Florianópolis is located in southern Brazil, and is composed mostly of the island of Ilha de Santa Catarina. Florianópolis, or Floripa for short, has been attracting surfers and sun worshippers for years. It has become one of Brazil’s most popular beach destinations and is famous for its massive parties. Floripa is the ideal location for fun in the sun, offering visitors an endless array of beaches, excellent seafood, quaint Azorean fishing villages, and awesome nightlife. It’s an especially popular stop for young travelers seeking a good time.
Hostel prices – Cheap dorm rooms start at $8 USD per night, but you’ll find most rooms are between $13-15 USD. Private rooms begin at $30 USD for a double room.
Budget hotel prices – Price for a double room with ensuite bath begin at $40 USD and increase as you get closer to the beach. (This rule also applies to hostels.)
Average cost of food – Florianópolis is a big budget travel destination, so there are a lot of cheap food options to take advantage of. It’s easy to find cafes and street food for only a couple of dollars. Sit down restaurants can be expensive here and will set you back $15 USD per meal with a drink. Grocery shopping is very cheap, costing about $20-30 USD per week.
Transportation costs – Local buses cost $1.50 USD per trip. Taking a taxi will cost a minimum of $2.50 USD.
Money Saving Tips
Por Kilo - As with elsewhere in Brazil, restaurants that have you pay by the kilo for your food is a good deal. Look out for these cheap options.
Municipal Market - If you’re staying at a hostel with kitchen facilities, it’s a good idea to stock up on food at the market and eat like the locals. Otherwise, stick to the street food and cheap cafes.
Top Things to See and Do
Nightlife – Named the party destination of the year in 2009 by the New York Times, you know you’re in for a good time when you land in this town. In the summer, most of the nightlife is concentrated around the beaches, while in the winter, the fun moves to Lagoa da Conceição. But no matter the season, there is always a massive party to be found.
Surfing – There is a lot of good surfing in the area, and one of the world’s major surfing events, the Santa Catarina Pro, takes place annually. Barra de Lagoa is just 5 minutes outside the city and is the best beach for beginners. If you’re lucky you might even get to see world champion Jacqueline Silva tearing up the waves in her home town.
Beaches – Probably the main reason that you would set foot in this town is to chill out on the beach. There are 42 of them, many of which have secluded little coves and great swimming or surfing. The beaches in the south of the main island are less crowded than the north.
Sandboarding – If surfing’s not your thing, then you could give sandboarding a try. The island is covered in white sand dunes, and sandboarding is an exhilarating way to spend an afternoon. Basically, lie on a piece of wood and fly down the dunes for just about $5 USD per hour. What a deal.
Try the seafood – As with most islands, seafood is a staple diet, and the fare on Florianopolis is nothing short of delicious. The area is famous for its oysters but also look out for the Seqüência de camarão - literally, “shrimp sequence”. This is a huge meal consisting of a sequence of seafood appetizers and entrées featuring shrimp, crab, fish, and octopus.
Riberão da Ilha – This traditional Azorean fishing village in the southwest is famous for its oysters, secluded beaches, cobbled streets, and colorful houses. The Acoriano Casario church and the Ethnological museum are the two main attractions. Eat your way through the town.
Conceição Lagoon – The centerpiece of Santa Catarina is the magnificent Lagoa de Conceição. Shallow waters and year round high winds make the Lagoon a world-class windsurfing location, while the buzzing nightlife and pretty fishing village of Costa da Lagoa seal the deal. This is possibly the island’s best tourist spot.
Go hiking – Excellent hiking trails can be found on the island’s southern tip. One of Florianopolis’ most beautiful and secluded beaches, Lagoinha do Leste, is only reachable by hiking. There are also plenty of trails around the island’s other great lagoon, Peri Lake.
Visit the Old Forts – The forts were originally built to help combat the threat of invasion from the Spanish in the 18th Century, but nowadays are manned by roving band of camera wielding tourists. You can take a boat to the Santa Cruz de Anhatomirim and Santo Antônio de Ratones forts.
Parachuting – There are many parachuting clubs in the area—some of which include overnight lodging. This can run on the pricey side, but it is well worth the thrill.
Party during Carnival – Brazil is famous for Carnival, and while Rio gets all the press, anywhere in Brazil can be fun. Beginning shortly after the January surfing championships and going through late February, the area becomes a giant outdoor party with food, fun, drinks, crafts, parades, and a lot of dancing. Make sure you book accommodations well in advance.
The Sao Joaquim National Park – Spanning over 50,000 acres, this national park is an endless forest of native plants and wildlife. You’ll need a vehicle to explore this park. If you don’t go with a guide, make sure to take a map as it’s easy to get lost.