I spent two weeks on Floripa staying in beautiful Barra da Lagoa and learning to surf, but there is a lot, and I mean A LOT, more to this wonderful island. Forty two beaches, jungles, mountains, rivers, surfing, paddle boarding, kiting, sand boarding, hiking, partying, exploring the city of Florianopolis as well as smaller towns on the island... Once can easily spend weeks, if not months, on this island. Unfortunately, I only had two weeks and I enjoyed Barra da Lagoa so much, that I did not get out much - after all, I just spent a month in New Zealand, so hiking and mountains did not draw me much. Kite surfing is on my list to do, but this time around I consciously decided to focus on getting the surfing part down. In fact, the only thing I kind of wished I would of done while there is sand boarding, but hey, that is a good excuse to go back! :)
Partying at Mole Beach
The Barra Beach Club hostel I was staying at put together a bonefire beach party with the other hostels in Barra so one night we loaded up on the tiny school bus and went over there. 'Nuff said.
Isla de Campeche
One day Toby and I decided to go on a day trip to Isla de Campeche located off the coast in the southern part of Florianopolis. The cruise had to be booked in advance, but after asking nicely, we were added to, what appeared to be, full boat. Safety what?
It took us a good hour or so to get down there and the island did look very cool, all covered with trees with a nice, pristine beach akin to best Caribbean beaches - perfect white sand with warm crystal clear blue water. To top it off, the airplanes flying into Florianopolis airport just happend to be turning final above the island, making it probably the second best spotting place after Majo beach in St. Maarten.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to roam around the island, so we just laid on the beach, swam, and played some beach volleyball with the group of Argentinians and Italians from our hostel. Good times! But do bring something to do with you since you are stuck on the island for the whole day...
Southern Floripa - the Land of the Oysters
Another day I ventured down to the southern part of the island. Unlike the northern, or even the central parts, it remains undeveloped for the most part with only small villages dotting the landscape here and there. Here, between the island and the mainland, lots of oyster farms are located. We saw lots of places along the road offering the freshest oysters while driving down all the way to the southern tip.
The plan was to get to Naufragados beach. Its remote location meant that we would have to either take a boat or hike through the forrest to get there. We left the car where the road ended and opted for the hiking option. After a fairly easy hike that took us good forty minutes to an hour, we made it out to the beach. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating, so instead of a lively beach there were just a few people waiting for the boat pickup to get out of there.
We planned on having a quick lunch at one of the two 'restaurants' there, but also decided against it once the first drops of rain started hitting the beach. Instead, we caught a boat ride back to our car and pulled over at one of the road-side restaurants to try some of those oysters.
Not surprisingly, these were the best oysters I have ever had. The first plate was gone quick and soon we were finishing with the second plate while waiting for the seafood stew which was also delicious.
I was humbled when the owner of the place, once we told him I have been traveling around the world, got very emotional and told me how he thought I was doing a great thing and how honored he was that I stopped at his restaurant. A couple shots of cachaça followed before we had to bid the farewell and head back.
This is one place I will definitely be returning to!