Just 18 kilometers (11 miles) down the coast from Garopaba , Praia do Rosa is routinely touted as one of the most beautiful beaches in southern Brazil , with its beckoning bay of sugary sand backed by verdant hills and lagoons. Although its big waves draw surfers, in recent years Praia do Rosa has become the most eco-chic resort along the Santa Catarina  coast, renowned for its gourmet restaurants and handful of seductively posh pousadas tucked away in the hills.
Fortunately, despite the sophisticated tourist infrastructure, it retains an unspoiled rustic charm. If you want to avoid the hipster scene altogether, come off-season (although some places close down). May–June is the period for tainha fishing, while July–November is whale-watching season.
Plan on doing a lot of steep hiking up and down the jungly hills. Nearby lagoons (where windsurfing is the rage), waterfalls, and beaches such as Praia Vermelha and Praia do Luz can only be reached by foot or on horseback.
You’ll be tempted to spoil yourself by checking into one of Praia do Rosa ’s bewitching hilltop eco-chic pousadas. Pousada Quinta do Bucanero (Estrada Geral do Rosa, tel. 48/3355-6056, www.bucanero.com.br , R$330 d, closed in June) is a refined and romantic affair (no kids under 14) where the rawness of glass, stone, and natural wood is offset by hand-painted porcelain, plush carpets, and exquisite art works. Beautifully furnished rooms with wooden verandas offer hypnotic views of the jungle-fringed bay below.
A little more country, but no less charming, is the equally lofty Pousada Caminho do Rei (Caminho do Alto do Morro, tel. 48/3355-6062, www.caminhodorei.com.br , R$200–360 d), whose decor mixes local folk art, hand-woven carpets, patchwork quilts, and jars full of tropical flowers. Each of the eight aerie rooms is individually furnished, and all boast stunning views. Amenities include a pool, sauna, a games and reading room, and a cozy candlelit restaurant serving seafood and Swiss-Italian dishes.
Simple, warm, and welcoming, the Regina Guest House (Caminho do Alto do Morro, tel. 48/3355-6066, www.reginagh.com.br , R$95–135 d) has the advantage of being close to the beach. In terms of lodgings, you can choose between individual bungalows nestled in the forest and the main building, a renovated manioc flour mill decorated with colorful local handicrafts. All guests receive a “kit praia” that includes a beach chair, towel, and parasol. The restaurant, Bistrô Pedra da Vigia (7 p.m.–12:30 a.m. Thurs.–Sat., 7 p.m.–12:30 a.m. daily Dec.–Feb., R$15–25) serves delicious French-inspired bistro fare with an emphasis on local fish and seafood. The apple torte is divine.
Although you might be surprised to come across pad thai in these parts, Tigre Asiático (Estrada Geral do Rosa, tel. 48/3355-7045, www.tigreasiatico.com , 7–11 p.m. daily) is famed for being one of the best Thai restaurants in Brazil . Purists will note that traditional dishes have been adapted slightly for Brazilian palates. Soft lighting and Asian flourishes enhance the mood.
From Florianópolis  Paulotur (tel. 48/3244-2777, www.paulotur.com.br ) has two buses a day to Praia do Rosa. Local bus service from Garopaba  is much more frequent. By car from Garopaba, follow the Estrada Geral do Rosa.