We spent a few days on Santa Catarina island and on Florianópolis beaches. Although it was off-season, we did run into nice weather, but even on the grim days we had a nice, relaxing time on the beaches.
The city’s name
The city takes its name from Floriano Peixoto, a president of the young Brazilian Republic at the end of the XIXth century. It joins the national likes of Petrópolis (after Pedro II, last emperor of Brazil), Teresópolis (for Empress Teresa, his wife) and Higienópolis (for…being the 1st neighbourhood with a sewage).
But if you wanna sound local, you should call Florianópolis ‘Floripa‘, like Brazilians do. Some of them also consider that Senhor Peixoto was a tyrant and doesn’t deserve a city in his name. Fair enough. They would rather give it back its ancient name of Nossa Senhora do Desterro, meaning ‘Our Lady of the Exile’. I’m personally not sure that’s a good idea.
So anyway, Floripa…
We arrived there on a Sunday. Crass mistake. Floripa on a Sunday is dead.
Add to this that we were tired from the night bus, we were hungry and the sky was grey, and you guess our first impression.
On the way to the beautiful Florianópolis beaches
But we knew that the beauty of Floripa is not in the city but in the nature of the island on which it dwells (it is built indeed half-half on the island of Santa Catarina and on the continent). So we decided to ride any bus that would bring us to a beach…
One word about the bus system here. It would have been too easy, too convenient or whatever, to write on the buses their destination, as is the custom in most parts of the world. Instead, they’ve found it wise to transcribe the destinations into abbreviations, all starting with TI. A foreigner will have a hard time finding out if the bus he needs is the one written TICEN, TICAN, TISAN, TIRIO, TITRI, etc.
It took us half a day to understand that TI probably stood for Transporte Interurbano (?) and that the rest was the beginning of the destination, respectively Centro, Canasvieiras, Santo Antônio, Rio Tavares, Trindade, etc.
One cool thing though: one can travel from bus terminal to bus terminal with the same ticket. So if oil smells and coffee-to-go are your thing, that’s a cheap way to spend time.
But back to us. We hopped on the 1st bus we saw in TICEN -that was a TICAN via TISAN. That sounded good to us. At the next terminal we saw a bus heading for “Praia (beach) something”. We jumped on and ended up 43 stops later, under the rain and wearing jumpers, on a lonesome beach where some crazy locals were bathing.
We had so much fun that we decided to repeat the adventure the 2 following days in different parts of the island. Fortunately, the weather was with us that time, and the nature, especially in the southern part -which is less developed and more preserved- is wonderful.
Surfing on Florianópolis beaches
The island of Santa Catarina is famous in Brazil for surfing, sand-surfing, kite-surfing and all different kinds of surfing. As self-declared Stingy Backpackers, we didn’t do any of that but we’re sure it’s great.
Do you know other towns that take the name of a famous person? Or towns that have a very unusual name? Share them with us in the comments!
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