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Brazil's Hidden GemSeptember 5, 2011 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
|Galheta Beach, Florianopolis|
Every destination that has hosted TravelMart LatinAmerica in the last several years has experienced a welcome change of fortune. Most notably, Cartagena, Colombia, where the event was held in 2007; Patagonia, Chile (2009); and Lima, Peru (2010), have all become sought-after vacation spots.
Florianopolis, the capital of Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, is next in line as the city and its CentroSul convention center host this year’s TravelMart from September 11-13. If you’ve never heard of this hidden gem or know little about it, let Travel Agent enlighten you on what’s going on there and what your clients can do and see.
Luxury Hotels in Florianopolis
Costão do Santinho is in the north of Santa Catarina Island, on the lush Santinho beach and surrounded by dunes, trails and archaeological sites. The 695-room hotel encompasses 185 acres of Atlantic Rain Forest and more than 50 acres of constructed area. It boasts such amenities as a golf course, sports and nautical complex, and one of the largest ensembles of indoor/outdoor thermal pools in Brazil. We would recommend this resort for families or larger groups. Agents should contact Operations Manager Julio Jostat (011-55-483-261-1234, [email protected] ) for details.
At Il Campanario Villagio Resort, there are 288 rooms, divided into 160 Suites and 128 Junior Suites. It comes with a pool bar, a massage room, a teen area, a fine dining restaurant and more. This resort will also make a great pitch for families or larger groups. Agents should contact General Manager Fernanda Crespo (011-55-483-261-6000) with queries.
Sofitel Florianopolis is a deluxe hotel that is popular for its outstanding views of the bay. This 115-room property is a great pitch for corporate and leisure clients. It has cutting-edge business facilities and is also just a 30-minute drive from the international airport. It can also be the perfect setting for those looking for a vibrant vacation with plenty of entertainment opportunities. The best rooms here, for the view alone, are the two Junior Suites and the Presidential Suite. For more information, agents should contact General Manager Danilo Scheibler (011-55-483-202-6101).
The 245-room Majestic Hotel is perhaps the destination’s most luxurious. It has 14 different suites spread across four different categories. The best, not surprisingly, are the two Presidential Suites on the 15th and 16th floors, overlooking the North Bay. Both of them have, among others, a TV room, a dining room, living room, home office, two bedrooms (one with a double bed and the other with twin beds). Agents should contact General Manager Julio Cesar (011-55-483-231-8000, [email protected]) with questions.
We recommend the Atlantic Rain Forest and the beach resort town of Balneario Camboriu, as well as many other attractions, such as Lagoa da Conceição (Conceição Lagoon); Jurerê Internacional beach; Joaquina beach (famous for its surfing competitions); Lagoinha do Leste beach; Bombinhas beach; Ribeirão da Ilha; Santo Antonio de Lisboa; Mundo Ovo de Eli Heil (a nonconventional art museum); Campeche Island; the Historical Center; the public market; and Blumenau—a beautiful small town with a heavy German influence and well worth the two-hour ride from Florianopolis.
All the main airlines of Brazil and other Mercosur countries operate flights to and from the Hercilio Luz International Airport in Florianopolis. It was designed to receive 980,000 passengers annually, but has already processed as many as 1.5 million in a year. The airport offers taxi service and car rental, as well as boarding points for buses and executive transportation.
Your clients can easily travel to Florianopolis from major Brazilian cities such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Salvador. It is also possible to reach the city by car via highway BR-101 from Curitiba, capital of Paraná, in southern Brazil.
Cruises to Florianopolis
Florianopolis is a major port of call for cruise ships. The city is in the cruise circuit that runs through Rio de Janeiro, Angra dos Reis, the Guanabara Bay, Buzios, Cabo Frio and cities in the north coast of São Paulo like Guaruja.
Thomson Cruises operates cruises to Florianopolis aboard the Island Star, a Bateau-Mouche-styled dining ship with seating for up to 180.
TravelMart, now in its 34th year, will bring together 300 tour operators, mainly from the U.S., Germany, the UK and Canada, and more than 500 tourism service providers from all over Latin America, especially Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Costa Rica and Argentina. During the event, buyers will hold about 40 pre-scheduled meetings with suppliers.
The Department of Tourism, Culture and Sports of Santa Catarina is offering pre- and post- tours for TravelMart attendees. For the pre-tours, nine trips are scheduled across Santa Catarina and five trips to destinations in other parts of Brazil. Post-tours include 10 trips across the state and eight others in the rest of country.
Destinations on itineraries within Santa Catarina include Balneario Camboriu, Blumenau, Bom Jardim da Serra, Garopaba, Governador Celso Ramos, Imbituba, Florianopolis, Joinville, Lages, Laguna, Nova Trento, Pomerode, Rancho Queimado, Santo Amaro da Imperatriz, São Francisco do Sul, São Joaquim and Urubici.