Sao Paulo is not just business; it also has excellent beaches. They begin 50 miles south, with Santos and its beautiful 4 mile beach garden, and culminate with a charming beach resort called Guaruja, just outside Santos, Sao Paulo's elite choice. Or, if you prefer,, you can find the very exclusive Angra dos Reis just a little north.
South of Brazil beaches: Florianopolis
Brazil's south has a temperate climate. Accordingly, south Brazil beaches can't be enjoyed all year long. The south has a four season climate, with a cold winter, unsuitable for swimming. But there are very good beaches, some of which are excellent in the hotter months (Florianopolis is a great example).
Taking the weather into account, if you want to go to the south of Brazil, the best option, concerning beaches, is undoubtedly Florianopolis, an island-city in Santa Catarina state, 438 miles/705 Km south Sao Paulo. Florianopolis has 42 beaches, a spectacular lake (Lagoa da Conceicao) at its very heart, a well developed hotel set, many restaurants and a reasonably animated nightlife. The island is visually spectacular, with its rivers, streams, dunes and rich vegetation.
Its beaches are excellent to rest or to surf (Joaquina Beach is world known as a surfing center, lodging regular international competitions).
Florianopolis is a good bet if you are interested in another Brazil, a Brazil deeply distinct from the tropical one and where its European heritage is overwhelming. Just remember its weather and the seasons.
The south of Brazil is a country within another country. Its culture and heritage are eminently European. Even the weather - with four seasons and a cold winter - has little resemblance with that of the north and northeast of Brazil.
Besides the Iguassu Falls and Florianopolis, the south of Brazil has pleasant cities like Curitiba or Blumenau, the later one with a famous beer festival, emulating Munique's one.
From Florianopolis you can access some interesting southern Brazilian places such as:
- Curitiba, a state capital, and a progressive and enjoyable European style city, with a high life standard, fairly ahead the other big Brazilian cities.
- Blumenau, the home of a gigantic Oktoberfest, a German-like beer festival, attracting more than a million people every year.
- Vila Velha, with its state park, full of peculiar and enormous brown rock formations and holes carved over the years by the wind and rain.
- Porto Alegre, the biggest city of the south of Brazil, and an obligatory hub to the Argentinean border.
Florianopolis is also very associated with the Iguassu Falls, one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world, clearly besting Niagara Falls by the number, height and effects of its waterfalls. The Iguassu Falls are just an hour flight away from Florianopolis and you may arrange your travel to visit these two great southern Brazil destinies.
Vila Velha State Park
For those looking for odd constructions left by nature, Vila Velha, 80 Km away from Curitiba and 340 miles/550 Km away from the Iguassu Falls, is an interesting visiting point. Vila Velha park keeps 23 amazing rock formations carved over the years by the wind and the rain. They have huge dimensions and strange forms, currently identified as objects, animals or humans. There are also two mysterious and huge holes that go into the ground, half-filled with water.