In the state of Santa Catarina there are huge tracts of well-preserved Atlantic rainforest.
Florianópolis is the state capital and is an attractive city on an island linked to the mainland by an elegant suspension bridge. The island has 42 beaches, ranging from quiet coves to areas of roaring surf, and combines the aspects of a hectic capital with the delights of a laid-back fishing village.
From July to early October awesome southern right whales, which reach up to 17 metres in length, come to this beautiful coastline to breed. At Laguna, once capital of Guiseppe Garibaldi’s ill-fated separatist republic, fishermen work with dolphins to herd shoals towards their nets. Praia do Rosa, an hour or two south of Florianópolis, is a favoured destination for beach aficionados, and surfers in particular.
Our preferred accommodation
Beach hotel - Ilha do PapagaioIlha do Papagaio is perfect for those seeking an island hideaway retreat, reached after a 5 minute boat ride from Palhoça (just south of Florianópolis). A rustic family-run lodge on a private island covered with lush Atlantic forest with a number of nature trails and wonderful views across a bay. There are one or two small beaches tucked into rocky coves, the main one in front of the hotel's restaurant and bar. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, games room, swimming pool and spa.
Resort - Ponta dos GanchosA 40 minute (40km) drive north of Florianópolis, Ponta dos Ganchos is a luxurious resort with a small private beach on a peninsula. There is a heated indoor pool, cinema, fitness centre, games room, and excellent restaurant. No children allowed.
Beach hotel - FlorianopolisQuinta das Viderias is a replica of a 19th century Portuguese house with antique furnishings and fine doors. It is near the centre of Lagoa so very convenient for shops, restaurants and banks.
Inn/Posada - Praia do RosaA member of the Roteiros de Charme group, this small hotel is on a hill behind the fashionable surf beach of Praia do Rosa. There are lovely views from the pool and rooms.