Florianapólis, but friends call it Floripa, is a fun, beautfiul island with a sunny personality in the south of Brazil. It’s a popular summer destination for Brazilians and other tourists flocking here on holidays for a taste of that sweet island life. I’ll share with you my favorite things to do on this ilha da magia (magic island), as it’s called.
Costa da Lagoa trail
This trail feels like a secret garden by the water. It includes climbing some big boulders, but not very challenging. Google maps will show you the beginning of the “Trilha da Costa da Lagoa”. It follows the Lagoa da Conceição lagoon shore to a small village that’s only accessible by hiking the trail or taking a boat. You’ll find several restaurants sitting right by the water, serving seafood so fresh you’ll feel it just jumped from the water on to your plate. I recommend Restaurante Cabral – a bit pricy, but worth it. The trail can be done in about 1,5 hours one way, but take longer to stop for photos and to take it all in. After eating you can either hike back or take a boat from one of the piers.
Floripa has many gorgeous beaches, but Praia Mole was maybe my favorite. It has a youg, hip vibe and a few of cool restaurants. To the left there are big rocks fun to explore and great for tanning and watching the surf. You can also cross them to Praia de Galheta, a more secluded beach.
Barra de Lagoa natural pools
A short walk along a footpath from Barra da Lagoa beach you’ll find this beautiful spot with boulders in the water. It’s a popular swimming and tanning spot.
There are a few spots with dunes in Floripa, and these are perhaps the most well known ones. They make a beautiful setting for a walk and they also have sand boards for hire. Walk along the dunes either to or from Praia Joaquina, another pretty beach with restaurants and a protected corner where swimming is easier in calmer waters.
Hike to Lagoinha do Leste beach and climb the Pico da Coroa mountain
Start from the little village of Pantano do Sul and walk the trail through the Atlantic forest to the beach for around 1,5 hours. It has uphill and downhill, but it’s not a very demanding terrain. I saw surfers walk it barefoot carrying their boards. The beach is only reachable by trails and very unspoiled. From there you can hike up the mountain on your right, a bit more challenging but doable. The views from the top are breathtaking, and so will be your photos especially if you find the spot with the rock sticking out that you can climb. But be careful – it’s no optical illusion with forced perspective – the fall is actually of dizzying heights.
This was my favorite area in Brazil for day and night clubs. Several beach clubs like Café de la Musique line the beach, playing tropical, summery deep house, boasting a décor to match the vibe. You have to hit them during the high season though as they close their doors outside summer months. Visiting the right time Floripa looks and feels like the kind of place where summer is forever, but it actually has surprisingly cool winters.