The Top Things to See and Do in Santa Catarina, Brazil

Could this view tempt you away from family Thanksgiving?
Could this view tempt you away from family Thanksgiving? | Marchello74 / Adobe Stock
Will Lees

There is only one state farther south than that of Santa Catarina in Brazil, but as far as the list of most beautiful, Santa Catarina ranks right at the top. This part of Brazil has a touch of everything: dense jungle, glimmering beaches, great nightlife, wild nature, Latin flare, European influence. Although it’s roughly the size of Portugal, it is one of the smaller states in the country, meaning that exploring most of it is very manageable. If you plan to visit, don’t miss any of these attractions.

Serra do Rio do Rastro

To get a good idea of the range of contrasting topography that Santa Catarina has to offer, visit the jaw-dropping sierra known as Serra do Rio do Rastro. Venture inland from the golden beaches of Florianopolis, to this rugged, mountainous terrain—high enough to receive dustings of snow. It’ll be hard to believe you are in the same country, let along the same state.

São Joaquim National Park

Right in the middle of the ridge of Serra do Rio do Rastro, and a touch north, is the National Park São Joaquim, home to a variety of Brazil‘s most untouched nature. With rugged scenery that looks like something out of the Avatar movie, the star of the show is the impressive, natural rock archway, the Morro de Igreja.

Morro de Macaco

Similar to the island peninsula of Santa Catarina, just north is another outcrop of land, home to the beach towns of Bombas and Bombinhas. If you cross over the steep ridge and visit Praia Mariscal, you will be treated to not only an enormous, pristine beach but also a great hike. Short, but lined with views all along the walk the Morro de Macaco, hikes end with a mind-blowing view of the thin strip of land with curling beaches on either side.

Explore Florianópolis

Santa Catarina is home to some amazing sights, and spending at least one day exploring this island paradise is an absolute must. You have the markets and nightlife of the city of Florianópolis, often shortened to Floripa, to the north of the island is the historic town of Santo Antônio de Lisboa and the fortress of São José da Ponto Grosso, and, as you turn the north bend and head south on the east side of the island, little beach towns and the golden coast open up before you.


From Praia da Rosa, Garopaba and Imbituba in the south, the whole island of Santa Catarina, and Bombas, Bombinhas, Praia Mariscal, and Balneário Camboriú in the north of the state, you are simply spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches in Santa Catarina. To put it in perspective, the island has a beach roughly every 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), making for a picture-perfect coast.


If you like to surf, or want to be a beach bum for a little while and learn, you will find every type of wave in Santa Catarina, and will avoid the big, intimidating surf crowds of places like Rio de Janeiro. Ilha Santa Catarina has some world famous surf breaks, like Joaquina, but there are beach towns and cities lining the whole coast worth exploring as well.

Malacara Canyon

Riding the border between Santa Catarina and Brazil’s most southern state, Rio Grande do Sul, is the Malacara Canyon, which strangely translates to Canyon Badface, as you will be sporting nothing but smiles. With some of the most incredible nature in the Santa Catarina province, here you will be treated to a drier type of foliage covering the deep, impressive canyon.


We weren’t kidding when we said it has European influence, as this city will have you feeling like you are right in the middle of Bavaria. Especially in October, when Oktoberfest is in full swing, as this 17-day long festival in Blumenau is the third-largest on the planet and is as authentically German as you can get.

Beto Carrero World

With so many outdoorsy things to do on the island, it’s sometimes nice to just switch off and have some mindless fun. Thankfully Santa Catarina is home to one of Brazil‘s premier amusement parks. A huge tourist attraction since its opening in 1991, Beto Carrero World, named after its creator, is the largest amusement park in South America, and has recently partnered with DreamWorks Entertainment and Universal Studios, to take their rides, performances and even zoo, to the next level.

Ilha Campeche

Off the town of Campeche, you will find a small chunk of rock known as Ilha Campeche, which is covered in jungle, sprinkled with white sand, and rimmed with multiple shades of postcard-worthy blue water. This location will be home to some of the most jaw-dropping photos you take during your time in Santa Catarina.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.