By Lindsay Spratt, Sub Editor
RIO DE JANEIRO – Picture the perfect beach property in the southern state of Santa Catarina and you may immediately picture Florianópolis, the island capital boasting no fewer than forty-two beaches. However, moving back to the mainland are a string of beautiful beach towns and cities with white sands, clear waters and holiday homes aplenty.
The state of Santa Catarina offers over four hundred beaches, ranging from those in bustling resorts such as Camboriú and the more tranquil in towns such as Bombinhas. However, the state is not just famous for its beaches. It also enjoys one of the highest standards of living in Brazil, as well as a low-crime rate and good infrastructure and services. The regional airport is the international hubbub of Hercílio Luz located in the capital – Florianópolis - and the airports in São Paulo are located between 700 and 800 kilometers away.
The state is also renowned for the mark left by the German and Italian immigration in the Nineteenth Century, when they established the agriculture and industry which account for 52.5 percent of the state’s GDP. The legacy is also apparent in the Bavarian-style buildings and in the traditional festivals organized throughout the year, such as the Oktoberfest in Blumenau, which is the largest in Brazil and the world’s second-largest after Munich.
Another attraction for tourists to Santa Catarina is the Serra Catarinense (Catarinense mountain range), the only place in Brazil where it snows every year. The mountains offer excellent thermal mineral resorts and opportunities for ecotourism, camping, hiking and more extreme sports such as paragliding.
Between July and November, whale-spotting is also a big draw for tourists, as southern right whales visit the state’s coast during their migration to warmer waters to mate, give birth and nurse their young. One of Santa Catarina’s biggest cities, Joinville, also hosts a renowned dance festival in July, and a flower festival in November, showcasing orchids grown locally. The small town of Penha is also home to the amusement park, Beto Carrero World, which is the biggest in Latin America and the fifth-largest in the world.
With such a lot to offer, it is not surprising that many Brazilians as well as Argentinians and Paraguayans holiday in Santa Catarina. The real estate market has enjoyed a boom in recent years, with construction even further boosted by Brazil’s exit from the global recession.
Of the coastal cities where many flock to sunbathe and surf, Balneário Camboriú is the biggest, with a population of 94,344 which climbs to 700,000 in high season. The city is famous for its cable-car, which links the resort’s main beach with another long stretch of sand known as Laranjeiras, and a statue of Christ named ‘Cristo Luz’ (Christ Light).
Properties from Busca Imóveis Camboriú include furnished one-bedroom apartments from R$85,000 in an apartment block with a swimming pool. There is also a one bedroom apartment with its own private pool and garage for R$89,000 in the Vila Real neighborhood.
More spacious properties on offer include a two-bedroom apartment for R$120,000 with a private garage by the ‘Praia dos Amores’ (Lovers’ beach). Luxury properties include a four-bedroom, sunny penthouse apartment by the beach for R$600,000 and a brand-new penthouse apartment with pool for R$900,000.
The smaller city of Garopaba is a surfers’ favorite and tempers the bustle of Camboriú with a more laid-back vibe. From Imóveis Garopaba, a 6,900 square meter plot of land is available for R$460,000 overlooking the beautiful Praia da Silveira (Silveira beach). With a view of the surfers’ beach, Praia da Ferrugem is a two-bedroom house with a garage for R$95,000. Six kilometers from the city center and 350 meters from the beach are four semi-furnished chalets with a communal barbecue area at an asking price of R$250,000.