Florianópolis (nicknamed Floripa) is the capital city of Santa Catarina State in southern Brazil. It is composed of one main island, the Island of Santa Catarina (Ilha de Santa Catarina), a continental part and the surrounding small islands. It has a population of 406,564, according to a 2006 IBGE estimate. The metropolitan area has an estimated population of 821,552.
The economy of Florianópolis is heavily based on tourism and services. The city has 42 pristine beaches and is a center of surfing activity. VEJA magazine, a Brazilian publication, named Florianopolis "the best place to live in Brazil." As a result of this publicity, Florianopolis is growing as a second home destination for many Paulistas, Argentines, North Americans and Europeans.
Most of the population lives on the island's northern half. The southern half is more isolated and less developed. Many small commercial fishermen populate the island. Although originally settled by the Portuguese (from the Azores), the city has a strong German and Italian influence, like the rest of the state. The Azorean spirit, inherited from immigrants who settled the region 250 years ago, marks the island personality. The fishing boats, the lacemakers, the folklore, the cuisine and the colonial architecture distinguish the tourism and attract resources that compensate for the lack of large industry. Villages immersed in tradition and history, such as Santo Antônio de Lisboa and Ribeirão da Ilha resist the advances of modernity.
There is significant precipitation which is well distributed throughout the year. The annual normal precipitation for the period of 1911 through 1984 was . There is no dry season, and summer generally is the rainiest season. Increased rainfall occurs from January to March, with a median of per month, and from April to December there is somewhat less precipitation, averaging per month. The dryest months are from June to August.
On average of the maximum temperatures of the hottest month varies from to and on average of the minimum temperatures are from to . The lowest temperature ever recorded was , in 1975.
According to the IBGE of 2006, there were 406,564 residents in the city. The city has the 4th best HDI in Brazil, and the best life quality of Brazilian capitals. Florianópolis has a population mostly composed of Brazilians of European descent. Its colonization started in the mid-18th century, mostly with the arrival of Portuguese colonists from the Azores Islands. Florianópolis was composed mainly of Azoreans, Germans, and Italians. Further south, some districts also preserve their rural village identity, and the heritage left by their Azorean ancestors is noticeable in their manner of speaking, in their handicraft activities, and typical feasts. On the other side, the city has taken on a cosmopolitan air with the arrival of Brazilians from other States and foreigners who chose to live there. The island, which in the beginning of the colonization period, was an important whale hunting centre, is today the technological pole of the IT industry. A State Capital of interest to tourism, Florianópolis is currently inhabited by about 400,000 people, a number that triples every summer.
Tourism is one of the staples of Florianópolis' economy; it is considered by many inhabitants and tourists that Floripa has a singular beauty endowed with strong lines of Azorean culture, observed in the buildings, workmanship, folklore, culinary and religious traditions. Its environmental restrictions on building and commercial development have been more or less regularly enforced. This accounts for the singular natural beauty of this island.
In addition to its popular sugar soft white sand beaches Florianópolis offers many historical attractions, including the sites of the original Azorean colonists, the Lagoa da Conceição lagoon, and Santo Antônio de Lisboa. Tourism in Florianópolis has grown significantly over the past 10 years, with increasing numbers of visitors coming from other large cities in Brazil (particularly Porto Alegre, Curitiba, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) as well as other South American countries (particularly Argentina, with direct flights offered daily from Buenos Aires) During the past several years a greater number of international tourists have also begun to frequent the island (particularly from Europe and the United States), and 2006 marked the opening of the city's first multinational hotel, a Sofitel, and first US-based specialty tour operator, Nexus Surf. As the number of visitors to the island grows each year, Florianopolis faces the ongoing challenge of ensuring that its limited insfrastructure and resources will continue to adequately accommodate them.
During the past decade technology and software development firms also experienced strong growth, and today IT services are one of the top revenue generators in Florianopolis. Several technology centers are spread around Florianopolis, making the city (together with Joinville and Blumenau) an important pole in this economic sector.
The GDP for the city was R$ 6,259,393,000 (2005).
The per capita income for the city was R$ 15,776 (2005).
The island is connected to the Continent by three bridges. The Hercílio Luz Bridge was built over 70 years ago and is now closed to traffic; it is a symbol of the island and often appears on postcard images. The Colombo Sales Bridge and Pedro Ivo Bridge are the ones open to traffic.
Santo Amaro da Imperatriz was the first thermal water facility in Brazil. Hotels with thermal bath facilities are located in the district of Caldas da Imperatriz and in the city of Águas Mornas. The Fonte Caldas da Imperatriz city baths are an additional source of thermal waters, which can reach the temperature of , where there are immersion baths and hydromassage. It is located on the Estrada Geral Highway, km 4, Caldas da Imperatriz district.
ASP World Tour, Association of Surfing Professionals (WCT) Florianópolis is the main location of the WCT, which classifies 50 competitors, among professionals and amateurs. The state of Santa Caterina is the only location in South America for this event. The Holy Spirit Feast (Festa do Divino) is a festival that takes place 40 days after Easter. The celebration dates to the colonial era and includes a parade, music, and street food.
One of the most famous beaches is Praia Mole, noted for its rolling green hills and rock formations on either side.
Barra da Lagoa This is the world famous "Bunny Slope" of Surfing. It is home to world champion Jacqueline Silva and from Praia Mole which usually hosts the WCT Surfing Championships. Barra da Lagoa is a quaint fisherman's village but the physical characteristics of the beach make it the perfect place to learn to surf. It is a cove on the Eastern part of the island and stretchs into Moçambique beach for . It is in a natural setting as there are no huge hotels on the beach and the Southern headquarters of Projeto TAMAR (Save the Turtles) is located here. Penguins routinely swim into the canal and near the beach of Barra da Lagoa during the colder winter months of June, July and August. The canal at Barra da Lagoa connects the Lagoa da Conceição with the open sea. It is not uncommon to view pescadores (fisherman) during the night tossing their nets in the lagoa to catch shrimp they sell to the fresh fish restaurants in this community.
Ingleses Beach (Praia dos Ingleses) Even though it is a beach preferred by tourists, Ingleses still keeps to the traditions of the Açorian colonizers. In the summer, it is one of the top beach destinations of Argentine tourists, second only to Canasvieras. In the winter, mullet fishing, religious celebrations and regional festivities are beautiful demonstrations of the local culture. The dunes separating the Ingleses Beach from the Santinho Beach are natural attractions not to be missed. The practice of sand board is quite common there, a sport created in Florianópolis, which consists of sliding down the dunes on a board, engaging or not in radical manoeuvres. To practice it, one must have a lot of balance and rent a board. Those looking for a different outing can go on a trek of over the dunes.
Armação Beach (Praia da Armação) The Sant'Anna Church, built by the Armação fishing company, is part of the beach’s history. It was from there that whale harpooners and crewmen confessed and attended the mass before going fishing. Next, the priest would go down to the beach to bless the boats that would sail out to sea. Today, the boats leave there for Ilha do Campeche, one of the most visited islands around Florianópolis. It is also in Armação that one finds one of the most important archeological sites of the State of Santa Catarina.
Campeche Beach (Praia do Campeche) With of white sands and a turbulent waters, Campeche is considered the Jeffreys Bay of the Santa Catarina Island for the quality of its waves. For those who are not interested in surfing, the beach offers other attractions. The paradisiacal beauty of Ilha do Campeche, for instance, located across from the beach, a football game on the Saint-Exupéry aviation field, or even fishing, are some of the leisure alternatives. At night, Campeche is also an excellent attraction. The huge reflector that illuminates part of the large sand strip in front of the bars only contributes to the partying that extends far into the night. The illumination favours both those who enjoy the merrymaking as well as the fishermen, who use the time to drag their nets in from the sea.
Joaquina Beach (Praia da Joaquina) Won fame as of the 1970s, when surfers from around the world discovered its waves. Many surf cups began to emerge, and great Catarinense surfing personalities. It is one of the beaches that offers the best tourist facilities, receiving a large number of tourists from around Brazil and the world on the warm days in spring and summer. The rock complex situated to the left of the beach, the night lighting and the public showers are some of the trademarks at Joaquina. There is a big paid parking lot, toilets, tourist coach parking lot, lifeguards, police station, handicraft shop, bars, restaurant and hotels. In addition to the beach, it is possible to enjoy the most famous dunes in the South of the country as well as to sand board. The boards used in this sport can be rented on the spot.
Santinho Beach (Praia do Santinho) is mainly sought by tourists who look for nature, the location’s paradisiacal beauty and tranquillity. Surfers are the main visitors and consider Santinho to be the best beach in the North of the Santa Catarina Island. It is in the left hand corner – where bathers do not venture -- that surfers practice their sport, sharing the space with fishermen. away from the centre of Florianópolis, another great attraction of this beach are the primitive inscriptions made by hunters, fishermen and collectors inhabiting the Island five thousand years ago. The name Santinho comes from a human figure engraved on an isolated block of rock.
Florianópolis is connected to the main cities of Brazil by BR-101 and BR-282 federal highways.
Figueirense FC - black and white. Its nickname is Figueira ("Figtree") and it is also known as O Furacão do Estreito ("The Estreito's Hurricane"). Its stadium is the Orlando Scarpelli, located in the Estreito neighborhood, in the continental part of the city. Figueirense is currently playing the Brazilian first division. As of May 4 2008, the team has won Santa Catarina State Championship 15 times, an all-time record.
Avaí FC - blue and white. It is also known as O Leão da Ilha ("The Lion of the Island"). Its stadium is the Aderbal Ramos da Silva, popularly known as Ressacada, located in the Carianos neighborhood, in the south part of the island. Avaí is currently playing the Brazilian national second division and holds 13 State Championship titles.
The island is generally considered to be blessed with the best and most consistent waves in Brazil, and in early November of each year hosts what is currently South America's only ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Championship Tour professional surfing competition. Brazil has played host to many an ASP tour event over the past 30 years. Former contest sites include Rio de Janeiro, Barra de Tijuca and Saquarema, but the past four years have seen the tour set up shop in Florianopolis.
Falling towards the end of the tour, the past few years have seen several ASP world champions crowned in Brazil. In 2004 it was Andy Irons, and in 2005 it was Kelly Slater (who had his 2006 ASP World Title already stitched up by Brazil).