About Florianópolis, Brazil
- Population: 421,000
- Distance from Brasilia: 1,042 miles
- Distance from Rio de Janeiro: 710 miles
Florianópolis is the capital of the state of Santa Catarina and consists of one main island and several smaller surrounding islands.
Photo Credit: Rodrigo Soldon (Flickr: Avenida Beira Mar (Florianópolis)) [CC-BY-2.0]
As the capital of the state of Santa Catarina in southeastern Brazil, Florianópolis is a bustling but relaxed city located partly on the island of Santa Catarina and partly on the mainland, and is rich with history and culture. Called “Floripa” by locals, its beautiful weather, internationally known surfing waves, and island culture make it a wonderful destination for lovers of the outdoors. With an average temperature of 70°F, the sub-tropical climate lends itself perfectly to spending hours outside in the old town or enjoying the island's many attractions, including sand beaches, warm sea, Atlantic rainforest, pristine trails, and wildlife sanctuaries. Whales can be seen in winter. Throughout the year, swimming, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, and other water-based activities are available. (Since Brazil is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed from those in the United States and other parts of the northern hemisphere.)
Floripa locals enjoy a high quality of life. The city has one of the highest Human Development Index scores in Brazil. Pictured here: downtown Floripa
Photo credit: USAC
In a recent survey by Conde Nast, Floripa was named the friendliest city in the world, with "outgoing locals, gorgeous views, and an excellent airport." Set against its gorgeous natural beauty, the city itself is urban and lively while maintaining a laid-back atmosphere. The “cultural capital” of southern Brazil, its cultural and historical sites as well as venues for theatre, music, and sports are easily accessible and always interesting. One of Brazil's most important nineteenth-century poets, João da Cruz e Sousa, was born and is buried in Florianópolis. Entertainment and nightlife is diverse and extensive. Students are sure to find many cozy cafes and entertaining night spots throughout the city, often featuring excellent live Brazilian music. Alongside the museums, churches, and walkways—built in traditional colonial style—students can hunt for hand-made arts and crafts, particularly in lace, glass, shells, and other local materials, for which Santa Catarina is renowned.
In addition to the blend of European, African, and indigenous backgrounds so typical of Brazil, the state of Santa Catarina features heavy German influences, due to immigration from the nineteenth century, with some towns continuing to speak German and follow German traditions, including Oktoberfest. The island on which Florianópolis is located has developed its own culture that is different from the mainland, partly due to immigration from the Azores which begun in the eighteenth century. Even today you can find small fishing villages on the island which retain Azorean roots. The Portuguese and Azorean traditions are also evident in the folklore, the cuisine, and the architecture of the island. The island is among Lonely Planet’s top picks for all of Brazil, with lovely Floripa as well as the island’s forests, cliffs, rugged shoreline, quaint fishing villages, Lagoa da Conceição, and many beaches (ranging from urban, busy beaches to remote, deserted stretches of shore, and including several beloved surfing beaches which host international surfing events each year).