Sunday, 25 January 2009

The New York Times: Florianopolis is the Place to Be

The New York Times recently declared Floripa the Party Destination of the Year and THE Place to Be in 2009.

The chic beach bars of Jurere and the famous gay Carnival parties of Praia Mole were mentioned, but beyond these areas that are favoured by visitors wanting to party, Floripa has many others that offer a lot of local fun.

Last night, for example, we took a stroll down Armacao main street , one of the oldest fishing communities on the Island and were met by a "bloco" formed by young drummers of a local NGO, rehearsing for Carnival.

Listening to the drums by the sea front while having an ice cream with the pretty old church of the Armacao in the background, I thought that this is what Carnival was really about in its origins: genuine community fun and not only a show for tourists.

Tips from Brazil Ecojourneys Team:
  • These kind of events happen every weekend during January and February (until Carnival) in most neighbourhoods. Lagoa, Santo Antonio de Lisboa and Campeche, in particular, have good neighbourhood "blocos", so if you are in the Island during this time, check them out.
  • The Afri Catarina NGO offers cultural workshops for the local youth of the south of the Island- check

Monday, 12 January 2009

Places to Eat in Florianopolis no. 1- South of the Island

We are frequently asked by our clients for tips on good places to eat on the Island.

I like to recommend our personal favorites, places that locals know about but that are overlooked by most guide books.

If you are visiting the south of the Island, I would make three very different recommendations.

In Pantano do Sul, in the extreme south, there is a simple restaurant on the beach front called Bar do Vadinho that serves the best typical food in the region. The place is very simple, you don't even have a menu: you ask for lunch (almoco) and they will bring you fish (fillets, steaks and a delicious dish of shredded fish with spices), rice, beans, salad, chips and pirao ( a local side dish made of fish stock, herbs and cassava flour). Service is friendly but very slow, but be patient because it is worthy. This is the freshest fish you can find anywhere on the island and it is great value: for US$ 7 per person, you can eat as much as you want. They will keep asking if you want a refill... During Summer it opens everyday, all day, in the rest of the year opens only for lunch a the weekends.

If you are on your way to/from the beach around Armacao or Pantano do Sul at lunch time and fancy a healthy alternative to fish and chips, then you MUST stop by Nutri lanches. Located near Lagoa do Peri on the main road (SC 406), this canteen-like restaurant serves a buffet by kilo (a great Brazilian invention= you chose your food from a buffet, weight it and pay a fixed amount per kilo) of the highest quality for a very reasonable price ( average meal US$ 4-5 dollars). Besides the good salads and creative vegetarian dishes, they also serve fish, seafood and chicken dishes. Open all year around ( except Mondays), Nutri is a meeting point for the alternative crowd.

On the west coast, in the quaint old village of Ribeirao, you will find a very different option, ideal for a late lunch or a summer evening meal. Ostradamus is a Florianopolis institution and justifiably so: it serves, by far, the best oysters in town! The setting is also magic: from their pier you can watch the sun going down behind the beautiful Tabuleiro Mountains. If you don't fancy oysters try their seafood risotto or the king prawn dishes.

Tips from the Brazil Ecojourneys team:
  • In Ostradamus, the main course portions are huge, so ask for half a portion, which is plenty for 2 people.
  • You can combine a visit to these restaurants with some of our day treks for a great day out.
  • Florianoplis is the biggest producer of oysters in Brazil- a visit to an oyster farm followed by a tasting session is one of the many activities you can join in the island to experience local life.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Happy New Year in Florianopolis

Those that decided to come to Florianopolis for their New Year's holidays did not regret.

The weather was perfect for most of the week and although busy everywhere, the atmosphere was very relaxed throughout the Island. From the chic Jurere to trendy Praia Mole, locals and tourists alike had a great time partying on the beach.

Now Floripa starts getting ready for the next big holiday- Carnival week, in February.

Florianopolis Carnival is less known to foreigners but it is one of top five destinations in Brazil. It has a mix of the traditional festivities such as the street parties and the Samba Schools Parade as well as ultra trendy label electronic music parties, especially those catering for the gay crowd.

Although avaiability is already limited in some places, have a look at some of our Special packages: Carnival 2009 in Floripa