Praia do Rosa
Rock inscriptions at Campeche island
Sao Joaquim National Park
Pedra Furada. Serra Geral Mountain Range
A few good reasons to visit are: its glorious beaches, beautiful lagoons, a thick, lush carpet of Atlantic Rainforest, dramatic mountain scenery and charming colonial architecture... ...so, it’s no small wonder that the locals are relaxed and friendly with all this on their doorsteps!
Florianopolis, the charming capital, is a secret that Brazilians kept for themselves for a very long time. The Island of Santa Catarina, the insular portion of the city, is famous for surfing and its 42 beaches, but it is also a centre for all nautical sports and outdoor activities. The Azoreans settlers left a unique cultural legacy that is best experienced on its small fishing villages. Carnival is one of the most famous in Brazil, being the favourite destination for gay & lesbian travelers that want to enjoy this festival in a friendly atmosphere.
In the secluded bays of the Emerald Coast to the north of Florianopolis you can find the best diving in South Brazil, in the Arvoredo Marine Reserve. Here, currents from the north and south meet, resulting in a great variety of sea life and making it the best place for diving in the South of Brazil. The Emerald Coast is also home to some charming hotels, including Ponta dos Ganchos, one of the most exclusive beach resorts in Brazil.
The southern coast is recognized as the best surfing spot in the country. International competitions come to town every year and surf schools are everyday more popular (and affordable). One of the highlights is Praia do Rosa, always ranking as one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. Famous for whale watching, Rosa is also the only Brazilian member of the “Most Beautiful Bays of the World Club”.
As well as the diving, surfing and the lying on the beach, Santa Catarina is a major center for active adventures and radical sports. The wind and waves draw in the kite and windsurfers, and Para gliders as well. Rafting, abseiling, diving, trekking… in fact most things sporty can be done in this land of outdoors lovers.
Santa Catarina is so famous for its beautiful coastline that most visitors are unaware of its diverse landscape and in special of its stunning mountain scenery.
Nearby Florianopolis, in the Tabuleiro State Park, the Serra do Mar with peaks over 1200 meters high, create a fantastic green background for the coves and bays. The Great Florianopolis region also includes the rafting area of Santo Amaro and the hot springs & Spa town of Caldas da Imperatriz, where you can rest your tired muscles after facing the rapids.
Further inland, the Encostas da Serra Catarinese is a mainly rural region that is home to may organic farmers. From there you can catch a glimpse of the huge walls of the Serra Geral Catarinense. This mountain range, with its numerous jagged peaks that reach over 1800m above sea level, has the most dramatic mountain scenery of South Brazil. Canyons, valleys, waterfalls and highlands make this an ideal countryside for horse-riding, trekking or just relaxing in a charming mountain lodge.
If you are more of a culture vulture, you will be interested to know that besides the spectacular outdoors, Santa Catarina has also a cultural diversity that is surprising even for Brazilian standards. While the cultural heritage by the coast is predominantly Azorean Portuguese, the interior has been occupied by Old World settlers, including Germans, Italians, Ukrainians, Poles, Japanese, and Austrians alongside Africans and the original indigenous people. This cultural diversity can be experienced in the many gastronomic and folk festivals, including the most famous Oktoberfest this side of Munich in Blumenau. But perhaps is the small Pomerode that sums up the European immigrants new way of life: here you will find lush Brazilian tropical gardens alongside the most authentic Germanic architecture.
The busiest time is during Brazilian summer (from Christmas to end of Carnival). This is the hottest and the wettest time of the year as well.
Spring (March to June) and autumn (September to December) are much quieter but still sunny and warm enough to enjoy the beach. These are the best times for visiting the mountains and for all active adventures, as the days are clear and you have wild flowers and migrating birds making a show.
Winter, the season for whale watching, is mild: even in the coldest months (July and August) temperatures don’t usually go below 12°C at night on the coast and quite often reach mid-20s during the day.
With an open mind, you can certainly enjoy Santa Catarina all year around.