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Overview

Ilha da Santa Catarina has a vibrant and varied coastline, from the calm, crowded bays of the north, to the wild, cliff-hugging beaches of the south. But it's not just the beaches that make this island so enchanting. A forest of pines protects the east coast, with nearby dunes creating a desert landscape. A spine of mountains, lush with Atlantic rain forest, drops down to the lovely Lagoa da Conceição. The gateway to the island is Florianópolis, political capital of Santa Catarina state and cultural capital of southern Brazil. The industrial zone of Florianópolis is on the mainland; across the bay, the island ...

Ilha da Santa Catarina has a vibrant and varied coastline, from the calm, crowded bays of the north, to the wild, cliff-hugging beaches of the south. But it's not just the beaches that make this island so enchanting. A forest of pines protects the east coast, with nearby dunes creating a desert landscape. A spine of mountains, lush with Atlantic rain forest, drops down to the lovely Lagoa da Conceição. The gateway to the island is Florianópolis, political capital of Santa Catarina state and cultural capital of southern Brazil. The industrial zone of Florianópolis is on the mainland; across the bay, the island holds the historic center and the chic district of Beira-Mar Norte. Two picturesque bridges link these halves. The old suspension bridge, the Ponte Hercílio Luz, is no longer open to traffic, but still lights the night sky, acting as the defining feature of Floripa's spectacular skyline.

Mara Vorhees
About the Expert

Mara Vorhees has written or contributed to many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including Brazil and Morocco.

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Mara Vorhees for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December-March; Carnaval is usually the middle of February. Costs and crowds go up with the temperature. Visit outside of January-February for lower prices and fewer people.