An enchanting island off Brazil’s southern coast, Florianópolis – or Floripa, as it’s known to locals – is regarded as a special place filled with gorgeous beaches, great surf and delicious seafood. But there’s plenty more to discover on this island, particularly for the adventure sports enthusiasts. Check out these reasons you should get to Floripa this year.
Floripa has more than 40 beaches around the island, several of which are only accessible by foot or by boat, making it a fantastic location to soak up the sun in peace. The beaches offer different vibes, too, from the surf beaches like Praia Mole, to the more party-oriented beaches like Jurerê in the north. There’s a perfect beach for every personality in Floripa, so spend some time discovering them all.
Modern city amenities
Floripa offers the best of both worlds offering not only excellent beaches but also a thriving city center. There are plenty of hotels, shops, restaurants and even a few museums to discover in the city, locally known as the Centro. Floripa also has two universities and plenty of foreign language schools for travelers who decide to learn a little Portuguese.
Samba, forro, rock, sertanejo, reggae, electronic — Floripa has it all when it comes to music. There are plenty of venues to choose from as well, including low-key bars, clubs and large concert venues. Concerts happen all throughout the week and the year, making it easy to find your favorite groove, or experience a new type of music on the island.
This sport is gaining popularity quickly on the island, thanks to easily accessible launch spots, great winds and even better views. There’s also paragliding schools that work with beginners on the Joaquina dunes to make sure each pilot is comfortable on the ground before getting airborne. Tandem flights are also a popular option for taking in sweeping views of the island with a professional instructor handling the wing.
Being an island, it’s no surprise that Floripa has fantastic seafood. In fact, the island was originally colonized by fishermen, and some of the old fishing villages and traditions still exist today. One common fish is tainha, or mullet fish, that is inexpensive when caught during the season, which lasts from May through to July. During this time certain beaches are closed to surfers to allow fishermen the best access to the tainha, as they fish with nets from the shore. Floripa also offers plenty of modern sushi options, too, making it a great destination to get a seafood fix.
With more than 20 yoga studios on the island, this activity is easy to find no matter where in Floripa a traveler is staying. There are a variety of classes and styles to choose from, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Bikram and Ashtanga yoga classes. There’s even aerial yoga classes at select studios, or head to Barra da Lagoa to enjoy a class held right on the beach.
This is one of Floripa’s most popular sports thanks to the plethora of beaches and options to catch the perfect wave. Surfers follow the swell from beach to beach throughout the island, and even beginners can enjoy the sport. There are several surf schools that offer lessons in English, Portuguese and Spanish, with the best beginner’s spot at the beach in Barra da Lagoa. Advanced surfers will enjoy Praia Joaquina, where there are frequent surf competitions at national and international levels.
With a large area of dunes that stretch from the lake to the ocean, there’s no reason not to try sand boarding in Floripa. Boards can be rented by the hour from either the lakefront location, Lagoa da Conceição, or on the road to Joaquina Beach. There’s also the option to rent a sand sled, for which it’s best to go on a day that’s not too windy. This is a wonderful way to get an idea of the diversity of Floripa’s environment.
There are a wealth of options for hiking in Floripa, including lighter day-hikes to cool, clean waterfalls and swimming holes, or more intensive hikes that lead to secluded beaches where adventurous hikers can choose to camp overnight. There are hiking options all over the island, so no matter where travelers stay there are opportunities to get outside and experience the dynamic natural beauty of Floripa.
Brazil’s variety of fruits is truly spectacular, and Floripa’s markets offer the best way to experience these exotic fruits like passionfruit and star fruit fresh from the farm. There are markets held in different locations, including within the city center, Lagoa da Conceição, Campeche and all throughout the island. The markets also offer organic vegetables and locally sourced products like honey and artisan crafts.
Jurerê is well known among Brazilians as a hotspot for nightlife. There are various beach clubs that offer concerts year round, though the most popular performers come during the summer months. This is also a great time to check out the beach club pools. Enjoy lounging poolside during the afternoon and bring a change of clothes to get ready for the concert at night. There are plenty of clubs to check out in the city center as well that offer parties year round.
Windsurfing and kitesurfing
The largest lake in Floripa, Lagoa da Conceição, is a haven for wind and kite surfers all year round. The easily accessible lake and often favorable conditions make it perfect for surfers of all levels. There are classes available for beginners, but more experienced surfers can rent equipment in Lagoa and head straight to the lake.