Congratulations on taking the first step in preparing for the trip of a lifetime. Before I tell you how to conquer Florianopolis like a local, allow me to introduce myself and explain why I know so much about this secret island paradise...
My name is Don and yes, that's me in the photo above (the one in the middle). I've lived in Florianopolis 6-10 months per year since 2004 and this is how it happened...
In 2004, I took a trip to Florianopolis with my business partner and some friends. Our trip was originally scheduled for 4 weeks. After just 2 days, we realised we had stumbled upon a very special place and I told my friends that I wasn't going home until I absolutely had to. My business partner agreed and we actually stayed until our visas expired 6 months later. We literally maxed them out! Unfortunately for my friends, they had to return home after just 10 days while my business partner and I stayed for 6 months and had the time of our lives. In a nutshell, here's what happened in those 6 months...
My business partner "Bill" met his wife during his second week in Florianopolis and I met my wife during my 2nd month in Florianopolis. So, we're now both married to beautiful Brazilian women and our only regret is that we didn't hear about Florianopolis sooner. It's the only place I've ever been to or heard of where it's actually difficult to stay single. I've never seen so many beautiful women in one place in my entire life, and I had lived on the beach in Southern California my whole life and traveled to many beautiful tropical places. But nothing even comes close to what I experienced in Florianopolis. The women are not only tan, beautufil, and in abundance, but they're also extremely friendly, passionate, and down to earth (definitely not your typical California girls). It was truly amazing!
To finish my story, in 2007 I bought a very nice vacation home on Praia Mole beach, which was our favorite beach on the island and is where the photo was taken above with the Vivo girls. Praia Mole (pronounced Prya Moley) is also the most beautiful and conveniently located beach on the island. It's the nearest beach to the two largest cities on the island (Centro and Lagoa da Conceicao) so it is also the busiest beach on the island year-round. In addition to that, it's also one of the best surfing beaches on the island too, which suits me just fine. Below are some photos of my vacation home in Florianopolis, which is available to rent most of the year.
My Florianopolis Vacation Home on Praia Mole Beach
My Gated Community on
Praia Mole Beach
My Vacation Rental Home on
Praia Mole Beach
Dining & TV Rooms from Kitchen
Romantic Jacuzzi in a Private Backyard
Before I go on, I'd like you to know that for the past few years, I've only given the information in this guide to my personal renters and only AFTER they have paid. So, whether you rent from me or not, you'll have nearly all the info you'll need to conquer Florianoplis like a local, which can save you a bundle and enable you to get the most out of your trip. The only thing I'm going to hold back are the things where resources are limited, such as my bilingual nightlife guides and private taxi drivers, who are reserved only for my guests. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to accommodate them. Fair enough, right? Ok, so let's get to the good stuff...
In This GuideWhere is Florianopolis?
.... A. Map of Brazil
.... B. Maps of Florianopolis
.... C. Florianopolis Road Map
.... D. Florianopolis Bridge
Local Florianopolis Beaches
.... A. Praia Mole
.... B. Joaquina
.... C. Barra da Lagoa
.... D. Mocambique
Distant Florianopolis Beaches
.... A. Jurere Internacional (North end of the island, dead in the off season)
.... B. Balnhardio Cambodio (1.5 hour drive North on Continent)
.... C. Praia do Rosa (2 hour drive South on Continent)
.... D. Garopaba
.... E. Ilha do Campeche
.... F. Praia Brava
.... G. River Rafting (ok, so it's not a beach but you still get wet)
Local Restaurants (In order of Food quality)
.... A. Thai
.... B. El Divino Lounge (Restaurant & Night Club)
.... C. Nigiri (all-you-can-eat Sushi with lousy service)
.... D. Myoshi (Sushi Buffet)
.... E. Cirrus (Lunch only)
.... F. Restaurant on the Canal in Barra da Lagoa
.... G. Subway
.... H. Pizza Hut
... . I. Dominos
.... J. Mexicana
.... K. Chili
.... L. Mc Donalds
Restaurants beyond Lagoa da Conceicao
.... A. El Divino Lounge (Restaurant & Night Club)
.... B. Churrascarias
.... C. Subway (in Shopping Mall)
.... D. Pizza Hut (In Shopping Mall)
.... E. Dominos (In Shopping Mall)
.... F. Mc Donalds (In Shopping Mall and on Bera Mar)
Florianopolis Night Clubs (Discotecas)
.... A. Floripa Music Hall
.... B. El Divino Lounge (Restaurant & Night Club)
.... C. Club Pasha (previously El Divino Club)
.... D. Confraria
.... E. Latitude
.... F. Ilha do Cais Cais
.... G. Taiko & El Divino Beach
.... H. P12 (Parador 12)
... . I. New Years Eve Parties in Florianopolis
.... A. Portuguese 101 (important words & phrases)
.... B. Road Maps
.... C. Car Rental
.... D. Nightlife Guides/Daytime Guides
.... E. Flights
.... F. Airport Codes
So Where is Florianopolis, Brazil?
Florianopolis is a 1-hour flight south of Sao Paulo and about 1.5 hours south of Rio de Janeiro. Often called Floripa for short, this island city is connected to the mainland by a bridge (image further below). It is one of the wealthiest cities in Brazil and has 42 beaches (Praia Mole, Ingleses, Praia Mole, Joaquina, Jurere Internacional are just some of the more popular ones). It has become a major tourist destination and has something to do for everybody: Kayaking, cycling, rock climbing, scuba diving, paragliding, ocean fishing, trekking, surfing, sand boarding, and kite surfing
Aerial View of Florianopolis Island
Click Here for
a detailed Florianopolis
The Florianopolis Bridge
This is the Florianopolis bridge that's connects the island to the mainland at its nearest point. The bridge's official name is Ponte de Hercílio Luz. The bridge is no longer in service but now stands as the iconic landmark of Florianopolis. The new bridge (not shown) is more modern and much less appealing to the eye (although much safer than the old one pictured below).
Mole is the beach directly across the street from my condo
complex. In my opinion, this is one of the best beaches all around.
It's not only one of the most beautiful beaches, but it's also
the busiest beach year-round due to it's convenient location,
being the nearest beach to the towns of Centro and Lagoa da Conceica
(a 5-min drive). Praia Mole is also a great beach for both surfing
and sightseeing with an abundance of beautiful Brazilian women
in very tiny bikinis. As you can see in the photo below, there
is a lagoon opposite the ocean. Behind my house, there's a trail
that leads you through the jungle and down to the lagoon. It's
the most beautiful & scenic part of the entire lagoon and
I'll show some photos of that later in this guide.
Praia Mole Beach Scenery
Making Friends on Praia Mole Beach
Praia Mole Beach Bars
Joaquina Beach (Praia da Joaquina)
Joaquina is the 1st beach south of Praia
Mole. It is primarily known for it's great Surf and is often
the site of the annual WCT tour held in July each year (previously
in October). Although, if the surf is much bigger and better somewhere
else, they may move the contest to a different beach but it is
usually held at Joaquina. It's a flat beach with little scenery
and lots of tourists (many tour busses park and unload there due
to the large parking lot). But if good surf is your main concern,
then you should definitely check it out during a big swell. To
get there, when you leave the condo complex, turn right. When
you get to the bottom of the hill (past Latitude club), turn left.
When the road ends, you're at Joaquina. To see some nice big Joaquina
surf, check out the video on my website: http://www.iLoveBrazil.net.
Joaquina Sand Dunes (Sand Boarding)
Barra da Lagoa
Barra da Lagoa (pronounced Baha da Lagoa) is just north of Praia Mole. This beach is one of the more grungy beaches on the island (lots of back packers & tye dye shirts). This is a great beach for surfing when the waves are too big & rough at Praia Mole and always good for beginner surfers. During a big swell, the waves peel right off the point. To get there, turn left when you pull out of the condo complex. Once you go over the hill and cross the bridge over the canal, make your first right after you pass the gas station and follow the road to the end.
Barra da Lagoa
The Canal in Barra da Lagoa
This is a good beach for surfing and is about 15 minutes north of the condo. It's also a dangerous place to park your car. When you go to this beach, you need to park in the forest and leave your car out of view. My friend had his car broken into at this beach and everything stolen so don't leave anything of value in your car if you go here. This is quite common at this location. To get there, turn right outside the condo and drive about 5-10 minutes past the gas station in Barra da Lagoa. Look for the signs that say Mocambique and turn right at the sign. Follow the dirt road till you get to the beach.
MORE DISTANT BEACHES
This beach is on the north end of the island and during peak high season (New Years Week, Carnaval or any hot weekend), it's a very scenic beach to visit, especially if you're a single guy. It's about a 30-minute drive without traffic or a 1-hour drive with high-season traffic. During high season, it's best to go before 12 noon to beat the traffic. This beach has recently become a trendy spot for the most beautiful women in south Brazil. It's also one of the wealthiest areas in South America and looks like a cross between Newport Beach and Beverly Hills, CA. Here, it's common to see Ferraris and many Brazilian models and Movie stars (if you know what they look like). The three hot spots on this beach are Taiko Restaurant, El Divino Beach Restaurant, and P12 Beach Club. Taiko and El Divino Beach are both restaurants on the beach about 1 block from each other and equally as good, including the food. During high season, both have live DJs playing great dance music all day & night with some of the most beautiful women you've ever seen (Like MTV Beach Party Brazilian Style). For the best results, order lots of bubbly and enjoy the scenery. P12 is a fairly new club on the beach with a swimming pool and a cover charge (only open during the day on select days & weekends). All 3 of these places throw the best New Years Eve parties in Florianopolis. Tickets usually start at R$800 (about US$445) for guys and goes up from there but admission includes all you can drink alcohol. Girls are usually half the price of guys. Prices go up every few weeks as you get closer to New Years.
The downside of Jurere is that it becomes a ghost town outside high season and has very little nightlife midweek outside of New Years week and Carnaval. Also, the only restaurants in town are the beach restaurants, which usually close early during the week (6-8 pm) outside peak season. Most of the year, they are only open on the weekends and even then, they close by 8-10 pm. There's 2 ways to get to Jurere Internacional from Praia Mole and the fastest way is usually through Lagoa da Conceicao, over the big mountain and then on to the main highway (Beira Mar) on the west side of the island. Take Beira Mar north and then take the exit to Jurere. Turn left at the sign for Jurere Internacional and follow the road until you hit a Y in the road. Hang a left to Jurere Internacional and go until it dead ends, then turn left. Taiko will be your first right, El Divino Beach will be your second right, and P12 will be at the end of the street where it wraps around to the right. All are about 1 block from each other. The photo below as taken prior to P12 being built or you would see it pretty well in the undeveloped land in the foreground. There's more information on P12 under the Nightclubs section further below.
Jurere Internacional Aerial View
El Divino Beach in Jurere Internacional
Ilha do Campeche (Campeche Island)
This beach is on an island just off the coast of Compeche beach. To get to the island, you must first drive to Compeche beach (a 15-min drive) and take a boat to the island (about a 5 minute Zodiac boat ride) and plan on getting wet. The boat ride costs $20-30 reais round-trip. Don't pay more than that! Walk away and the price will suddenly drop. The island has a beautiful white sand beach with 2 small restaurants on the beach. There's usually not many people there and nothing to do there except eat, swim in the clear aqua blue water, lay out, and drink the best caiparinhas you've ever had (restaurant on north end). Ask what time the last boat returns so you don't miss it. See photo below
Ilha do Campeche
Praia Brava is located on the north-east end of the island (easily visible on a map). This beach is known for it's pumping surf and is how it earned its name "Brava". This beach is covered in high-rise condo complexes. Unfortunately, this beach is on the outskirts of the island so it only comes to life for a few weeks a year, mainly the weeks of New Years and Carnaval. If there is a large swell, this is a good beach to check out for surfing, assuming you don't mind the drive. It is about a 1-hr drive from Praia Mole and most of the island's nightlife due to the roads. It's very difficult to get to & from in high season.
Pronounced "Balnyadio Cambodiu", this
beach closely resembles Miami Beach with a similar look and feel
on the beach side (nobody speaks English here either). There's
a street that runs parallel along the beach with lots of shops
and restaurants across the street from the beach. The town is
clustered with high-rise apartment buildings with shops, shops,
and more shops on the bottom floor of every building. At the south
end of the beach (photo below), you can take a gondola ride to
the top of a mountain and over to the other side where there's
a small village with more shops and restaurants along the beach.
This beach is about a 1.5-hour drive from Praia Mole, located
on the continent north of the island. Please see a map for driving
instructions and avoid making this drive at night. The road is
very dark and dangerous at night. I highly recommend hiring a
guide for this trip.
Balneario Camboriu from the Gondola
Praia do Rosa
This is a quiet beach town popular for surfing, whale watching, and beautiful women. It originally began as a whaling town many years ago before whaling was outlawed. The streets are mostly dirt roads so try to avoid going here when it's raining or within the first few days after a big rain. I've never been there personally but I hear the nightlife is pretty good, much like the town of Lagoa da Conceicao in Florianopolis with a main street supporting a majority of the bars & restaurants. Although most people go there just for the surf and beach scene since Florianopolis has much more to offer in the nightlife department. Praia do Rosa is located on the continent about 2 hours south of Florianopolis. Please see a map for driving instructions and, again, avoid making this drive at night. This road is also very dark and dangerous at night with lots of head-on collisions that don't end well. It's best to hire a guide for this trip too. I've never actually made it all the way to Praia do Rosa but I did get pretty close in Garopaba.
This is a pretty cool spot if you want to get away from it all and just focus on surfing. It has some really great surfing beaches. But, like Praia do Rosa, there's a lot of dirt roads and you just might need a 4x to get to some of the good surf spots, depending on the amount of recent rain. We rented kayaks on the beach here and had a good time. After kayaking we saw a kid with 2 baby Hammerhead sharks on a stringer taking them home for dinner. So apparently, there are Hammerhead sharks in the area. The beaches are surrounded by lush rolling green hills (like Praia Mole) but without all the people. The downside to that is that there are few places to eat with absolutely no nightlife 99% of the time. The only exception is the nightclub called Bali Hi, which is a rave that opens on occasional weekends in high season. They can make all the noise they want because nobody is around to hear it. Aside from that, you can always make the drive to Praia do Rosa for some better nightlife. It's not that far but can take at least 30-45 minutes due to the windy roads and distance from the highway.
Garopaba from the Mountain
White Water River Rafting
Ok, it's not a beach but its lots of fun if you want to change the routine a bit and still get wet. It's located in the mountain range on the continent and is about a 1-hour drive from Praia Mole. They speak English too. To make a reservation and get directions, call: 3245-7890 or 9928-5373. Or hire your tour guide for the day and he can take you there. Rafting price is about $80 reais/person for a 2-hour trip. The photo below is from this trip and that's the biggest rapid. This trip has someone who takes photos of each rapid, which they'll sell to you on CD after the trip. This place it's easy to see if you're on the right highway and know when you're getting close. Unfortunately, I don't have a map of this area, nor their address so I recommend hiring a guide to drive you there & back.
If you feel like getting a little more adventurous, there's another company that does 4-hour trips farther up the river where it's more dangerous (class 4 & 5 rapids). They only run when there's plenty of water in the river. My wife actually broke her nose on one of the rapids just 30 minutes into the trip (got that on video). Of course, there's nothing they could do about it so she had to suck it up and go the next 3.5 hours in a lot of pain. So my advice is don't get hurt. This rafting excursion has a person who takes video of each rapid, which they'll sell to you on CD after the trip. I think the price was 80 reais so just have everyone pitch in and make all your friends copies later. From what I remember, the 4-hour trip was about 100 reais/person so just a little more than the 2-hour trip and twice as scary. If you want to book this trip, let me know. The people here don't speak any English so either my wife or your tour guide will have to book this trip for you. In addition, this place is very difficult to find since it requires lots of additional turns through a neighborhood. Even we had some trouble finding it despite my wife being instructed over the phone. So you should definitely hire a guide for the 4-hour trip.
River Rafting in Florianopolis
Unfortunately, Brazil's idea of "good food" seems to be a bit different than what we gringos consider "good food" in the USA, so knowing exactly where to eat will save you a lot of time and disappointment. Of course it will take some of the adventure out of your dining experience but it's better than being disappointed with your meals. If you're in the mood for a little adventure and want to take in the Brazilian culture, most of the churrasco restaurants scattered throughout the island are pretty good. These usually consist of a buffet accompanied by different types of Brazilian barbequed beef, which the waiters bring to your table. If you want some, they'll cut off as much as you want. The best churrasco on the island is located on Beira Mar Ave. in Centro near Habibs restaurant. Unfortunately, that is the nearest churrascaria to the house.
Here's a list of the local restaurants in order of food quality:
Located on the way to Joaquina beach (about 3 minutes from Praia Mole). The name of the restaurant is "Thai" so you should be able to remember it. This restaurant has a great loungy vibe along with the best food on the island. Set in an all-wood building (like a log cabin) with low lights, chill music, and Buda paraphernalia. The main chef and owner is Brazilian but studied cooking in Europe. To get there, turn right when you pull out of the condo complex. When you get to the bottom of the hill past Latitudes, turn left. It's about 100 yards down on the left and easy to pass if you're not paying attention. Look for the only wooden building on the street.
Thai Restaurant near Joaquina Beach
This sushi restaurant is located diagonally directly across the street from Hamburginho in Lagoa. They have all-you-can-eat sushi every night for about R$55 reais per person (they keep raising the price). Or you can order whatever you want off the menu. They have many cooked dishes too for any sushi-hater that gets dragged along. The sushi isn't quite the quality we get in California but most Americans seem to think it's fine. The only downside to this restaurant is the REALLY slow service and the price is about twice as high as Myoshi (another sushi restaurant a half block away). Many times we have ordered twice thinking they forgot the first order, then ended up with more sushi than we wanted and HAD to eat it or you get charged extra. Other times we have given up and left before the order arrived. This is a trendy spot for sushi, probably because of the high price, so it's almost always busy. While some say they have great sushi, I do know of one person who got sick on bad salmon here but that may be an isolated incident.
Myoshi (Sushi Buffet)
This sushi restaurant is just a half block up the street from Nigiri in Lagoa. It's on the right-hand side just past Nigiri heading toward Centro (on the parallel side-street in front of the bus station). This sushi restaurant is buffet style (sold by weight) and comes out to about half the price of Nigiri (above) and also nicer on the inside with flat-screen TVs that are usually playing surf videos or concerts. This place is great if you're in a hurry since everything is already made. You can be in and out and stuffed to the gills within 20 minutes. The most sushi I've ever been able to eat here came to just 26 reais (about US$15). The only downside is that the buffet table is not refrigerated so the sushi can be a little warm if it's been sitting out a while. Since most of the popular items go fast (shrimp, tuna & salmon), they're constantly bringing out fresh plates that are still cold. My wife and I eat here all the time and we've never gotten sick. In fact, I've never gotten food poisoning in Brazil but that doesn't mean you should be careless. The health standards aren't exactly enforced. FYI, most sushi is flown in from Chili, some by overnight Fed Ex.
Basilico is a great pizza restaurant with a really
nice indoor/outdoor vibe. They also have some of the best pizza
on the island but its a bit more expensive than other pizza restaurants
in the area (about R$45 for a thin crust pizza). Their pizzas
are cooked in a real wood-burning oven so even the crust tastes
great. To get to Basilico (leaving from Praia Mole), drive through
and past the town of Lagoa heading toward Centro and turn left
just before the road begins to climb over the big mountain. The
street you turn left on is the same street that the nightclub
Confraria is on but you turn left instead of right. Drive down
this street for about a half mile and you'll see Basilico on the
left side (there's usually lots of cars in the parking lot).
Cirrus (Lunch Only)
This is a little lunch buffet in Barra da Lagoa, just a 2-minute drive over the hill if you turn left outside the condo complex. It's easy to miss but it's right next door to the only gas station in that area so if you pass the gas station, you missed it. They server typical Brazilian dishes (meat, chicken, rice, beans, mashed potatoes, and salad). They close at 3 pm so plan accordingly.
Panoa do Canao (Restaurant on the Lagoon Canal)
This restaurant is located right on the canal in Barra da Lagoa (the area called Fortaleza). It's just a 2-minute drive from Praia Mole over the hill. To get there, turn left outside the condo complex. When you come to the small bridge that crosses the canal, turn right just before you cross the bridge (you can see the bridge in the photo below). It's the first restaurant you come to on the left. The tables are right over the water, giving a "Pirates of the Caribbean" feel to it. This is a great place to have an early dinner and watch the sunset over the lagoon on a warm summer night. The best items on the menu are: Camarao Melanesa (fried shrimp), Oysters (cooked with cheese on top or raw), Grilled Linguado (local Flounder fish similar to Halibut), Camarao Morango (shrimp cooked in white sauce inside a pumpkin). All meals come with rice and French fries but you'll need to ask for Ketchup. See photo below.
Panoa do Canoa (Restaurant on
the Canal in Fortaleza)
Located on the main street running through Lagoa (you can't miss it). The food here is just ok and the service pretty much sucks! However, it's the most popular restaurant in the area due to it's live festive music and atmosphere. If you eat here, the fajitas are actually pretty good, that is if they remember to bring your food to you. So if someone doesn't get their food, then they probably didn't make it. It's a gamble. And by all means, DO NOT order a Margarita here! I guarantee you won't drink it, unless the thought of ingesting battery acid appeals to you. But if you stick to the bottled or canned drinks (Beer and Smirnoff/Orloff Ice), you should have a good time without wasting any money on unnecessary risks. As with most Brazilian restaurants, it's usually very difficult to get your check so plan ahead and don't be afraid to bug them about it if you need to leave in a hurry. And if your waiter doesn't write your order down, tell him to get a pen and paper. Half the time they don't bring your order and then tell you that you didn't order anything.
This is another Mexican restaurant directly across the street from Mexicana in Lagoa. It's a new restaurant (opened 2010) and I've only eaten there once. Surprisingly, it was pretty good for Brazil but the restaurant does lack some atmosphere, maybe because it was raining. Oh, don't order the margaritas here either!!!
Chili Mexican Restaurant
MORE DISTANT RESTAURANTS
El Divino Lounge (Restaurant & Night Club)
This is my favorite place for dining and nightlife. The photo below is of the dining area in the lounge just outside the nightclub. They have the best food and atmosphere in Floripa! The Pistachio Salmon with scalloped potatoes is incredible! I'll go over this place in a lot more detail under the Nightclubs section.
El Divino Lounge (Dining Area)
Everyone knows what Mc Donalds is and the food tastes exactly the same in Brazil as it does in America. Mc Donalds is also located on Beira Mar Ave in centro and they now have one located in the Iguatemi shopping mall in the town of Santa Monica (between Centro and Lagoa do Concecao.
If you're American, then you know what Pizza Hut is. The pizza tastes about the same as it does in America but with less sauce. There are 2 Pizza Huts in Floripa. One is located on Beira Mar very close to El Divino Lounge. The other is in on the bottom floor of the Iguatemi shopping mall (see below).
Beira Mar Shopping Mall
I highly recommend the shopping malls for both guys and girls alike. For the girls, I recommend it for the shopping. For the guys, I recommend it for the girls. Imagine all the girls in all the nightclubs concentrated in one large building during the day and that's what you'll find at the mall during a rainy day or any day in the off season. It's located right on Beira Mar Ave. (the main street in Centro that runs along the ocean.. Following are some of the best restaurants in this mall: Subway, La Pasta, China, Mc Donalds, Texas Grill (a churrascaria), and Pizza Hut.
Iguatemi Shopping Mall
This is a new mall (Opened April 2007) and also the nicest mall in Florianopolis. It has a great movie theater with assigned seating. Choose your seats when you buy your tickets, then go eat dinner and come back when the movie starts without worrying about getting a good seat. To get to this mall, go through Lagoa and drive over the big mountain leading to centro. Turn left at the first stoplight you come to (about 1 mile after you go over the mountain). This stoplight is in front of a big supermarket called "Rosa". After you turn left, follow this street down until the end. On your right side will be a large shopping mall. Make your first right turn into the mall property (not the street along side it). This will take you up to the parking garage. Following are some good and familiar restaurants you'll find in this mall. Subway, Dominos, Mc Donalds, Pizza Hut (bottom floor), Texas Grill, Austin Grill and a new Mexican restaurant called Cactus (recently opened by an American who lives in Praia Mole). At Cactus, you build your own burritos so it comes out the way you want it and it's pretty good. If you order a hamburger at the Austin Grill, make sure you ask for a "Sandwich" de Hamburguesa or they'll just give you a hamburger patty with no bun (speaking from experience). Apparently, just saying "Hamburguesa" and pointing at the picture on the menu when you order doesn't help.
NIGHT CLUBS (Discotecas)
Floripa Music Hall
This is a newer nightclub that opened in May, 2007. Just a 30-minute drive away, it's located next to the large bridge in Centro and the outdoor patio has a great view of the bridge. I personally haven't had the chance to go there yet but have heard it's a good spot if there's a good band or DJ playing. Otherwise, don't go or it will be a low class crowd since they promote heavily at their other club deep on the continent. They don't serve dinner here. It's strictly a nightclub and looks very nice inside, like something you'd see in Vegas. You can see a 360-degree video tour on their website: http://www.floripamusichall.com.br/
El Divino Lounge (Restaurant & Night Club)
When I was a single guy, this was my favorite place to go out for dinner, dancing, and meeting beautiful women. The lounge is a dining area with an outdoor feel (the ceiling is glass covered in vines). It's very nice and the food is great. There are actually 2 restaurants that serve the lounge area. There's fine dining (Excellent Filet Mignon & Salmon) and a sushi restaurant. There's a cover charge that seems to go up every year. As of May, 2010, it was R$55 reais cover charge for guys. Girls are about half that. The good news is that you can get the cover fee waived if you take one of my nightlife guides with you. They're well connected at this club and have an agreement with the managers. If they bring them clients, they get their cover fees waived when they order a dinner or equal value. So, you might as well order the nice dinner and get in for free. This also helps offset the cost of the nightlife guide, which runs about 150 reais for 2 people.
In high season, it's important to get there before 10:00 or 10:30 pm to ensure you get a table. They usually save the nice big loungy tables in the middle of the restaurant for the foreigners who normally spend lots of money, but there's only 3 of these table so if you have more than 4 people in your party, getting there early will be an important factor in getting one of these nice big tables. I suggest getting there by 10 pm in high season to play it safe. If you will be attending the nightclub and want to get the most out of your night (and don't mind spending the extra dough), then I highly recommend you reserve a VIP table in the nightclub. During high season (Dec 25 through Carnaval week), you should make your VIP reservation at least 2 days in advance and call to confirm the day of, then confirm again when you get there since you'll be eating dinner before going inside the club. It's best to hire a bilingual nightlife guide to help you out with reservations and communicating with the managers when you arrive. If you'll be getting a VIP table in the club, tell them you're a VIP guest when you first arrive at the lounge and they will instruct you to put all your charges on one VIP tracking card. The fee for the VIP table is R$200 plus a R$800 - R$1800 spending minimum, depending on the night and the location of your VIP table. Therefore, everything you order (dinner included) will go toward this minimum if it's ordered on the one VIP card. And DON'T LOSE THIS CARD or it will cost you a fortune to get out of there. Also, to get your entrance fee waived, you MUST request a meal ticket from the waitress when you order your meal. If you have a guide, he'll take care of this for you. You MUST give this ticket to the cashier when you pay your final bill at the end of the night to get the discount and double check that they gave it to you. Your guide should also take care of this.
The R$1000-$2000 reai minimum for the VIP table in the nightclub includes drinks and your meals from the Lounge. Once you get to your VIP table inside the nightclub, order some bottles of alcohol instead of individual glasses and mix your own drinks with sodas or whatever you want. It's a lot cheaper. If you want to attract women, order a few bottles of champagne and hand out glasses to any girls of your choosing. It's a good icebreaker and they are likely to hang around your table for refills. My advice is to save the champagne for the beautiful girls or the less gifted ones may take advantage of you and drink you dry. What happens from there is up to you. El Divino owns 3 clubs/restaurants on the island. You can see photos of each at http://www.eldivinobrasil.com.br/. Click on "Lounge" for details about El Divino Lounge.
LADIES NIGHT: Sunday night is Ladies' Night with a live Samba band. The girls love it and get in for just 5 reais if they join the guest list on their website. The Brazilian guys usually don't start coming in until 1 am, so between 11:30 pm and 1 am, the club inside is 90% beautiful women so don't be afraid to go in early. The odds will be grossly in your favor.
Keep in mind that the managers there don't speak English so you'll need to have one of your nightlife guides call and make VIP reservations for you. El Divino Lounge is about a 30 minute drive from the house. It's located in Centro right off Beira Mar Ave. (the main street that runs along the ocean). To get there, make the first left after you pass Pizza Hut. Then turn right at the dead end. Follow that street until you come to a gas station. Park in the narrow guarded valet parking area on the left side of the gas station. It costs 20 reais but your car will still be there at the end of the night.
VIP in El Divino Lounge Night Club (First ones in and ready to go!)
Club Posh & Pasha in Jurere (previously named El Divino Club)
This is a massive nightclub located near Jurere International (about a 45 minute drive from Praia Mole). We saw the Black Eyed Peas here. They have 2 outdoor stages, which they open for concerts and other big parties & special events while the inside is always open. There's a few small restaurants inside but its always better to eat somewhere else before going here! The VIP area is upstairs and there's 2 types. VIP entrance and VIP tables. If you want a VIP table, you'll have to reserve this in advance during high season. The downside to VIP at this club is that it's located upstairs while most of the girls are downstairs (where the dance floors are). So, there's little advantage to VIP here unless you want your own table, otherwise you won't have anywhere to sit. Club Posh has occasional parties here and they're usually very expensive (R$500-1000/person), depending on the DJ. To get there, simply follow the route to Jurere. You MUST pass it to get to Jurere International. It's located right just off the main highway into town after you turn off the freeway. You cannot see it from the road but you can see the entrance. It's best to hire a nightlife guide & driver for your first trip.
Confraria do Artes
Temporarily closed for remodeling (new ownership) until late December, 2009. Confraria is a nice club that has a good French restaurant inside. It has a very loungy atmosphere with many couches and VIP tables. It's also nearby, located on the outskirt of Lagoa just before you go over the mountain on the way to Centro. Just before you head up the mountain, you'll come to a small intersection (with no signals). Turn right and it's on your immediate left, across the street from the gym. They have valet parking out front so you can't miss it. During high season, get there early to avoid the line and tell them you want a VIP table, if you plan on getting one. That should help you bypass the line. If you get there before 10:30 pm (even during high season), it may be a ghost town but that doesn't mean it's not going to be packed out later. The crowds usually start showing up after 11:00 pm. If you want a VIP table, then get there early or make a reservation. The cover charge starts at $45 reais and goes up as the night goes on. If you have dinner in the restaurant there, the cover charge is waived.
Confraria do Artes Lounge Area
This is the closest and most conveniently located nightclub around and is walking distance from the condo. When you leave the condo complex, turn right and it's located at the top of the hill. It has a large outdoor patio with an incredible view of lagoa. It's a great place to sit and have drinks on a hot summer night. Inside the club, they have live music every night. Inside is usually extremely hot and shoulder-to-shoulder so the outdoor patio makes a great escape for those who need some space and fresh air. It's about a 10 minute walk from my townhouse on Praia Mole beach.
Live Music inside Latitude Nightclub
Ilha do Cascaes
This unique nightclub has an interesting twist to it. During high season, every Friday night is Ladies' Night (ladies get in free before Midnight or 1 am) while the guys are held in a separate room until 1 am (the holding tank). At exactly 1 am, they play the song "It's Raining Men" and open the big double doors, holding hundreds of sex-crazed men, who go rushing into the sea of beautiful Brazilian women awaiting their arrival. Before I made it to this club, I heard stories about the thousands of women that lined up down the street to get in but no words could have prepared me for what I saw. It was a line of beautiful Brazilian women 2 blocks long and 4 girls wide waiting to get in. As we walked by them all, I kept asking my friend where the guys line was. We got all the way to the front and realized there was no guys' line. Since the guys are held in a holding tank until 1 am, most don't come in until just before 1 am. They're smarter than that. Instead, they hang out outside and try to talk to the thousands of girls in line. If you go to this club, you will definitely want VIP entrance so get there early to buy your ticket and then you can enter the club whenever you want. You'll want VIP access just to get out of the hot sweaty crowd that's squishing you like a sardine.
El Divino Beach & Taiko
These are both beach Restaurants. They're located on the beach in Jurere International (north end of the island). Both of these places convert to night clubs for New Years Eve but not as good as P12. For more details, see "El Divino Beach" and "Taiko" under "Distant Beaches" above.
Parador 12 (P12)
P12 is in a league of it's own. Located on the beach in Jurere Internacional, it's the most upscale club on the island but it is primarily a day club. They are usually closed at night unless it's a special event such as New Years Eve or Carnaval. Most parties end around 8 pm. P12 is an outdoor club that is similar to the Rehab party at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, except Brazilian style. The girls are classier, more beautiful (they can't help it, they're Brazilian). P12 has lots of VIP tables, some with their own hot tubs. These tables go for 20,000 reais on New Years Eve (about US$11,000) but they also have cheaper ones without hot tubs. If you search YouTube, you'll see several videos of the parties that go on here. In my opinion, this is the best place to spend New Years Eve. There are some other good NYE parties in Jurere, such as Taiko, El Divino Beach, and Botique, but none of them are set up like this place. P12 was designed to be a really nice club and they did a fantastic job! Since the price for all the NYE parties in Jurere are about the same price, I don't see any reason to go anywhere else. Each year, I rent a bus for my clients and we all go to P12 together and have a bus party on the way. That way nobody has to worry about driving.
A Typical Summer Day at P12
New Years Eve Parties in Florianopolis
Florianopolis is famous for its world renowned New Years Eve parties. A majority of the island's best NYE parties are in Jurere Internacional and all are quite pricey. Tickets for most parties in Jurere Internacional run between R$600-1200 reais/person for men and women are ususally about half the price of men. Just about everywhere, your cover includes a buffet dinner and all you can drink champaign and sodas mixed with rum, vodka, or whisky. There are many many places having New Years Eve parties all over the island but here's a list of the top places to go for New Years Eve as far as class and quality of people:
P12 / Parador 12 (a huge beach
club with swimming pools in Jurere Internacional, see above)
El Divino Beach (a beach restaurant in Jurere Internacional)
Taiko (a beach restaurant in Jurere Internacional)
Botique (an upscale beach hotel in Jurere, near Jurere Internacional)
As I mentioned before, I will be renting a large bus to take my renters to P12 for New Years Eve. We did this in 2009/10 and it worked out great. We had a bus party on the way up and slept all the way home.
The letter A is pronounced Ah
The letter E is pronounced A
The letter I is pronounced E
Most words ending with a consonant are pronounced as though it has ee at the end. Any word ending with T, D, or DE is pronounced with an ending of Gee or Chee. For example, Brad Pitt is pronounced Bradgee Pitchee. Hot Dog is pronounced Hotchee Doggie. Pizza Hut is pronounced Pizza Hutchie. Big Mac is pronounced Biggie Mackie. Now for the most important phrases you'll need to know.
Eu (pronounced Ew) = I
Voce (pronounced Voe Say) = You
Tem (pronounced Tane) = Have
Sim (pronounced Seen) = Yes
Sem (pronounced Sane) = Without
Cem (also pronounced Sane) = 100 (such as Cem Reais = 100 Reais)
Cinquenta = 50
Real (pronounced Hay-al) = 1 Brazilian dollar
Reais (pronounced Hay-eyes) = plural for Brazilian dollars
Ficar = To stay
Por Favor = Please
Obrigado = Thank You
Qual e seu nome? = What's your name?
Meu nome e... = My name is
De onde esta voce? = Where are you from?
Voce quer uma bebida? = Do you want a drink?
Voce esta com fome? = Are you hungry?
Voce quer comer? = Do you want to eat?
Voce quer jantar comigo amanha? = Do you want dinner with me tomorrow?
Quer Beijar? = Do you want to kiss?
Quer Beijar um Gringo Americano? = Do you want to kiss an American Gringo? (the answer is usually yes).
Qual e seu numero do cellular? = What's your cell phone number? (If you only ask "What's your number" she'll think you're asking her size, which is rude).
Eu Te Amo = I love you (but don't say it unless you really mean it)
Uma Agua Sem Gas = One water without Gas
Uma Cerveja por favor = One Beer please
Onde fica o banhero? (pronounced bonyedo) = Where is the bathroom?
Thieves & Prostitutes
Be careful who you bring back to the house, especially if you have laptops or large amounts of money in the house. We've heard stories of prostitutes robbing Americans in the area when they went to take a shower (took their laptops, passports and all). From what we know, prostitutes are the biggest threat and also generate the most complaints from the neighbors, which can result in a citation from the association. Be very selective of whom you bring back to the house and don't flash your money ANYWHERE! You never know who's watching. It may be the safest city in Brazil but it's still Brazil and there is a lot of poverty on the nearby continent.
Front Security Gate
My housing community has a security gate. If you rent my home, you will be provided with a remote control for the big gate and a key for the pedestrian gate. If you need to open the gate for a taxi or visitor, you can open the gate from inside the house by dialing *1 on the intercom phone mounted on the wall just inside the front sliding doors. You may need to push *1 a few times before it opens so ask the person at the call box if it has opened yet. To call the house from the gate, just hit the button for Casa 29 on the call pad at the pedestrian gate. It is not necessary to call the house from the gate to open it from the house.
Click Here to see a detailed Florianopolis Map. It would be wise to print a copy and take it with you. You can also get one from the car rental company or at any magazine shop or gas station. Magazine shops are your best bet and will have a variety of maps. There's one located next to the gas station in Lagoa and another one in Barra da Lagoa about 30 yards past the bridge that goes over the canal.
If your cell phone has a SIM card, you can use your cell phone in Florianopolis by replacing it with a Brazilian SIM card, as long as your phone is not locked. There are 2 primary services to choose from (TIM and OI) and you can buy one at most magazine shops in town. It costs $20 reais for a SIM card with $10 reais of credit on it. Just pop your SIM chip out and put the new chip in (don't lose your original chip). Once the SIM chip is in, the credits need to be programmed into the phone. Usually, this is done by the person who sells you the SIM chip. When recharging your credits, it's usually done automatically by the person you bought the credit from but you'll need to know your phone number. If you purchase credit as a scratcher (like a scratcher lottery ticket) you'll need someone who speaks Portuguese to do this for you so they can follow the voice prompts. The cost is about $1.15 Reais per minute to make calls and free to receive,
I have a great car rental place that I always use. They speak English and have the cheapest rates on the island. They'll meet you at the airport with your car and even drive you back to the house if they have the time. Unfortunately, they're a small private company with only 15 cars so if you want to rent a car, let me know and I'll have them send you a quote if they have one available for your dates.
I have several people who work as nightlife guides. All are bilingual, have their own cars, and know the island and Floripa nightlife well. They will know which nightclubs are happening on which nights and can also be your designated driver. Their rates vary from guide to guide but usually start at R$150 (Reais) for 2 people and goes up from there. Keep in mind that taking a taxi alone will cost about R$50 each way to Centro & back so for a little extra, you get your own bilingual tour guide who knows all the ropes (and nightclub managers) and can get you immediately dialed in like a local. As I mentioned earlier, I only have a few guides and these are reserved for my clients only. So, if you rent a condo from me, I'll make sure you get hooked up with one of my guides.
If you'd like to take a day trip, such as surfing distant beaches, river rafting, Campeche Island, or visit a distant city such as Bonhardio Camboriu, then I have guides for that too. One in particular knows the island as any local surfer would, as well as most local surfers. When you're with him, you have the privilege of surfing "Local" secret spots without getting your butt kicked.
Getting to Florianopolis (Flights & Airports)
Since Florianopolis does not have a major international airport, you'll need to first fly into Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, or Argentina. You'll then switch planes and take the hop to Floripa on a smaller Brailian carrier (either TAM or Gol airlines). Most airlines allow you to book straight through to Florianopolis. However, it is usually much cheaper to buy your connecting ticket to Foripa separately. However, when you do this, you may be charged separately for your baggage and the Brazilian carriers are very strict on weight (10 lb max for carryon). If you book your flight straight through to Floripa, then the Brazilian carriers must adhere to the rules of your international carrier. I've flown several carriers to Brazil and the best one (in my opinion) is Continental for both price and convenience. Also, Continental does not charge any baggage fees for Brazil and it's the only country where they allow each bag to be 75 lbs (normally 50 lbs). So, if you book your flight straight to Floripa through Continental, you won't be charged any baggage fees by the Brazilian carriers either. I've been charge several hundred dollars just to get my bags from Sao Paulo to Floripa so this is an important factor.
If you have the opportunity to choose a Brazilian carrier, choose GOL airlines. They have a higher success rate (meaning fewer crashes) and are also cheaper (like the Southwest airlines of Brazil). If you choose to purchase tickets for your connecting flight separately, here are the websites for each carrier:
TAM Airlines: http://www.tam.com.br
GOL Airlines: http://www.voegol.com.br
Note: The website for Gol airlines does not accept foreign credit cards online so if you're not Brazilian, then you'll need to call them. The only foreign card they accept is American Express and they can accept it over the phone.
There are 2 airports in Sao Paulo so make sure your connecting flight is from the same airport y ou fly into. The cheaper tickets will have you change airports, which is a 1-hour bus ride so pay attention to this detail. These are the airport codes you'll need to know:
GRU: Gurulios, Sao Paulo international
airport (the domestic airport is CGN)
GIG: Rio de Janeiro International Airport (the domestic airport codes are RIO and SDU)
FLN: Florianopolis Airport (there's only one)
Unless you're from another South American country, you may need a visa to enter Brazil. Americans need a visa because we require it of them. Last I heard, a visa from the USA was $130 USD. To get your visa, you'll need to contact the Brazilian Consulate that represents your area. Check Google for the consulate in your area. Some allow you to apply by mail while others require you to appear in person. Allow at least 2 weeks to get your visa processed. If by mail, then you should allow even more time. Normally, they prepare them by urgency. I once got my visa the same day but that was because of their screwup and I was leaving the next day. They had it ready in 2 hours. This is the reason they want to know when you're departing, so they know how much time they have to prepare it and the prepare the most urgent ones first.
Join Us on Facebook
Just do a search for "I Love Floripa" and it should pop up. We currently have a group and a company page. Join the company page since that's where we're moving it to. It's listed under the category "Hotel" since that was the closest type of business we could choose from. I also own the website http://www.iLoveFloripa.com so that's why we named it "I Love Floripa".
Wrapping It Up
So that's it for now. If you want more details on my vacation rental, please visit my homepage at: http://www.iLoveBrazil.net. If you're interested in booking a reservation, please fill out the form on my contact page for a quote or you can send me an email at the address below.
I hope to see you there and I'll be in touch with occasional updates and specials that I run from time to time.