Florianapolis is renowned for being home to Brazil’s most beautiful. So naturally this was a destination that we both agreed needed to be included on the itinerary.
For anyone that hasn’t been backpacking round Brazil for a good few years like myself, the internet has had a strange effect. No longer are there crowds of people waiting for the buses at all the tourist destinations ready to sell you their guest houses. They don’t need to as they’re probably already booked up. All of the decent hostels have websites and listings on the likes of Booking.com and Hostelworld. And the young backpackers sit at breakfast with their smartphones and tablets hooked up to the free wifi, booking beds in their next destination.
In some ways this is great – no lugging back packs around 10s of guest houses in the heat after a 22 hour bus ride. However, you really need to know which part of town you want to stay in before you see it.
We knew we wanted to be on Ilha do Santa Caterina, but we didn’t really know where. Luckily, we seemed to manage to book into one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in, in the perfect spot on the island. Barra Beach Club in Barra Lagoa.
The hostel is right on a semi private beach, the bar has one long view of the sea and the private rooms face the ocean, meaning that you fall asleep to the sound of the waves. The staff were the friendliest yet, surf boards and laptops are free to rent, the breakfast is incredible (by incredible I mean there is fruit, cereal, smoothie, bread, cheese and a toastie machine) and each evenining at 7 they give you a free caipirinha in the bar – meaning that Ollie and I got to make friends even though we weren’t in the little dorm house/hut type things.
Eastern Beaches of Ilha do Santa Caterina
Barra Lagoa boasts one of the longest beaches of the island. On a sunny day it’s alive with surfers, sun worshipers and volleyball-ers. Happy chaps wheel brightly coloured carts along the sand selling fruit smoothies with or without a kick, and hippies set up shop in the shade to sell their hand made jewellery.
Our first day was pretty cloudy so we amused ourselves by jogging as far along the beach as we could. We saw:
- 2 dead penguins
- and some vultures.
We’re not certain if the two had met before.
Praia Galheta and Mole
The following day was bluebird, so we decided to try the “short and easy” hike over the hill to Praia Mole. “Short and easy” doesn’t mean you can wear flip flops though, I have discovered. I wouldn’t even have called it easy in fact, it was actually quite steep and a bit treacherous.
I regretted my footwear decision even more when a large, black, velvety tarantula ambled across our path. Wouldn’t want her nipping at my toes.
Anyway, the views up top the hill were incredible:
As were the views when we reached the beach before Mole; Praia Galheta.
We’d been told that this was a very gay friendly beach, but to me, it looked like an old nudist man friendly beach. Getting into the spirit, Ollie made like the locals and ran in for a skinny dip. I have a rear view video that I will post should he publicise the pictures of the random girls’ bums that he’s got.
Both Praia Galheta and Praia Mole are two of the most beautiful beaches that we saw on the island. The waves also seemed bigger here than at the Barra beach. We didn’t therefore attempt to surf, but it was beautiful watching the pros carve them up.