. Floripa has gorgeous hiking trails
Even though I’m not generally into hiking, I did enjoy the hikes I did in Floripa, as there is always a wonderful reward at the end of the trail. The best one I’ve done was one to Lagoinha do Leste. The trail starts from Pântano do Sul, with a lot of ups and downs climbing rocks under the scorching sun. To make matters worse I wore flip flops as I did not anticipate the difficulty of the hike. But on the other side of the mountain what awaited us was the most pristine beach of Floripa, with a warm, shallow lake on one side and the rolling waves of the ocean on the other. To leave, we took a fisherman’s boat from the beach to Pântano do Sul.
5. Floripa is home to some of the best nightlife of Brazil
I have partied all over Brazil and I can safely say that Floripa has some of my favourite clubs. P12 is a beach club in Jurerê, with Vegas-like vibes. They regularly book the biggest Brazilian and international talents, playing either electronic music or Brazilian music. The party starts early afternoon and goes on till around midnight, so you can experience both day time partying and night time clubbing!
When to go
High season is Brazilian summer, which is between December and March of each year. If you like crowds and nightlife, go during this time. If you prefer a bit more peace and quiet to explore the beaches and nature, go in the spring or fall.
Where to stay
Lagoa da Conceição is a popular neighbourhood in Florianópolis for backpackers to stay. Although it is not by the beach, it neighbours a beautiful lake. It is also bang in the centre of the island and a convenient home base to explore the rest of the island.
An alternative for the budget-conscious is Barra da Lagoa. It is a fishing village right by the beach and close to the famous beach Praia do Mole.
If you have a bit more budget and want to mingle with the rich and famous of Brazil, Jurerê is the place to be.
Guest Author: Tendelle, Travel à la Tendelle
Tendelle was born in California and grew up in Taiwan. She ended up in Brazil after learning Portuguese in college and becoming fascinated with Brazilian culture. In Brazil, her favourite activities are drinking caipirinhas on the beach and dancing in the baladaon the weekend!