Paradise Found

Paradise has long been the unreachable place which humans long to experience. It is a Utopia. The destination individuals desire to reach and endlessly dream about. Very rarely in life do we get to experience the view of such a beautiful place that it literally takes our breath away. Nature on its own is simply outstandingly gorgeous, lacking nothing at all, absolutely perfect. One of my greatest childhood memories was visiting such a beautiful beach in Brazil, the images are still as clear in my mind today as if I had just returned from my journey. Although I traveled to this place and experienced it first-hand over ten years ago, and nature is reinventing and changing itself continuously, beauty is persistent no matter what, and this place is more breath-taking than ever.

PlantsBeachside

As a child of seven years old, the day my parents announced our vacationing in what I considered dream land seemed surreal. Even the name of the city echoed in my ears like a completely separate, magical world. Florianópolis. As Portuguese as any Portuguese word can be. Absolutely beautiful, yet the name itself does not give justice to the actual grandeur of the place. As the day to board the plan drew closer, I was bursting more and more with excitement. The moment I stepped off that plane and my soles rested upon Brazilian ground, I was standing on a fluffy, floating cloud. The weather, the people, our hotel, the food, everything was absolutely exquisite. Even the sun felt twenty times brighter and more comforting. Each day at the beach was like living in paradise, the paradise that a young child can envision without even knowing the concept of a utopia. It was so long ago, yet I can remember it like it was yesterday.

Rocks

Florianópolis, dubbed Floripa affectionately by the locals, is an “enchantingly beautiful city” located in the South of Brazil.  And, according to Trip Advisor, Florianópolis has been named by the Brazilian weekly magazine Veja as ‘the best place to live in Brazil,’ so it is only natural to see the huge amounts of tourism present. Florianópolis is a “thriving destination” for its perfect beaches, excellent surfing, amazing seafood, and “juxtaposition of a modern mega city with sixteenth-century colonial fortresses and relaxed markets and parks” (Trip Advisor).

Even as the young child I was, I could feel the liveliness of the city, the happiness of the people, but most importantly, the quality which further defines Florianópolis as a paradise: the fact that there was no rush, no stress, no evil; relaxation and comfort reigned every corner of each house and every grain of magnificent sand.

Boat

The beach was an unforgettable experience on its own that I could go on to write about for pages and pages. Vendors would constantly walk by advertising their products: queijo quente, melted cheese squares with spices to eat straight out of shish kabobs which were absolutely mouthwatering; coconut smoothies served straight on coconuts with colorful straws; corn on the cob with layers of salt and butter; and various popsicles and candies to choose from. Each a child’s dream. As for the ocean itself, there are absolutely no words to describe its beauty. When inside, enjoying its salty, relaxing effects, I could see my hands right through: crystal clear. The turquoise of the beach sparkled and shone bright with the pure white sand as gentle breezes swept the land. Sand castles, sand boarding, surfing, all of these activities are embedded in my mind like nothing else.

StonesMy brother and I: utter happiness posing for the camera

As the capital of Santa Catarina, west of the Ilha (island), Florianópolis has long been known to South Americans as a wonderful vacation destination thanks to its “unique combination of incredible beaches, great weather, amazing nightlife, and friendly inhabitants, all in a setting of unparalleled natural beauty” (Trip Advisor). Furthermore, Florianópolis is blessed with an “organized and extremely safe urban environment,” which explains why, for several years in a row, it has been named as “the city with the best quality of life in Brazil by the local media” (Trip Advisor). This informative website also claims that no longer is this “gem of a surf and lifestyle paradise” just for jet set South Americans and pro surfers; Floripa is “now beginning to be discovered for the first time by the rest of the world” (Trip Advisor).

SiblingsMy brother and I enjoying the sand

Trip Advisor also described how much Florianópolis has to offer, from the beaches, nightlife, and dining, to the culture and sporting activities available all year round. They justify why it is no wonder visitors rave about the island and cannot wait to come back over and over again. In addition, the “crown jewel of the island,” the Lagoa de Conceição and town center, is “a vibrant community consisting of shops, restaurants, bars, trendy cafes and boutiques that blend irresistible Brazilian charm with a healthy dose of foreign sophistication” (Trip Advisor).

Nexus Surf, a website just as informative about the destination as any other, claims that in the high season, which is late December through early March, Florianópolis swells with people, and an incredible energy arises that must be “experienced to be believed.” Its founder, Hans Keeling, illustrates that in this city, there is the combination of “Sunset Strip-style and Ibiza-style night life mixed in with the Brazilian proclivity for relaxing and having fun” (The New York Times).

Seth Sherwood, the author of The New York Times‘ article “The Place to Be: Florianópolis, Brazil,” has a lot to say about this exquisite beach. He explains how “once a favored spot of the surf-world cognoscenti,” Florianópolis, some four-hundred-and-fifty miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro, has emerged as “Latin America’s hottest new party destination.” Restaurants like the Praia Café de la Musique offers a variety of the local cuisine which is assured to be exquisite and satisfying. Both Brazilians and internationals have taken the party to Florianópolis and its sand beaches of the thirty-three-mile-long island. It has also become the choice for Brazil’s artists, intellectuals, and media types. He discloses the fact that “Florianópolis’ night life blows away night life in L.A. or New York,” which attracts people of all types, whether it be age, ethnicity, cultural background, or economic status.

BreakfastBreakfast in Florianópolis with my father and brother

Lonely Planet, yet another touristic website which contains excellent data to guide guests through various destinations, states that there are two sides to Florianópolis. On the mainland, the industrial zone occupies the districts of Estreito and Coqueiros. Across the bay, the island “holds the historic center and the district of Beira-Mar Norte.” Two “picturesque bridges” link these halves. The old suspension bridge and the longest in Brazil, the Ponte Hercílio Luz, lights the night sky, “acting as the defining feature of Floripa’s spectacular skyline.” Florianópolis is also an extremely convenient transportation hub, with all of the island’s forty-two beaches within an hour’s drive (Lonely Planet).

Sergio Koreisha, an expert in the field, explains how Florianópolis is now a busy commercial center. Industries produce metallurgical and electrical communications equipment, perfume, plastics, and pharmaceuticals.

A video with various images of Florianópolis and its native music:

Above all, every individual who has personally experienced the brilliance of Floripa has claimed it to be an experience unlike any other, and so has literature describing paradise. The two reflect and compliment each other perfectly. Not only was the place itself a paradise in my experience, but the memory on its own of this unforgettable trip has created the idea of a heaven in my mind as I seek, in times of stress, to remember that place which brought absolute fulfillment and satisfaction.

Dusk

Works Cited

“Florianópolis Tourism.” Florianópolis Vacations: 127 Things to Do in Florianópolis, Brazil. Tripadvisor, June 2013. Web.
<http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g303576-Florianopolis_State_of_Santa_Catarina-Vacations.html>

“Visiting Florianópolis, Brazil.” Nexus: Florianópolis Travel. N.p., n.d. Web.
<http://www.nexussurf.com/about_Florin.html>

Koreisha, Sergio. “Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brasil by Sergio Koreisha.” Florianópolis. N.p., n.d. Web.
<http://pages.uoregon.edu/sergiok/brasil/florianopolis.html>

Sherwood, Seth. “The Place to Be: Florianópolis, Brazil.” The New York Times. N.p., 8 Jan. 2009. Web.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/travel/11party.html?_r=1&>

Wheeler, Tony. “Introducing Florianópolis.” Lonely Planet. N.p., n.d. Web.
<http://www.lonelyplanet.com/brazil/the-south/florianopolis#ixzz2jF5VRcWv>

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