Florianópolis – Brazilian Travel
I never thought I would visit Florianópolis, or Floripa, Magic Island as the locals call it. It’s a lovely place in the Santa Catarina region of Brazil — it has long picturesque sandy beaches, very hot and humid weather and it’s impossible to live without AC. Here are some cool tips on what to see and do in this island city.
Florianópolis is a city that is separated by several areas. Most popular areas are Jurere International, Canasvieras, Lagoa da Conesciao, Campeche and Centro and they are spread out all over the island. To reach some areas you will need to drive for about 45 minutes or more. Luckily Uber is cheap and somewhat reliable.
Jurere is a very fancy area hosting the islands biggest and best nightclubs, expensive modern houses, busy beaches and a variety of restaurants. Locals call it the “Beverly Hills” of Floripa and as you can imagine, Jurere is also quite pricey compared to other parts of the island. The area is further away from other parts of the island as it is located at the northern end — so just to reach the airport it will take you about an hour. Jurere’s most notable nightclubs are P12, Terazza and Milk — all very big clubs with international DJs. If you plan on partying a lot during your stay here and don’t mind the high prices — this is the place for you.
Canasvieras is relatively very close to Jurere — also on the northern part of the island. It is more of a family place filled with tourists. There are pirate boat rides and beaches packed to capacity — filled with food vendors and other gimmick salesmen. I wasn’t overly impressed by that area as it made me feel like I was in Phuket — every minute someone was asking me if I wanted to book a pirate boat ride. I choose not to do the ride — everything would be in Portuguese so it wouldn’t make any sense to me.
Lagoa area is very different to the rest. Lagoa has a hippy vibe. This place has a shopping area, lots of cheap hostels, a massive lake, beaches and sand dunes. In both the centre and by the lake, you can find some nice restaurants, supermarkets, clothes shops and cool activities. It’s a really nice spot if you want to try stand up paddle boarding or sand boarding on the sand dunes facing the lake.
I’d recommend catching a boat and exploring the distant villages on the far side of the lake. Catch a boat across the lake and you will find villages with no cars and barely any internet. It’s a great place to disconnect from the world, enjoy the silence and just relax. There are small shops, some restaurants and a lovely waterfall where the local villagers go to relax and to cool down.
On the other side of Lagoa you will find 2 very nice beaches — Mole and Joacquina Beach — here your best option is to hire a surfboard and enjoy the waves!
Campeche has wonderful beaches, coffee shops, many stores and is a very safe and quiet area.
If you’re in Campeche, be sure to try some amazing Açaí bowls— this place has many vendors! I also become a regular at a great bakery who conveniently also made delicious coffee. A surf and holiday feel — everyone is happy and relaxed ensuring a very nice vibe.
Centro is the city centre, accessible from land by a large bridge — at night it is lit up superbly and is a good photo op. Centro has plenty of nightclubs, shopping malls, markets and restaurants. In my opinion it looks pretty run down and feels dodgy — at least in some areas. I didn’t really enjoy my trips to Centro as it was quite far from all the other nicer parts of the island but it does have some good malls if you need to shop.
Here’s a few facts you should know about the city
- Wifi is not very accessible, you will be able to use it either at home or in a restaurant/bar/coffee shop. To get a SIM card you will need a passport to activate it or have Brazilian documents.
- Açaí bowls are a must try! I avoided this for some time now, even when I was living in Australia I didn’t want to try them. Now that I’ve tried it and I am hooked. There are many places where you can buy an Açaí bowl — even the supermarket.
- If you visit during the high season they have these amazing food truck food parks — I’ve spotted several of them and visited one — it was awesome. Lots of food choices, band playing, children playing and a very relaxed, community environment.
- Uber is very popular, super cheap and can get you anywhere – have an Uber app installed. It’s more reliable and safer than taxis.
- Do not drink tap water, buy 5-10l of filtered water at your nearest market. It’s cheap and it won’t give you water poisoning.
- Learn basic Portuguese as 90% of people that I interacted with do not understand English. Google Translate is a good option too.
- Many people smoke cigarettes, so don’t get offended if you’re surrounded by smokers
- If you’re coming for the Carnaval, be sure to book weeks in advance as accommodation prices go up during that period.
- Main supermarket to get food and necessities is called HiperBom
- Be aware of your surroundings, do not flash expensive phones and cameras, and most importantly – do not accept drinks from strangers (beware of drugged up Magic drinks) as bad things might happen