It's all about beach life in Florianópolis, a laid-back city spread across the 54km-long Santa Catarina Island and a slice of the Brazilian mainland. Windsurfing, board surfing, scuba diving and swimming are all popular pastimes – as is relaxing on the soft sand. You can dance until the early hours at the waterside bars and nightly pool parties. And with lush hiking trails to explore, it's easy to fall in with the area's chilled-out vibe.
Florianopolis hostels are often found inside colonial-style houses with balconies or charming rustic homes in the countryside. The majority have free Wi-Fi – perfect for checking surf reports – and most have swimming pools where you can cool off. Surf hostels in Florianopolis with board rental, easy access to the beach and insider information, are popular along the island's coast. Many have an easy-going, social vibe – perfect for getting to know other travellers from the world over.
One of the most popular areas in Florianópolis is Lagoa da Conceição, on the shore of the island's biggest lagoon. Yoga studios and organic restaurants add a wholesome feel to the area, but there's no shortage of buzzing bars. Surfers often head to the beach at Praia do Campeche, which is also known for its seafood restaurants. Further north, the fishing village of Barra da Lagoa sits on the channel connecting the lake to the sea and has clear waters ideal for snorkelling.
With 42 beaches to choose from, you'll be spoiled for choice. Head to Joaquina Beach for surfing, or just to relax on the pristine white sands with a bite from the local food vendors. The strong, long waves on Mole Beach are also ideal for surfing, and this stretch of sand is well known for its LGBT nightlife. Hiking on Ilha do Campeche (Campeche Island) takes in interesting archaeological sites like Pedra Preta do Sul, with its prehistoric etchings.
If you're flying in, the nearest airport is Florianópolis-Hercílio Luz International Airport, just 15km from the city centre. Buses run direct from the airport to downtown and take around half an hour. If you're coming from another Brazilian city by bus, you'll arrive at the Terminal Rodoviário Rita Maria (Rita Maria bus station), which is on the edge of the Centro (city centre) neighbourhood. The Linhas Executivas yellow line buses run from the city centre to most of the beaches.