Since 1988, Lagoinha Pequena has been carefully preserved in Florianópolis. Located on the southeastern side of the island, this lagoon has a special ecosystem of flora and fauna, including the coruja buraqueira, or burrowing owl. This is the island’s second largest lake and it covers an area of 27 hectares. It’s a quiet, peaceful spot to swim or practice standup paddleboarding, with a park nearby for kids (or the young at heart).
While Florianópolis’ largest lake isn’t exactly a secret, there are locations around it that offer a more secluded experience than the main tourist area on Avenida das Rendeiras. The first is the Costa da Lagoa trail to Canto dos Araçás. This trail begins at the end of Rua João Henrique Gonçalves and winds through the forest and the lakeside; the two-hour hike is generally quiet and offers more secluded views of Lagoa da Conceição. Hikers can hitch a ride back to the centre of town on a boat that services the Costa da Lagoa community.
Most travellers to Florianópolis enjoy the lake from the centrinho, or little city center area of Lagoa da Conceição, but to get a local’s experience of the lake, head to the north of the island past Praia Moçambique and into the small town of São João do Rio Vermelho. This far northern end of the lake is the perfect place to enjoy the water without a crowd of tourists. A popular locals’ lunch spot is the restaurant Moçamba, which has a lakefront location. Diners can even use the restaurant’s standup paddleboards for a pre- or post-meal paddle.