Two Weeks in Barra da Lagoa
Recently, Florianopolis has become one of the most popular destinations in Brazil for people who are looking for superb beaches, beautiful scenery, interesting culture and friendly people. The privileged landscape with lush green vegetation makes a perfect scenario for those seeking for outdoor activities such as hiking, sailing, paragliding, hang gliding, kite surfing, kayaking, scuba diving and so on. -- WikiTravel and Floripa Images
The first time I have heard about Florianopolis was in 2007 when I was listening to a recording of Tim Ferris' talk before his Four Hour Workweek book came out. He mentioned that he went there to learn to surf so I figured why not do the same? After all, with 42 beaches there, if I cannot get a hang of it, at least I would enjoy the last bit of beach time before continuing the journey through the middle of South America.
Barra da Lagoa
After digging around and talking to friends of friends, I settled down on Barra da Lagoa. Located on the Atlantic coast and naturally protected from larger waves other beaches are famous for, Barra seemed like the ideal place for the beginners. So the plan was set, the hostel booked, and I took an overnight bus from Sao Paulo to Florianopolis. From there, it took two more buses connecting in Lagoa de Conceicao before I finally arriving to Barra and walking over to the hostel.
After staying in 50-60 hostels on this trip alone, Barra Beach Club immediately shot up to the top of my list. Situated at the top of the hill, across the channel and a quick walk away from the main beach, it had the most awesome view of any hostel I stayed at. The small beach below, while not private, felt like it as there were considerably less people.
This view alone from the top of the bar where we had our free breakfast every morning was enough to stop me from exploring the rest of the island on most days - why go anywhere else? I had my routine set up, getting a few things done after breakfast, going for lunch at one of the cheap buffets in town, a run along the main beach in the evening before the free caipirinha time... It was great!
Being pretty far down south, Floripa is not the year-around beach destination as it does get cold in winter. Even at the middle of March the water has cooled down significantly and the first week I spent there it was freezing almost every time I would go in (combined with the wind). Towards the end of the week I came down with something so surfing and caipirinhas had to wait a bit. The next week the weather really warmed up and it just added to the tranquility of this place.
Oh, and of course, I did get some surfing lessons in, but that deserves a post of its own :)