Santa Catarina Holiday Planning Guide
Beaches reign as top State of Santa Catarina tourist attractions, yet this small state in the south of Brazil offers more than just traditional sun-and-sand appeal. Over 550 km (340 mi) of coastline provide plenty of both secluded beach spots and well-developed resorts designed to attract a global audience of party-loving vacationers. Away from the busy coastal areas, a State of Santa Catarina vacation allows visitors to discover the country's European heritage, rich arts scene, outstanding cuisine, and renowned architecture. Many visitors begin their tour with Oktoberfest in Blumenau, home to large German and Italian communities and renowned for its award-winning microbreweries.
Places to Visit in Santa Catarina
Cities in Santa CatarinaFlorianopolis
: A paradise for fans of marine sports, this city will charm you on your Santa Catarina tour with its captivating skyline of skyscrapers and old colonial buildings.Balneario Camboriu
: Nicknamed the "Brazilian Dubai" for its skyscrapers, sandy coastline, and jet-set appeal, this resort town features beaches, urban parks, museums, botanical gardens, and plenty of cutting-edge architectural highlights.Bombinhas
: This tiny seaside town attracts tourists mostly with its sandy beaches, offshore diving sites, attractive bays, and pleasant walking routes along the hilly coast.Penha
: Known as the "National Seafood Capital," the town is home to one of the largest theme parks in Latin America, which makes it an ideal destination for a family vacation in Santa Catarina.Blumenau
: The town, founded by German immigrants in 1850, hosts one of the world's largest beer celebrations, attracting nearly a million visitors from distant corners of the globe.Itajai
: Surrounded by a lush countryside dotted with atmospheric churches, this city of rich Portuguese and German heritage offers beachside amusement and tasty seafood cuisine.
Popular Santa Catarina Tourist AttractionsBeto Carrero World
: Featuring amusement rides, themed villages, spectacular shows, and installations by DreamWorks, the largest theme park in South America has to be included on a family-friendly Santa Catarina itinerary.Jurere Internacional
: Florianopolis' bustling neighborhood offers upscale beach clubs, luxury shops, posh lounges, and open-air music venues.Costa da Lagoa
: Accessed exclusively by boat or winding forest trails, this small, remote village with waterfront restaurants and a tiny church retains the feeling of a lost civilization.Joaquina beach
: One of the best surfing beaches in the country attracts water sports enthusiasts from around the world with its 2.5 m (8 ft) high waves.Praia das Laranjeiras
: Accessed by a scenic cable car past a mixture of rainforest and waterfront beaches, this safe beach is a great place to mingle with the locals while trying local food and cocktails.
Parque Unipraias Camboriú: In addition to walking trails, this urban reserve offers a spectacular cable-car glide over the Atlantic rainforest and many more thrilling amusement rides at the top.Lagoinha do Leste
: This wild beach allows you to enjoy the biodiversity of the Atlantic forest and sand dunes on your Santa Catarina trip.Praia Mole
: Apart from surfers and paragliders, this popular beach draws an LGBT crowd with its numerous bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.Cristo Luz
: Sited on the 155 m (508 ft) tall hill, this statue of Christ made of plaster, iron, steel, and cement provides panoramic views of the area and nightly shows with vivid colors and lights.Molhe - Barra Sul
: This attractive stone jetty allows you to admire an unrivalled view of Balneario Camboriu before dining at the charming floating restaurant.
Planning a Santa Catarina Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Santa Catarina with Kids
Family holidays in Santa Catarina promise endless fun at beach resorts, scenic nature reserves, urban parks, botanical gardens, and picturesque towns--melting pots of various European cultures and indigenous heritage.
The resort town of Balneario Camboriu
offers a mixture of natural and cultural attractions, with the addition of thrilling rides on an aerial cable car and a roller coaster.
Favorable weather, proximity to good beaches, and South America's largest theme park puts Penha
on many Santa Catarina itineraries.
For a laidback vacation filled with snorkeling, cave exploring, boat tours, and daily trips to offshore islands and fishing villages, visit Porto Belo
The chic, coastal city of Florianopolis
is a perfect choice for families traveling with fashion-conscious teenagers. The sun, sand, and numerous marine sports draw families to this charming city with a relaxed vibe.
For a bit of colonial history, head to Blumenau
. This city with German heritage and culture remains a place apart from the rest of Brazil.
Things to Do in Santa Catarina with Kids
Santa Catarina is a family-friendly destination with a plethora of attractions for kids of all ages.
As the largest theme park in South America, Beto Carrero World
offers many thrilling rides. This is also the place where your children can observe various wild animals.
An enjoyable place to spend an afternoon with the family, Jurere Internacional
offers many options for practicing various sports.
When your kids satisfy their desire for amusing rides, remember why you brought them on a Santa Catarina trip in the first place by visiting Joaquina
or one of the other sun-kissed beaches.
Finally, do some sightseeing by taking a funicular ride to Praia das Laranjeiras
. The cable car will take your family up the hill, over the mountain, and past a rainforest before dropping you off at this safe beach.
Tips for a Family Vacation in Santa Catarina
You don't need to pack stacks of diapers and baby food if you're planning to stay in bigger cities, but do bring prescription medicine you or the kids may need during the trip.
If you're planning to tour Santa Catarina with a rental car, it's wise to bring your own kid's car seat.
Most accommodations remain free for children under five and half-price for children under 12.
When going out to dinner, bring entertainment for kids (crayons or games), since Santa Catarina restaurants don't provide any.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Santa Catarina
Cuisine of Santa Catarina
The marine farms in Florianopolis
are widely known for the production of oysters. Shrimp captured on the Santa Catarina coast near Laguna
is another tasty species you have to try on your Santa Catarina trip.
Simple but savory dishes made from fish, shellfish, octopus, and squid that can be found on the menus of all beachfront restaurants are legacy of Portuguese settlers. In Itajai
you will find lots of traditionally prepared dishes close to authentic Portuguese cuisine.
Be sure to try barbecued mullet, crab soup, steamed shellfish, and fish stew with cassava flour puree, the traditional side dish in seafood-based cooking.
German immigrants also brought some of their typical special sites to this southern Brazilian state. The usual Oktoberfest platter in Florianopolis includes sausages, stuffed duck, potatoes, pureed peas with bacon, and sauerkraut. German apple pies are a nice choice for visitors with a sweet tooth.
Shopping in Santa Catarina
Whether you're looking for souvenirs and handicrafts or exclusive boutique items, the markets and shops of Florianopolis
provide many interesting new purchases. This city is known for its pottery tradition, so browse its markets for some colorful ceramics that will make excellent souvenirs from your Santa Catarina holiday.
The stalls of Florianopolis Public Market
are packed with desirable items, such as dried goods and local sculptures, paintings, traditional dolls, and miniatures. Even if you came to Florianopolis only to enjoy water sports, it is likely that you will leave with more than just surf accessories and a fashionable swimsuit.
Among traditional handcrafted items you can purchase on your Santa Catarina trip are handmade lace and wicker baskets, hats, boxes, and lampshades made with fibers and wood (rattan and palm).
Gastronomes will not regret buying local cold cuts, cheeses, jams, compotes, and liqueurs.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Santa Catarina
Interesting Facts About Santa Catarina
● Italian navigator in the service of Spain, Sebastian Cabot gave the region its name in honor of St. Catherine of Alexandria
● Santa Catarina became a Brazilian state in 1889, when the republic replaced the empire
● Most Santa Catarina residents are of Caucasian European descent, and the remainder is mainly Afro-Brazilian and Amerindian
● If you decide to make the trip to Santa Catarina coast between June and November, you will have the chance to see migrating penguins and the right whales.
Holidays & Festivals in Santa Catarina
Santa Catarina observes the same public holidays as the rest of Brazil, with Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Carnival among the most popular ones.
The busy season is filled with music events, public dances, art shows, and parades you can plan your Santa Catarina holiday around.
After the fireworks of New Year's Eve, which marks the beginning of summer festival season (Festas de Verao), the beach of Balneario Arroio do Silva host various shows, samba school parades, and sporting events.
The Carnival in Balneario Camboriu
lasts for five days. During Easter, the streets of this coastal town are decorated accordingly and the theme of Easter Bunny pervades in many attractions staged for this occasion, such as the Rabbit Town at Praca Almirante Tamandare
Blumenau celebrates the two major Christian holidays according to German tradition, with folkloric presentations, the handicraft Easter Fair (Ostermarkt), and the presence of Father Christmas.
Useful Santa Catarina Travel Tips
Climate of Santa Catarina
Santa Catarina enjoys a humid subtropical climate with pleasant temperatures oscillating between 13 C and 25 C (55-77 F) throughout the year.
Precipitation is distributed through the four seasons, though the winter months of June and July are the rainiest.
Altitudes reaching over 1,800 m (5,905 ft) receive the greatest snowfall in Brazil. Summers in this southern region are sunny and hot and last from December to February, which is probably the best time to plan your Santa Catarina vacation.
Transportation in Santa Catarina
Sticking to usual means of transportation, such as local and city buses, taxis, and rental cars, on your tour of Santa Catarina can be full of pleasant surprises.
The scenic coastal roads offer numerous vantage points and lookouts, so don't hesitate to stop your car now and then, especially if passing Morro da Lagoa or Morro da Igreja
The ride over Hercilio Luz Bridge
, one of the world's largest suspension bridges, is an attraction in its own right.
Some wild beaches can only be accessed by boats or helicopters, but the picturesque Praia das Laranjeiras
can be reached by a funicular railway.