Florianopolis Travel Guide

Florianopolis is a region in Brazil that comprises the Ilha de Santa Catarina. The island, dubbed “Floripa” for short, has been a popular beach destination for surfers and partiers for decades.

The island is 33 miles long and offers travelers tasty seafood, white beaches, show-stopping nightlife, and quiet Azorean fishing villages.

This travel guide is filled with travel tips to help you plan your trip to Florianopolis!

What to Expect in Florianopolis

What to Expect in Florianopolis

  • Language: Portuguese, as in mainland Brazil!
  • Currency: The Brazilian Real
  • Credit Cards and Banks: Many vendors prefer cash. Most credit cards, especially Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted. US dollars are accepted by many shops throughout Brazil.
  • Climate: The summer season is December to March, and is generally warm and humid with distinct seasons.

Rainy season: The rainiest time of the year is closest to September

Dry season: April marks the beginning on the dry period!

Floripa Beach

Getting Around Florianopolis

Getting Around Florianopolis

Traffic can be really bad around Florianopolis, so be sure to factor in travel time if you’re looking to get around.

  • By Bus: If you need local transportation, the bus system is really cheap and easy to use.
  • By Car: If you need to do a lot of driving, rent a car—it will take you about two hours to travel between the north and south points. 
  • By Taxi: If not by bus or car, you can hail or call a cab. Easy Taxi is a great app for getting cabs in Brazilian cities; just take note that there may not be as many cabs in Floripa.

Bus Ride in Florianopolis

Where to Stay in Florianopolis

When choosing where to stay, consider the location rather than the hotel itself. Staying in a great area in Floripa will make all the difference to your trip.

The Best of Locations in Florianopolis

  • Lagoa Da Conceição 
  • Praia Mole

The Lagoa and the Praia Mole are the “crown jewels” of the island. Here you will find the region’s most stunning natural beauty. They offer fantastic beaches, lush green mountains, soft white sand dunes, and the beautiful Lagoa da Conceição lagoon itself.

The area has stunning visuals but also a large variety of leisure and sporting options such as boating, kiting, wakeboarding, fishing, and swimming suitable for children of all ages.

With its shallow waters and year-round high winds, Floripa offers world-class windsurfing; in the town centers, you’ll find fantastic dining, trendy cafes, nightlife, and boutique shopping—all authentically Brazilian.

Both the Lagoa and the Praia Mole are located in central Floripa making it easy to access the north and south points.

Beaches in Floripa

Helpful Tip:

Most locals and Brazilian tourists recommend renting a house. It’s nice to have access to a full kitchen and, if you’re traveling with a group, there are plenty of larger homes available for rent. Otherwise, there are some smaller hotels and hostels all around the island.


What to Do in Florianopolis

What to Do in Florianopolis

From the historical site to seaside activities, Florianopolis has plenty to do.

  • Beaches: My favorite beach is Praia Mole but check out any of the island’s other 41 beaches. Many have little coves that are great for swimming. You’ll run into fewer crowds in the south.
  • Hang in LagoaThere are tons of activities to do, mostly geared around the water: boating, kiting, wakeboarding, fishing, and swimming.
  • SurfSome beaches are well-known surf spots. Gear up your adventurous spirit with some boarding! If you’re there in October you can catch the annual Santa Catarina Pro.
  • Mangarosa Bikinis

  • Shop for Bikinis & HavaianasHome to the Brazilian Bikini and the most comfortable sandals ever- Floripa is the place to shop! While in Lagoa, check out the Havaianas store and Mangarosa for bikinis.
  • Party in JurerêJurerê Internacional is a high-end beach community in the northwest that hosts parties in high season. Top nightlife options can be found here. There’s nothing like a party at Jurerê Internacional Hotel where you’ll find charm, elegance, fun DJs, jetsetters, and young party goers. You’ll find massive parties anywhere and everywhere you look, especially during Carnival (January-February) or the surfing championships.
  • Visit Campeche IslandCampeche is a Florianopolis island less than a mile off the southeastern coast. Here you’ll find a few trails in the rainforest, waters perfect for snorkeling, and several petroglyph sites. Visits must be scheduled and temporary (you can only stay up to an hour and a half). To get here, catch an inflatable boat or schooner from Praia do Campeche, Armação, or Barra da Lagoa.
  • Hike to Lagoinha

  • Hike to Lagoinha do Leste: This beach is remote and secluded. It is accessible only by trails and is claimed to be the most beautiful beach on the island. To reach Lagoinha do Leste, you must hike for two hours along the steep coast. When you arrive, reward yourself by swimming in a freshwater lagoon or surfing in the emerald green water. Be sure to pack a lunch to enjoy while you’re there!
  • Sand board down Dunas JoaquinaSand boarding is a popular sport at the Joaquina Dunes—it’s basically bodysurfing on sand. The dunes can be up to 200 feet high and you can reach speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour. The dunes are located between the Lagoa da Conceição and Praia da Joaquina—rent boards for just $5 an hour.


What to Eat Florianopolis

What to Eat in Florianopolis

It’s not about where to eat, but what to eat in Floripa! Dive right in and taste what you’ve been missing all your life. The region’s claim to fame is its fresh seafood (particularly the oysters, food trucks, and tapioca. Here are some of the must eats!

  • SeafoodSequência de camarão is one of the most popular dishes in Floripa. It’s a huge dish of seafood appetizers—shrimp, crab, fish, octopus—served with salad and fries. Also, don’t miss delicious oysters baked in cheese—a dish to die for!
  • Tapioca: The dish can be served savory or sweet. Often, sweet versions are served with coconut and sugar. Cuscuz de tapioca is sold by beach vendors and is a popular dish of tapioca couscous with coconut, condensed milk, and sugar.
  • Coffee: As a staple of food and drink in Brazil, you must try some coffee while traveling there. My favorite hangout was at Jack and Jacks– great coffees, nutella croissants and live music in the evenings!
  • Coffee Florianopolis

  • Food TrucksIn Lagoa, don’t miss the Food Truck “Parking Lot.” This food spot features food trucks and a skate park.  
  • Açai Bowl: A healthy and refreshing treat for those hot beach days! The açai fruit comes in a bowl filled with granola, banana, and guaraná sugar. This is the perfect snack for daily energy, especially if you’re planning to hit the surf! Look for it in kiosks and juice bars along the beach.
  • Beach Food: With so many beaches in Floripa, you’ll find tons of unique and delicious beach food. Gobble down grilled cheese on-a-stick, roasted nuts, fresh coconut water, or an acai bowl!

Brazilian Grilled Cheese

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Kiersten Rich
Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.