Florianopolis, Brazil is quickly becoming one of the hot travel destinations in South America, however, it still manages to maintain its charm. Florianopolis is actually the name of the main city on the island, although many people refer to the entire island of Santa Catarina as Florianopolis. The main city itself has very little tourism appeal, it is featured by large modern skyscrapers, busy streets, and fast food restaurants. Across the island in the area of Lagoa da Conceicao you’ll be treated to a jumping night life and great restaurants. A 20 minute bus ride farther will take you to the area of Barra da Lagoa where you’ll find soft sand beaches, hidden coves and a number of water related activities. One can also find escape on the island as well by heading to the more remote parts of the island where the communities have become very welcoming to the influx of tourist.
Things to do in Floranopolis
- Boat Cruise: A number of tour companies offer boat trips that last a half day and take visitors to more remote parts of the island. Most trips also include a stop at Ilha do Campeche which is a beautiful island just off the east side of the Island.
- Kayaking: It’s possible to rent kayaks or join an organized tour. The coast line of the island is as beautiful as anywhere in Brazil and seeing it from the water offers a very nice perspective.
- Surfing: Surf culture is alive and well in Florianopolis. The best area for surfing is Barra da Lagoa where you find nice breaks and a fairly consistent swell.
- Kite Surfing: The coast of Brazil is quickly being taken over by kites. Kite surfing has become one of the sports of choice and there is enough wind here to keep all participants happy. If you’re interested in learning, there are a couple of schools in town as well.
- Hiking: The hiking in Florianopolis might not be what you expect. Most of the trips, however, are short day walks to look out points and secluded beaches. Pack your bug spray as the mosquitoes are vicious in the brush.
Where to Eat in Florianopolis
Depending on where you stay might depend on how you like to eat. The area of Lagoa da Conceicao has the best restaurants in town and they are all nearby one and other. However, the prices here are a little expensive. Down in Barra da Lagoa the quality of restaurants is thin, but the prices are good as they cater more to the budget travelers. On the main road in Barra da Lagoa there is a “per kilo” buffet that runs about 1US$ per 100 grams of food.
Where to Stay in Florianopolis
The two main parts of town where people stay are Lagoa da Conceicao and Barra da Lagoa. Personally, I recommend staying in Barra da Lagoa. The beaches are nicer, the feel calmer, and the choice of hostels is better. I stayed at a place called Barra Beach Club and it may have been my favourite hostel in all of South America. The location is perfect, the staff is brilliant and everything is very comfortable. They also serve dinner and drinks every night at the bar if you’re up for it. I stopped in to the Lagoa Hostel as well, which is in Lagoa da Conceicao near the bus station, and it looked very comfortable and well taken care of as well.
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