So, you want to move to Florianopolis either just for a couple months or permanently. There are two ways to do this – the old school way – walking on the streets, or the way that we are used to – using the internet. I will talk about both and discuss the neighborhood options in Florianopolis.
First of all, understand that the housing market in Florianopolis is highly seasonal, especially on the beaches (not Central Florianopolis). Many apartments/houses by the beaches are rented out by day during the high season (November – beginning of March; Carnaval, or mid-April, Easter). After that, they open up to the possibility of month-to-month rental until November, when the season begins again.
So, I set out searching the week after Carnival, when most things start opening up. Unfortunately a lot of people had the same thought as me – I inquired about many apartments, and many were “just rented out”. Apparently this is the time locals hunt for deals too!
If you opt for the old school way, you just walk around the neighborhood street by street and ring the doorbell if there is a “Aluga-se” sign (for rent), usually with an accompanying phone number, outside the building. At first I was shy about ringing the doorbell (“I should just call the number, the building manager probably does not live here right”). However, American friend Aizen who came along with me and doesn’t speak Portuguese would just go up and press the doorbell and I would have to talk. Turns out, most the rental manager are in fact in the building, and even if we accidentally press the doorbell of a tenant they would kindly explain to us how to get in touch with the manager. Anyway, thanks to Aizen’s persistence I soon got over my fear of pushing random people’s doorbells (or maybe I just did it because if I didn’t, Aizen would push it anyway …)
Using the internet, the best sites to look on are:
- www.olx.com.br — Brazilian craigslist
- www.vivanuncios.com.br — Brazilian craigslist #2
- www.airbnb.com — Search for properties, then message the host whether or not they’re willing to do long term stay, and negotiate a price. I’ve actually had good success with this.
- www.easyquarto.com.br — Primarily for finding a shared flat
- UFSC Clasificados — The UFSC (University of Santa Catarina) classified Facebook page
When I was searching, I wanted to find a place that is modern, secure, has a bedroom and a sofa bed (for guests!), and convenient (since I don’t drive). Also, I was searching during the beginning of the low season. With this in mind, I explored the neighborhoods. Here are the neighborhoods I looked at and my opinions. I ended up in Canasvieiras, which I talk about last.
East of the island
- Lagoa de Conceição: This is the first place I looked. Most people want to live here, it is the heart of the island and most activity and nightlife move to here or the central over the winter. However, apartments are generally old, not good quality, and don’t look particularly safe (though I have to mention that they say Lagoa is the safest neighborhood on the island). You also pay a lot more – the apartments I saw were $R700-$R1,500 per month for just one studio room. One bedrooms seem not to exist in the market. Overall, Lagoa was not for me.
- Campeche: Rented a motorcycle with Aizen to go check out apartments there. Upon arriving, realized there was only a teeny tiny town center and it looked really empty. Didn’t even bother looking at apartments, Campeche was out of the question.
- Barra da Lagoa: I heard a lot of people say this was a nice place with cheap apartments during the low season (low as in $R300 low), but it also is far away from the center, far away from Jurere where all the edm parties are, so I ruled it out.
- Researched a couple apartments online, but they were generally pricier and more likely to be annual rental only. I didn’t think I could just walk around the streets in the center to look for an apartment, so I gave up on the Center.
North of the island
- Ingleses: A lot of people live here. Drove by on the motorcycle and it looked like a middle class living area. Ingleses is very big, and it looked to me like most properties were houses and not apartments. I did not feel very comfortable there, it also wasn’t that pretty, so I ruled it out.
- Jurere (Internacional/Tradicional): Jurere Internacional is where the rich people live, the Miami beach of Brazil. There are huge mansions here owned by the famous of Brazil, the beaches are huge and beautiful, the beach barracks are luxurious, and the clubs are good. The only problems are that 1) it’s expensive 2) it’s not Brazil. Jurere tradicional, which is on the east of Internacional, is more affordable and less pretentious, but is relatively quiet and transportation is trickier.
- Canasvieiras, my home! This is the only area that I truly wanted to live in in Floripa. Canasvieiras is a small neighboor between Jurere and Ingleses. When Aizen and I drove into this beach on the motorcycle, it was full of people on the streets and on the beaches. Best thing was, the apartments were SO cheap here compared to Lagoa. I saw a couple of one bedrooms here, and they are all between $500-$1000 a month, and more often than not they look great. Best thing is that it’s one neighborhood over from Jurere so I can cab to the clubs there for just $R20-$R30. My one-bedroom apartment ended up being $R 950 a month (with rent, light, condo fees etc), and I love it. It’s three blocks from the beach, comes with a sofa bed, a fully equipped kitchen, and even a BBQ pit.