My shoes had a tough day. First, they got washed away by the tide on Praia de Canasveiras. Then they got soaked in a downpour in Florianópolis in the evening, so I had to clean them properly in the hotel shower.
That’s a bit too much water for leather sandals.
I really should have learned to master the art of walking long distances with Havaianas. Brazilians can run, drive, fish, swim and possibly have sex with flip-flop—gosh, right now I’m picturing a Brazilian wedding with the bride and groom wearing Havaianas. They even have this cool way of carrying them when they walk barefoot—instead of holding them awkwardly by the strap like us, stupid foreigners do, they slip a hand in, the insole against their palm, the strap between two fingers.
One of these tricks you learn on the beach in Brazil.
We spend a lot of time on the sand in the Ilha de Santa Catarina.
We have our routine.
Towels, swimsuits, car keys. A twenty-to-sixty-kilometre drive that should take less than an hour but is often much longer and more frustrating because between construction work, accidents and the fact there are too many cars on a relatively small island, traffic is awful is Florianópolis and around. On the other hand, finding a parking spot by most beaches is easy—there are plenty of empty lots all advertising showers, bathrooms and shade for 10 or 20 reais.
Each beach around Santa Catarina Island has its own unique atmosphere.
We started with Barra da Lagoa and Praia Moçambique, fifteen kilometres of beach in a natural setting, without buildings around, since the area is preserved. This is one of my favourite spots. The village is cute and not too touristic and the long stretch of beach is mostly empty in the middle.
On the second day, we went to Praia do Campeche, five kilometres of white sand and one main street leading to the beach. This is a popular spot but there’s room for everyone, although it does get loud, mostly because Brazilians apparently need to bring their boombox to the beach (and if you don’t have speakers, don’t worry, vendors sell them on the beach!).
Praia dos Ingleses isn’t as impressive at first glance, yet this is where I had one of the best afternoons. Water is shallow and the stretch of sand is shorter, but at the end of the beach, there’s a nice lookout and amazing sand dunes. I took Mark on a hike to climb and we had a lot of fun pretending we were in a fantasy movie. This is also the place where you can buy these cheap “I love Floripa” tee-shirts and keychains, Brazilian bikinis you won’t dare to wear anywhere else and other souvenirs.
On a rainy day, we headed to the most touristic beaches, Praia de Jurerê and Praia de Canasvieras. Both are very popular with Argentinians and long-stay travellers and I’m wondering why—there’s barely any beach, two of three metres at most at high tide, and Jurerê was very dirty. Yet, the atmosphere is fun, so I guess if you feel like drinking and eating on the beach, that’s the right spot for you. We still declined the offer to rent an apartment there, though—we were approached by a homeowner in the parking lot ten seconds after getting off the car!