Living in Florianopolis, Brazil as a nomad
A few days ago I left Florianopolis, after living there for 2 months. This destination was a bit different from my previous ones. And it exceeded my expectations :)
Here's a recap of my experience.
Spoiler: this blog post is mostly beach photos, as almost everything I did in Floripa was working + chilling on the beach.
As explained in a previous post, I decided to spend the winter of 2018/2019 in South America.
I've wanted to go to South America for a long time. Living in Barcelona, I've met plenty of South American and learned so much about their culture. That continent had almost a mystical vibe for me now.
Brazil was the most appealing country in South America to me, simply because of how tropical and exotic it was. I'm always looking for beautiful beaches, wild nature, good food and relaxed people. Brazil had plenty of that, so I decided to start there.
I know that other countries in South America fit this description - Colombia, Ecuador, Peru. Here the main problem was the time difference, it was just too big. I'd have to wake up very early in the morning to start work. But I'll definitely spend some months in Peru sometime in the future!
In the south of Brazil, the time difference is only 2 hours with UK (because of daylight savings, too confusing for me to explain here, look it up if interested). So I would start work at 7am, which was perfectly reasonable.
So, I picked Brazil. Now it was time to choose a city.
The digital nomad community is not big in South America at all - which was good, I kinda wanted be away from that for a while. However, it also made things harder as there was not a lot of info.
Unfortunately, most Brazilian cities didn't seem DN-friendly. Big, dangerous, chaotic and with spotty wifi. I wanted a small, chill beach town, where I could settle in a nice apartment with good wifi...
Eventually, Florianopolis was recommended to me by several different nomads. Plus all my Brazilian friends confirmed that it's the safest city in Brazil and possibly the best to live in.
It's a city on an island: even better, I love living on islands! It was decided. I had my plane tickets and an Airbnb booked soon after that.
This island turned out to be the perfect destination for a digital nomad with a lifestyle like mine :)
I picked a flat in a quiet neighborhood, close to the beach, with lots of nature around. I was really happy with my place - it was very spacious, with two balconies, all the amenities I needed, and super fast wifi.
My daily life in Floripa
Every morning I would wake up at 6:30am and make a coffee first thing (using my Spanish moka pot that I always bring everywhere).
I would start working at 7:00am. Pause at 8:30am to have 3 scrambled eggs and a pita bread for breakfast (yes, always the same).
At 11:30 I would do one of two things: 1) have lunch at one of the buffet restaurants near me, or 2) walk to the nearby beach and spend my lunch break swimming and tanning.
At the end of my street there was a trail to the beach, through a little jungle and then some and dunes. Very convenient :)
I would finish work at 15:00pm, and head out. I usually found myself going to Barra da Lagoa - my favourite area - for more beach time! Or if the weather was bad, I would go to the hipster neighborhood Lagoa da Conceição to visit some shops and restaurants, and just hang out by the lagoon.
Arounf 7:00pm or 8:00pm I would head to the gym, then it was dinner and bed time at 10pm.
Every weekend I went on day trips (I visited Iguazu and Brasilia), or I explored Floripa further. Here are some of my favourite places in Floripa.
Ilha do Campeche (The island of Campeche)
This is 100% the best place in Floripa for me.
Ilha do Campeche is a tiny island that I could see from the beach near my house. I spent two months looking at it, but I couldn't go! It was only possible on the weekend, and every weekend it was either raining or I was travelling.
Finally, on my last weekend in Floripa, I decided I'm visiting this island no matter what, cause it was my last chance. Guess what - the weather was PERFECT! It was the best goodbye gift that Floripa could give me.
This island is called "the Caribbean of Florianopolis" and you can see why.
It's also an important archaeological site - apparently there are paintings here over 5000 years old. I didn't see that though, I only had a few hours and I spent all of them in the water :)
Yes, this blog post is mostly beach photos. That's cause I didn't do much else in Floripa. Just work and beach.
That being said, here are my favourite beaches - I have lots of them.
Natural pools of Barra da Lagoa
The giant rocks protect this area from the open ocean waves, so people can jump in and swim. The water was still too choppy for me though - except on my last weekend, when the weather was absolutely perfect. That day the water was flat and crystal clear, one of the best I've ever seen :)
Prainha da Barra
Meaning "Small beach of Barra", this is a somewhat hidden little place near the Natural Pools. I came here all the time. On my last weekend here, there were no waves and it was just magical :)
This place requires a difficult 30-minutes hike to reach - so there are not many people here. Only nature, not a single establishment around. Paradise :)
This is a famous beach for surfing, with a swimmable area at the end. I could walk here from my house in about 40 minutes - I used to do that when I didn't feel like going to any of the other places.
Another wild beach with no establishments - this one is also nudist. I only came here twice since the waves are big and it's not good for swimming. Still a very beautiful place.
Lagolinha do Leste
This is supposedly the island's wildest beach. It's in the south, near a few small fishing villages. The hike here was more than an hour. Unfortunately I came on a windy, cloudy day, and didn't get to fully appreciate its beauty. I still took a dip in the water, even though it was cold.
Praia da Cruz
Few people know about this beach - it's the one by my house :) Only people from my small neighborhood come here - usually surfers.
Waterfalls & Lagoons
I only managed to visit one waterfall on this island. I like to think it was the best one :) It's located in the jungle around Lagoa do Perry, a beautiful wild lagoon. It required a 1-hour hike to reach. There were several cascades, the best one was at the top. It had a little pool, I jumped in of course. The water was quite cold.
The two main lagoons around Lagoa de Conceição were also very beautiful, especially when the sun was out.
A few other details
This was a pain. The island is long and hilly, and the roads weren't planned very well... So takes at least an hour to get anywhere by bus. The buses are ok usually late, and you'd often have to change at least two.
However, Uber was great. Always came very quick, usually cost between $5 and $15.
Ideally, I would've rented a motorbike - but I don't have a license and it looks like that's a problem here, unlike in Asia.
Another tricky thing. Weather was very unpredictable and changed all the time. Unfortunately half of my days in Floripa were rainy. Some were also very windy and a bit chilly - I had to put on a light jacket. I still managed to go to the beach almost every day though.
I never got one. My wifi at home was great, plus I liked my flat so much I didn't want to leave it :) Also transport there would be difficult, especially since I had to start work so early in the morning.
This was the view from my window as I was waiting for my Uber, with all my luggage packed.
I spent an amazing 2 months here, and can't wait to come back :) See you soon, Magic Island!