Known as ‘the island of magic’ to locals due to it’s unreal sunsets and mystical mountains, Florianopolis will capture your heart from your first dip into the crystal clear ocean. The island is made up of a bustling town centre, where you’ll arrive after crossing the bridge from the mainland, and several regions which all have their own charm.
Barra da Lagoa | Photo Credit: Nick Hampson
This guide will mainly focus on the middle and South East of the island – Lagoa da Conceição, Barra da Lagoa, Praia Mole & Rio Tavares as this is where I lived and hung out over the year I spent on the island. This general area has the best of several worlds, from surf and skate culture, innovative start-up projects and alternative parties, to yoga & spiritual centres, lush jungle and paradise beaches.
As a remote worker and traveller you need that balance of chilled places to work, inspiring networks & events, and plenty of fun things to do in your down-time. Floripa (as the island is endearingly known) really is a place to live your best life with balance and get inspired by your surroundings and chance meetings.
Costa da Lagoa | Photo Credit: Sounds in da City
Digital Nomad Hotspots
Floripa is a place that attracts people from the big city to live a different pace of life, many remote workers have packed up from São Paulo or Rio Grande do Sul and taken their work online, hence the choice of co-working spaces and laptop friendly cafés.
Photo Credit: O Sitio
O Sitio, Lagoa da Conceição
O Sitio is more than just a co-working space, they run courses in digital arts, host several monthly events from life-drawing to DJ sets and ping-pong championships. The working space itself is great, with quiet indoor spots, an outdoor area and meeting rooms for all your remote working needs, they do a day pass which is ideal if you’re visiting. I personally loved sitting out in the garden and found it a really peaceful place to work, it’s never very busy; apart from when they invite an international DJ to play for one of their events!
Impact Hub, Rio Tavares
Newly opened in 2018, the island’s second Impact Hub really sets the tone for Floripa as an island of innovation and purpose-led business. Impact Hub is an international network of entrepreneurs striving to do work that positively impacts people & planet. A great place to simply go and work (they offer a free first day pass) or make the most of the network and attend one of their events or talks.
‘A place to inspire and be inspired’ Rosemary Dream is an international community and an Empowerment Centre, and it’s where I spent most of my year living on the island. Genuinely trying not to be biased here 😉 but it’s an amazing place to go and explore if you’re travelling solo and particularly if you’re a remote worker. You can stay as a guest, or visit for the day, there’s plenty of spaces for you to get on with your projects with one of the best views of the island. I’ll be talking more about what this magical space has to offer further down in the guide…
Photo Credit: Julia Gundlach Photography
Leeds Café, Lagoa da Conceição
Newly opened, this huge café has the best Açai bowl in Lagoa in my opinion. If you’re unfamiliar with the açai superberry, you’ll soon know it when you land in Brazil. Anyway, Leeds has plenty of space and good wifi to be a remote working hotspot, but the highlight is the hidden garden at the back – perfect for chilling in the middle of a busy day, and the staff at this place are lovely.
Café Cultura, Lagoa da Conceição
Sometimes you just need a good coffee and a comfy seat with reliable Wifi. Café Cultura has become a hub for remote workers and students, whether they intended this or not, is a mystery. It almost feels like a big chain café but their coffee is genuinely good, and if you’re lucky enough to bag the sofa, you’ve got yourself a great deal. You’ll likely be next to someone having a meeting about some cool new tech start-up on the island or you may meet the dear old man who sells little hand stamped poetry books. My tip: Order the espresso tonic, sounds weird but it’s amazing on a hot day.
Family Coffee, Itacorubi
Getting a bit more urban here, towards Itacorubi, which is well worth a visit if you’re in Floripa for longer than a week for it’s cool cafés and bars with live music at the weekends. Family Coffee is a cute little hipster café with good coffee and herbal teas served in science-lab vessels it has good internet and an outdoor area for your digital nomad needs.
Events to look out for
Floripa isn’t short on quality happenings, you’re likely to find yourself torn between yoga workshops, dance parties and entrepreneurial networking events all in one weekend. Make the most of this grown-up playground and check out what’s going on during your visit, here’s some insider tips on who’s planning the best ones:
Sounds in da City
Expertly curated music events in public spaces and beautiful outdoor places, playing a mix of Brazilian beats with disco and house, these guys know how to get the people shakin’. Look out for their outdoor and boat party editions, Sunday afternoons on the island you’ll never forget. See their Facebook page for upcoming events.
As well as running life-changing empowerment programs and retreats, Rosemary holds several regular events and rents the space out to other organisations. Don’t miss the Friday Family Dinner, it’s an experience of dining with the international community and tasting pescatarian dishes created with Ayurvedic philosophy in mind. Also check out the events page for regular yoga classes held on one of the mind-blowing decks overlooking the ocean.
A global events collective which organises intimate live music events in unusual locations, promoting local musicians. The Floripa organisers are discerning music lovers who have a flair for putting on unforgettable events around the island, check out their next events to discover underrated locations and up-and-coming music talent.
Photo Credit: Julia Gundlach Photography
Social Good Brasil
SGB promote events and organisations in sphere of tech innovation & social enterprise business. They hold a yearly conference where international organisations gather to talk innovation, speakers come to inspire and entrepreneurs come to network and develop their projects. See what events they have coming up here.
Aviva, Praia Mole
Espaco AVIVA is a beautiful mystical corner of praia Mole, filled with stunning crystals and peaceful natural spaces. A space for holistic therapies and retreats, they also hold regular events from Dance Temple every full moon, to yoga events and tea ceremonies. Check out Dance Temple Floripa to find out about upcoming events.
One of the co-working spaces I previously mentioned, their events are well worth a look. Drink & Draw is a fun event to get creative and meet creative people and Vinyl Jam is a chilled music event, often inviting the best local DJs and the occasional international big name. It’s well worth checking out their event schedule.
You like house / disco / techno music? Read on. Troop bring the best DJs to some of the hottest venues on the island. If you love music, people who love good music, and dancing ‘til dawn, their events are not to be missed.
Just for fun
When it comes to the ‘what to do for fun’ section, it’s hard to be concise. There’s so much to do on the island, many paradise beaches to explore, endless eateries with delicious food, so many dreamy hikes. So I’ll just give you my personal favourites, the things that you won’t find on tripadvisor, mainly based on the East side of the island.
Move your body: Go rowing with Kanalova
This isn’t just any old watersport, Hawaiian canoeing is a lifestyle, a pure connection with the water and the group. The traditional catamaran canoes hold 12 people, they take you out to the ocean and to the natural pools of Barra da Lagoa, it’s a special way to see the coastline and to hear myths about the water from kanoa master Alexey.
Discover local music in a kitchen: Choro Xadrez
Okay, so some friends may be mad at me for out-ing the best mid-week live music on the East of the island, but it’s just too good to miss out. Choro Xadrez is a ‘roda de choro’ – roda means a circle of musicians, and choro is a kind of Brazilian jazz. Every Wednesday a group of musicians gather in a little kitchen in Rio Tavares, and jam – this lively show attracts people of all ages to have a little dance and drink the craft beer on tap. See their event page here.
Eat Brazil’s favourite ingredient: Oka de Mani, Rio Tavares
Well I don’t know if it’s actually Brazil’s favourite ingredient, but mandioca is my favourite Brazilian root vegetable, it’s naturally gluten free and used for diverse dishes, this restaurant is adorable and delicious. A change from the traditional rice & beans, everything on the menu is made from mandioca (otherwise known as cassava), from pastas to typical tapiocas – a popular healthy dish on the island.
Hike to a wild beach: Barra da Lagoa to Galheta
This is a good short hike (approx 1 hour) that gets you just the right amount of sweaty, you get to see amazing panoramic views of the fisherman town of Barra and the surrounding coastline. Galheta is a nudist beach, and is away from the road so is one of the quieter beaches on the island, on a calm day the water is crystal clear and perfect for swimming. You can walk along to the next beach, praia Mole, which has several cafés – I recommend Baruc – and from there you can always get the bus back to Barra if you don’t want to hike back.
Drink with the local hipsters: Thursdays on Rua Victor Meirelles
Okay so this is in the central part of Floripa, not the East, but the crowd flock to this street towards the end of the week. Every Thursday this street is filled with young people drinking, chatting and just soaking up the atmosphere. It also happens to have some great cocktail bars – No Class, Atelier which is a quirky artists’ studio / gallery turned bar, and new street bar called ‘little window’ Janelina selling affordable cocktails which are also delicious!
Fashion made in Brazil: Made in Guarda
I’m personally passionate about the garment industry, Brazil still retains a lot of clothing manufacturing, most of which is in Santa Catarina, and supporting these brands is key to keeping this sustainable local industry alive. So a highlight for me is Made in Guarda in Lagoa da Conceição, they stock really cool designs, and fun prints in quality fabrics, I wanted to buy 50% of their summer collection but unfortunately I couldn’t fit it into my suitcase. You can check out their online store here.
We hope you enjoyed our first travel guide, let us know if you’re lucky enough to visit the Ilha da Magia!
As we’re a remote agency, adventure is key to how we work. We want to promote a culture of exploration, and connecting local projects with travellers around the globe. Look out for our next travel guides, Argentina and Peru coming soon!