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Virtually unexplored by North Americans, Santa Catarina offers a world of new sensations, combining pristine natural sceneries with an intriguing cultural mix and beaming warmth everywhere.

Endowed with dazzling beaches and breathtaking mountains and canyons, the region is home to German, Austrian, Italian, Portuguese, Hungarian and Polish settlements that proudly preserve their rich architecture, colorful music and dance, and sublime gastronomic delights.

For those seeking ecotourism or water sports, Santa Catarina is ideal for canoeing, rafting, rappelling, paragliding, hang-gliding, scuba diving, and snorkeling – and all this surrounded by an amazing lush evergreen Atlantic forest!

The state has a natural vocation for tourism, blending awesome natural beauty with the advantages of a good quality of life, incredible hotel options, services and facilities infrastructure, and safety.

Several itineraries may be developed from North America combining Brazil with other destinations in South America, such as, Argentina, Chile and Peru.

Map of Santa Catarina Brazil

Map of Santa Catarina

Climate

The climate in this region is subtropical, with its four seasons well defined.

Summer in Santa Catarina occurs between November and March, when the temperatures normally range between 90°F (30°C) during the day and decreases to 75°F (24°C) during the evening. In few occasions the temperature may reach up to 100°F (38°C) throughout the day and around 80°F (28°C) during the evening.

The period from June to August is considered winter, when the daily temperature stays around 70°F (21°C). It can be a little bit chili during the evening, when the temperature drops to 59°F (15°C). On the mountains, it is very common that the temperatures will range between 63° F (17°C) and 40°F (5°C).

The typical rain season in Santa Catarina occurs in September and October, and in April and May. But it is also common that it rains for some 15 to 30 minutes in the summer, a short rain fall that normally occurs in the late afternoon. The positive side of the rain is that it refreshes the air and maintains the green environment.

The relative humidity is pleasant, around 70% during the summer.

Thinking of venturing to unique and intriguing experiences? Select from any of our Top 10 things to do in Santa Catarina for a world of sensations!

Florianópolis

Map of Florianopolis
Map of Santa Catarina Island

Colonized by the Portuguese and the Azoreans, Florianópolis, the capital of Santa Catarina, is rich in cultural heritage expressed in the colonial architecture, local handicraft, folk festivals and delightful cuisine.

The greater Florianópolis area is colored by an array of Portuguese-style historic buildings and forts, as well as by Azorean colonial houses and churches, many of which were constructed with a mortar mix of whale oil and seashells. Portuguese forts, such as the Anhatomirim Fortress, that date back to the XVIII century, are striking historic relics reachable by a delightful schooner ride.

Take an enjoyable stroll along downtown Florianópolis and visit the historic XV de Novembro square, the old Palace Cruz e Souza, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Public Market and the old Customs Building.

A short ride from downtown is Santo Antônio de Lisboa, one of the oldest villages on the Island of Santa Catarina. This quaint little settlement, which enjoys official protected status because of its outstanding cultural importance, is a treasure-trove, preserving the traditions of a fishing village community amongst centuries-old buildings and a cobbled main street built from rough-hewn stone in the days of slavery. The star attractions here are the church of Nossa Senhora das Necessidades, considered one of the most charming on the island and the two-hundred-year-old Casa Açoriana; now a museum and art gallery.

For those interested in Amerindian archeology, several excavation sites may be also found along the coastline.

Florianópolis, city holding one of the top places in Brazil’s Human Development Index, takes the preservation of the environment and historic heritage very seriously.

Balneário Camboriú

Balneário Camboriú (Camboriú Beach Resort) is located at 84 km (52.20 mi.) from the capital of the state, and it is one of the main centers of tourism in the state of Santa Catarina. The reason is simple, and those who arrive in this town soon discover why. The natural landscapes are gorgeous, the climate is pleasant, and there are attractions everywhere.

The beaches of Camboriú are the town’s main stars. The waters are clean and transparent, simply perfect for swimming. In the summer, the beach resort is the meeting point for surfers, who find there the perfect waves for the practice of the sport, and for naturists, who have in the Pinho Beach (Pine Beach) special isolated areas with full infrastructure and total privacy. Fishing is another activity that is very popular there.

Those who visit the town are also dazzled by the traditional cable car ride, which connects the Central and Laranjeiras beaches. During the descent, which takes around 15 minutes, it is possible to see several beautiful natural landscapes, and also to stop and practice tree-climbing in the areas of Atlantic Forest of the Aguada Hill. There, tourists will find trails and belvederes that offer a full view of the sea.  In Camboriú tourists will find several hotels and lodges to chose from, ready to meet all tastes and budgets.

If the tourists prefer, there is the possibility of staying by the seashore and savoring the local delicacies, made primarily with fish. The nights are also busy in the seashore area of the Central Beach, where most of the local nightclubs, restaurants, and bars are located. There is a wide illuminated pedestrian seashore strip there, which adds even more charm to the night strolls there.

Blumenau

The Santa Catarina city that concentrates one of the largest textile industrial poles in the country also enjoys joyful beer parties and ecotourism.

Home of the famous Oktoberfest, Blumenau is located in the northeast of the State of Santa Catarina, and makes a point of keeping all traditions and heritages left behind by its colonizers from Europe.

The hospitable spirit that hovers in the air of the German city calls the attention of any visitor, whether national or international. The German influence in the architecture, which maintains countless mud hut homes, blends in, without losing any of its lusters, with the modern buildings which have gained space over time.

The typical cuisine is also very present and guarantees delicious moments of pleasure for those who enjoy the new. Just by walking the streets, you can see the importance given to the preservation of the environment.

There are mountains and hills covered in green, giving the city a special touch. This ecotourist side awakens the interest of those who enjoy horseback riding, always present in the outings on rural properties around the city. That is Blumenau, a permanent invitation for pleasure.

Events

Oktoberfest – Blumenau to the Rhythm of Polka, Draft Beer and Joy.

The largest German party in the country was held for the first time in 1984. The event makes Blumenau the main tourist destination in the State of Santa Catarina in the month of October. It is a fun party where everyone can calmly enjoy a good draft beer and excellent typical German food to the sound of the best bands in the region.

Bom Jardim da Serra

Nestled on the Serra do Rio do Rastro (Trail River Mountain Ridge), the town of Bom Jardim da Serra boasts one of the most breathtaking landscapes in Southern Brazil: the evergreen canyons. Today, its natural beauties, expressed in the very rich flora and fauna, attract ecotourism lovers from all corners of the globe.

The regions’ lush green hills, mysterious valleys, intricate trails and replenishing waterfalls are the perfect spots for those in quest of ecotourism or adventure tourism.

The Rio do Rastro region is endowed with 23 river sources, earning the name of “Capital of Waters”.

During the winter, between the months of June and August, light snow may fall and create the ideal conditions for those who like to gather around a fireplace and chat, taste some good wine, or simply relax.

Bombinhas

Bombinhas is a small town in the northern part of Santa Catarina State, which has recently become a self-governed municipality, and has turned into a tour icon of this state’s coast. It boasts over 18 beaches, some of which are still deserted, only accessed through the sea, and which provide relaxing bathing and boat rides, as well as the opportunity to practice several water sports.

At a privileged location and with an important infrastructure for both ecological tourism and submarine tourism, Bombinhas has consolidated itself as one of the most sought-after diving place in the southern region of Brazil. Its innumerous local agencies promote daily trips that take visitors to practice diving in the main places of the regions, such as Arvoredo Marine Biological Reserve, Galés Island and Desert Island, always with comfort and safety. The city also has a large variety of food options and exciting night life.

Florianópolis

The natural beauties of Florianópolis attract thousands of Brazilian and foreign visitors every year. In the island, the most varied types of beaches may be found side by side – long ones, with large sand strip; small ones, encrusted in backwaters; those with strong waves; and calm sea ones, looking like lagoons; urbanized ones full of bathers; and deserted ones, with access by trail only. It is the paradise for surf, windsurf, sailing and fishing lovers.

The Northern and Central regions of Florianópolis are the mostly sought after by tourists and offer a complete infrastructure of services, resorts, hotels and lodges. In the South, some districts also keep the aspect of countryside villages, and in them one can notice, in their way of speaking, in their handicraft activities, and folkloric feasts – the heritage left by their ancestors from the Portuguese archipelago of Azores, as of the 18th century. On the other side, the city gained a cosmopolitan air with the arrival of Brazilians from other States and foreigners who chose to live there. The island, which in the beginning of colonization was an important center for whale hunting, is today the technological pole of the IT industry.

Tourist Capital, Florianópolis is currently inhabited by about 350 thousand people, a number that triples every summer.

Garopaba

Garopaba is located on the South coast of the State of Santa Catarina, with 8 beaches, each offering unique attractions. During the 1970’s, “foreigners” carrying backpacks and tents discovered this then small fishermen’s village, and started to lend the city a different air and color. This kicked changes that led to what today is a city that thanks to an adequate urban land legislation, still keeps the old characteristics of the original “village”, with one and two-story houses.

Blessed by nature with beauty, the city is ideal for eco tourism and the practice of sports such as: surf, windsurf, hang gliding, paragliding, trekking and enduro. For those who appreciate lively parties and lively people, there is some fancy meeting “points” along Ferrugem beach.

Imbituba

Marked by the Azorean culture, Imbituba is one of the most sought after tourist destinations on the coast of the state of Santa Catarina. Located 104 km (64.62 miles) from Florianópolis, the capital of the state, Imbituba has in the beauty of its beaches its greatest attractions.

Every summer, the town receives thousands of tourists and sports lovers looking for the waves of the famous Rosa Beach, ideal for surfing. But there are other beaches in Imbituba, all of them equally beautiful and considered as being very clean by the environmental body of the state. Some of them are almost wild, offering the perfect atmospheres for those who want to relax by the sea. In the town we also find ponds, dunes, rivers, and islands. The Ibiraquera pond is known as being a good place for shrimp fishing. In the islands of Sant’Ana de Dentro, Sant’Ana de Fora, Araras, Tacami, Ouvidor and Batuta, it is possible to take schooner rides and to hike in the ecological trails that lead to the beaches or ponds.

Another important attraction in Imbituba are the right whales. Between the months of May and November, the coast of the town is the chosen location where the whales go to give birth and feed their calves. They can be seen very near the beach, dazzling both the local residents and the tourists.

Imbituba is also known, both Nationally and Internationally because of its harbor, one of the largest harbors in the South Region of Brazil. To receive visitors, the town has a wide and modern infrastructure of hotels, bars, and restaurants, besides having varied stores.

Events

National Shrimp Festival
Held since 2000, the Imbituba’s National Shrimp Festival attracts thousands of tourists in the month of February. It is held in the town’s Event Pavilion, and the event has musical shows and during it dozens of shrimp dishes are served.

National Week of the Right Whale
The event is held in the month of September, when there are lectures about the right whale. During the week, the participants can also watch musical shows.

Joinville

Joinville is one of the Brazilian cities that stands out on business tourism, due to the excellent infrastructure to handle the most varied kinds of meetings, conferences and reunions. A multi-use venue of international class is available for large events: Centreventos Cau Hansen. Built in arena shape, inspired on the world´s most advanced architectural projects, the venue features modern equipment and is suitable to receive up to 10 thousand people.

Expoville, located at the city´s entrance, is another privileged space for big parties and exhibitions.

There are dozens of auditoriums and spaces for shows, dance spectacles and fairs, as well as a wide range of suppliers of equipment and services for events. The structure of electricity, water, sewage, transport, telecommunications, security and banking services is of a high standard, able to meet the highest requirements.

Joinville also has other important features which make it stand out. One of them is the Prince of Joinville III yacht; the best equipped tourism vessel in the Brazilian coast, with capacity for 350 passengers. She does tours on the calm waters of the Babitonga Bay archipelago, amidst the rich ecosystem which is a sanctuary for the reproduction of many species. Also it is possible to organize events aboard, giving a special touch to any schedule.

The city also offers leisure options in sports: there is a golf course, equine center and a kart track. For outdoor activities lovers, there are places suitable for practicing any sport, from shooting (German tradition from the Middle Ages, kept until today) to adventure and nautical – the largest and better equipped Yacht Club in Santa Catarina State is at the municipality. Enjoy!

International Dance Festival

One of the biggest dance events in Latin America, since 1983. It gathers about four thousand dancers, professionals and students, always on the second fortnight of July. The 11 days of presentations attract 50 thousand people to Centreventos Cau Hansen, every year. There are competitions in seven different categories, from classical ballet to folk dances. Squares, shopping centers and many companies take the opportunity to promote other events at the same time, such as courses and talks.

Santo Amaro da Imperatriz

Endowed with one of the best thermal and mineral waters in the world, it is arguably second to Vicky in France in term of quality. For this reason, tourists flock from all over the region to reap the benefits of its medicinal properties (thermal-radioactive-fluorinated) recommended for rheumatism, as well as renal and digestive system treatment, among others.

Its Peoples

The early settlements of Santo Amaro da Imperatriz were mainly composed of Açorian and German immigrants. In the late 1800’s, settlers of Italian origin made this natural paradise their home as well.

Culture

Spots worth visiting:

– The main church of Santo Amaro da Imperatriz: located downtown, it is an important historic and cultural heritage of Santa Catarina – (48) 3245-1116;

– The Caldas da Imperatriz Hotel which hosted Emperor Dom Pedro II and Empress Dona Teresa Cristina in 1845;

– The Espírito Santo Convent: built in 1904 in a baroque style, it features stylish furniture, and an attractive chapel and garden. It is currently used Brother Hugolino, a Roman Catholic monk who uses his hands for healing.

Below are several cultural activities which take place during the year:

January – Padroeiro Santo Amaro Festival.
February – Carnaval das Aguas (Carnival of the Waters).
March – Regional Green Corn Festival, Handicraft Fair and “Motaço” (Southern Brazil Gathering of Motorcyclists).
May – Divino Espírito Santo Festival.
June – Rodeio Crioulo (Creole Rodeo) and Frescal Festival.
July – Municipal week in tribute to the anniversary of the emancipation, Settlers’ Festival
October – Dance Festival.
November – Imaculada Conceição Festival
December – Waters’ Christmas.

São Francisco do Sul

The beautiful São Francisco do Sul, located in an island on the Northern coast of the state of Santa Catarina, is the oldest town of the State – having been founded in 1660. It was colonized by Azorean immigrants, and “São Chico”, as it is tenderly known, is indeed one of the most beautiful “postcards” of the whole area, with its 13 beaches and an architectural group formed by no less than 150 building in colonial style. So much beauty granted the town the title of Historical Treasure.

São Francisco do Sul is also known for having one of the most important natural harbors in Brazil, the fifth largest harbor in the country in container transportation. It is that harbor that is responsible for an expressive percentage of the local economy.

The beaches of the town are also very special places for people who like fun, as it is the case with the Enseada beach, where there is a whole structure of hotels, bars, and restaurants by the seashore, and there are also those places which are perfect for those who want to rest and enjoy nature, as it is the case of the Ervino beach, for example.

Other options for good rides are related to ecotourism. In some places it is possible to practice trekking, in trails that lead to truly refreshing waterfalls.  In the town’s center, the greatest attractions are the old buildings, built in colonial and German styles, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is also there that we find the Museu Histórico de São Francisco do Sul (São Francisco do Sul’s Historical Museum), the Museu Nacional do Mar (Sea National Museum), and the Mercado Público Municipal (Municipal Public Market), one of the favorite places for the visitors who want to go shopping.

Events

Festilha

The Festilha is a traditional beneficent festivity that is organized in São Francisco do Sul for four days in the month of April. The objective is to celebrate the traditions of the island, with its typical dishes of Azorean origin, folkloric presentations, as well as other attractions, which demonstrate the characteristics of the local culture.

Brazil Travel Guide – Santa Catarina Travel Guide

 
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