Monday, February 15, 2010

Let BrazMia Tours get you to Brazil - Fun - Fun

Florianópolis is the state capital of Santa Catarina, located south of Curitiba and north of Porto Alegre. From those cities and São Paulo it's just a short flight of a bit more than an hour. The city of Florianópolis is located on both sides of a narrow strait separating the Brazilian mainland from the large Island of Santa Catarina, from which the state takes its name. Downtown Florianópolis, the airport, and all the attractions of interest to a visitor are located in the island part of the city. The island is fringed by more than 40 beautiful beaches, from small intimate coves to miles-long strands that disappear into the distance. The most famous tourist beaches and resorts are located at the northern end of the island. Canasvieiras, Inglêses and Jureré are among the best known, and a mecca for vacationing Argentines during the Southern summer. To the south, beaches like Armação, Campeche, and Pantano do Sul still remain fishing villages, mostly unvisited by tourists. On the West side of the island facing the mainland you'll find the villages of Santo Antônio de Lisboa and Ribeirão da Ilha which preserve the architecture of the Azores, a heritage dating back to the settlement of area by Azoreans in 1748.

Floripa has the best Carnival in Southern Brazil, hands down, and it has become a "must" for gays from the big Southern cities like São Paulo, Curitiba and Porto Alegre. Floripa's Carnival has parades and samba schools, but also lots of "street carnival," with costumed revelers everywhere in the city's center during the evenings. You'll see some VERY creative drag, if you go! Since it's summer, local residents and the gay crowd head for the day to Praia Mole, directly across the island from the city, on the Atlantic side. Facing the ocean, the gay side of the beach is to the far left, where the Bar do Deca is "our crowd's" gathering point. Clambering over the rocky promontory at the north end of the beach you'll come to the undeveloped and less crowded Praia da Galheta (very reminiscent of Southern California's Zuma Beach) which is clothing-optional. (There are virtually no services at Galheta, so bring bottled water and food with you.) Spend the day "sur-la-plage" then, after a quick "disco nap," you'll be ready to hit the streets downtown for the Carnival madness!

If you have time, there are other places to see in the beautiful state of Santa Catarina. About an hour north of Floripa is Balneário Camboriú, a mini-Copacabana popular with vacationers from Argentina and the Brazilian interior. There are a couple of year-round gay places in Camboriú where guys from Floripa go for a change of scenery! Not very far inland from Floripa are a couple of posh thermal spas at Caldas da Imperatriz, where you can "take the waters" for various ailments or just have a luxurious soak! Farther inland, through spectacular scenery in the mountains, is São Joaquim, the only town in Brazil that predictably gets snow in the winter! The surrounding area is one of Brazil's main sources of temperate fruits like apples and peaches, which can't be grown without a a cold winter for the trees to be dormant.

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