Four days in Florianópolis - Brazil’s new MI star

The city raised the stakes and made it to number four in ICCA’s ranking in Brazil, in 2016. It claims to be the “best Brazilian incentive destination”.

Affectionately called “Floripa” by its inhabitants, Florianópolis is probably not on many tourists route in a visit to Brazil. But the city has chosen its own path, with a clear investment in the Meetings Industry (MI) that is starting to pay off.

Capital of the southern Santa Catarina State, Forianópolis is located on an island, connected to the rest of the region by two bridges and, of course, it boasts of 43 white sand beaches. 52% of the city is protected area and so the natural setting is one of a kind, dotted with villages of colourful houses, churches and monuments built in colonial style, with a marked influence from the Portuguese island of Azores, whose people settled in this area of Brazil. The local cuisine is a treat, with the Azorean influence visible in an array of fish and seafood dishes.

Across the bridges, in mainland, the developed and industrial Florianópolis seems like a world away from the picturesque landscape of the island. Here, you can dine at the best restaurants and watch the famous city skyline.

The Floripa Convention and Visitors Bureau (FCVB) has a motto: “the best incentive destination of Brazil”. The town offers a four-day itinerary for those who choose Florianopolis for this purpose, detailed in the FCVB’s website.

Day 1: Start your journey with a tour along the north of the island, heading for mainland. Sail to Baía dos Golfinhos (Dolphin’s Bay), after a welcome drink at your boat. While you sail, get to know Anhatomirim island and its fortress (Fortaleza de Santa Cruz), one of the old Portuguese defense systems for the island. For lunch, feast on fresh fish caught by local fishermen and cooked in the boat, while you bathe in the bay. At night, enjoy a posh dinner, with local produce and wines.

Day 2: Feel the rush of going down the rapids of Cubatão River. Watch the landscape at Mata Atlântica (a type of vegetation that grows by the sea, in Brazil) and learn about its fauna and flora. Enjoy a medieval lunch in a prized brewery and watch the sunset with a toast at São José da Ponta Grossa Fortress, an 18th century building.

Day 3: Stroll around the colonial houses in Ribeirão da Ilha and see the process of oyster production. Enjoy the wine, a typical treat of the local mountains and have lunch at a seaside restaurant. All this in a city that’s part of a network of creative places distinguished by Unesco. Try the “cachaça”, the national Brazilian drink, in an old warehouse and finish off with another great sunset at Santo António de Lisboa.

Day 4: Hit the beach on your final day and sail to paradise: the island of Campeche, a place of white sand and crystal clear water. Try out the underwater routes and the ways through the vegetation until you get to the east of the island, where you can see the a large set of ancient rock art (over 3000 years old). Enjoy a gourmet picnic before returning to Santa Catarina Island. Back in town, take a look at Conceição Lagoon.

Brazil is more than Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and the MI sector can find some good incentives in places like Florianópolis. A destination off the beaten track.

© Marlon Dutra

Tags: Florianopolis, Destinations