Floripa at a Glance:
Florianópolis (aka Floripa) is the epitome of southern Brazilian beach life. Famous worldwide for its fabulous beaches and attractive people, the capital of Santa Catarina State has grown while preserving quite a lot of the wild beauty that makes Santa Catarina Island, where it’s located, so unique.
Dubbed Ilha da Magia - Island of Magic - Florianópolis is one of three Brazilian state island capitals. The other two are São Luís, capital of Maranhão, in the northeast, and Vitória, capital of Espírito Santo, in the southeast region.
Getting to the Beaches:
According to official statistics by IPUF - the Florianópolis Urban Planning Institute - Florianópolis has 100 beaches. Getting around to all of them is not the easiest thing to do by public transportation. On the other hand, once summer is over, the traffic jams caused by a tight fit on meandering two-lane roads give way to what many Brazilians consider one of the most civilized traffic scenes in the country. In the off-season, Florianópolis is a place where renting a car can be considered a safe option for confident drivers, although not a cheap one.
Read more about driving in Brazil.
Some of the best beaches in Brazil are in Florianópolis, known the world over for the consistency of its surfing at different levels – beginners can get their bearings on beaches such as Barra da Lagoa, while the pros look for peak conditions at Joaquina, site of WCT (World Championship Tour) surfing events, and a host of other beaches, such as Praia Mole, Campeche, Matadeiro, Galheta and the deserted Lagoinha do Leste.
See surf reports for Southern Brazil on Surfline.
Some of the beaches known for their calm waters are Daniela and Jurerê Internacional. Praia Brava and Praia Mole are famous for the beautiful crowd; Canasvieiras and Ingleses, in the north, are favorites among Argentines.
Where to Stay:
Two of the best accommodations in Brazil in their own budget ranks are in Santa Catarina: Costão do Santinho Resort & Spa, on Praia do Santinho, and Backpackers Floripa Sharehouse, on Barra da Lagoa, the most popular hostel among foreigners. Backpackers doesn’t take reservations during the summer, since people just tend to stay on. You've got to call every day to see if there's room, or wait till summer is over, make a reservation and have a blast in the sunny Floripa fall.
Lagoa da Conceição:
Magnificent Lagoa da Conceição, or Conceição Lagoon, is a must-see in Florianópolis. Sand dunes, historical constructions, lace-making, windsurf, kitesurf, a fishing village - Costa da Lagoa and a central area with fun ightlife are all part of the allure.
The lagoon is also one of the best places for sampling the local cuisine. From the upscale Pulau Magik to restaurants serving seqüência de camarão (see below) and hearty seafood meals at the fishing village, the lagoon is an outstanding destination in a city known for its cuisine.
Seqüência de camarão - literally, "shrimp sequence", is a huge meal which usually serves two and consists of a sequence of seafood appetizers and entrees including, besides shrimp, fish, crab, and possibly clamps, octopus or other seafood treats. It's one of the signature dishes of the Florianópolis cuisine.
Oysters are another can't miss attraction in Floripa, the leader in the national production. They are served fresh in all seafood restaurants, but the best place to eat them is in Ribeirão da Ilha, on the southwest side of the island.