Florianopolis bridge - Rainbow Gate
Florianopolis Gay Flag - photo Aqui Rola site
Florianopolis Bar do Deca in Praia Mole - photo by Roney Pereira
Florianopolis Gay Pride- photo Aqui Rola site
Florianopolis Gay Pride - photo Aqui Rola site
Gay Outdoors Club Florianopolis
Campeche beach in Florianopolis
Southern beach in Florianopolis - photo by Nicki Price
Praia do Rosa guesthouse
Summer time in Praia Mole - photo by Dennis Hensley
Summer evening at Praia Mole- photo by Dennis Hensley
Girls on the Gay beach - photo by Roney Pereira
Praia Mole catwalk - photo by Dennis Hensley
Recently, however, Floripa was outed and became the third destination in Brazil most visited by gay & lesbian travelers. The city is especially popular with gay men during summer, but it should be a must visit destination for anyone, anytime of the year, especially if you are on your way to or from Buenos Aires or visiting other parts of Brazil.
A few good reasons to visit: glorious beaches (some people say there are 100 of them!), lush green mountains, beautiful lagoons, laid-back and safe atmosphere AND gay-friendly.
With a history that resembles San Francisco, having even its own “golden gate”, Floripa has always been a magnet for alternative life-styles. In the past it was a provincial capital that was known only for its gorgeous beaches, quaint fishing villages, and excellent surf, but since the late 70´s it has had an influx of migrants from all walks of life. In the 80’s a lot of artists and old time hippies started to move to Santa Catarina Island attracted by the beautiful nature, and by its laid back atmosphere. Since then, people from all over the country (and many foreigners) were attracted by its many universities and quality of life, and came to settle down here. This created a tolerant and open-minded community that is very welcoming to gay and lesbians.
For gay and lesbians visitors the initial attraction was Carnival with its famous street parties with the Bloco dos Sujos, groups of cross-dressing men, being one of its oldest traditions. In the midst of this permissive atmosphere, gays always felt at home.
In recent years G&L Carnival grew bigger and bigger, with the Pop Gay competition, a beauty contest for Drag Queens and transgenders, establishing itself as the biggest event in the Carnival calendar. In 2008, in its 15th edition, 50 thousand people attended the event. On Carnival Saturday, the Samba Schools Parade congregates many local gays.
Alongside these festivities, there is also a variety of parties to cater for all tastes. Since 2005, major electronic music label parties and the biggest G&L clubs from other parts of Brazil have made their headquarters on the Island, attracting thousands of young gay people, turning Floripa into a serious contender to be THE biggest G&L Carnival in Brazil.
Another major event is the Semana da Diversidade, the local Pride Festival. Now on its third edition, it has been a success since the beginning. The Pride Festival lasts a week and offers besides the Parade, cultural events in Casa da Diversidade, the LGBT headquarters for the week, and the Diversity Games, a unique sporting event in Brazil for gays, lesbians and allies to socialize through sport.
The Pride Parade itself happens on the weekend, and it is one of the most important in the South. The first edition attracted 30,000 people, representing almost 10% of the city’s population. Check www.diversidadefloripa.com.br for more information and dates.
Besides its parties and festivals, it is still the beaches that draw the crowds, and as there are so many of them, you won’t have any problem finding one that suits your taste or mood.
The northern beaches are the favorite territory of families, as the sea is warm and calm, but the upmarket resort of Jurere International attracts many gays to its sophisticated bars and restaurants. This area is very busy in the peak season (December to February) but still worthy a visit, although if you want tranquility then you might be better off visiting outside summer.
The East Coast (Santinho, Moçambique, Mole, Joaquina) is a great place to `hang ten’ with the surf dudes, and the young, trendy crowd. Praia Mole is the trendiest, with the left-side of the beach, near Bar do Deca, being the gayest stretch of sand south of Ipanema! Next door is the optional nudist beach of Galheta, accessible only by foot, also a very popular area with the gay crowd.
As you go south, the beaches get wilder and even more stunning. Campeche, Armação, and Pantano do Sul are mainly used by locals, and still have a strong fishing community.
Campeche has a sizeable gay and lesbian resident community, and the beach itself, one of the most fashionable nowadays, is also a good meeting point. Nature lovers will be in their element in the South too, as they will find two of the most remote beaches there: Lagoinha do Leste, probably the most beautiful in the island, and Naufragados. Both can only be accessed by trail or boat.
Praia Mole is the hub during the summer, but clubs and bars downtown are open all year around. Lesbians seem to prefer the southern beaches with Praia dos Açores by Pantano do Sul being a favourite one. Although the scene downtown is mainly frequented by gay men, the places are all mixed (as in most places in Brazil) and lesbians looking for nightlife will not be left out. In fact, most of the women’s parties are not in clubs but organized by local bars. They are normally advertised on the local community sites (see below). As it happens all over the world bars open and close with an amazing speed. Check before you come for updated info on best bars and clubs.
Just one hour north of Florianopolis is Balneario Camboriu, a seaside resort that attracts the gay crowd looking for a busy nightlife. Together with nearby Itajai, it’s known as one of the best places for electronic music in the country bringing top DJs from all over the world for the delight of a mixed gay/straight crowd.
Other main towns like Blumenau and Criciuma also have an active G&L nightlife.
If you are not looking for just nightlife then you should spend a few days outside Florianopolis. On the south coast you will find even more beautiful beaches. Praia do Rosa, the only Brazilian member of the “Most Beautiful Bays of the World Club”, is one of the most famous. It is a rustic-chic place, with excellent restaurants and some charming and friendly guesthouses, ideal for relaxation and romance. If you want to visit the whale sanctuary to see Southern Right Whales nurturing their young, then plan a visit between July and November.
For a more active holiday, head to the Serra Geral Mountain Range. Peaks rise to over 1500m, and overlook high plateaus covered in Araucaria forest, pristine rivers, and cascading waterfalls. You can easily spend a few days here. The activities are as varied as they are at sea level .You can trek through mountain landscapes rich in flora and fauna or horse ride through cattle ranches in true gaucho style. It is also a fantastic place just to relax in a cozy and friendly mountain lodge for a few days.
Although we are a gay-owned company, we are not exclusive, but we make sure our services and hotels are gay-friendly.
In Florianopolis, there are many gay-owned guesthouses and whenever possible, our packages in this section are based on them. Where this is not possible, we choose hotels that have committed themselves to a good and friendly service to our gay clientele.
Passport Magazine/ USA
• Brazil's rising star: Florianopolis
• Florianopolis, Brazil
• Florianopolis - Brazil's new gay hot spot
• Dennis Henley does Carnival Brazilian style | part 1 | part 2
The New York Blade