For 6 nights and 6 days we stayed at the Santa Catarina Island, in Florianopolis. We already had higher expectations but the experience was even better.
Florianópolis is the capital and the second largest city of Santa Catarina state, in the South region of Brazil. It’s composed of 3 parts: Santa Catarina Island, a continental part and the surrounding small islands. It is ranked as the country’s 3rd highest Human Development Index, known for having a very high quality of life.
We stayed at my cousin’s house in Ratones (north of the Santa Catarina island), a place almost forgotten by tourists and full of nature. We were so lucky to stay there, in a house that seemed to be part of an enchanted children’s story. Our favourite stay until now! Surrounded by family, tasteful food, nature and dogs - couldn’t be better actually!
During 6 days we had time to explore several places around the island and also to finalize the car documentation we needed to cross borders (we will write about this in a future post). Each part of the island is different with distinctive beaches, places and people. And according to our experience this is how we “split” the island:
- City centre (“old town”) – From colonial buildings to new ones with pedestrian streets, churches, a museum and a market. A quick visit to the city centre is mandatory in Florianópolis!
- Praia Brava – Like the name suggests, this wild beach is less developed, less crowded and closer to the nature (specially when compared with Jureré or Canasvieiras). We liked the beach here so we spent half a day enjoying the sun and the sea.
- Lagoa da Conceição & Moçambique & Barra da Lagoa – Lagoa da Conceição (Conceição Lake) is probably one of the most visited places in the island. It is very beautiful and there are two viewpoints to take gorgeous pictures and admire the view: Mirante Morro da Lagoa and Mirante Ponto de Vista. Driving is also nice in this area since the road is just between the sea and the lake (scenic views!). Moçambique and Barra da Lagoa are the beaches closest to the lake and they are absolutely beautiful. They are even wilder than Praia Brava but the white sand and the rough sea make it worthwhile.
- Joaquina & Campeche – These are very famous beaches too, crowded but more popular and less pretentious that Jureré. Joaquina was the beach we chose to stay for almost a full day due to its proximity to some places to eat and nice sand/sea combination.
- Santo Antonio de Lisboa – One of our favourite places with several old buildings full of History. Views from the sea and mainland can be seen from any of the restaurants/coffees that surround the town.
- Armação & Matadeiro – Armação is a small town with a small beach just across the road. Through a pedestrian bridge it’s also possible to find Matadeiro beach (where we stayed for a couple of hours).
- Ribeirão da Ilha – This is the oldest town in the island, founded by Azorean people and with lots of buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries. It is also famous for one of the best restaurants in Florianopolis: Ostradamus – we totally recommend this place where we went for our last dinner at the island.
- Jureré & Canasvieiras – Very touristic beaches and towns where you can find restaurants, coffees and shops. You can also find Argentinian people everywhere so we heard more Spanish than Portuguese conversations around the beach.
- Estrada do Sertão - This unpaved road connects the southeast (Açores, Armação, Matedeiro) to the southwest (Caiacanga, Ilha das Ostras, Ribeirão). We crossed the mountains through this unpaved road by car and the views were pretty amazing!
Next stop: Cambará do Sul!