While you could easily spend one month in Floripa (that’s how locals call their city), here a few recommendations if you are short on time or are just passing through Florianópolis (Santa Catarina) – a true beach paradise:
There are plenty of accommodation options on the island and depending on what your focus is you can choose to stay close to the beaches on the eastern side or in the city center which serves a transportation hub (especially if you want to rely on public transportation).
If you are arriving at the bus terminal, you can easily catch an uber or taxi to get anywhere at a very reasonable cost. The terminal is located right by the city center, so walking can even be an option if you intend to stay in that area.
Florianópolis’ very modern airport is approximately 14 km/9 miles away from town and you can reach the city either by bus or by taxi/uber.
Four bus lines serve the airport:
Lines: 468 TIRIO – Airport, 477 Tapera – Airport – Carianos, 431 Local Bus Terminal (TICEN) – Airport. The fare is approximately 1.20 USD.
Executive line: 4131 – serving the long distance bus terminal and passing by several hotels in downtown. The fare is approximately 2.20 USD.
An Uber accounts for approximately 8 to 10 USD.
You can start off your day by exploring by exploring Florianópolis, the main city of Santa Catarina Island. Most of the touristic sights are in the historic city center which has many colorful colonial buildings. Close by you find the market place which offers plenty of traditional food options, especially seafood. The northern part of the city center is more modern and here you can also find numerous restaurants and cafes. For specialty coffee, check out Lighthouse Specialty Coffee. They roast their coffee on site and the owner is extremely friendly and knowledgeable.
Just a few minutes away from Florianópolis you find the hiking trail Trilha do Poçao. It is a very easy trail leading through lush tropical forest. After approximately 20 to 30 minutes, you reach the waterfall Cachoeira do Poçao.
Here you can enjoy the sounds of the water, relax a little or even go for a swim in the natural pool right by the waterfall.
Cachoeira do Poçao Waterfall
Florianópolis (Santa Catarina) – a true beach paradise:
Santa Catarina Island has more than 40 beaches, making it easy to choose literally any type of beach environment you fancy. From tranquil beaches to windy surfers’ haven or party beaches. In Santa Catarina, you can find them all!
I recommend you check out the beach Praia Mole which is easily accessible from Florianópolis. If you have the time, you can make a stop at Lagoa da Conceiçao, an inland lagoon as the name suggests. Here you can find plenty of restaurants and outdoor activities such as kayaking.
From Praia Mole you can also walk to Praia da Galheta which is more secluded. Both beaches are separated from each other by some giant rocks which add to the stunning panorama. You can even climb on them to enjoy 360 degree views over both beaches. For snacks and refreshments you can some shacks at the end of Praia Mole.
Rocks at Praia Mole
This trail is definitely one of the most spectacular hikes on the island. It is located in the southeastern part of the island and leads to a gorgeous beach that can only be reached on foot.
To get to the starting point you can either take an uber (approximately 8 USD from Florianópolis) or take public transportation. There are two options for you to discover and enjoy this amazing trail:
– Hike to Praia da Lagoinha do Leste and then just return to the starting point. This takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours each way).
– Hike to Praia da Lagoinha do Leste (approximately 1 – 1.5 hours) and then continue on the trail towards the north to Praia do Saco do Matadouro. This takes approximately 2.5 hours giving you a total of roughly 4 hours hiking time (plus any stops you would like to make of course).
Lagoinha do Leste Beach
The starting point is well marked on the road (a little before reaching the village Pantano do Sul). The first few hundred meters lead through dense tropical forest. After about 45 minutes, you start to have beautiful views over Praia da Lagoinha do Leste.
Once on the beach you can have a cold drink from one of the little shacks. They also serve fresh coconuts and you can even pay by card.
Relaxed atmosphere at the beach
After enjoying this magnificent beach you can either head back to the road or continue on to Praia do Saco do Matadouro.
For the latter you will have to go to the very end of Praia da Lagoinha do Leste (at the northern tip) where you will find the beginning of the second part of the trail. After a somewhat steep ascent you will have unforgettable views over the beach and also over a few cliffs towards the northern side.
Views from the Lagoinha do Leste hiking trail
After about an hour and a half vegetation starts to get dense again but from time to time you will have nice views over the ocean again.
The trail ends at Praia do Saco do Matadouro, a beautiful surfers beach where you can go for a well-deserved swim after the hike. From here you can catch an uber or public transportation to any other part of the island.
Praia do Saco do Matadouro
“Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
– gustave flaubert
Hi! I am Max and in 2022, after almost 12 years in the corporate world, I decided to fully focus on my passion for exploring new countries and cultures, hoping to inspire other fellow travelers and also to provide helpful tips and insights to those currently preparing for their next adventure.