Florianopolis is the capital of the state of Santa Catarina and is made up mainly of Santa Catarina Island. 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. It's known for its popular resort area called Praia dos Ingleses, and Lagoa da Conceição, a stunning saltwater lagoon. This Florianopolis travel guide is filled with travel tips to help you plan your trip to Brazil!
What to Expect in Florianopolis
Florianopolis and Santa Catarina Island have some of the best beaches in Brazil, so be sure to plan some time for the beach at least once on your trip. Floripa has also become a popular destination in Brazil for travelers looking for a new, interesting culture and friendly locals.
Language: Portuguese, just like mainland Brazil.
Currency: The Brazilian Real. The current conversion rate is about $3.87 BRL to $1 USD.
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. If you’re looking for great waves and prime surf conditions, Brazil’s winter months, June through September, are the best time to go. The rainiest time of the year is closest to September.
Getting Around in Florianopolis
Traffic can be really bad around Florianopolis, so be sure to factor in travel time if you’re looking to get around. Most bus routes run behind schedule so give yourself plenty of time!
By Bus: If you need local transportation, the bus system is really cheap and easy to use. There is a yellow bus, called Linhas Executivas, that goes directly downtown from the main beaches for just about $2 USD.
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. Renting can be expensive but it is worthwhile to save time and allow you to explore more!
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 Florianopolis.
Lagoa Da Conceição & Praia Mole (Location)
The Lagoa and the Praia Mole are the “crown jewels” of the island, and here you will find the region’s most 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, snorkeling, wakeboarding, fishing, and swimming suitable for all ages.
Location: Lagoa da Conceição
Price Range: $$-$$$
Hotel Boutique Quinta das Videiras
This boutique hotel is set in an awesome location close to Lagoa da Conceição, and is full of charm and character. The staff are incredible and service is above and beyond, not to mention the spacious and comfortable rooms!
Location: Lagoa da Conceição
Accommodation: 4-Star Boutique Hotel
Price Range: $$
Most locals and Brazilian tourists recommend renting a house. It’s nice to have access to a full kitchen and, if you’re traveling with a group, there are plenty of larger homes available for rent. Otherwise, there are some smaller hotels and hostels all around the island.
Price Range: $-$$$
Costa Norte Ponta Das Canas Hotel Florianopolis
Located on the very northern tip of the island, this hotel offers beachfront rooms and a very friendly, multilingual staff! Clean rooms, with great views—perfect for a dreamy beach getaway on a budget.
Location: Lagoinha do Norte
Accommodation: 3-Star Budget Hotel
Price Range: $
Costa Norte Ingleses Hotel
For around $50 USD a night, you can lounge back at this small but terrific hotel that sits just minutes from the beach! The property boasts an outdoor and indoor pool, a delicious restaurant, friendly staff, and clean rooms. Definitely a great option for any traveler, especially those on a budget!
Location: Ingleses Norte
Accommodation: 3-Star Budget Hotel
Price Range: $
Seafood (Local Dish)
Sequência 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!
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!
Tapioca (Local Dish)
Cuscuz de tapioca is sold by beach vendors and is a popular dish of tapioca couscous with coconut, condensed milk, and sugar. The dish can be served savory or sweet, and often, sweet versions are served with coconut and sugar.
In Lagoa, don’t miss the Food Truck “Parking Lot.” This food spot features delicious food trucks and lots of choices, plus a skate park.
You’ll find tons of unique and delicious snacks sold along the beaches. Gobble down grilled cheese on-a-stick, roasted nuts, fresh coconut water, or an acai bowl!
A healthy and refreshing treat for those hot beach days! A frozen acai and fruit mixture 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.
Visit the 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 and you’ll run into fewer crowds in the south.
Hang in Lagoa
There are tons of activities to do, mostly geared around the water, like boating, kiting, wakeboarding, fishing, and swimming.
Some of the local beaches around Floripa are well-known surf spots. Gear up your adventurous spirit and catch some waves. If you’re there in October, you can catch the annual Santa Catarina Pro.
Shop for Bikinis & Havaianas
Home 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 Jurerê
Jurerê Internacional is a high-end beach community in the northwest that hosts parties during the 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 Island
Campeche is an 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 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 do Leste
This beach is remote and secluded—it is accessible only by hiking 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 Joaquina
Sand 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 USD per hour.
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