For blue waters and white open sands head to the southern beaches...
The rugged coastline of the southern state of Santa Catarina is made up of more than 500km of sheltered coves and long windswept beaches. Just east of the state of Paraná and south of Rio, the beaches of southern Brazil combine perfectly with a visit to the Iguassu Falls. During summer, Santa Catarina’s beaches attract surfers and sun-lovers alike, while between July and November, wildlife enthusiasts come to spot Southern Right Whales who stop off in the region to mate and give birth, before continuing their annual journey south.
With a colder climate and more European culture, the Southern states have a distinct feel to the rest of Brazil. Due to immigration from northern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, the inhabitants of these states are usually taller and blonder and often speak German and Ukranian as much as Portuguese. Winters here are cold and wet, so unless you are coming for the whales, make sure you visit in the summer, when days are long and sunny and the water is warm enough for swimming. The coastline has something to suit everyone with exclusive resorts such as Ponta dos Ganchos, the lively University town of Florianópolis and deserted untamed coves waiting to be explored such as Lagoinha do Leste.
One of the most popular areas to stay in Southern Brazil is the Ilha de Santa Catarina which is accessed via the city of Florianópolis and has over 40 beautiful beaches along its coastline. The beaches on the Eastern side of the island are best for surfing, while the beaches to the south are the quietest and most peaceful.
The rugged mainland coast of Santa Catarina lends itself to exploring on your own, with coastal paths leading between beaches and green highlands covered in aracauría pine forest making it an attractive area for hikers and nature lovers. The beaches to the South of Florianópolis are well worth the visit, including the Praia do Rosa which has been named as one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Those looking for a secluded retreat should head to the luxurious Ponta dos Ganchos resort set on its own private peninsula just north of the town of Florianópolis.