Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela

A- Overview:
Puerto la Cruz is a dynamic and expanding resort city which features a 10 block long waterfront boulevard lined with hotels, nightspots, and restaurants. It is the gateway to the Isla de Margarita and the beautiful Mochima National Park.

In addition to its attraction to tourists, Puerto la Cruz is a major center of commerce for Eastern Venezuela. It is the hub of the thriving oil industry and the port where oil from the interior is refined and from which it is exported. As a result of this commercial activity, a thriving service sector has emerged with four and five star hotel and resort accommodations, restaurants and shops.

Puerto la Cruz is located in the northeastern region of Venezuela known as El Oriente.

It is an area rich in historic sites and a primary site for ecotourism. Fed by many rivers, and receiving steady, moisture- carrying trade winds, this is one of the few areas along Venezuela’s coast that is lush and green all year long. The region is home to an enormous variety of animals and plants, and is one of the most biodiverse in the world.

The northeast is a place of outdoor activity. This is the region for diving, sailing, walking, and exploring. Puerto la Cruz is Venezuela’s major water sports center and is lined with marinas and yacht clubs, sailing and diving schools, Near Puerto la Cruz is the Mochima National Park which contains beaches for swimming and contains coral reefs for scuba diving and snorkeling.

Venezuela has a variety of traditional dishes which are found in nearly all local restaurants. Most are served with fried maize or wheat flour -based pancakes or breads. The most popular dishes are fried and grilled fish and meats usually served with rice. The wide variety of fish includes trout, red snapper, dorado, parrot fish, catfish and the baby shark (cazon). Oysters, clams and other shellfish are also widely enjoyed.

Coffee is domestically produced in Venezuela and is the usual hot beverage. It is always offered to visitors as a welcome drink.

An interesting orientation to the city is to take a half-day walking and bus tour beginning with the mile long main street called Paseo Colón. This street passes along the beach where at outdoor stalls jewelry, leather goods and craft items are displayed. Turning south, walk along Calle Sucre to the lovely square known as Plaza Bolívar. Take the Avenida Intercommunal bus and get off at the Avenida Principal de Lecherías. There you will see five 20 story residential towers. Adjoining them is El Morro, a large, modern residential/tourist complex on the waterfront with shops and restaurants. The area is criss crossed by a group of canals, on the banks of which residences and vacation cottages are being built, most with direct access to the waterfront with their own piers and slipways.

From Puerto la Cruz it is a short boat ride to the incomparable beaches where swimming, diving, shelling, and deep sea fishing are superb. From Mochima National Park and the beaches, travelers can take a tour along the “Route of the Sun” to South America’s oldest city, Cumaná. This is one of the most scenic roads in Venezuela. The steep, winding highway is cut into the sides and base of steep mountains that seem to plunge into the sea. The rugged coast is pounded by waves, and the beaches are ringed by palm trees. The full length of the route is dotted with sweeps of white sand and breathtaking views of mountains and valleys.

Near Cumaná is the much visited and fascinating Cueva del Guácharo, an enormous cave named for the fruit eating, nocturnal birds that inhabit it. Swimming areas with hot springs and a colonial fort are other featured attractions. The ferry can be taken from Cumaná for a visit to the sun-kissed Island of Margarita. On the island is the lively and sophisticated city of Porlamar, which has grown from a fishing village to its present population of 150,000 residents. A ferry ride will return visitors to Puerta la Cruz.

For active water sports, a vibrant nightlife, unforgettable sunrises and sunsets, ample opportunities for island exploration, bird watching, or pure relaxation, there is no vacation destination offering more variety or more natural beauty than Puerto la Cruz.

B- City Information:
Full country name: República Bolivariana de Venezuela

Population of Puerto la Cruz: 220,000

Language:
Spanish is the official language, but Amerindian languages still survive, predominantly belonging to the Arawak, Cariban and Chibcha ethnolinguistic categories. Spanish is the main language of Venezuela. Venezuelans call their language castellano.

Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):
High Low
January – March 79 56
April – June 81 60
July – September 80 61
October – December 79 58

Climate:
Venezuela is located entirely in the tropics. The temperature varies very little during the year and most parts of the country maintain an average of over 77°F. Its capital, Caracas, has an average annual temperature of 72°F and varies by only 8°F through the year. Like all tropical countries, Venezuela only has two seasons, the dry season, known as verano, and the rainy season, known as invierno, which are marked by the difference in rainfall rather than temperature. Generally, the dry season is from December to April/May, and the rainy season lasts for the rest of the year. Rainfall, however, can occur during the dry season, and the rainy season often has dry months.

Visas:
US citizens do not require a visa if they fly directly to Venezuela. Otherwise a visa is required.

Health Concerns: Visitors should not drink or brush their teeth with tap water in Venezuela. Use bottled water. Do not use ice cubes.

Time:
GMT/UTC minus 4 hours (minus 5 hours in summer). When it is noon in New York City , it is also noon in Puerto la Cruz.

Electricity:
110V, 60 Hz

Weights & measures:
Metric

Useful measurements
Equivalent Weights And Measures
1 cm 0.39 inches
1 meter 3.28 feet / 1.09 yards
1 km 0.62 miles
1 liter 0.26 gallons
1 inch 2.54 cm
1 foot 0.39 meters
1 yard 0.91 meters
1 mile 1.60 km
1 gallon 3.78 liters

Public Holidays
1st January – New Year’s Day
Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday – Carnival
Monday, Thursday and Good Friday – Easter
19th April – Declaration of Independence
1st May – Labor Day
24th June – Battle of Carabobo
5th July – Independence Day
24th July – Bolívar’s Birthday
12th October – Discovery of America
25th December – Christmas Day

Currency:
The Venezuelan currency is the Bolívar (Bs), sometimes called the ‘Bolo’. It can be exported and imported in unlimited quantities. You can buy Bolívares before coming to Venezuela, but it can take time for them to be ordered and you will get a better exchange rate in Venezuela. The US dollar is the most commonly accepted foreign currency in Venezuela, so it is recommended to carry cash and traveler’s checks in US dollar.

Banks:
Most major banks are within a few blocks south of Plaza Colón. Credit cards are widely accepted, but a surcharge of up to 10% is often applied. Most commonly accepted are MasterCard/Eurocard, American Express and Visa. You can also use a credit card to withdraw money from automatic cash machines, which usually dispense up to 100,000 Bs per day. If you require more, you will have to make a transaction over the counter. Venezuelan banks can get very crowded so allow at least 2 hours for this.

Telephone
The international code for Venezuela is 58. For international calls from Venezuela, dial 00+country code.

City Code:
Puerto La Cruz 0281
CANTV is Venezuela´s national telephone company and it has a modern, efficient telephone network. Making international phone calls is not a problem, but is very expensive.
There are many public telephones in Venezuela, even in the more remote places, all of which accept CANTV cards only (tarjeta CANTV). Credit cards are not accepted. Telephone cards are available for 2000 and 5000Bs and can be purchased from CANTV offices and most supermarkets and souvenir shops. CANTV has an information system that can be accessed by the number 103. Some of the operators speak English.
The Internet
There are internet cafés or agencies that offer internet services. However, prices are still quite high.
Café with internet access: North American Connection (Puerto La Cruz)
Transportation
Air José Antonio Anzoátegui airport is between Barcelona, the capital (though a much smaller city), and Puerto la Cruz. Flights arrive and depart for Caracas to Barcelona several times a day. There are buses to all tourist attractions outside of town, as well as tours. Travel to or from the airport takes about 20 minutes.
Bus Buses travel from Caracas to Puerto la Cruz via Barcelona and return. The travel time is 5 hours. Puerto La Cruz is also served by city buses.
Tours There are many organized tours from Puerto La Cruz to places such as Parque Nacional Mochima, (Mochima National Park), and to various sporting activities such as snorkeling, fishing, scuba diving, water sports, etc.

Boat Puerto La Cruz is the major departure point for Isla de Margarita. Ferries are operated to the island four times a day. The trip takes 4 1/2 hours. The boat, Margarita Express cuts the travel time to 2 hours. The scenery is spectacular.

Cuisine:
Some traditional Venezuelan dishes:

Arepa: A plain fried corn pancake. They are filled with almost anything, including eggs and tomato for breakfast, beef, chicken, ham, sausage, shrimp, cheese, salad and even baby shark.

Empanada: Deep-fried cornmeal turnover filled with chicken, ham, cheese, fish or meat.

Cachito: Hot croissant filled with chopped ham and or cheese.

Cachapa: Thick, slightly sweet pancake made with maize and served with mozzarella-type cheese (queso guayanesa).

Hallaca: Traditional Christmas dish made from chopped beef, pork and chicken with green peppers, onion, garlic, tomatoes, raisins, olives and various herbs and spices all mixed into maize dough. It is then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.

Pabellón Criollo: Venezuela’s national dish, consisting of shredded beef, black beans (caraotas negras) and cheese, served with fried plantain (cooking banana) and rice.

There is an abundance of fruits in Venezuela. Mango, papaya (lechosa), avocado (aguacate) oranges (naranja), banana (cambur) coconut (coco), passionfruit (parchita), melon (melón), pineapple (piña), guava (guayaba) and soursap (guanábana) are just a few.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Barcelona:

This is the capital of the state of Anzoátegui in which Puerto la Cruz is located. It is the site of the airport for the two towns. The following are the principal attractions in Barcelona:

Casa Fuerte
located within the town of Barcelona, the ruins of the Convent of San Francisco was outfitted with cannons and used by republican troops during the War of Independence in 1718. It has been preserved as a memorial.

Museo de Anzoátegui
Open daily 8-noon and 3-6. (December: 8-4) Free admission.
the oldest existing house in the city (1671). Handsomely restored; now used as a
museum.

El Morro tourist project
Between Puerto la Cruz and Barcelona, a turn off leads to the enormous El Morro complex and its beaches. The centerpiece is the Centro Comercial Plaza Mayor, designed with colorful architecture to resemble the Carribean resort city of Willemsted, Curaçao.

The entire Avenue Principal of Lecherías is lined with small shopping centers and many restaurants. The complex contains numerous single family homes, condos and hotels constructed on a series of canals which provide each living unit with docking facilities and boat access to the sea. A five star resort and golf course is part of the community.

Puerto la Cruz:

Paseo Colón
A new, modern waterfront boulevard filled with hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and shops on one side and a beach bordered by a wide walkway on the other. Seafood restaurants, cafés, and local crafts people line the walkways. the beach is beautiful and yields many interesting shells, but it is not safe for swimming. A multitude of swimming beaches are nearby.

Parque Nacional Mochima
Reached by boat, the beaches are superb. Shuttle boats carry visitors to swimming, diving, and fishing locations all day. The park stretches from Puerto la Cruz to Cumaná. It contains many islands as well as a strip of hilly coast noted for its deep bays and white sand beaches. Some of the islands are surrounded by coral reefs and offer good snorkeling. The waters are calm and warm and filled with marine life.

Cumaná (South America’s oldest city, population 270,000)

Museo del Mar
Located opposite the University de Oriente campus
Open daily from 8:30-11:00 and 2:30-5:30.
Small entry fee
Displays range from boats used by indigenous settlers to old time diving equipment, shells, fossils, and a small aquarium.

Castillo de San Antonio de la Eminencia
overlooks the city
open daily 9-noon and 3-5.
Admission free
Site of the first area fort (1660). Subsequent replacements were destroyed by earthquakes. The present fort was restored after a 1929 earthquake.

Castillo de Santa Maria de la Cabeza
Enter through Iglesia de Santa Inés
Like the Castillo de San Antonio this fortress has been destroyed and rebuilt 5 times between 1637 and 1929.

Museo Gran Marisical de Ayacucho
Tues.-Fri. 8-noon and 2-4; Sat. 8-noon.
Admission free.
Historical exhibits and artifacts.

Market
Near the fishing port on Avenida Los Manglares
5-noon
Fresh produce; handicrafts; tasty food.

Marine Terminal
Near the market.
Catch the ferry to Punta Piedras for a visit to Margarita Island and from there back to Puerto la Cruz.

Excursion from Puerto la Cruz to Margarita Island and Caripe

A representative three day tour of the area originating from and returning to Margarita Island:

(Take the ferry or boat to Margarita Island from Puerto la Cruz)

Margarita – Orinoco Delta
An early morning flight goes to Maturin, capital of the Monagas state. From there, a boat takes visitors through dense tropical forest all the way to a camp in the middle of the Orinoco Delta. After lunch there is a walk across the swampy ground of the delta forest to enjoy and learn more about the tropical vegetation. Piraña fishing on the Manamo river near the camp follows .At the end of the day there is always a one-of-a-kind sunset to watch .

2nd Day: Orinoco Delta – Caripe
In the morning after breakfast , visitors enjoy a a boat ride to San Jose de Buja. and from there a drive to Caripe and the Hacienda Campo Claro, one of the oldest coffee farms in Caripe. Following the tour of the coffee farm, there is a visit to Guacharo’s cave, one of the largest caves in south America, once examined by Alexander Von Humboldt a German scientist who spent 16 months exploring Venezuela. In the first section of the cave are huge stalactites and stalagmites, some growing together as though building images of enormous sandcastles.

Outside, there is a shrieking noise of the hundreds of unseen oil birds (guacharos). At the Hall of Silence in the center of the cave everything changes. The cave suddenly is dark, quiet, and humid, and it is necessary to light the way with the kerosene lamp carried by the guide.

Emerging from the cave, there is the amazing sight of La Paila a charming waterfall in the middle of the mountain! In the evening the nocturnal guacharos leave the cave with loud shrieks as they go on their nightly flight.

3rd Day: Caripe – Buffalo Farm – Margarita Island
After breakfast, tour participants ride to “Hacienda Agua Sana” (thermal waters) in the Sucre state, where they are invited to bathe and swim in the hot springs. After lunch there is a visit to hacienda “Rio de Agua”, a real buffalo farm. At the farm, visitors watch cheese being made and learn a little about eco-farming.

(Take the ferry or boat back to Puerto la Cruz.)

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Barcelona:

This is the capital of the state of Anzoátegui in which Puerto la Cruz is located. It is the site of the airport for the two towns. The following are the principal attractions in Barcelona:

Casa Fuerte
located within the town of Barcelona, the ruins of the Convent of San Francisco was outfitted with cannons and used by republican troops during the War of Independence in 1718. It has been preserved as a memorial.

Museo de Anzoátegui
Open daily 8-noon and 3-6. (December: 8-4) Free admission.
the oldest existing house in the city (1671). Handsomely restored; now used as a
museum.

El Morro tourist project
Between Puerto la Cruz and Barcelona, a turn off leads to the enormous El Morro complex and its beaches. The centerpiece is the Centro Comercial Plaza Mayor, designed with colorful architecture to resemble the Carribean resort city of Willemsted, Curaçao.

The entire Avenue Principal of Lecherías is lined with small shopping centers and many restaurants. The complex contains numerous single family homes, condos and hotels constructed on a series of canals which provide each living unit with docking facilities and boat access to the sea. A five star resort and golf course is part of the community.

Puerto la Cruz:

Paseo Colón
A new, modern waterfront boulevard filled with hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and shops on one side and a beach bordered by a wide walkway on the other. Seafood restaurants, cafés, and local crafts people line the walkways. the beach is beautiful and yields many interesting shells, but it is not safe for swimming. A multitude of swimming beaches are nearby.

Parque Nacional Mochima
Reached by boat, the beaches are superb. Shuttle boats carry visitors to swimming, diving, and fishing locations all day. The park stretches from Puerto la Cruz to Cumaná. It contains many islands as well as a strip of hilly coast noted for its deep bays and white sand beaches. Some of the islands are surrounded by coral reefs and offer good snorkeling. The waters are calm and warm and filled with marine life.

Cumaná (South America’s oldest city, population 270,000)

Museo del Mar
Located opposite the University de Oriente campus
Open daily from 8:30-11:00 and 2:30-5:30.
Small entry fee
Displays range from boats used by indigenous settlers to old time diving equipment, shells, fossils, and a small aquarium.

Castillo de San Antonio de la Eminencia
overlooks the city
open daily 9-noon and 3-5.
Admission free
Site of the first area fort (1660). Subsequent replacements were destroyed by earthquakes. The present fort was restored after a 1929 earthquake.

Castillo de Santa Maria de la Cabeza
Enter through Iglesia de Santa Inés
Like the Castillo de San Antonio this fortress has been destroyed and rebuilt 5 times between 1637 and 1929.

Museo Gran Marisical de Ayacucho
Tues.-Fri. 8-noon and 2-4; Sat. 8-noon.
Admission free.
Historical exhibits and artifacts.

Market
Near the fishing port on Avenida Los Manglares
5-noon
Fresh produce; handicrafts; tasty food.

Marine Terminal
Near the market.
Catch the ferry to Punta Piedras for a visit to Margarita Island and from there back to Puerto la Cruz.

Excursion from Puerto la Cruz to Margarita Island and Caripe

A representative three day tour of the area originating from and returning to Margarita Island:

(Take the ferry or boat to Margarita Island from Puerto la Cruz)

Margarita – Orinoco Delta
An early morning flight goes to Maturin, capital of the Monagas state. From there, a boat takes visitors through dense tropical forest all the way to a camp in the middle of the Orinoco Delta. After lunch there is a walk across the swampy ground of the delta forest to enjoy and learn more about the tropical vegetation. Piraña fishing on the Manamo river near the camp follows .At the end of the day there is always a one-of-a-kind sunset to watch .

2nd Day: Orinoco Delta – Caripe
In the morning after breakfast , visitors enjoy a a boat ride to San Jose de Buja. and from there a drive to Caripe and the Hacienda Campo Claro, one of the oldest coffee farms in Caripe. Following the tour of the coffee farm, there is a visit to Guacharo’s cave, one of the largest caves in south America, once examined by Alexander Von Humboldt a German scientist who spent 16 months exploring Venezuela. In the first section of the cave are huge stalactites and stalagmites, some growing together as though building images of enormous sandcastles.

Outside, there is a shrieking noise of the hundreds of unseen oil birds (guacharos). At the Hall of Silence in the center of the cave everything changes. The cave suddenly is dark, quiet, and humid, and it is necessary to light the way with the kerosene lamp carried by the guide.

Emerging from the cave, there is the amazing sight of La Paila a charming waterfall in the middle of the mountain! In the evening the nocturnal guacharos leave the cave with loud shrieks as they go on their nightly flight.

3rd Day: Caripe – Buffalo Farm – Margarita Island
After breakfast, tour participants ride to “Hacienda Agua Sana” (thermal waters) in the Sucre state, where they are invited to bathe and swim in the hot springs. After lunch there is a visit to hacienda “Rio de Agua”, a real buffalo farm. At the farm, visitors watch cheese being made and learn a little about eco-farming.

(Take the ferry or boat back to Puerto la Cruz.)

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Florianopolis, Brazil

A- Overview:
Imagine the majestic beauty of alpine Bavaria placed by a tropical bay and you will have an accurate image of Florianopolis. The capital of Santa Catarina state, the city is divided into two parts: The mainland and the island. The mainland is mostly industrial, but the scenic spots are on the island: attractive colonial buildings, 400-year-old forts, baroque churches and the best surfing in Brazil (on the eastern coast of the island). Florianopolis’ nightlife is exciting, and the bierhalls are popular meeting spots (the city produces some of Brazil’s best in its Santa Catarina Beer. Fine wine is another product of the region, and its grapes are known for their excellent quality. Nearby, at Camboriu, there are resorts and casinos.

Florianópolis, (also known as Floripa) is a city in southeastern Brazil, and the capital of the seaport on Santa Catarina Island known as the state of Santa Catarina. The longest suspension bridge in Brazil, the Hercilio Luz Bridge. connects the island to the mainland. Situated in a rich farming region, the city is a commercial and cultural center. The Federal University of Santa Catarina and the University for the Development of Santa Catarina State are both located there. Founded about 1700, the city received its present name in 1893.

Floripa is 480 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro. Over the last few years it has become one of the most visited destinations in Brazil, for visitors seeking superb beaches, beautiful scenery, interesting culture, and friendly people. It is also in the midst of a real estate boom, with Brazilians, especially from São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul estates, looking for a better living situation away from the chaos of the big cities.

Smaller islands with forts, which protected ships in the 17th century, surround it. Most of the population lives in the island’s northern half. The southern sector is more isolated and less developed. Though originally settled by the Portuguese (from the Islands of Açores), like the rest of Brazil, the city has a strong German and Italian influence. Florianópolis has long been a popular destination for South American tourists, because of its location and its picture perfect white sand beaches.

Today Florianopolis is a busy commercial center. Industries produce metallurgical and electrical communications equipment, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and perfume. The area around Lagoa has a reputation for some of the best seafood restaurants in the world.

Three bridges link the island to the continent but at present only two are in use. Hercílio Luz Bridge, the city’s best-known landmark, is temporarily closed for renovations. The northern beach resorts, such as Canasvieiras and Ingleses are busy during the summer months and provide many hotels, restaurants and other conveniences for seasonal visitors.

Eastern beaches, such as Joaquina, Mole and Moçambique are the best surfing beaches and are popular with young adults. Other beaches to the south include Campeche, Armação and Morro das Pedras, which are also very beautiful.

The isolated and unspoiled beaches of Lagoinha do Leste and Naufragados can be found at the southern end of the island and are reached only by hiking trails. The Conceição lagoon is a famous natural attraction, and features many entertainment options along its main strip. Peri Lagoon is quiet and serene and is perfect for nature walks. Among the historical highlights are the maritime forts of Santa Cruz de Anhatomirim and Santo Antônio de Ratones.

There are archeological sites with samples of ancient Rock Art. There are remnants of colonial villages, the City Centre with its historical buildings, and of course the city’s trademark, Hercílio Luz bridge.

There are hot springs, mountains, waterfalls, endless white sand beaches, clear, cool highland streams, and year round sports. The food is exceptional; the nightlife is superb. The weather is warm and the island is welcoming. What better place could there be to spend a winter or summer vacation?

B- City Information:
C- Attractions/Things To Do:

Beaches

It had been thought that Florianópolis had 42 beaches. For decades, this was one of the slogans of the city. However, when FUI ( Florianópolis Urban Institute) conducted a survey of the beaches of the state capital, more than 100 beaches were found.

The beaches are divided into 8 groups according to their location: Northern beaches, Eastern beaches, Southern beaches, Northern bay, Southern bay, Continent, the Neighboring islands and the Lagoons. The beaches facing the northern bay have calm sea with few waves. The ones Facing the east side (ocean side) have constant waves. The sand is usually white and fine, Shells, dunes, and bushy vegetation are common, with occasional little estuaries.

Lagoons

Lagoons are usually salt water lakes separated from the sea by an area of rock or sand. Conceição Lagoon is the largest one, connected with the sea by a canal. Peri lagoon is in fact a fresh water lake above sea level surrounded by native Atlantic forest.

Islands

Santa Catarina Island is surrounded by 38 small islands some of which can be visited on day trips, such as Campeche Island: to visit the archeological sites and enjoy the beautiful beach; Ratones and Anhatomirim Islands: to visit the forts.

Some small islands have diving spots: Aranhas and Xavier islands, but the best diving conditions are to the north at Arvoredo Island.

Dunes

Sand dunes cover large areas in the North ( Ingleses and Santinho) , Conceição Lagoon, Campeche, Armação and Pântano do Sul.
In Joaquina, the dunes are popular for the sport of sand boarding, which is a tropical version of snowboarding.

Museums

The city has few Museums, but has a wealth of open-air sites such as the forts, Azorean villages, and rock art archaeological sites.
The Historical Museum of Santa Catarina in the centre is a neo classical building displays collections of state history.

Rock Art

The main archeological sites containing rock art can be found at Ingleses beach, Santinho beach and Campeche Island. The oldest is about 4500 years of age.
The petroglyphs follow geometric patterns: concentric circles, zigzag parallel lines and some of them contain anthropomorphic figures. The patterns depicted are many and varied.
Campeche Island, in particular, has the largest concentration of sites with a total of 167 inscriptions and many more expected to be found.

Forts

During the 16th and 17th centuries, Portugal and Spain fought each other for control of South America. In 1680, the Portuguese founded Colônia do Sacramento, at Rio Prata (Silver River) Delta, a strategic location for gold, silver and cattle trading. The Spanish considered this a violation of the Tordesilhas Treaty (which stipulated that the New Land was to be divided between Portugal and Spain). Battles continued over the years causing Portugal to establish a military settlement in the region.

Santa Catarina Island was chosen as the site of the military post and fort for 2 reasons: its strategic position and its protected bays. In 1739, a defensive triangle fortification in the Northern bay was begun. São José da Ponta Grossa, Santa Cruz and Santo Antônio Forts were built. Over the years, a total of 11 forts were constructed.

Even so, on the 23rd of February, 1777, a navy of 100 ships with 12,000 men, commanded by Spanish Dom Pedro Cevallos took the island without resistance. The island was returned a year later with the Santo Idelfonso Treat. By then, the defense system had lost its credibility and was abandoned. Restored in 1989 as an initiative of the state government and local institutions, the forts have become a major area attraction.

Outdoor Activities

Canoeing

There are many interesting canoeing possibilities all over the island. The best time to take advantage of these is usually in the morning when the breezes are gentle. The Northern bay has protected waters and stunning views. Conceição Lagoon is popular, but be aware of fast boats and jets skis. Peri Lagoon is located in a preservation area, where motor sports are prohibited so canoeing becomes a magical experience. It is quite easy to find canoes or kayaks for hire.

Hawaiian Canoeing on Conceição lagoon offers an interesting option for up to 6 rowers.

Diving

The best dive conditions are during the summer from December to April, when the water is clear and on good days you can have 10 to 15 metres visibility.

The best dive sites can be found at the Arvoredo Marine reserve. It is a group of islands located north of the northern beaches. There is a great concentration of marine life including sea turtles, groupers, moray eels, angel fish, seahorses and many colorful fish . At present, most of the reserve is closed to diving. Diving is allowed only at the southern end of Arvoredo Island.
The islands of Aranhas and Xavier also have diving spots.

Good snorkelling can be found at Campeche Island and at some protected points on the headlands.

Hiking

One of the best and least expensive ways to explore the natural beauty of the island is hiking some of the many nature trails.
Some follow the coast line along promontories and cliff sides: for example, the Santinho-Moçambique and the Matadeiro –Lagoinha do Leste trails.
Other trails are more demanding, going uphill but revealing wonderful views: such as the Morro das Aranhas and Morro da Galheta trails.
On Campeche Island you can hike and explore the archaeological sites with the assistance of local guides.
On the Naufragados beach trail, it is possible to travel either way by boat.

On most of the trails, it is easy to find your way but be cautious entering unclear trails and sea cliffs.

Paragliding & Hang Gliding

The island’s geography provides great flying sites everywhere except in the south where flying is not allowed due to the airport traffic. The best season is summer when the sea breezes are constant.

The hills on both sides of Mole beach are the most popular take-offs (SW, NE and E winds) allowing great soaring. The best flying site is Rio Vermelho where great thermals combine with soaring (E winds).

Brava beach is also popular but there are many buildings between the hills and the beach.
During the summer, Praia Mole is crowded, so it is best to fly on weekdays after 12:00 noon when the wind direction has been defined or later in the day before sunset (in summertime there is light until 20:00.

Hang gliding is not as popular as paragliding. One of the reasons might be the difficult access to take-offs. The take-off near the west outlook on Conceição Lagoon, is the best one for hang gliders.
Near the town of Santo Amaro da Imperatriz, 35 km from Florianópolis, at the foothills of Serra do Tabuleiro Estate Park is the best thermal flying in the region for reaching great heights and for distance flying triangles.

Surfing

Floripa has some of the most consistent surf in Brazil. The bigger swells come from the Southern Atlantic and Antarctica. During the summer, it receives many swells from the north, and during the rest of the year from the south (Antarctica). May through October is usually the best time.
Joaquina beach is the most consistently popular spot on the island.

The Campeche beach, in perfect conditions, is a world class wave.
Other great spots are: Moçambique and Lagoinha do Leste to avoid crowds; and Mole beach for the annual Obongo Pro Surfing. Barra da Lagoa beach is a great spot to learn to surf and is recommended for beginners.

Kite & Windsurfing

Conceição Lagoon is the main location for windsurfers and kite surfers because of its consistent winds, large area, sandbanks for beginners and good facilities.

The waves at Mole and Moçambique are also popular as the location of the ongoing competitions of the local surfing crowd.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Family Activities

Canoeing

There are many interesting canoeing possibilities all over the island. The best time to take advantage of these is usually in the morning when the breezes are gentle. The Northern bay has protected waters and stunning views. Conceição Lagoon is popular, but be aware of fast boats and jets skis. Peri Lagoon is located in a preservation area, where motor sports are prohibited so canoeing becomes a magical experience. It is quite easy to find canoes or kayaks for hire.

Good snorkelling can be found at Campeche Island and at some protected points on the headlands.

Hiking

One of the best ways to explore the natural beauty of the island is hiking some of the many nature trails.
Some follow the coast line along promontories and cliff sides: for example, the Santinho-Moçambique and the Matadeiro –Lagoinha do Leste trails.
Other trails are more demanding, going uphill but revealing wonderful views: such as the Morro das Aranhas and Morro da Galheta trails.
On Campeche Island you can hike and explore the archaeological sites with the assistance of local guides.
On the Naufragados beach trail, it is possible to travel either way by boat.

On most of the trails, it is easy to find your way but be cautious entering unclear trails and sea cliffs.

Rock Art

The main archeological sites containing rock art can be found at Ingleses beach, Santinho beach and Campeche Island. The oldest is about 4500 years of age.
The petroglyphs follow geometric patterns: concentric circles, zigzag parallel lines and some of them contain anthropomorphic figures. The patterns depicted are many and varied.
Campeche Island, in particular, has the largest concentration of sites with a total of 167 inscriptions and many more expected to be found.

Forts

During the 16th and 17th centuries, Portugal and Spain fought each other for control of South America. In 1680, the Portuguese founded Colônia do Sacramento, at Rio Prata (Silver River) Delta, a strategic location for gold, silver and cattle trading. The Spanish considered this a violation of the Tordesilhas Treaty (which stipulated that the New Land was to be divided between Portugal and Spain). Battles continued over the years causing Portugal to establish a military settlement in the region.

Santa Catarina Island was chosen as the site of the military post and fort for 2 reasons: its strategic position and its protected bays. In 1739, a defensive triangle fortification in the Northern bay was begun. São José da Ponta Grossa, Santa Cruz and Santo Antônio Forts were built. Over the years, a total of 11 forts were constructed.

Even so, on the 23rd of February, 1777, a navy of 100 ships with 12,000 men, commanded by Spanish Dom Pedro Cevallos took the island without resistance. The island was returned a year later with the Santo Idelfonso Treat. By then, the defense system had lost its credibility and was abandoned. Restored in 1989 as an initiative of the state government and local institutions, the forts have become a major area attraction.

E- Events & Entertainment:

Annual Events

October

Festival of Beer

Blumenau, Santa Catarina

November

Obongo Pro Surfing

Praia Mole, Florianopolis, Competitive surfing is organized by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) along a two-tier system.

July

Annual Florianopolis Children’s Film Festival

Features, shorts, animation, documentary

July

Annual Dance Festival

Santa Catarina

Joinville. The Festival attracts over 200,000 each year. 140 dance groups, both national and international participate.

Activities and Entertainment

Shopping

Ceramics, embroidery, and “Floripa” stamped t-shirts are the most popular souvenirs.

Ceramics represent figures from local folklore such as Boi de Mamão. They also feature the slogans of the religious parties and the local Azorean people. You can buy the pieces at Casa da Alfândega, next to the public market, and at Casa Açoriana, in Santo Antônio de Lisboa.

Cuisine

Sea food is the base for most of the typical dishes following the traditions of the Portuguese Azorean people who colonized the island.

Shrimp is popular and the standard dish is ” Sequência de Camarão” which is the Shrimp prepared in different styles (steamed, fried, etc.) and served in sequence.

Fish is also popular, cooked in many ways and usually served with rice and Pirão ( a paste made from fish). During winter, the Tainha fish ( Mugil liza), which is similar to striped mullet, is the most popular dish. It is stuffed and then baked.

In Costa da Lagoa there are many waterfront restaurants serving great seafood at relatively low prices, but to get there you need to take a boat from the Lagoa centre marine. Lagoa Azul restaurant is a choice for taste and for value.

On avenida das rendeiras, Lagoa, there are some restaurants that are very popular with tourists: Casa do Chico and others serve the standard local dishes.

Santo Antônio de Lisboa and Sambaqui are good places to have a drink and eat Petiscos (appetizers), while watching the sunset on Northern Bay.

Floripa Oysters are famous and the best restaurants for these can be found at Ribeirão da Ilha Azorean Village.

To sample standard Brazilian food ( rice and beans, pasta, salad, etc), you can eat at restaurants known as KILO, where the food is served buffet style and you pay by the weight of your selections.

Pizza has become as Brazilian as Feijoada! Pizza places are everywhere and many have Rodizios (eat as much as you want and pay one price).

Always popular is Churrasco, the typical Brazilian BBQ.

Nightlife

The main concentration of night clubs, bars and restaurants are in the city centre and Conceição lagoon. During the summer, the northern area also offers a wide choice of nightlife venues.

Security is professionally administered, and everyone is checked before entering a club.

Nightclubs normally charge a cover charge over and above the cost of food and drinks.

A common feature on Friday nights, at various nightclubs is “Ladies Free”, where women don’t pay a cover charge until midnight.

John Bull Pub, located at Avenida das Rendeiras, Conceição Lagoon is a popular live music spot which plays mainly rock and blues. The decor is a rock and blues theme and the atmosphere is casual.

Latidude 27, on the way to Mole beach at the top of the hill is another popular live music venue. It has a mix of contemporary music and a beautiful view of Lagoa at night. Expect crowds where you can barely move.

El Divino Club, the former Cafe Cancun, located at Beira Mar avenue is a traditional nightclub which has different themes and popular live bands. Sophisticated decor.

Ilha dos Cascaez, next to Costão do Santinho is open in the summer only. It features electronic, hip hop and general dance music. Popular on Fridays with Lady’s First theme, where women don’t pay a cover charge until midnight.

For those interesting in FORRÓ, the popular Brazilian dance, La Pedrera in Lagoa is the most popular place.