By Ricky Skelton
January 27, 2009

I can boldly state, without fear of being completely wrong, that the best clubs in Brazil, perhaps even in South America, are in Santa Catarina.

There is no other place that has so many clubs ticking so many of the boxes that the best clubs need to have ticked. It begins with the music of course. To have the best music, you need to have the best DJ’s. The best DJ’s in the world come to South America for huge events such as Skolbeats in São Paulo, Reveillon in Rio, Carnval in Salvador and Creamfields in Buenos Aires. Names such as Fat Boy Slim, Sander Kleinenberg, Darren Emerson and Deep Dish have all made the journey down this way recently. There is little point in travelling thousands of miles just for one gig, so they generally squeeze in a bit of a warm-up a night or two before. More often than not, they visit clubs such as Warung, on Praia Brava above Balnerio Cambori, and El Divino, P12 and now Pacha close to or on Jurer Internacional on Florianópolis.

Perhaps they come here because the atmosphere on the way to and inside these places is more relaxed than Rio, less shady than Salvador. Perhaps the people who make the journey from Curitiba, Porto Alegre and even São Paulo provide a more cosmopolitan crowd than clubs in Buenos Aires with porteos all seeming to hide their insecurities behind sunglasses while dancing in the same treading grapes style.

Being sited out of the cities, the clubs have scenery of beaches, mountains and lagoons that those of São Paulo can never hope to match. There is nothing like being able to see the sea while dancing in a club.

My favourite club in Brazil, South America, perhaps even the world, doesnt have this vista do mar though. Much like the best clubs in Ibiza are up in the hills away from the strip (and away from the drunken British holidaymakers!), Brazil’s Best Club is tucked away down the backroads on the rural side of the motorway from the mini-Rio of Balnerio Cambori. It makes a strange contrast to park outside a wooden cow shed, with the attendant smells of four legged beasts, while parking alongside some 4×4 beast that may have never been so close to mud before. The church-going villagers of interior Santa Catarina must wonder.

As with the best clubs in Santa Catarina, Ibiza and the world at large, it is an open-air venue, one tented roof to keep off the rain. As well as the music, the atmosphere and the setting, you also need beauty on the inside. I will put this place alongside anywhere you care to name in any place in the world. There are more stunning girls (and boys) than any club I have ever visited. The VIP Area earned the nickname Silicon Valley, but unlike in clubs built for being seen, this is a true dance club. Girls may be wearing floaty feminine summer dresses and high heels, but this does not stop them trucking on through the madrugada.

2008 finished in real style as we took our visiting friends there to see Paul van Dyk on 30th December, warming up for his Rio Reveillon gig on Barra de Tijuca. You can be as astounded as our gringoes were as the sun comes up over the surrounding mountains with thousands of beautiful people from all over South Brazil still partying hard around the lakes and stairs of the club, as well as filling the space under the tent. As the dark of night and the grey of dawn turn to blue daylight, you will also begin to appreciate how well-named is my Green Valley.

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Previous articles by Ricky:

The Great Brazilian Animal-Off (Land)
Understanding Brazil: Giving Directions
Understanding Brazil: Driving
Understanding Brazil: Farra do Boi
Brazil: Catching Flu’
Around Brazil: Garopaba
Understanding Brazil: Funerals
Brazil: Bernie the Berne
Around Brazil: Journey to the Amazon Jungle
Around Brazil: Crazy Town Ceremonies
Around Brazil: Crazy Town
Around Brazil: Manaus
Around Brazil: Santarem & Alter do Chao
Around Brazil: Amazon Swarms and Amazon Storms
Understanding Brazil: Playing Pool
Around Brazil: Gurup
Around South America: Peninsula Valdes
Around South America: Patagonia
Around South America: Montevideo, Uruguay
Around Brazil: The Amazon
Around South America: Bariloche, Argentina
Understanding Gringoes: Drinking
The Great Brazilian Fruit-Off Part 2
The Great Brazilian Fruit-Off Part 1
Understanding Brazil: The Kids
Brazil v Argentina: Buying Beer
Understanding Brazil: Mosquitoes
Around Brazil: São Luis
Teaching English in Brazil
Around Brazil: Lenois Maranhenses
Understanding Brazil: The National Anthem
Around Brazil: Barreirinhas
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara to Barreirinhas
Understanding Brazil: Shopping Centres
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara
Around Brazil: Chapada da Diamantina/Lenois
Brazil vs. Argentina: Statues of Christ
Around Brazil: Salvador
Brazil vs. Argentina: The Buses
Around Brazil: Morro de São Paulo (& Itabuna)
Understanding Brazil: The Workmen
Around Brazil: Praa Pateo do Colegio
Around Brazil: Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Rio de Janeiro to Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Cristo Redentor
Understanding Brazil: The Sellers
Around Brazil: Ilha de Gigoia
Brazil Journeys: São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro
Understanding Brazil: Dogs Part 2
Brazil: A Lie-In in Downtown São Paulo?
The Best Job in Brazil: Ankle Specialist?
Understanding Brazil: Dogs
Brazilian Places: Ilha do Santa Catarina (Floripa)
Classic Brazilian Journeys: South to Florianopolis
Understanding Brazil – The Shower
Brazil: Boats on the Amazon
Brazil: Understanding Novelas
Brazil: Bus fires in São Paulo – always a bad thing?

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