Samba in a shack and electro on the beach: Why Florianopolis, Brazil is the new Ibiza
THE World Cup may be over but our interest in Brazil certainly isn't. If you’re looking for a different kind of sport, head to Florianopolis - where the clubs, bars and beaches are swarming with beautiful people. Here’s our guide to the nightlife hotspots...
It sounds like a generic term for an island paradise, or somewhere Paddy McGuinness might send the latest couplings on Take Me Out.
But Florianopolis, in the southern region of Brazil, looks set to be one of the hottest party destinations in the world.
You just have to know where to look.
Head into the night looking for a party and you could well be disappointed.
Head out armed with local knowledge - looking for THE party - and you definitely won’t be disappointed.
“Everyone crams into a tiny fisherman’s shed to shimmy to a traditional roots samba band. This place is so cool it doesn’t even have a name”
Florianopolis, or “Floripa” to locals, is the second largest city in the Santa Catarina state, occupying part of the mainland, one main island - Ilha de Santa Catarina - and surrounding small islands.
Brazilian publication Veja named it “the best place to live in Brazil”.
People born here don’t leave, and people born elsewhere move here or buy holiday homes. Its 42 beaches attract surfers, sunbathers and sexy poseurs - and inevitably they will end up in bars and nightclubs once the sun goes down.
Here is our selection of the best places to party in paradise, every night of the week. Saúde!
Head to Sambaqui, in the northern region, for traditional Brazilian samba.
From around 10pm, everyone crams into a tiny fisherman’s shed to shimmy to a traditional “roots” samba band. This place is so cool it doesn’t even have a name, but is just known as “samba at Sambaqui”.
You might struggle to keep up with the snake-hipped locals, but sip a few caipirinhas and give it a go. No one cares, and you might find yourself getting a free “lesson” from someone who came sambaing out of the womb.
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A great place to kick off the night is La Na Ponta blues bar, just across the road and right by the sea. Watch the sun dip down while tapping along to live music. We danced with locals to a band covering classics from The Beatles, Little Walter, Stevie Wonder and Muddy Waters.
Florianopolis is known as the electronic music capital of South America, and every Sunday there are free parties on the beach at locations including opposite The Majestic Palace hotel, in Centro (Downtown). Sounds In Da City is part of a project where DJs are hired by city hall, and you can buy booze from people selling from their car boots.
The tongue-in-cheek Green Go Party at Mustafa Lounge in Lagoa - right by the lagoon - is the place to be on a Monday.
It’s no coincidence it sounds like “gringo”, as the Brazilians call non-Brazilians, but it’s all in good spirits and locals and non-locals join in the fun.
The concept is simple - green means “go”, so when the green light is on everyone rushes to the bar for a drink or three.
Chill out as the sun sets at Simple On The Beach, part of Il Campanario Villaggio Resort - a stunning complex with apartment-style rooms overlooking a chic pool area and right on the coast.
Just further down the coast is Parador P12, a beachfront day club that has a real Ibizan vibe.
In Jurere - the “Beverly Hills of Florianopolis”, according to some locals - this is the place to see and be seen, but in a nonchalant way. Think Blue Marlin in Ibiza.
They serve caipirinhas in a variety of flavours too, including passionfruit and kiwi. We concluded you can’t beat classic lime (“limon”).
Authentic Brazilian Bar do Cris is a short walk away, on Alameda Cesar Nascimento. And you’ll find gigantic hot dogs (more like paninis) with every topping imaginable at Sergio Lanches, a cool retro bar with vinyl records stuck to the walls and light shades made from CDs.
Lagoa Da Conceicao is a good spot for bar hopping. The Black Swan is a pub with live cover bands, while Books & Beers is all higgledy-piggledy bookshelves, leather armchairs and retro touches like old typewriters.
This all comes with a tasty tapas menu, outside seats overlooking the pretty harbour, and a generous dash of Brazilian flair.
Casa De Noca is a great spot for some traditional Brazilian music.
The Roof at Majestic Palace is the place to be on a Thursday night, but it doesn’t get busy until around 11pm/midnight. This is more of a showy place, where groups buy vodka by the bottle - they don’t even sell national spirit cachaça.
But if it’s dancing and rubbing hips with the most beautiful of the beautiful people you’re after, this is the spot.
For something more low-key, head around the corner to Cafe da Corte - a very cool chill-out spot with lots of outside seats - many covered with bobbly rugs.
A public market might not sound like the most happening place, but the Mercado Publico Municipal in “Centro” or Downtown will give you a real taste of the local spirit.
Literally, in fact, as here you can really savour cachaça - the alcohol used in Brazil’s national drink, caipirinha. The spirit, made from fermented sugar cane, is muddled with limes and sugar and served over ice for a potent yet refreshing cocktail.
Each state in Brazil has its own version of cachaça, known as “water the birds don’t drink”. Probably because the tiniest drop would knock them off their perches.
Head to Box 32, a real institution in Florianopolis. They make their own cachaça, richer, sweeter and better quality than many (the cheap ones can taste a little like white spirit...). Order a cachamel - cachaça, honey and lime juice - nibble on fresh seafood and maybe buy a bottle of the spirit to take home (around £15).
When it closed, at around 8pm, we followed the music to a passage just outside the market - and joined the city’s hippies dancing to live reggae.
Another big night is Fields, in Centro, which plays Brazilian country music. All flawless flesh under flashing lights, this is one for the boys - around 70 per cent of the crowd is female...
People tend to congregate at Stage Music Park in Jurere, both a super-club and a concert venue. We saw Jack Johnson in concert, along with thousands of snogging couples.
Seems the languid Hawaiian-born singer is huge in Brazil - and probably responsible for lots of Brazilian babies, as the lovers’ crooner of choice.
For more information on visiting Florianopolis, see vivendofloripa.com.br/en.
Apino, run by Florianopolis-born Guilherme dos Santos, specialises in showing visitors the hidden attractions of the island. See apino.com.br/en.
Return flights from London Heathrow to Florianopolis via Sao Paulo with TAM Airlines start at £755pp and depart daily. See tam.com.br.
TAM Airlines is part of LATAM Airlines Group and flies to more than 50 destinations across South America. For three or more flights within Brazil and across South America, get up to 60% off with LATAM Airlines Group’s South American Airpass.