Barra da Lagoa
The taxi driver was scaring me as we winded through the hills of Florianópolis on our way to Barra da Lagoa. ” All of the surf is on the North side of the island,” he stated. “It’s very empty on this side of the island, people don’t come here, they go to Jurerê where there is more to do.” He had me fooled for a minute, my mind started devising back up plans, wondering if our hostel would let us cancel a few of the nights I had reserved. The idea of desolate beaches sounded amazing but the “no surf ” aspect of his story was not part of the plan. Had I misread my guide book? The road took us through the small town of Lagoa da Conceição which was mysteriously cluttered with surf shops. The driver repeated his tale of no surf as he pointed to the placid waters visible out the window; I laughed out loud. Of course, we were passing a lake! This lake also happens to be bordering the ocean, and within minutes we were driving up and over a small mountain that passed one of the prime surf breaks I had read about, Praia Mole. My worries put to rest, I started wondering if our friend in the front seat had lost his mind or if there was some inexplicable cultural misunderstanding happening.
Barra da Lagoa does comes off as being quite sleepy at first glance, but once you hang around for a couple of days it surprises you. Fishing is still very prevalent, locals are fishing off of rocks, bridges, hiking to off the beaten path locations with their poles and bait boxes, it seems like everywhere you go, you encounter someone fishing for something. There is also a huge draw for surfers as Barra is centrally located, surrounded by a handful of surf breaks on either side. The night life picks up on the weekends, but only if you know where to look. On a Friday night we heard an amazing local artist who looked like a gorgeous, young version of Bob Marley. He played a mix of Reggae and Samba on the acoustic guitar at a little venue on the hillside overlooking the ocean; can’t get much better than that.