The east coast is legendary for its surfing scene, particularly on the beaches of Joaquina, Mole, and Moçambique. On Praia da Joaquina, near the Cris Hotel, Easy Surf (tel. 84/9971-3486, rentals R$20–25) is a surfing school operated by Brazilian surf champ Karina “Kika” Abramov that offers lessons for all ages and levels as well as surfing outings and board rental. During the tainha fishing season (April–June), surfing is prohibited on the island.
For those who fear wiping out in the waves, much softer landings are in store when you and your board take to the Saharan-like dunes behind Praia da Joaquina. You can rent boards in front of the Dunas bar.
The east coast beaches and Lagoa da Conceição boast ideal wind conditions for paragliding (parapente). Based in Centro da Lagoa, Parapente Sul (Rua José Antônio da Silveira 201, tel. 48/334-0791, www.parapentesul.com.br, R$100 for a 15-minute flight) is a highly reputed sports outfitter that offers lessons on the dunes of Joaquina before you take to the skies, flying over Praia Mole. If you’re raring to go, but without experience, you can also fly tandem (vôo duplo) with an instructor for R$120 for 15 minutes.
Windsurfing and Kitesurfing
Windsurfers and kitesurfers who want the challenge of rough winds and waves can take to the east coast beaches, while calmer souls can stick to the placid waters of the north coast beaches and the lagoon. In Lagoa, Openwinds (Av das Rendeiras 1672, tel. 48/3232-5004) offers courses and equipment rental. Their eight-hour basic windsurfing course costs R$380 per person and their basic four-hour kitesurfing course will set you back R$520. Equipment rentals cost R$35–45 per hour.
An hour’s boat ride from Ilha de Santa Catarina’s north coast, the waters surrounding Ilha do Arvoredo offer some of the best diving in the South. In Canasvieiras, Acquanauta (Rua Antenor Borges 324, tel. 48/3266-1137, www.acquanautafloripa.com.br) rents diving and snorkeling equipment, offers lessons, and runs numerous trips to Arvoredo for R$135 (divers) and R$60 (snorkelers). A diving excursion to the Ilha do Arvoredo costs between R$135–150.
Two of the most popular boating trips are to islands off the coast of Ilha de Santa Catarina. Scuna Sul (Av. Oswaldo Rodrigues Cabral, Centro, tel. 48/3225-1806, www.scunasul.com.br) operates schooner excursions from Canasvieiras, via the dolphin-inhabited Baía dos Golfinhos to Ilha de Anhatorim, where you can visit the region’s oldest fort, dating from 1744, the Forte de Santa Cruz do Anhatorim.
An alternative route from Floripa takes you beneath the Hercílio Luz bridge and stops at the Ilha de Ratones Grande, where you can clamber around the 18th-century Fortaleza de Santo Antônio de Ratones. Both half-day outings include stops for lunch (not included in the R$25–35 cost).
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition