The beaches aren’t the only fun you can have in Florianopolis.

Keron Hopkins is a student at University of Missouri – Kansas City and an ISA Featured Blogger. Keron is studying abroad in Florianopolis on an ISA Academic Year program.

The people of Florianopolis have the privilege of living on what many believe to be a “magical island.”  Like any island, the city is surrounded by water.  The area covers approximately 271 miles and, depending on the source, boast of anywhere between 42 to 100 beaches.  Regardless of which source is correct, there is no disputing that Florianopolis has a lot of beaches.  It is no wonder that people are obsessed with them.  I must confess that I have visited a few in the short time that I have been here and have enjoyed each experience.  There is a magical feel when you’re walking on the soft sand, frolicking in the cool water, listening to the groove of the waves as they roll in, or lazily watching the surfers or pescadors (fishermen) demonstrate their skills.  However, there is so much more to see and do in Florianopolis.

If you like history, you do not want to miss the quaint little city of San Antonio de Lisboa or the Fortress.  The history of San Antonio de Lisboa dates back to 1698 when the first land grant was issued.  In San Antonio, you will see the first paved street in Florianopolis and the preservation of Portuguese homes and culture.  The Fortress was constructed in 1765.  In addition to viewing all the components of the fortress where the soldiers and officers lived, worshiped and worked to defend the area, you will be treated with the most amazing view of the ocean.  Of course, for those who still prefer to go to the beach, you will find at least one in both places.

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Similar to the people of European and African descent, there is an element of indigenous people fighting to hold on to their language, culture and land.  Typically, trips to the reservation are organized as an ISA class field trip.  During my trip to the reservation, it was interesting to see that while the children attend school and are taught Portuguese, many of the young children, under the age of ten, only speak their indigenous language.  While the Brazilian government supports the school, the structure and curriculum for the children in school does not conform to the same standard as other Brazilian schools.  The structure and curriculum of the school on the reservation center around the custom and culture of the Indigenous people.

For those who feel that the ocean is simply way too much water to drink and surfing is not your thing, try ”sand surfing.”  It’s probably more appropriate to call it “sand skiing.”  Even if you decide not to ski the sand, seeing the extremely large sand dunes is an amazing treat.  Also, surfing on the sand dunes is fun and safe.  I didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance to hop on a board and go sailing down the sandy slopes.  Finally, don’t forget to take notice of the beautiful flowers that seem to grow on trees all around the island and the fruit trees.

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