I arrived in Balneário Camboriú (BC) under prepared. I had not done my homework and really had no idea what to expect. I had planned on researching the area during the 12 hour bus ride from Foz do Iguaçu but my ability to fall asleep almost anyplace, not only cost me my study time, it almost coast me my adventure. When the bus pulled into the station I continued my deep slumber and only some dumb luck had me sprinting off the bus with only seconds to spare.
Thank goodness for the good fortune because what awaited me was cooler than anything I could have dreamed about in the city that I could not pronounce.
No one knows where the name of the city, Balneário Camboriú, comes from, but I am pretty sure it means “Brazilian Miami” or “Brazilian Dubai”. BC is a nicer, newer, less crowed Florianopolis. Great beaches, amazing topography, healthy options for food and a lot fewer people than the state’s capital city to the south. There is a cool, youth, progressive, health-conscious vibe radiating from the area and it is hard not to get swept up in it.
The skyline of BC was completely unexpected. As the sun sets the sun falls behind the towering skyscrapers and cast large shadows down on the beaches below making for an incredible scene. Like the beaches in Rio, bright lights illuminate the sand and volleyball, soccer, drinking and partying does not stop when the sun goes down.
I spent 3 days in the BC area seeing and doing everything I could and there is plenty to do.
The town of Balneário Camboriú is just one of many amazing beach towns all within a short drive of each other. Brava, Porto Bello, Itapema and many other beaches (all that look they came straight from a postcard) are inside an hour drive from the BC bus stop.
A jet-ski is the best way to see as many of the islands and beaches as possible or, if you are lucky enough, finding a beautiful local to drive you around on that jet-ski is even best-ier.
The nature that surrounds the beach is what I have come to expect from the south of Brazil, incredible. Standing at the top of Morro do Macaco is an incredible sight as the land splits the ocean; creating one side with a beautiful surfers paradise and the other, with still waters perfect for fishing and boating.
The calm side of the ocean is Praia de Mariscal, home to huge marisco (shellfish) farms, and I happened to be walking back when they where bringing in the haul from the day. For 10 reals a pound (less than 3 dollars american) we bought mussels that went straight from the boat to the pot and we ate them enjoying the remarkably colorful sunset. A rare break from my normal diet but this was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
I bypassed the cable cars or gondolas and for a different view of the terrain went to Itapema for the, free, awesome lookout tower the city built, giving a spectacular view of the area.
After a couple of days on the sand and water I was ready for a change of pace. Reserva Natural Alto do Macacos is a little under explored gem 45 minutes outside of the city. A short drive and I felt like I had ventured to a different part of the world.
After exploring the beaches, the city and rainforest outside of the city, I was told to really get to enjoy BC and be able to soak in how amazing the area is you have to take to the air.
Balneário Camboriú, Brava, Itapema and all the surrounding towns of North Santa Catarina are great examples of the amazing places hidden throughout Brazil and the only way to get to see them is when you get out of Rio!
For information on planning your trip to Brazil or other adventure, send me a message!