Floripa Calling!
May 4, 2013 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Two of my life dreams are to speak Portuguese fluently and to learn to surf. VOILA~~ I was invited for a professional exchange in Florianopolis, Brazil, and am over the moon! Can you help me 1) decide which months to arrive 2) make an initial plan for housing and transport, and 3) suggest volunteer conservation efforts for my partner?

I will have peers after I arrive, and the visa is covered, but no logistical support is available at this time. I speak basic Portuguese, so will be looking for practice/immersion and don't surf at all (yet) so I anticipate immersion of a different sort :)! Any advice to the items below or info sites, expat advice boards or community/rental/activity/classifieds etc would be very appreciated~

Timing: 4 month duration, my options are: late August staying to xmas, or late October-February. I understand that whatever advice you give will be more expensive/scarce for the 'peak' visitor season- but just how crowded are we talking for the peak? I'm a beginner surfer, how will these months vary for surf quality/crowds? We anticipate traveling elsewhere for xmas/new years.

Housing: Do you have any website/sublet suggestions? Or would it be best to work with a local realtor on this, or is it feasible to find something once I arrive?
A friend who has participated in this program recommended Barra da Lagoa, Lagoa, or Lagoa da Conceicao, but am open to other areas. I'm seeing a lot of places advertised on the North of the island, but if I have to get to an office about halfway between downtown Floripa and Lagoa, can you give insight on travel time/difficulty?
Vacation rentals look expensive for this extent of time- but more conventional rentals seem either unfurnished or need a Brazilian to co-sign the lease... Criteria (in vague order of importance): Furnished, safe, in-house internet, feasible to reach SantaMonica (office) frequently, close to surfing beach, close to public transport, walking distance to a grocery/cafe/restaurant, air conditioning.. Green landscape & trees /close to hiking preferred over more built-up environments.

Transport: we'd love to explore both Floripa and the coast. I hear Floripa is pretty spread out- are there any reasonable rates for long-term car rental? Is buying/re-selling one of those ephemeral VWs for the duration feasible? I've heard it can be great to have a bike/scooter, but haven't worked out how to deal w the hills/surfboard...

Volunteer efforts: my partner would love to volunteer with a conservation or wildlife effort, either something local or do a few trips if there is something more remote. Are there groups/sites you can suggest?
posted by iiniisfree to Travel & Transportation around Florianopolis, Brazil (2 answers total)
I don't know much about Portuguese or brazil, but I've been a surfer for about 20 years.

Wave quaily doesn't really matter that much for a beginner. In fact, poor quality waves are often great beginner waves, because they're smaller, less powerful, and generally less intimidating. Surfers travel the world over looking for the best waves, but these are experts looking for waves that would frankly be dangerous for a beginner. Brazil is not known as a great surfing destination. There's a professional contest held there every year and everyone always complains about the surf quality. They keep doing the contest though, largely because surfing is so popular in Brazil, and the audience is so large. The sport is popular despite largely mediocre waves because the water's warm and the weather's nice and most surfers aren't experts who are searching for great destinations for professional contests. It should be a perfectly good place to start learning.

Also there are surfboard mounts for scooters. And start with a longboard.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:20 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I know the folks who run this Web site, Sweet Home Floripa, aimed at ex-pats who are moving there... although it doesn't look like it's been updated much recently, I bet there is still some good info there as a jumping off point.
posted by lgandme0717 at 6:41 AM on May 5, 2013

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