Monday, 14 December 2009

Looking back at 2009

2009 has been a great year for us working with LGBT tourism in Florianopolis.

The international media and travel professionals from around the world seemed to have discovered Floripa.

Following a successful event for its members in March, the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association chose Florianopolis to be the host of its 2012 Convention. This is the first time that this event, the most important for Gay & Lesbian tourism in the world, will be held south of the Equator.

Articles on Gay Floripa appeared in major Gay & Lesbian magazines: the Passport Magazine from the US, Beige Travel and Diva Magazine from the UK, Du & Ich (a 40 year-old Gay mag!) and in multiple titles from Publigayte in Germany.

All seemed to agree that Floripa is the next big destination for gay travellers in South America.

The local community also had quite a lot to celebrate: 2009 saw our biggest Pride ever with almost 100,000 people attending the Parade on a cold and rainy day in September. That same day an anti-discrimination law was approved by the local town council, giving us hope that equal rights are now achievable in Brazil in the not so distant future.

Welcome 2010 - see you in Floripa!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

New Site for Floripa LGBT Pride

We just finished the new site for Diversidade Floripa, Florianopolis LGBT Pride Week. The site is only in Portuguese(for now) but it is very informative.

There is information about the cultural programs, about the Diversity Games (LGBT Sports Day), about Florianopolis for visitors and a section ( EU VOU!) for those coming to Pride to comment or to invite friends.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The Next Big Thing ... Florianopolis, Brazil

As more and more national and regional tourist boards go after the pink money of LGBT travelers, the American journalist Matthew Link checks the facts behind the hype on some of the new "hot" LGBT destinations.

In a very interesting article in The Guide - an online gay travel magazine, he warns of the "gay-washing" danger and rates some of these new destinations.

I am so proud to say that our Floripa has the highest ranking- a 9 out of 10- of all places he investigated. He might have exaggerated a bit - we do NOT have 12 gay bars, but for a city of 400k, we are doing very gaily well...

Matthew says:

Florianopolis, Brazil
Gay atmosphere: 9 out of 10

Claims: The tourism board says this city on an island in southeastern Brazil is 'an all-time favorite holiday destination for Brazilian and South American LGBT' and boasts a 'laid- back and safe atmosphere.'
�Reality: For a city of about 400,000, Florianopolis packs a wallop. Its downtown is home to a dozen gay bars (in addition to a classic gay beach bar), two gay saunas, a pumping gay pride week in May, and the best Carnival in southern Brazil, complete with an old tradition of cross-dressing men called bloco dos sujos. It is estimated that 50,000 people show up for the drag beauty contest. But the best bronzed eye-candy is at the main gay beach Praia Mole, where the first Brazilian-operated gay cruise moored in 2008. (You'll also find gays floating around the clothing-optional Praia da Galheta next door.) Floripa, as the locals call the city, has become a getaway for Sao Paulo's sizeable gay population, and there's an influx of gay visitors from Argentine as well. No wonder Florianopolis is now considered a major gay destination in Brazil, along with Rio and Sao Paulo.

For checking the whole article click here.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Florianopolis for Gay Girls

In recent edition, Diva Magazine, the leading lesbian mag in the United Kingdom, published a feature written by our director Lesley Cushing about what lesbians can do in Florianopolis... Check it out!

Florianopolis, Brazil

Southern Brazil’s beautiful, laid-back island city

We’d wake up at Majestic Palace, a gay-friendly hotel downtown. The rooms have beautiful views of the bay. After breakfast, we’ll go on a fascinating walking tour of the old part of town.

Visit the old customs house for local arts and crafts, then the fish market, making a quick stop at BOX 32 Seafood Bar for prawn-filled pasties and an icy chopp (Brazilian draught beer).

Drive to Lagoa da Conceição neighbourhood, a trendy and bohemian area of the island. We’d stop at the viewpoint at the top of the mountains for great views of the lagoon and the East Coast beaches. Then we’d head to Lagoa for coffee & cakes at
one of the many friendly cafes. I’d take you shopping for aBrazilian bikini (or a surf board!) before hitting the beach.

It’s a short hop to the gayest beaches in town along the short trail to Galheta, a gorgeous naturist beach. Then we’d spend the rest of the afternoon people-watching at Bar do Deca in Praia Mole. This is the summer hang-out for local lesbians.

Drive to the south of the Island to the old Azorean Village of Ribeirão. Enjoy great oysters and a caipirinha at the pier of Ostradamus, while watching the sunset. A lovely, romantic way to end the day – before the night gets started!

Pre-clubbing drinks at one of the most gay-friendly bars in
town – check local sites or the best options.

Go to Mix Café club for the best gay night out in town or, if you are in town on the first Friday of the month, check out the Perversion party – the biggest party for gay girls in South Brazil!

•For more info on gay and lesbian life in Florianopolis visit our web site,

Lesley Cushing is a director of a travel company, and lives on the island city of Florianopolis in south Brazil. She says, ‘It has gorgeous beaches,beautiful nature, and good weather all year around. It is a very laid back city and a friendly place for lesbians to live and work’.

May 2009 - Diva - p.69

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Floripa Pride - Acceptance & Respect

Florianopolis is gearing up for its Pride Parade on 6th of September. We are in the organizing commitee, so lots of work to be done in the next 5 weeks. The theme this year is acceptance and respect ( Eu aceito, Eu respeito)- specially related to our own families. The focus will be on the positive examples of the families that do accept & respect our sexual orientation. So I thought this banner from the Pride in Sao Paulo is very relevant. Here it goes.

It says "it is the duty of the family to protect its children from all forms of cruelty, oppression and discrimination". Ditto.

Thanks to Clovis Casemiro for this photo.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Florianopolis Pride 6th September 2009

Florianopolis Pride will happen on 6th September this year, at the end of the Semana da Diversidade, a week of LGBT events including theatre performances, video festival, debates and a sports day (Diversity Games).

Tomorrow, 24th July, we will have the first of 3 special fundraising parties at the Mix Cafe, with drag queen shows and resident DJs.

Festas em prol da Parada da Diversidade 2009:
24 July - Mix Café; 15 August- Concorde Club; 21 August - Mix Café

Our tip:

This year, AEGLBTS-SC, the Association that organizes the Pride Week , has had the important support of Mercure hotels, which is offering special deals for Pride weekend. For more info contact the hotel directly.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Buenos Aires is SO GAY!

WELL, I am definitely going way down south on this one, but there is a good reason for it.

Last week we were in
Buenos Aires for the GNETWORK event - the 2nd International Meeting for Gay and Lesbian business. The event was at the beautifully designed Axel hotel , the first "hetero friendly" hotel in South America. It was a great event with speakers from all over the world and with a big audience on both days.

I gave a talk on incoming LGBT tourism in
Brazil and the promotion of destination Florianopolis for the international LGBT market (here is the connection to this blog!).

Another reason to link
Buenos Aires to Florianopolis is that a lot of Europeans and North Americans that visit one, want to visit the other. And it is a great combination for a short holiday: Buenos Aires with all its culture, excellent restaurants and parties and Floripa with its great beaches and relaxing atmosphere (and parties too!).

In summer, there are direct flights (a mere 2 hours journey) between the two cities, making it a very easy going holiday.

Brazil Ecojourneys tips:

  • To find your way around gay and lesbian Bs As grab a GMaps guide. Updated every 3 months the guide is a great help for any G and L visitor;
  • An economical alternative for accommodation in Buenos Aires is to rent a flat. There are many options but these two companies cater mainly for the LGBT community: BA4U and Friendly Apartments.
  • When going out to clubs , remember that Argentineans go out even later than Brazilians- places don't get busy until 3 am!
  • Tango has become popular once again with the younger crowd and there are venues that cater for same-sex tango classes- check GMaps for details;

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Florianopolis in the spotlight

The media conglomerate Publigayte from Germany has published, simultaneously on its 6 regional magazines, a 3 page article about Floripa written by journalist Torsten Dirk.

See below the link to the online version

Torsten, a special guest from Brazil Ecojourneys to cover Gay Carnival 2009 in Floripa, wrote:

"hot parties, beautiful people, beaches that are a dream... it is a wonder that Florianopolis is not yet number 1 destination for European gay travellers..."

We also wonder, Torsten!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Sao Paulo LGBT Pride

We ventured further north last weekend to attend the Sao Paulo Pride, where I was invited to speak at a Forum on LGBT Tourism.

It was my first time at the largest Pride Parade in the world and besides being amazed by the sheer size of it (2 to 3 million attendees, depending on sources), I was pleasantly surprised by the institutional support the event gets from all levels of government. For example, it was the first time I saw a campaign from the Ministry of Tourism targeting the LGBT segment. The slogan of their campaign was even cute: Diversity - Brazil is more beautiful with it.

Despite this support, there was a few ugly reminders that homophobia is alive and well even in the most liberal capital in Brazil (see the official note from the organizers about the violence that followed the Parade -

If you feel outraged by these attacks, remember that visibility is our best action- come out and show up at the demonstration tonight in Sao Paulo. Also remember that Gay Parades are not just another excuse for a party (although they can be a lot of fun!) but they are our chance to stand up and be counted.

See you at Florianopolis Pride on the 6th of September!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Friday, 15 May 2009

South Brazil in ecoDestinations

Brazil Ecojourneys partnered with The International Ecotourism Society to promote ecoDestinations in South Brazil.

ecoDestinations is a campaign of TIES to highlight Ecotourism in different parts of the world. As part of the campaign there is an online auction of tours donated by tour operators and hotels engaged in responsible travel in their destination.

Brazil Ecojourneys and partners donated two tours for the auction.

If you want to contribute to this campaign access the site below and start bidding now!

All proceeds raised from this auction will go directly to TIES to support their numerous projects in support of ecotourism and responsible travel worldwide.

* Whales And Dolphins - Wildlife Adventure off the Coast of Santa Catarina

* Eco- Agrotourism - Home Stays with organic farmers of Santa Catarina
Please note that online bidding for this tour has closed but book this package this month through our site and we will donate the money to TIES!

Click HERE for more information on ecoDestinations and the work of The International Ecotourism Society

Friday, 3 April 2009

LGBT travel trade discovers Florianopolis

Last week Brazil Ecojourneys co-hosted the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) bi-annual International Symposium here in Florianopolis.

This event, organised by Santa Catarina Tourist Board and the Brazilian Association of Gay & Lesbian Tourism (ABRAT-GLS), was the biggest international event for LGBT tourism ever organised in Brazil. More than 300 people including IGLTA members from South America, USA, Canada & Australia participated.

During 4 days travel agents, tour operators, local tourist boards and journalists had the opportunity to get to know some of Florianopolis attractions, join the discussions in the International LGBT Forum and network in a very busy market place.

Brazilian and international LGBT media also attended so we will add links to their articles as they come out.

Click here to read Roy Heale's comments about the trip on IGLTA's INSIDER OUT TRAVEL blog.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Carnival 2009 in Florianopolis - Gay Parties

The Gay Carnival in Floripa is well established but this year seems bigger than ever, probably rivalling Rio as the biggest gay carnival in Brazil.

Besides the every night street parties downtown ( the traditional Carnival do Roma) and the Pop Gay festival that happens on Monday night, there are many other club parties happening in different parts of the Island.

Downtown the local clubs ( Mix Cafe and Concorde) are open every night this week and the Sunrise boat party today was sold out.

The most talked about and busiest is The Week, which is filling to capacity every night. We went last night and we were quite impressed with the whole set up. More than 3000 men were undressed to impress! The setting by the lagoon side makes it unique too. It seems everybody was having a great time.

During the day Bar do Deca on the left side of Praia Mole is still the favourite hang out place. Late afternoons sees more than a thousand people enjoying caipirinhas and the amazing views.

Tip from Brazil Ecojourneys team:

The gay Carnival should go on strong until the weekend- if you are in Brazil you still have time to join the party. Check our site for ideas and more information.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

The New York Times: Florianopolis is the Place to Be

The New York Times recently declared Floripa the Party Destination of the Year and THE Place to Be in 2009.

The chic beach bars of Jurere and the famous gay Carnival parties of Praia Mole were mentioned, but beyond these areas that are favoured by visitors wanting to party, Floripa has many others that offer a lot of local fun.

Last night, for example, we took a stroll down Armacao main street , one of the oldest fishing communities on the Island and were met by a "bloco" formed by young drummers of a local NGO, rehearsing for Carnival.

Listening to the drums by the sea front while having an ice cream with the pretty old church of the Armacao in the background, I thought that this is what Carnival was really about in its origins: genuine community fun and not only a show for tourists.

Tips from Brazil Ecojourneys Team:
  • These kind of events happen every weekend during January and February (until Carnival) in most neighbourhoods. Lagoa, Santo Antonio de Lisboa and Campeche, in particular, have good neighbourhood "blocos", so if you are in the Island during this time, check them out.
  • The Afri Catarina NGO offers cultural workshops for the local youth of the south of the Island- check

Monday, 12 January 2009

Places to Eat in Florianopolis no. 1- South of the Island

We are frequently asked by our clients for tips on good places to eat on the Island.

I like to recommend our personal favorites, places that locals know about but that are overlooked by most guide books.

If you are visiting the south of the Island, I would make three very different recommendations.

In Pantano do Sul, in the extreme south, there is a simple restaurant on the beach front called Bar do Vadinho that serves the best typical food in the region. The place is very simple, you don't even have a menu: you ask for lunch (almoco) and they will bring you fish (fillets, steaks and a delicious dish of shredded fish with spices), rice, beans, salad, chips and pirao ( a local side dish made of fish stock, herbs and cassava flour). Service is friendly but very slow, but be patient because it is worthy. This is the freshest fish you can find anywhere on the island and it is great value: for US$ 7 per person, you can eat as much as you want. They will keep asking if you want a refill... During Summer it opens everyday, all day, in the rest of the year opens only for lunch a the weekends.

If you are on your way to/from the beach around Armacao or Pantano do Sul at lunch time and fancy a healthy alternative to fish and chips, then you MUST stop by Nutri lanches. Located near Lagoa do Peri on the main road (SC 406), this canteen-like restaurant serves a buffet by kilo (a great Brazilian invention= you chose your food from a buffet, weight it and pay a fixed amount per kilo) of the highest quality for a very reasonable price ( average meal US$ 4-5 dollars). Besides the good salads and creative vegetarian dishes, they also serve fish, seafood and chicken dishes. Open all year around ( except Mondays), Nutri is a meeting point for the alternative crowd.

On the west coast, in the quaint old village of Ribeirao, you will find a very different option, ideal for a late lunch or a summer evening meal. Ostradamus is a Florianopolis institution and justifiably so: it serves, by far, the best oysters in town! The setting is also magic: from their pier you can watch the sun going down behind the beautiful Tabuleiro Mountains. If you don't fancy oysters try their seafood risotto or the king prawn dishes.

Tips from the Brazil Ecojourneys team:
  • In Ostradamus, the main course portions are huge, so ask for half a portion, which is plenty for 2 people.
  • You can combine a visit to these restaurants with some of our day treks for a great day out.
  • Florianoplis is the biggest producer of oysters in Brazil- a visit to an oyster farm followed by a tasting session is one of the many activities you can join in the island to experience local life.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Happy New Year in Florianopolis

Those that decided to come to Florianopolis for their New Year's holidays did not regret.

The weather was perfect for most of the week and although busy everywhere, the atmosphere was very relaxed throughout the Island. From the chic Jurere to trendy Praia Mole, locals and tourists alike had a great time partying on the beach.

Now Floripa starts getting ready for the next big holiday- Carnival week, in February.

Florianopolis Carnival is less known to foreigners but it is one of top five destinations in Brazil. It has a mix of the traditional festivities such as the street parties and the Samba Schools Parade as well as ultra trendy label electronic music parties, especially those catering for the gay crowd.

Although avaiability is already limited in some places, have a look at some of our Special packages: Carnival 2009 in Floripa