Roughly halfway between Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, Floripa, as this town is known, has lively nightlife, sandy beaches, sunny skies and a well developed gay scene. Brazilians from the two big cities have for some time been coming to this tiny island to get away from it all, especially in summertime. North Americans and Europeans have recently begun to arrive in greater numbers as well. The area was heavily colonized by Portuguese from the Azores and from Madeira Island in the mid-18th Century, along with Germans and Italians - lending exotic textures to accents, food and lifestyles that contrast with elsewhere in the country.
During Carnaval the gay celebrations include the Pop Gay competion for the best local drag performers, now one of the largest events of all. Several large gay megaclubs vie with Rio and Sao Paulo, and in September the gay pride celebrations of Semana da Diversidade include big parties. A 2009 local law made the practice of homophobia a crime. Camboiú and Curitiba are two nearby towns with gay nightlife.
With a subtropical climate here, the forty-plus beaches within easy reach of downtown are a major attraction. Some of the most popular include: Praia de Jurerê Internacional, an area filled with hotels, beach clubs, restaurants, and nightclubs; Praia Galheta, the gay-friendly but general public nude beach (some cruising in the dunes); and the beautiful Praia Mole, a short walk from Lagoa central, popular with young, alternative and gay people, and location for Bar do Deca and The Week at Carnaval with all-night dancing in the open air. Praia Joaquina is noted for board surfing, wind and ketsurfing - even sand surfing. Whales can be seen on tours of the Imbituba coast to the south of Floripa, coming from Arctic waters to give birth to their young.
Getting Here, Getting Around
Domestic and international flights, from Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, arrive at Hercílio Luz International Airport, 14 km (9 mi) from downtown Florianópolis. To get from the U.S. or Europe make a connection in São Paulo for a second leg direct to Florianópolis. Taxis and buses will get you into the city.
Several bus lines operate in the city. See info at Guia Floripa, in Portuguese. Ticket can be bought from a "cobrador" (NOT the driver) a couple of seats down by the turnstile. Car rentals are quite inexpensive and easy to arrange - agents can drop the car off at your hotel, then pick it up at the end of the rental period.
The Rita Maria bus terminal connects Florianópolis to most cities, towns and villages in Santa Catarina, and to other Brazilian cities in the South, Southeast and Central-West regions.
Mix Brazil, the country's largest GLBT website, has news about Florianopolis along with other cities. The Fervo website has heaps of recent photos and videos of local gay nightlife at the clubs, the Gay Carnaval, and other special events, plus archives from previous years.
See our map & listings tab for some local bars, hotels, restaurants and the gay bathhouse.
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