Three Ecuadorian beaches to explore and enjoy....
Al Ritmo de Florianpolis
text: Alejandra Rodríguez | photos: Eduardo Zappia
Take three days to discover the varied landscapes of this island, known for its glamorous lifestyle, fun things to do, deserted beaches, family resorts, surf-friendly waves and relaxing, calm waters.
Hand-painted tiles welcome visitors to Santo Antônio de Lisboa
With 42 beaches spread over an island measuring just 34 miles long and 11 miles wide and a heritage that mixes influences from Portugal, the Azores, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and elsewhere, Florianópolis merits a thorough exploration by car.
Begin your tour near the airport, in Riberão da Ilha, one of the oldest towns on the island, where you can still admire traditional architecture from the Azores, a legacy of the first immigrants who arrived in the 16th century. The small houses, painted pink or blue with white or yellow windows and lace curtains, take you back in time as you walk down the main street to the calm waters of the sea. But the main attraction isn’t the beach, it’s the beautiful architecture – don’t miss the Igreja Nossa Senhora da Lapa and the Museu Etnológico – and the town’s chief export: oysters! Riberão da Ilha produces 70% of Brazil’s oysters. The best place to sample this local delicacy is the restaurant Ostradamus, which serves the succulent mollusk in a variety of ways on a wooden pier overlooking the sea.
The colorful houses of Ribeirão da Ilha
After lunch, take Rodovia SC-405 towards the east coast and then head north on SC-406 to the beach of Santinho, a favorite among surfers. The Ilha do Magia surf school maintains that you are never too young or too old to learn to how surf or at least how to stand on the board and then – why not? – you, too, can hang ten! Classes are offered daily.
Lagoa da Conceição
Morning is the perfect time for a walk along one of the paths through the hills to one of several nearly deserted beaches. For example, Lagoinha do Leste is an ecological paradise that manages to avoid the tourist crush thanks to its limited access: it can only be reached on foot or by boat. From Praia do Matadeiro, the excursion promises nearly three hours of magnificent beauty and physical exertion. At the halfway point, you’ll come to a refreshing, shady stream. Afterwards, the trail becomes more accessible and offers incredible views from Ponta do Facão and Ponta da Lagoinha. For the return trip, take the route from Pântano do Sul, which is much easier and faster going, although less visually appealing.
The beautiful beach at Lagoinha do Leste
But not everyone opts for this kind of adventure. Young people and children can get an adrenaline fix at the 29 ramps and slides reaching up 50 feet above the pools at the Agua Show Park, set in the middle of a native forest.
Agua Show Park
After sundown, visit Lagoada Conceição, a small town less than eight miles from downtown Florianópolis. Just a few blocks from Rua Alfonso Delambert, you’ll find a host of bars, restaurants and discotheques. The area is also a magnet for artists and intellectuals, and you can find their work in the many local art galleries, like Britto Shop.
Jurerê Internacional combines glamour, luxury and nightlife
The adventure doesn’t stop on Sunday. Diving experts from Sea Divers head out early in the morning aboard their ship, the Sandokán. If you’re not up for undersea adventure, Ponta das Canas offers abundant white sands and spots like Bora Bora, where you can sample traditional petiscos (snacks) .
Looking for something more glamorous? Less than eight miles west is Jureré Internacional, with its mansions and sports cars reminiscent of South Beach (including Praia Café de la Musique).
In the afternoon, for more culture from the Azores and Portugal, visit Santo Antônio de Lisboa, with its charming heritage of narrow cobblestone streets, colorful houses and the requisite church. This town also serves as the starting point for the highly recommended Rota Gastronômica (Culinary Route) to Sambaqui, a neighboring coastal town. On Sunday afternoons, at the Feira das Alfaias in Plaza de San Antônio, local artists and artisans show off their work, just steps away from the Casa Açoriana and the Santo de Casa workshops, two essential spots for finding the perfect souvenir.
Where to Stay
$$$ Costão do Santinho Resort, Golf & Spa
$$$ Antares Club Hotel Lagoinha
$$ Praia Mole Eco Village
$ Pousada Penareia
What to Do
Escuela Ilha do Magia
Agua Show Park
Sandokán de Sea Divers
Where to Eat
OstradamusRod. Baldicerro Filomeno 7640, Riberao da Ilha
O LusitanoRod. Gilson da Costa Xavier 2099, Sambaqui
Elba D’ItaliaAv. Luiz Boiteux Piazza, 3481, Cachoeira do Bom Jesus
Antonio’s RestauranteAv. Luiz Boiteux Piazza, 2214, Cachoeira do Bom Jesus
Ponta das CaranhasRodovia Jornalista Manoel de Menezes, 2377, Barra da Lagoa