By Lindsay Spratt, Sub Editor
RIO DE JANEIRO – The beautiful Florianópolis must be Brazil’s worst-kept secret. Known as ‘Floripa’ to locals, it has been named by Veja magazine as “the best place to live in Brazil”, by Newsweek as one of the “top ten most dynamic cities in the world” and by The New York Times as “the hippest year-round beach scene in South America”.
An island-city, it is the capital of the southern state of Santa Catarina and famous for its beaches, boasting no less than 42and ranging from the lively to the absolutely deserted. Home to around 400,000 people, this number more than triples in the summer as the island fills with sun-seekers and surfers.
The north of the island is connected to the mainland by three bridges. The Herílio Luz bridge is over seventy years old and was Brazil’s first suspension bridge. Although it is no longer open to traffic, it has become a symbol of the island, providing the image on many postcards and gloriously lit up at night.
The northern part of the island is more populated than the south, with a better infrastructure and more services and tourist facilities. The Hercílio Luz International Airport is also in the north of the island, and is connected with the rest of Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.
What the northern part of the island has to offer in its beach scene, transport connections, shopping centers, restaurants and bars, the south more than makes up for with its laid-back charm and endless stretches of empty sands and lagoons.
The Azorean culture of the original inhabitants of the island is more in evidence in the south, in the traditional fishing villages with their colonial buildings, where residents speak in the local dialect and work on traditional handicrafts such as lacemaking.
Florianópolis is not just popular with tourists, but has also become one of the favorite Brazilian cities for second home owners. The real estate market has enjoyed a boom in recent years as the infrastructure of the island has improved, with tourism spreading further into the south.
In the north of the island, real estate agent Jeferson Trois offers properties with views of one of the liveliest beaches, Praia das Canasvieiras. On the website there is a two-story, four-bedroom house with garage just 150 meters from the beach for R$300,000. Moving east to another popular beach, Praia dos Ingleses, Vitorino Imóveis has a two-bedroom house for R$160,000. A brand-new two-bedroom penthouse apartment with a pool in the same neighborhood is on the market for R$291,750.
The longest beach in Florianópolis is situated to the east of the island and is the Praia do Moçambique with a total extension of 7.5 kilometers. The beaches on the same coast further south are Praia da Joaquina and Praia do Campeche and are favorites with surfers. M2V Imóveis has a three-bedroom house with a two-car garage on the market in the Campeche neighborhood for R$290,000. The company also offers a 780 square meter plot of land in the same neighborhood for R$110,000.
Properties are more sparse in the southern and western parts of the island. In the western neighborhood of Sambaqui, M2V Imóveis has a two-bedroom house located 200 meters from the sea for R$295,000. In nearby Cacupe, a plot of land measuring 4,400 square meters with a sea view is priced at R$3 Million.
The most exclusive neighborhood is located in the northwest of the island, on the beach named Praia Jurerê Internacional. The beach is backed by mansions belonging to Brazil’s rich and famous including the television entertainer Xuxa and footballer Ronaldo. Here, M2V offers a four-bedroom house just a block from the beach with a terrace and jacuzzi and four-car garage for R$2.2 Million.