It’s quite difficult to come up with different ways to describe a lot of the same thing.
Football commentators label goals as ‘screamers’, ‘crackers’, and ‘wonder-strikes’ with an increasingly feigned enthusiasm, while teenage boys brandish their female counterparts either ‘well fit’, ‘alright’, or ‘butters’ assuming their jeans and astro shoes combo will make any woman fall at their feet.
And, to be honest, I’m running out of ways to spin a yarn about the thousands of beaches, mountains, and forests that Brazil has had to offer me.
However, you know a place is going to be swell with a name that rolls off the tongue like Florianópolis. Nicknamed Floripa for short, the capital of the state of Santa Caterina oozes a cool, laid back vibe that teases backpackers into staying for months at a time.
Indeed, I met people who had initially planned to stop here for a week and were now into their second month, while others had started volunteering in hostels so that they could soak up the Floripan sun for as long as their funds would last.
It’s easy to see how you could lose track of time here. Only connected to the mainland by a bridge, the island essentially lives in its own little world. Long days on the beach mould into one, and if it’s not so hot there’s always a hammock nearby to hop into and watch the clouds pass by.
Most backpackers opt to stay in the east of the city, where Lagoa da Conceição offers panoramic views of the ubiquitous mountains, and the surf-friendly beaches are never more than a ten minute bus ride away.
Indeed, the lazy feel of the place was contagious and I was more than guilty of catching the bug. The north and south of Floripa are meant to be equally picturesque, but the oceans the ocean, and I didn’t feel the need to venture out when everything was seemingly on the front doorstep.
One good (and cheap) way of exploring the area actually proved to be by running (I’m attempting a marathon in May don’t you know). Although this sounds like it should be the last thing on the agenda while relaxing on a paradise island, the jogging circuit from Praia Joaquina to Mole Beach before the final stretch at Barra da Lagoa made the dip in the ocean that little bit more refreshing.
Of course, if being a sweaty beetroot faced mess isn’t your cup of tea, the steep nature trails provide hiking links between the beaches, and are worth stumbling along just to get a look down at the landscape and the colourful beach houses standing out against the canvas of mountains.
Perhaps one of the reasons that travellers can never bring themselves to leave Floripa is because they are always hungover. Florianopolis has a dense student population which is reflected by its energetic nightlife.
Offering something different every evening, ranging from forro dancing (essentially grinding), to electronic and cheese nights, you’ll never be short changed for somewhere to lose yourself before stargazing among the Floripan sand dunes.
Florianópolis essentially proved itself to be a great place to waste time and relax. The island is totally absorbed in itself and accommodates all the things people love most about Brazil, and the most stressful dilemma is simply choosing when to leave.
Next stop, my final one in Brazil and first in Argentina, Iguazu Falls. Until then.