Sunny skies, laid-back beach life, delicious seafood and surf…Floripa is the perfect place to wind down in Brazil. Feeling like a different country altogether, Florianopolis is a friendly and chilled out island in the Santa Catarina state in the south of Brazil. It’s one of those places you get to and think “yeah I could live here”.
We boarded the plane to Floripa and I am not going to lie, I was so excited to hopefully have some sun and surf. As we flew over the island an hour or so later I could tell I was going to be happy here.
Andy, ever the money saver, was again intent on getting the bus to our destination in Barra De Lagoa, which would entail 3 buses in total and bearing in mind it was a Sunday – 3 hours of travel. I said for the small fee would we not just be better getting a taxi, but it didn’t look likely. Imagine my surprise then when a man approached us asking if we wanted a lift back to the beach as he had just done a drop off, and would give us a discount for 40 real and with no hesitation Andy agreed!
Eventually we made it to the hostel, where we had a wee attic room above (and part of) the dorm. The hostel was in an amazing location and our room had a balcony that looked onto the beach. It was very ‘backpacking in Australia when I was 19’ though and some of the guests were a little cliché for my liking, but a great spot all the same. A sign down the stairs declared something along the lines of: ‘live life, have sex but wear a condom’! Andy had walked in on some young’ns doing just that in the dining area the last time he was here and visions of having to walk past mating backpackers in the dorm on our way to our room filled me with dread! However, knowing we were going to be in one place for 5 nights was worth it; the travelling had definitely started to take it’s toll at this point and I was longing to start slowing down the pace.
On the first morning there Andy decided to go for a run, I walked mid way down the beach and then decided to turn back in the hope we would then make it back at the same time (just under an hour after we had left). I couldn’t see Andy coming so I decided to hit the hostel for the free breakfast. Surprised that half an hour later he still wasn’t back I made him some brekky rolls and went and got ready. As I was looking from the balcony, starting to get a little concerned now, I saw him sat on a rock looking all pensive.
“WOW! Is that really Andy?”I thought; full of pride for his new pensive persona I flew down the steps, across the bridge and over the beach to join him for his morning meditation. Arms flung wide I approached, what turned out not to be Andy, and almost embarrassed the hell out of myself in front of some 16 year old boy! OOps.
So I stayed on the beach looking out for him, thinking he must be back soon, the end of the beach was not that far surely? After another half an hour I was full of panic and questioned whether we had just passed each other at the hostel. So I headed back to keep watch from the balcony, this time with my glasses on! Two and a half hours after we had left I made out a speck in the distance powering it along the beach. I knew straight away it was him and was filled with relief. On return it turned out that the end of the beach was not as close as we had thought (9 miles away it turns out!) and so what Andy thought was going to be a nice 5 miler actually turned into an 18 mile stint…ouch!!!
Over the course of the next few days we took the opportunity to walk the beach on numerous occasions as well as to surf. Unfortunately hiring boards wasn’t cheap and the water was way too cold for me; hiring a wetsuit was not part of our daily budget so I either froze to death or didn’t last long! It was great to get back in the water and catch a few waves at last.
Our next main attraction was the nudist beach! That was not actually our main aim, but it was supposed to be a great beach so we headed that way over the hills behind us. Apparently there was a track, but we never really saw it. We followed gaps in the undergrowth and trees, over rocks taller than me that I struggled to get my leg over, through the forest until eventually we realised we had missed the beach entirely and hit the edge of the river. It was a beautiful spot with wee places backing onto the water. Never ones to miss an opportunity for a nice lunch spot, we settled in here for beer and blew the budget on lunch AGAIN!
After this we decided to walk to one of the other beaches in order to withdraw some money (although we were dubious whether or not they would have an atm). So we clambered up a huge hill and another 40 minute walk was completed to find there was no atm and we were going to have to walk to the main town, which was apparently only 30 minutes away…now I walk fast and it took me almost an hour, so the girl, who was besotted with Andy I may add, had clearly never walked there in her life. Absolutely done in after almost 4 hours of walking and knowing we had to do the same back, we headed back to Praia De Mole to continue our beach hunt. On route to the beach, however, Accident Prone Andy walked into the biggest rock I have ever seen (how I have no idea) and pretty much exposed blood and guts through his toe and underside of his foot. It was gross but he mustered on for another 15 minutes, barefoot and clambering over foliage and rocks, before washing it out in the sea. We had finally reached the nudist beach, which was inhabited only by men over 60, so we didn’t stay too long! Eventually we headed back over the hills, to the backdrop of a beautiful sunset, absolutely exhausted but what a great day it had been.
As our time in Brazil came to an end, it was strange to think that our time in South America was now coming to a close. What a fantastic continent it is, and what a wonderful mix of culture, people and natural beauty there is to see. It really is such a vast and stunning place with something for everyone, be it mountains, rainforests or beaches. It was now time to move on to the next leg of the journey…Central America !