Santa Catarina’s metropolis, Florianopolis, was the city that just kept giving. Its aerial view produced sights of splendour and excitement as the variety of landscape appeared from below the plane window. The island lying parallel to the mainland, once divided by deep blue ocean, was connected by the impressive Pedro Ivo Campos Bridge in 1991. Mountains and hills clad with Atlantic forest were interlinked with large lagoons, residential areas and lined with stretching white beaches. This island paradise was bound to be the perfect way to dip my toe into Brazil and commence the weeks to come.
Staying in an Air BnB in Porto da Lagoa, we were able to get a feel for residential life. The owner was lovely and despite her claim that she spoke no English, compared to our Portuguese, it was amazing! The Air BnB gave us access to a private route to Joaquina Beach which offered stunning views and perspective on the island. The route was shrouded in mystery and included sections across loosely joined boards, preventing you from having to wade across wetlands. The dunes rolled along at an immense height and depth, creating an impenetrable barrier between the island and the unforgiving Atlantic. Joaquina itself was a spectacle. Renowned for its immense waves, the world surfing championship has been held there several times which had opened the island paradise up to a whole hoard of tourists. Several restaurants reside at the North end, offering somewhere to replenish your energy after a long day of surfing and sunbathing… a necessity for such a popular sight!
After a few days, we decided we couldn’t leave Florianopolis yet and wanted to explore the metropolitan hub of the island. Splashing out, we checked in to the Majestic palace hotel which provided the best breakfast buffet of my entire life. Eager to explore this part of the island, I’d heard about the trilha e Cachoeira do Poção in which we could hike to and find a little waterfall. The walk was beautiful and so was the cascata that resided at the top. It was well worth the sweat and effort it had taken to get there!
After a few days, we took a Catarinense bus to Curitiba. The cosmopolitan and impressive city provided a whole new experience of Brazil. The sustainable aspects of the city, including the integrated transport system allowed a whole new outlook on what Brazil has to offer. In the 1980’s it was one of the first cities to market itself as ‘green’ and acted as a pioneer for others to do the same. Another enjoyable aspect was the street art that was plastered across many of the walls. Vibrant colours and shapes helped bring Curitiba to life, along with the melodic busking and general bustle of smiling and happy people. We were able to indulge in some traditional Brazilian cuisine such as pão de queijo and Coxinha as we explored, two snacks that I certainly plan to try to recreate! The Botanical garden also proved to be well worth a visit as it was only a thirty-minute walk from our accommodation and offered a spectacular array of plants and trees from around the world.
Curitiba was amazing, but it was time to endure the 10-hour coach journey to Foz do Iguaçu to bask in the mist of those incredible falls.