It was the year 1987, living in São Paulo, three friends and I decided to undertake a trip to the south of Brazil. We took our surfboards and cheerful for the information we had collected in the region, we boarded the bus to face an 11-hour trip. I had a camera with me that was borrowed from my stepfather. It was a Penthax Sphotmatic with a 50mm and a 70-250mm lens. The photometer did not work, so I used a hand-Weston. I rewound 20 films and left.
Florianópolis has 42 beautiful beaches, along with a beautiful bridge, which resembles one of the famous bridges of San Francisco, California. To go from one beach to another, sometimes we took a ride, sometimes we went by bus. Those were 40 days that changed my life. Here, photography began to beat very strong in my heart. I was the oldest, 19 years old, while the other friends were only 16. I’ll never forget, when the bus arrived at the top of the hill of Lagoa da Conceição, I saw one of the most beautiful landscapes, after which I said to myself “This is where I am going to live!”.
One year later, I was going south, leaving the faculty of communication (people called me crazy) and photographing surfers, as a correspondent of Fluir Journal. Obviously, I also surfed a lot, since Florianopolis has hosted the Hang loose and has high waves. A good example is Joaquina beach, famous worldwide for surfing.
There, I married a woman from Florianópolis, Nina, and we are still together.
Talking about Florianópolis is difficult and easy at the same time. Much has changed in these 25 years, but Floripa (as Brazilians say) remains beautiful, charming, and commonly known as “the magic island”. But be warned – it also has its dangers, which in past did not exist. Assaults, drug traffic, car theft, etc.
Florianopolis is the capital of Santa Catarina state and to get there is very easy. Take a flight heading to São Paulo and, in São Paulo, take another to Florianopolis. The journey lasts around an hour. Preferably, buy the tickets in advance, so you will pay less, about $70 USD round trip.
After arriving in Florianopolis, it is ideal to rent a car (there are several agencies at the airport). All this can be researched over the Internet.
Although it is difficult to indicate a good location to stay at, I have good references on this inn, but there are tons of hotels – it all depends on your budget. Another advantage is that this hostel is close to everything shown in my photographs.
The island of Florianópolis is a paradise. The south of the island is one of the most beautiful parts, and worth seeing. For starters, I suggest a visit to Armação Beach, then to cross a stream of clean water and go to the Matadeiro Beach.
It is a super clean beach with white sand inviting for a long walk. Propitious to surfing, beach volleyball, it has trails leading to other beaches. There are some dining options and you can have lunch with your feet in the sand, tasting typical local dishes. When checking out the first beach, I would recommend to rest, take pictures and go back to the hotel with some beautiful shots.
Also in the south of the island, it is worth going to visit Solidão beach, starting from the Pântano do Sul beach. If you arrive there early, it is possible to witness the show of boats returning from fishing, surrounded by a lot of gulls and bringing fresh fish for lunch or dinner.
The walk takes place in about 40 minutes. Also, you can rent a bike, because the sand lane is long and flat. The suggestion is to spend the day at Solidão beach, making beautiful images, including waterfalls, and return to witness the sunset spectacle in Pântano do Sul beach.
Lagoinha do Leste beach is a walk apart. In the middle of the Atlantic forest, you follow by foot through a trail until you reach the shore, which overlooks the rugged and almost desert beach. The view is breathtaking and many clicks will already be made there, for certain.
The route is long and not so easy, but for photography lovers, you just cannot miss it. In Lagoinha, there is no infrastructure for shops and restaurants; so, make sure you take water and snacks. Reduce the weight of the equipment. It is ideal to get a guide for safety issues and enjoy. The place is GORGEOUS!!!
From the beautiful beach of Campeche, it is well worth checking out the island of Campeche, which is very close to the waterfront and it is seen from the sand. There are boats that make the freight, taking and bringing back the tourists.
What about the beautiful Lagoa da Conceição? To make sure you get the most beautiful images, it is ideal to come through the center of Floranópolis until you reach the top, where 29 years ago, I arrived and immediately fell in love with the beauty.
Prepare a few memory cards, as you will need plenty of storage. Going down, you may find the center of the village, strategic point to go and see places like Praia da Joaquina and Praia Mole, suitable for those who like to shoot surfing. Going to Florianopolis and not climbing Joaquina dunes is a sacrilege! Do this tour in late afternoon to see the sunset. Take only a single lens, like the 24-70mm or the 24-120mm. It has a lot of sand, which might ruin your equipment. But the view is BEAUTIFUL and totally worth it!
Lagoa da Conceição is not only famous for being a night spot, but because many boats depart from there to take you to a magical place, Costa da Lagoa. Wonderful to shoot.
There are dozens of views, walks and beautiful places.
There is another beach that cannot be ignored by the lovers of photography: Barra da Lagoa beach.
Shortly after Praia Mole, it is possible to see the beginning of the magnificent landscapes, asking to be registered and remain in eternity. It is a complete beach, with a strong photographic appeal. Super worthy of your visit!
Earlier, I said that it was an island with 42 beaches. So it’s impossible to mention them all, in this single post. Leaving the island, going to the mainland, you will find dozens of wonderful beaches. Stunning nature, one more beautiful than the other. Back up your memory cards! A few other search suggestions worth looking into: the Embaú Guard, Praia do Rosa, Praia da Silveira, Garopaba.
Below are eleven important tips to increase your safety, whether in Florianópolis or another city, if you decide to visit Brazil:
- Avoid walking with a lot of equipment, bring only the necessary. Let your 600 f/4 stay at home, unless you go to Amazon to shoot wildlife.
- NEVER separate from your equipment either at the airport, or anywhere else. Do not get distracted and NEVER leave your bags behind you in the check-in queue (thieves steal bags without you noticing).
- When exchanging your dollars for Brazilian currency, leave separately, just a small change for taxi, meals. The rest keep well-hidden until you get to a safe place. When making any purchase, never show big money, only smaller bills you previously exchanged.
- If you can, use an international credit card.
- Avoid going out at night in large cities and in major cities.
- Do not use bulky purses and fat wallets with passports and money.
- Leave some of the money in your hotel, hidden in your suitcase (locked with a quality lock). Or in the hotel safe box if you feel it is safer.
- Hire a guide with security references for your walks, preferably indicated by the hosting site. Rent a car with theft insurance.
- Watch out for the taxi drivers, they deceive, giving longer laps than they were supposed to be.
- Bring your secondary camera, if you have one. For example: you have a D810 and D750. Bring your D750.
- Watch the series named “Scam City” to watch what Rio de Janeiro is about.
- Never leave any equipment in the car.
- My equipment on a trip to Florianopolis, Brazil: disguised Bag Lowe Pro Messenger 180, 1 camera body, 70-200, 24-120. Polarizers, ND filter, a remote control. Do not carry a tripod all the time. In addition to attracting unnecessary attention, I think it is not necessary for most of your daytime shooting.
Below are some more images from the area:
Use these tips and you can take beautiful walks in Brazil. There are many stunning views and walks worth checking out. Always use sunscreen! And walk with a mineral water bottle: the sun is strong here.