Tag Archives: Florianopolis

Exploring Florianópolis’s Southern Beaches

10 Oct

The popularity of Florianópolis, an island off Brazil’s southern coast, increases year upon year. Every wealthy Brazilian has a holiday home there, regular flights from Buenos Aires and Montevideo bring plenty of tourists from the more Southern countries and for many travellers heading inland from Rio it’s their last chance of a nice beach. This has led to a tripling of its population in the last 40 years and huge amounts of development on the island. Something, its basic road infrastructure has struggled to deal with – traffic jams are incessant! This has led some to question its ‘beach paradise’ status, but there is hope. Much of that development has been occurring in the North, especially in Canasveiras (full of Brazilian holiday homes) and Barra da Lagoa (a village of gringos and hostels). The South remains largely untouched, and is definitely worth investigating.

Although getting a bus during rush hour could lead to you regretting ever stepping foot on the island, the bus system is actually very effective. Get on any bus and as long as you don’t leave a terminal you can go anywhere you want on the island without paying more than the very cheap initial fee. Taking a bus south will lead you to Armação, where there is accommodation, shops and a cashpoint (the last one for a while!) The Armação and Matadeiro beaches are full of Brazilian families playing frescoball, amateur fishermen with hopeful-looking sticks in their hands and the odd tourist catching some rays, but the real gem is Praia da Lagoinha da Leste, a 3 hour walk along the coast. The route is quite hilly but the view as you round the last bend of the cliff and see the beach open up in front of you is nothing short of breathtaking. It will take another half an hour to get to the beach from the top, by which time you will be ready to dive into the crystal clear water and revel in the fact that you’re most likely one of the few people to be enjoying it.

Taking a further bus south from Armação leads to Costa do Dentro, the last stop. There are a few guest houses here, a hostel and a couple of shops, but little else. Well, little else except for three very charming beaches and a beautiful landscape to explore. I spoke to Marcelo Piccolo, who owns Albergue do Pirata, the only hostel in Costa do Dentro. He says that “the south of the island represents what the island was like in earlier eras. It’s the area which has preserved the majority of its history and culture.” This is why the South is so alluring to me. The North may host the grander parties, with worldwide brands such as Pacha arranging club nights, but the South has the true beauty of the island at its heart. From Costa do Dentro it is possible to follow trails up into the mountains in the far Southern corner. One of these trails leads to a beach called Praia dos Naufragados, another remote stretch of sand that ticks all the boxes in the paradise stakes.

As the island’s population increases the danger is that more development will occur in the South and these claims of preservation will start to become more optimistic than realistic. Marcelo certainly accepts this likelihood but is prepared to fight against it: “There are many people interested in developing on the island, obviously with financial ends. It is up to us to make sure we stop that from happening.” Considering the amount of interest currently in Brazil and the forthcoming World Cup and Rio Olympics now may just be the right time to explore of one of Brazil’s many natural splendours before it disappears.

Good Friday

10 Apr

I feel a little like Bobby Brown first thing in the morning; bewildered, confused, wondering what´s taking Whitney so long with those bleeding eggs.

I´m not sure I was ready for the city just yet. Wishing I could get out of bed, make my way to the porch, lie in a hammock and listen to the trees while occasional cats come by to say hello, with Daniela making some amazing lunch in the kitchen which she is about to tell me is ready.

I think I had it pretty cushy in that house of the forest. I may just have to go back there at some point.


Beaches In Brazil – Does it get much better than this?

4 Apr

Hold on, I almost forgot to talk about the beaches. They are surely the best thing about Florianopolis. There’s 42 of them in total. 22 of which have waves good enough for surfing. Some of these beaches are on the main roads, some are hidden away behind mountains begging to be trekked to. Everyone I went to was a complete sauna, with hot stones and everything.

The best beach by far is Praia da Lagoinha do Leste. Take a bus to Armação. 10 minutes walk south from Praia da Armação is Praia do Matadeiro. A further 2 hours walk from Matadeiro is Lagoinha do Leste. The walk has to be one of the best I have ever done. There are so many false corners, putting your heart in your mouth as you know there is going to be a beautiful beach coming soon. After 3 false corners, the beach opens up. A tasty mile of open beach with clear blue waters, bunched in by green mountains on all sides. I never wanted to get in the ocean so much.

Lagoinha do Leste

Lagoinha do Leste

Praia Brava is another of my favourite beaches. Only problem was the amount of handbags around me. I think it must have been clearing out day at the old people’s home.

Praia Brava

Praia Brava

I thought this photo looked a little bit like the cover of On The Beach. Now I´m not so sure.

Look, Neil Young!

Look, Neil Young!

Who´s this then?

Who´s this then?

Okay, so what other beaches were there.

Praia do Pantano do Sul & Praia da Solidão – amazingly quiet beaches, perfect for strumming a few chords in the afternoon or having a nap

Praia do Saquinho – about 2 rocks on this beach. One of which had some young couple perched a top. I think this is the place for an evening snack

Praia de Naufragados – I never reached Naufragados. I tried to trek but gave up when the heat got to me and I had ran out of water. One day I will find you Naufragados!!!

Praia da Joaquina & Praia Mole – perfect surfing beaches. Get your wetsuit on though cause it´s a bit chilly out there. Kinda like skegness, but without the constant stream of baby buggies

Praia da Barra da Lagoa – crowded beach, full of surfers but no waves. On a good day probably worth getting the board out. Otherwise just sit and watch the girls go by

Praia do Pantan do Sul

Praia do Pantano do Sul

The perils of trying to find a house in the middle of a forest at night (without torchlight)

4 Apr

Okay, so one recommendation. Don’t try to find the house of the forest at night.

Maybe I was let down by the directions. It was 3 houses and a path to nothingness before I got an affirmative “yes, this is the house of Murilo.” In truth, once I reached it I knew it was going to be the one. The lights emanating an orange glow off the adobe brick and wooden frames within, dreamcatchers strewn across the porch with an unruly red leather armchair taking centre piece.

Tonight I need to relax, one of the housemates is ill. Things should be different tomorrow though. It’s jam night. I´ve already got my eye on the triangle.

The House of the Forest, it´s in there somewhere!

The House of the Forest, it´s in there somewhere!

Time to relax

1 Apr

The migraine has subsided! For my last 2 weeks in England and week in Rio and Sao Paulo I have had one brutalising headache. The constant need to do things, the constant party and the struggle for sleep had all played their part in this, but finally it has gone.

The main contributing factor to the end of this migraine: doing absolutely nothing. For the past three days I have done nothing other than sleep, cook, eat and walk. My only spot of surfing leaves me looking like the japanese flag as my sun tan lotion application skills truly fail to hit the spot.

I could live here

I could live here