By Bob Judson
March 17, 2017
So many surfside locations to choose from in Brazil: which one would fit availability, schedule, budget and distance?
Living in Curitiba, Parana, and having two dogs to cart along, we needed to choose a location not too distant in order to control taxi charges and travel time.
São Chico, founded in 1641 – one of the oldest Brazilian cities, is a large island (540K/2) about 4hrs. South of Curitiba by bus (R$40 fare). It boasts various historic sites, including – Igreja Matriz e Museu de Arte Sacra / Nossa Senhora de Graça (Our lady of Grace-Main Church and Sacred Art Museum ), Museu Historico Prefeito Josè Schmit (Historic Museum of Mayor José Schmidt), Forte Marechal Luz (Fort Marshal Luz) 1800 – installation of cannons and trenches to protect the surrounding bay area, O Museu Nacional do Mar ( National Marine Museum) – displays ancient raft-like fishing craft with sails, and a double bow fishing boat based of a Nordic design.
Fewer tourists, fine beaches, low-key informality – beach ware, flip-flops, little street traffic, excellent seafood amply served and reasonably priced (R$60/2).
3 major beaches to choose from, – each has charm and water conditions of its own: Prainha (little beach) where we stayed, has waves for surfing, bars and restaurants along the calçada (seaside) – (a watering hole for singles), partners and families – many bars and restaurants, some offering live music. Another adjoining beach – Praia Grande (great beach) 2+ kilometes long, with crystal-clear water, and strong waves for surfing enthusiasts. A third beach, the most popular – Enseada, the most frequented beach, has mild waters for swimming, entertainment facilities – tour boat, banana boat, sand volley, many restaurants, supermarket, fruit market, Shell gas station, and a bonanza for fish lovers: a fisherman’s market where you can very reasonably buy just caught fish and shrimp.
Negotiating your stay: this can be very challenging so be prepared. Alta temporada (high season) – 15/Dec – 1/Mar; then baixa temporada (low season) before and after these dates. Rates for high season are diaria (daily rate) – from R$100 – R$350+ for various types of accomodations: kitchenette, 1 or 2 bedroom apartment, house for 6 or more persons etc. Try for a pacote (package rate) several days or monthly; this is best to do months in advance, which allows you some leverage for getting a reasonable price.
Weather-wise, throughout December through March – mostly hot, sunny days, requiring lots of solar protetor, warm waters for swimming/surfing and air-conditioning for sleeping quarters.
Security: very safe; you can walk about anytime day or night, town and traffic is slow paced so many people walk in the street. In case of medical need there is a good facility – UPA, about 1/2hr ride from Enseada; however major hospital services such as Unimed, are found only in Joinville, the capital of Santa Catarina, about 1&1/2hrs away.
Transportation: two busses run along the main road at Enseada, the city bus travels to Centro Historico (Historic Center) which takes 1hr. Halfway there is the main shopping center with a large supermarket and a variety of stores and ATM machines. (Note that banks are located only in Centro Historico, but cash (R$300) can be drawn from the Loteria (lottery) in Enseada). Another bus goes to Joinville; there you’ll find all banks, mobile phone services, shopping, restaurants, movies etc.
Come visit: walk, swim, mill around and make new acquaintances, have an “OPA” (local beer) along with a sumptuous fish dinner – while watching the surfers brave the waves under an expansive, ever changing sky…
You won’t want to go home!