Brazilians call Florianopolis endearingly the Island of Magic. The whole coastal region of the state of Santa Catalina is also nicknamed the Ibiza of South America, and for good reason. it’s a summer vacation hot-spot popular among Brazilians, and parties here attract a crowd of beautiful Brazilians (most of whom are from other parts of Brazil for vacation), and also a smaller but growing international crowd. Information on good parties here is surprisingly hard to find if you don’t know where to look, especially in English.
When to come: In general, parties here are very seasonal – high season being between November to March (ends with carnaval). During this time, there are parties every weekend. During super holidays like carnaval and New Years, there will be parties every single day. During the low season, the amount of parties is greatly reduced, so check the agenda ahead of time and plan accordingly. In Brazil, the day for parties is generally Saturday.
Getting tickets: A wise hostel staff from Tucano House (a famous party hostel in Floripa) once said to me – never buy your club/festival ticket before you get to the city. Unless the party is at serious risk of selling out, there is no point in buying it in advance because there are ALWAYS ways to get it for cheaper. Here is what I do:
— If you’re staying at a hostel, ask the hostel if they can get club tickets for you or if they can put you on the list. Even if you’re not staying at the hostel, just walk in and ask them they would be more than happy to help you arrange a ticket as they get commission from the sale. Famous party hostels to inquire at are Tucano House (Lagoa de Conceição), Backpacker Sunset (Praia Mole), Barra Beach Club (Barra da Lagoa), Backpackers (Barra da Lagoa)
— Find a promoter on Facebook. For example, P12 tickets with a promoter code is $R30 for ladies and $R60 for gentlemen. Getting on the List for Pacha Floripa means that girls pay only $R25 to enter, and men pay $40, with a consumption option too. This group is swarming with promoters. More promoters here, here, and here. Prowl the Facebook Event page for promoters. Look up the Foursquare page for promoters.
— Enter competitions on Facebook and Twitter. Many of the club Facebook pages have competitions that take 2 minutes to enter.
How to Dress:
— Gentleman: Brazilian men dress a lot more casually than guys do in NY clubs, even at the hippest of places. Just do not wear shorts, put on some jeans. Going with a T-shirt is totally okay, even in all the posh clubs in Florianopolis (if you go to Sao Paulo, you should still wear a nice dress shirt to the hippest clubs). Tennis shoes and sneakers are OK too. I remember my second night in Florianopolis, I went to El Divino with some Brazilian guys, and I asked them incredulously if they are going to get in with sneakers. They laughed at me and said you can wear sneakers wherever you go in Brazil.
— Ladies: Dress to impress!! For the female, the situation has a 180 degree difference. That is not to say that the bouncer won’t let you in if you’re not dressed to the nines with high heels (they will let you in), but Brazilian girls dress up A LOT, with a ton of make up, and super high heels. I have an explanation for this; here men do all the chasing, girls do not approach guys. So they have to peacock to the maximum level to get the guys to come to them.
— Dayclubs/pool parties: Go beach sexy – bikini, sarong, and shorts are perfect for these parties.
Getting to the party:
— If you’re staying at a hostel, the easiest and most economical way is to go with the transportation that the hostel organizes. If you are staying at Lagoa de Conceição, Praia Mole, or Barra da Lagoa, this is definitely the best option. See my tip on buying club tickets on how to find a hostel. If you do take a taxi, be warned that it will probably be $R80 or more especially at night.
— If you just book a stay in Canasvieiras or Jurerê, then it is cheap to go by taxi to the parties at Jurerê international. It should not be more than $R30, even if you fix a price with the taxi driver at the wee hours at night.
— Taxi number in Canasvieiras: 96689610, 32406009, Jurerê: 84832156
— Florianopolis is on a big island. The public transportation is terrible, does not have many buses, and does not run at club hours. However I guess this is doable if you leave at around 11pm and go home at 6am. A nice app I like to use is called “BusMaps Florianopolis”, that has all the lines and schedules.. No internet required!
Other random tips:
— Leech off house music on the beach. There are many barracks on the beach that play sleek and sexy house music, the only thing is that you have to consume in there and it’s expensive ($15 and up for a caipirinha). What I do is I bring my canga (sarong) and lay it out in front of the club, then buy a $R8 caipirinha from an adjacent food stall. #win
— Put more value on your consumption bracelet. Usually the cashier and bar are separate, you have to pay the cashier and then redeem your drinks. Parties usually have terrible drink lines. If you anticipate getting more drinks in the future, it’s worth it to put more value on the bracelet… that way you don’t spend your whole time at the party on line. You can also try to give money to someone at the front to buy a drink for you.
— Go to the front of the line and ask questions. Walk in shamelessly. Pretend you’re a clueless foreigner. At Pacha Floripa, we were faced with an entrance line of 200 people for the general admission entry, but I walked straight in to through the empty VIP line, and the bouncer didn’t even bat an eye. You have nothing to lose!!
— You might be able to get into VIP with your hostel bracelet. Hostels here in Floripa make you wear a bracelet. The one upside is that I’ve heard stories of how some hostel bracelets look like club VIP bracelets, so they manage to walk into VIP.
— People arrive at the party between 12am-2am, and the party goes on till 6am-8am — Drink prices are about $R13-$20 for a vodka, $R20 for an energy drink, $R6 for a soda, and $R4 for water. Moral of the story drink your energy drink before you get to the party. If you ask the bartender nicely to pour you a generous amount of vodka, most of the time he will comply.
Also read my learnings on flirting in Brazil in clubs.