This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Florianópolis. To help you make friends with Florianópolis before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Imagine a place surrounded by water with a special majesty with amazing nature, full of sports opportunities during the day and a nightlife that pumps all night during the season.
This is Florianópolis, the Santa Catarina State Capital, one of three Brazilian capital islands. Also known as Santa Catarina Island and famous by its nickname “Floripa, the Magic Island”. Located on the south Brazilian coast, it has an almost perfect wheater. During the summer it is hot and even has some days reaching 40ºC, also some days of rain but you will usually always have hot weather from November to March - the main island season.
One of the most complete and acclaimed Brazilian touristic destinations, Florianópolis has more than 42 beaches and amazing nature with great diversity. This land is home to half a million people, but it is still dominated by amazing and diverse nature with its beaches, sand dunes, hills, huge lagoons, mangroves, waterfalls and a great variety of fauna and flora in a particularly special part of the Atlantic Forest.
The urban areas on the island are divided in some distant and different parts connected by main roads that show several nature landscapes between the city main areas; Center, East, North and South, each one with its own particularities.
Florianópolis Center is the part for business, local history and culture with museums, historical building architecture, city market, some hostels and a modern area with shopping centers, bars and restaurants and nightclubs along the Beira-mar Avenue beside the sea.
The Center Hostels are indicated for those who go to study or with not only touristic objectives while the best touristic parts of the city are East, North and South.
Hostels in Florianópolis
There are a surprising number of Florianópolis hostels, located both in the city and by the beaches. Be aware that the small strip of land that connects the city to the beaches is jammed during rush hour starting around 4 PM and it could take you over three hours to get back to the city instead of the usual one hour.
All the main areas have many hostels to offer, generally the hostels are located strategically and it will make your visit easier. So choose the area you prefer and keep in mind that if you are not satisfied you will always have an option that reaches better your travel objectives. Just search and ask around.
Top tip: Consider booking a Florianópolis hostel near the beach, as staying in the city and taking the bus (and changing to a 2nd bus) gets old after a few days. Plus the views from most of the Florianópolis hostels near the beach are breathtaking. Most of the hostels allow you free use of surf boards and other water equipment, so you can try your luck with surfing as well
Arriving to Florianópolis by Bus
Center is the entry for those who go by bus. From São Paulo it will take about 12h, from Rio de Janeiro about 17h (with normal traffic). The city bus system is an easy to ride terminal based with strategic connections in all the main city areas.
Arriving at the bus station (Terminal Rodoviário Florianópolis) You will need to walk about 100 meters to reach the City Center Bus Terminal Rita Maria (TICEN) where you take buses to any other parts of the island shown below.
HI Floripa Hostel is a good option if you're in transit and wish to stay in the Center.
East side is the 'full of options' area, especially around Conceição Lagoon District (Lagoa da Conceição) that presents the tourist a complete infrastructure and several good options for hostels, beaches, sports, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
In this area it is easy to know people from other hostels and then to exchange information about the many hostels nearby.
You may choose your location between hostels closer to the beaches or closer to Lagoa small center if you prefer easy mobility. Lagoa Bus Terminal (TILAG) is the easier connection and better way to know all the beaches in the island.
While in Lagoa small center area you may want to:
1. Eat yourself silly: Pizzas, Sushi, Temakis, Sandwiches, Juices and Natural Food, Ice Cream, Pasta, Organic food and so many more options can be found here.
2. Practice some watersports like Kayak, Kitesurf, WindSurf and Stand Up Paddle in Conceição Lagoon.
3. Enjoy the nightlife. There are many bars, some with live music, the streets are full of people and in walking distance there are so good nightclubs including one of the biggest on the island.
Enjoy some sun on each of the 3 walking/bus distance beaches:
1. Mole Beach (3km / Same Bus to Barra da Lagoa (360)); Surfing, Young people and Beach bars with eletronic music and many barracas on the sand where you can buy many kinds of drinks
2. Joaquina Beach (4km / Bus to Joaquina (147)); Surfing, Preferred by Young people and Families, there are big restaurants, some barracas and is the initial point of “Parque das Dunas” a very huge sand dunes park where you can walk around, cross to Lagoa da Conceição (about 1 hour walking) or practice sandboard - a downhill board sport over sand. There are boards for rent here.
3. Barra da Lagoa (7km, quite far to go walking. Bus to Barra da Lagoa (360)); There are Severall Restaurants, generally small wave surfing, ideal for learning, fish markets and fishing spots along the canal that flows to Conceição Lagoon. Good infrastructure with markets and restaurants, but it has few bars and no nightclubs. With well-located Hostels near the beach or up the hill. Crossing Barra bridge up to hills reserves pretty good surprises like “Prainha” a little beach with some hostel options and “Piscinas” natural swimming pools formed by sea water protected from the open sea with very clean water on special days.
The nightlife at Barra da Lagoa is mostly created by locals, or by the hostel guests that have discovered the area.
North of the Island is where the big night pumps with the most famous nightclubs in the island that is a certain meeting point for travellers. These nightclubs receive a lot of tourists and locals every weekend and some hostels in any of the main areas offer tickets with discounts and shuffle service to these clubs. Ask the receptionists to know more about availability.
The most famous beach North of the Island is Jurerê Internacional; it surprises men with amazing women beauty everywhere you turn. It's also the beach that Brazilian and international rich and famous people enjoy visiting.
With warmer and calmer waters, the north beaches are perfect to swim and refresh but you will also find good waves for surfing in Brava and Santinho Beaches. Closer there are Jurerê, Canasvieiras, Ponta das Canas, Daniela, Ingleses and Forte Beaches
From Canasvieiras Beach there are several boat trips around the island and to the smaller islands closer like Ilha do Xavier and Ilha do Campeche.
The infrastructure of this area is ideal for travellers, boasting great restaurants, malls, beach bars and nightclubs. All you need to have a good stay, right?
There are many hostels you can stay at North and there is also a bus terminal with buses to several beaches. Taking a taxi to the nighclubs is a good tip when in a group.
The best hostel by Praia do Santinho (Santinho beach) is Pousada do Atoba.
Further north at Ponta das Canas check out Floriparadise Backpackers Hostel.
South of Florianópolis Island is the most preserved area and keeps more of local culture, food and lifestyle. Amazing beaches with extensive sand strips, some of which are trail only accessible. One of these paradise beaches is Lagoinha do Leste, the must see beach of the Island accessible by a 2 hour trail.
On the otherhand, the South of Florianópolis Island has less tourist services than the other parts, but for those who prefer an intense nature approach this is the area to stay, maybe for some days or even to visit in a daytrip.
The south bus terminal is TIRIO (Terminal Rio Tavares) that is located half way to the south beaches, also half way to the East side. So if you want to take a bus in the terminal, you’ll need to take the first bus from the hostel or beach area and then take another bus at the terminal.
Note: Along the road are buses going between beaches, but if you want to go to East, North or Center you should take a bus in TIRIO.
There is a unique vegan hostel named Costa Hostel Veg House certainly worth checking out. It's the closest to Lagoinha do Leste.
There are actually two aiports in Florianópolis:
1. Florianópolis International Airport - Hercílio Luz
2. Floripa Airport (national
The Florianópolis Airport Hercílio Luz (FLN) is located at the south of the Island and from there you can take a taxi or bus to the Center Bus Terminal (TICEN), where you can make your way to your preferred area.
By taxi to East or Center it will take about 30 minutes.