The Magical Island of Florianópolis
The slogan of the city, The Magical Island, has a good reason to be, the city is a mixture of a metropolis and nature dirtying and cleaning your soul at the same time. The beaches are small pieces of the paradise and, besides being just one big city, the neighborhoods look like small villages that might take you to a time travel. If you visit Brazil, Florianópolis should be added to your list of places to go.
5 days in Heaven with some doses of Hell
Every year this island in the south of Brazil gets more and more crowded. The main tourists around there come from Argentina, but the Europeans also show a lot of presence. Besides the touristic aspect, several Brazilians living in big cities like São Paulo or Curitiba, find their escape-solution in Florianópolis and end up moving to the Island. This is increasing the traffic jam making it a bit stressful to go from one point to another. This happens mainly with the tourists that want to visit the several beaches from North to the South and end up facing few hours on that slow stop and go. The locals usually don’t have to cross the island several times a day.
On the other hand, there are the beaches. Fine sand, refreshing water, some with nice waves and some with a peaceful water movement. All of them have this paradisical aspect bringing all the peace needed after facing some car lines. The beaches structure makes it easier to stay longer hours enjoying the water or laying under the sun, because there are bars along the beaches and you will also see many vendors walking around selling all kind of stuff: ice creams, barbecue cheese, alcoholic beverages, juices and even clothes.
We spent 5 days in the island and a local friend could show us all around and helped us to dive in the local culture. We have been to beautiful beaches, enjoyed the local cuisine in not so popular restaurants, we bought really fresh oysters from a local fisherman that had just take it from the sea and we had a lot of contact with the friendly and welcoming people from the island. In the end, the traffic jam ended up being just one small thing near to all the amazing days we had there.
Try to be a local as well
While travelling around, if you have time, always try to be as local as possible. This will bring you some incredible experiences and will increase your travel around 70%. You should visit all the touristic points, but also adventure yourself in not so touristic places and understand the local culture. Of course, be always aware about the violence in the city and don’t get yourself in trouble or risky situations, but try to be more local. Having a friend around or meeting someone that can show you the corners as well can be a great help!
While in Florianópolis we have been through different neighborhoods. Like I said earlier in this post, besides being just one big city, the neighborhoods look like small villages and each of them can bring you a different aspect. The city center can show you the change from the old to the new. The neighborhood Santo Antônio and Sambaqui will take you back in time and show how Florianópolis was born. Some other corners can tell you a bit of the wars they had to fight and taking a boat inside the huge Lagoa da Conceição (a beautiful lake) will take you to a part of the lake that you can reach by car and you will see how the locals can live their life using boats to go all around.
Where to buy what?
If you have a chance to cook or you enjoy the fresh Oysters experience, go to Santo Antônio and find the local fisherman to buy really cheap Oysters. If you want to have really nice fresh fishes and shrimps, go to the Municipal Market. Instead of buying the first thing you see, give yourself some time to look around and ask them about the freshness of the fishes and sea food. They are honest and will help you to get the best options for the best prices.
We have been to 5 beaches: Santinho, Lagoinha, Joaquina, Barra da Lagoa and Matadeiro. We also went to Santo Antônio and Sambaqui to eat (they are also beaches and the restaurantes are at the border).
Our favorite one to lay down and enjoy was Matadeirom because is not so touristic and it was not so full. The water was amazing and it is pretty wavy. At this beach some live music was going on with a guy that was making some guitar and voice of brazilian music improving the experience even more. Getting to the beach also increases the feeling. There’s no direct access from the street to the beach, so you must walk a 10 minutes trail with a pretty nice view!
Joaquina is super beautiful and also very touristic. It is a pretty crowded beach, but the view of is worth it. There are some rocks where you can walk over and have an amazing view from the beach. This beach also has some dunes where you can slide down, but we didn’t get to check it out.
Lagoinha was the beach we went right after Santinho, just to see the water difference. While Santinho is wavy, Lagoinha is calm and chill. The only bad aspect was that the beach was pretty crowded making Santinho our favorite for the day.
All beaches have pretty fine sand.
Costa da Lagoa
In Florianópolis, pretty much in the central part of it, there’s a huge lake called Lagoa da Conceição. This lake has a big part full of bars and restaurants. There’s also a part of it where you can’t go by car. You need to take a boat in the main area of the Lagoa and it takes around 40 minutes to one hour to get to the village. In the middle way there are some other villages, but they just have houses where many local lives. The fun fact is that every small village has a “boat-stop” to pick up and leave the people that goes to the other side to work, study, go to the doctor, shopping, etc. It’s a pretty nice experience!
When you get to the stop number 17 you will find a nice area with some very local restaurants with home-made food and also some bigger ones by the shore. In this area there’s also a waterfall (cachoeira in Portuguese). Small, without a direct fall over the small lake that the waterfall creates, but a nice place to chill down.
If you’d rather adventure yourself a bit more, instead taking the boat, you can also make a trail of around 2 hours following the lake shore. The path is already made so you don’t need to worry too much. Just be aware of snakes and enjoy your walk!
‘Floripa’ we’ll be back!
Definitely the island is a place to come back. If you are visiting the south of Brazil it is much cheaper to go to ‘Floripa’ to enjoy some amazing beach and nature than to go to North/Northwest of Brazil. Florianópolis is a magical island and you will miss it as soon as you leave it.
Date of our visit to Florianópolis: 05 – 08.03.2017