Split between mainland Brazil and Santa Catarina Island on the Santa Catarina coast, Florianopolis ("Floripo" to the locals) has increasingly been regarded as one of the great beach destinations in the world. Because of this, a tourism infrastructure that includes a number of high end resorts has augmented the charming fishing community vibe that exists at the south end of the city, making for quite a crisis of identity. One on hand, Floripo's commitment to tourism has garnered plenty of international attention (and a nod as one-time, New York Times' "party destination of the year"). Consistently viewed as much safer and more affluent than alternatives like Rio or Sao Paulo, home to forty-two beaches (a pittance, really), and a nightlife that thrives everywhere from the flashy, overpriced dance clubs of Jurerê Internacional to the sands of the Lagoa da Conceição. On the other hand, while there a few lovely remnants of colonial architecture downtown (Catedral Metropolitana for one), any sense of history undiluted by tourism lives in the commercial fishing boats and preserved town centers that still cling to long-practiced ways of life. Take a stroll through Ribeirao da Ilha or Santo Antônio de Lisboa for a strong sense of this side of Florianopolis.
The best part about owning such a mixed identity is that Florianopolis caters to any type of traveler, from backpackers to the rich and famous, with its exceptional selection of seafood, surf, sunshine, and its personification of Brazil through both (wo)man and nature. From the peaks of the Serra Geral mountains to the shores of Joaquina and Praia Mole, there are plenty of activities to keep a traveler's days filled with adventure, and a nightlife that is above and beyond what you'd expect of a city of just above a million. Get off-the-beaten-path with the prodigious canyons of the Aparados da Serra, treks through forest to sandy, isolated coves (Lagoinha do Leste), or the moderately-sized mountains and waterfalls of the Serra do Tabuleiro. End these epic day trips by mingling with the locals at the lagoa or at one of the numerous clubs and venues throughout Centro. It's also only a short trip to Green Valley (one of the most distinguished superclubs on the map) if you can't find a summer beach party to suit your interest.
A world of Azorean fishermen and sun-baked surfers located on an envious plot of island and coast, the word has gotten out about Florianopolis, making it a highly sought after travel destination at both the domestic and international level. And while most paths have been traveled with regularity, there are plenty of surprises in store for discriminating travelers. And we haven't even mentioned the genuinely German city of Blumenau, known for its microbreweries. Or the scarcely seen puma, which slinks through the mountains of Sao Joaquim National Park. Or how about Bar do Arante, the restaurant literally covered from floor to ceiling in slips of paper with scraps of communication between travelers? Browse our adventure, culture, nightlife, and cuisine pages for more information on what awaits you in Floripo; and once you've experienced this city, come back and let the rest of us know what you though.