1. Balneário Camboriú
This beautiful city is located on the northern coast of Santa Catarina. In addition to the monument to Christ (which changes colors at night and has nice restaurants at the bottom of it), it is the main route to the waterfront, called Atlantic Avenue and a cable car that brings you to a view of landscapes with the sea on one side and mountains on the other. There is also Brazil Avenue, where you can find the Atlantic Mall and a lot of other shops, bars, nightclubs, and nice restaurants to spend your time there. The beach itself is not one of the cleanest, but you can’t miss the city if you enjoy nightlife and going out to eat- you’ll find a great diversity of barbecue and seafood restaurants as well as facility to communicate in your own language!
2. Itapema and Porto Belo
Where to start from? I’ve lived on both sides and I find them really amazing! What separates the cities are only a small bridge that you can cross walking, that’s why they’re together
So… Itapema! There you have touristic points, a variety of restaurants and bars and activities at the beach. Starting by the main points to visit you may want to go to “Ponte dos Suspiros” which means bridge of sighs, located in the center. Another nice spot is “Praça da Paz” (Peace Square) where there is Concha Acústica with concerts and outdoor presentations. Besides that, Meia Praia beach is a beautiful place to relax and go banana boating, jet skiing, surfing or just swimming.
Some good restaurants for you to enjoy: Alberto’s, Recanto da Sereia, Cabral, Kawaii Sushi, and Praiamar. For bars and pubs: Box 15, Kabaak, Agua de Coco Cachaçaria (if you want do drink some caipirinhas this is the right place to go), Empório da Cerveja and Old School Rock Bar.
Now, going to Porto Belo, which literally means beautiful port in English…
There’s a really nice ride to do from Itapema to there. You’ll get a boat at Meia Praia beach and cross to the marine coast of Porto Belo. The ride lasts from 20 to 30 minutes and the boat stops for people to jump and swim in the high sea, it’s amazing and it costs around 30 reais.
In Porto Belo there are a lot of other beaches and rides to do. You can go to Praia Estaleiro, Praia Perequê, Praia Caixa D’Aço… just search for some pictures first and choose what you would like to know the most (here you also find some images of the beaches)! There is a famous Pirate Boat that goes from Porto Belo to Itapema and may choose to go on a 3 and a half hours schooner ride: it costs 70 reais and it has 2 stops or a shorter ride: from 35 to 55 reais with only 1 stop. From November to Easter it’s open every day and for the rest of the year only weekends.
3. Bombas and Bombinhas
First tip: avoid high season and summer weekends to go there, it’s crowded and you’ll take long hours to get there.
The main attractions there are natural ones. You shouldn’t miss going scuba diving at Reserva Biológica Marinha do Arvoredo (Marine Biological Reserve Arboretum) formed by the islands of the grove, with a total of 17,800 hectares at an average distance of 11 kilometers from the coast. The diving costs from 100 to 200 reais, it depends on the length and places you want to go.
Furthermore, there are four beautiful beaches in the region: Mariscal, Quatro Ilhas, Zimbros, and Sepultura. Besides the beaches, you can go walk on the Eco Observatory 360º. It is worth starting the tour by the museum located on the base… then you continue by hiking an easy trail and there’s also the option for the kids to go zip lining and to do canopy tours. To arrive, you must head towards Praia da Tainha (there are indications of “Mirante” on the way) or if you’re going by car you must take the way to Praia da Conceição.
This is Santa Catarina capital: a magic and charming island!
I would suggest you start getting to know the city by Avenue Beira Mar Norte to enjoy a walk or the sunset and appreciate the lights of Hercílio Luz Bridge shining as the night falls (although banned for transit cars and pedestrians since 1982, the bridge is the postcard of Florianópolis. It was listed by the Historical and Artistic Heritage and is considered one of the largest suspension structures in the world.) … If you like history you may want to visit the historic center and the municipal market, where you can try fruits and typical food and buy some souvenirs.
In the region, there are 3 main forts which used to form a Triangle defense for the city North. If you take a boat tour probably you’ll stop in at least one of them.
I highly recommend you explore the island nature, trails, and beaches during your stay. If you take a bus and stop when you catch sight of a different place you’ll know incredible hidden holes.
5. Lagoa da Conceição
It’s one of my favorite places in Santa Catarina… This is a lagoon, so is a calmer and more relaxing site. People offer boat tours (you have to do at least one of them, the cost is around 15 reais), stand-up paddle, kayak rental and a lot more. You just have to get there and choose what you like the most
One thing is unmissable is crossing the lagoon to its coast by boat (a really humble and cheap one) to eat seafood, drink some beers, swim a little and to the track that leads to a waterfall (incredibly dangerous if you have the idea to get to the hike, don’t do this!) where you can relax a bit more to be prepared to return from your days off!
If you’re a natural explorer, it won’t feel difficult to find things to do in Santa Catarina and I hope the tips can give you a briefing of that!