A Digital Nomad's Guide to Living & Working in Florianopolis Brazil
Where to stay, where to work, and what you need to know to work efficiently and have a great time.
So you'd like to hang out in Brazil for a little while as a Digital Nomad? I don't blame you, it is stunning, the people are amazing, and the culture is energetic. Here are the things I have learned after living in Brazil for three months as a Digital Nomad.
Cost of Living in Florianopolis Brazil
I lived in Brazil from December 2019 until the end of February 2020. In general, it was costing me around $1,600 a month to live in Florianopolis, Brazil. I would categorize my lifestyle as a little above budget. I like to go out and eat once per week, do fun activities, have BBQs with friends, and go to concerts and events. But I also don't shop a lot, and try not to eat out too much. Here's where my money went:
Per Month in USD:
$600 - Air BNB (shared with my boyfriend, he paid the other $600)
$300 - Groceries
$100 - Eating Out
$150 - CoWorking space
$150 - Car Rental
$200 - Misc. (Events, BBQs, etc.)
$120 - GoogleFi (cell phone)
Where to Stay in Florianopolis Brazil as a Digital Nomad
The three main places people stay are Centro (the downtown area), Lagoa (the surf town area with bars and shops), and Campeche (the quieter surf town area with less bars and shops but walking distance to the beach). We stayed in Lagoa and it was really nice because our coworking space was also in Lagoa, a short 5 minute drive from our house, as well as a grocery store, coffee shop, laundry place, and other basics to make life easy. But if we go back, I wouldn't mind staying in Campeche either, it is right next to Lagoa and I like the beach vibes there too. If you are looking for more of a metropolitan feel, I would recommend Centro for you, but know there aren't any beaches there, so you will have to drive about 30 minutes to a beach, or take about an hour bus to get to one.
Andres and I would wake up most mornings and drive over to Campeche to surf, which would take about 20 minutes one way, but the drive was easy, there wasn't ever traffic, and it was peaceful so we didn't mind it at all. Campeche, in my opinion, is much better for surfing compared to Mole or Praia Joaquina because 1. you don't have to battle all the traffic taking the one way road to those beaches and 2. the waves break cleaner and aren't so much of shore break as the ones at the other beaches, 3. plus I think Campeche is just prettier with the islands right off the coast as your permanent backdrop.
Where to Work
There were a few options of places to work in Lagoa. Since there is where I lived those are what I explored, I unfortunately can't speak to the other coworking spaces around the island.
We CoWork It Out- 5/5
I loved this coworking space. Andres and I rented our own office for $300USD per month for us to share. It was perfect because it was quite and we could make our calls without being disturbed. We also had an amazing view out of our floor to ceiling windows of the tropical landscape around us. The wifi speed was great (I was working with large heavy files and didn't have a problem). And I love the owners, they are super friendly and were there to help us out during some crazy times! I will say if you don't rent your own office though it can be load and not ideal for calls.
Cafe Cultura - 1/5
This trendy cute cafe is nice to grab some breakfast and a coffee at, but to work was a joke. The wifi was so incredibly slow, and it was extremely loud in there. I think if maybe you don't require any phone calls, and don't mind slow wifi, this could maybe be an option. I didn't work there though.
Your Air BNB- 2/5
Each Air BNB is of coarse different. Our air bnb would have okay wifi but then cut out about every other day, so it was extremely unreliable. However, some of my friends staying in other air bnb's said their wifi was crazy good and they didn't have to spend the money to work at a coworking space. So it's really hard to say.
OUT of the BOX- 0/5
I went looking for this coworking space and couldn't find it, so I am not sure it is still open or exists anymore.
For me transportation is a huge must for living somewhere. The last time I lived in Brazil (back in 2013) I took the bus everywhere and hated it. So this time, Andres and I rented a car in advance for about $320 USD per month. Between the two of is it was right around $160USD per month after taxes and fees. It was 100% worth it to me. I for one dislike having to plan my day around when a bus may or may not show up. We also love to go surfing around the island, and having the car gave us that freedom.
We did have the car broken into once when we hid the key in a bush when we went surfing. Someone must have been watching because they found the key and took Andres' wallet and phone from the car and then threw the key somewhere. We weren't able to find the key and had to get our car towed and replaced by the rental car company (that cost about $400 USD after everything). So there are some risks, but I still think it is worth it. Just don't try and hide your key.
Where to Play
Oh all the fun you can have in Brazil, where to even begin? I spent a lot of my time hiking, surfing, and exploring the near by cities and towns. Here are the highlights (in no particular order).
1. River Rafting - This is the company we used, it was around $18USD per person, and really fun!
2. Exploring Blumenau - Blumenau is a german village in the jungle. It is home to the second largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich, and you can find authentic German food and people here who fled during WWII.
3. Surfing Campeche - Hands down my favorite beach to surf, it was so beautiful it felt like a dream waking up and surfing it almost every morning!
4. Hiking Costa de Lagoa - Epic hike. It's about a five mile hike in through a more undeveloped part of the island. You walk through jungle, houses that are home to the Floripa Hippies, and water falls. Then you appear in this beautiful bayside area with cute restaurants and amazing fresh oysters. From there you can take the water taxi back for about 15 Reis (make sure you have cash) and enjoy that views.
5. Hiking from Barra da Lagoa to Praia Mole - This is a pretty easy hike and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. You start in Barra da Lagoa and hike up over this hill with amazing views of both the Lagoon and the ocean. From there you make your way down the other side of the hill into Praia Mole. (In the picture below the ocean is on the left and the lagoon is on the right).
6. Walking the Beach at Barra da Lagoa - Barra da Lagoa is so cute and picturesque. This smaller town is know for its small waves and new surfers flock here to take lessons. It also has some beautiful secret little beaches and a warm welcoming hippie culture. The beach is really long and flat the perfect for a long beautiful scenic walk.
7. Being in the Carnival Parade - this experience was unreal. We were actually able to dress up and walk in the parade for Carnival in Florianopolis. We had to go to Samba practice every week for a week weeks before hand to prepare. It was the highlight of our carnival experience.
Safety in Florianopolis Brazil
Floripa (that's what the locals call it) has been rated the safest city in Brazil numerous times, and it shows. You don't have the crazy drug fights and the extreme favelas in this part of the country, so the crime is much lower. However there still is crime of coarse. Like any country you need to keep your wits about you. Don't leave Apple products laying around, or even in grabbing distance. Don't broadcast where you live, have your Uber driver pick you up a block away from where you are staying. If you need to look at your iPhone for directions, step into a shop and look, don't sit there on the sidewalk immersed in your phone... You know the basics. There are places on the island you definitely want to steer clear of, but the three places I talked about above are great, and I think you will have a great time!