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5 Tips for Living in Florianopolis, Brazil

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Expats LOVE Florianopolis, Brazil for it's breathtaking beaches and safe neighborhoods. Plus, it's a great place to raise kids. Unfortunately, the cost of living and limited job opportunities can be challenging.

Expats in Brazil - 5 Tips for Living in Florianopolis, Brazil

Where to Live in Florianapolis, Brazil

"Florianopolis is amazing and breathtaking. You definitely will not regret living here," declared one expat in Florianopolis, Brazil. Florianopolis, nicknamed Floripa, is a municipality comprised of a mainland area, the Island of Santa Catarina and a number of smaller islands. Most people live on the mainland or the island's central and northern regions. One expat advised, "Floripa is a great place to raise children. Regarding best neighbourhoods, this will depend on several factors such as where the parents will work, which schools the children will attend, etc. Lagoa is very good and pretty safe. Trindade is also great and there are very good schools there. Itacorubi is good, too. Other good options are Parque Sao Jorge, Joao Paulo, Corrego Grande, Santa Monica, Agronomica and Monteverde on the island, and Coqueiros, Bom Abrigo, Itaguacu and Abraao on mainland Florianopolis. And, of course, most of the beach neighbourhoods are very good - the best being Praia dos Ingleses and Canasvieiras that have most amenities such as banks, large supermarkets and post office branches." Another expat said, "welcome to Brasil! Bem-vinda! Don't miss some nice spots in Florianopolis: Lagoa da Conceicao, Praia da Joaquina and so on, further away from the city centre in the Florianopolis island. I would advise renting a car to provide you more mobility around the island, thus the possibility to explore nicer, smaller beaches away from the crowded and touristic ones. It's a bit of paradise on earth!"

Cost of Living in Florianopolis

"The cost of living is very high, one of the highest in the country -- accommodation costs a fortune. Due to local geography, moving around is difficult unless you have a car and depending upon where you live. In the tourism sector, except for large hotels in the town centre, businesses are usually family-run and they tend to have all the members of the family working together so they rarely hire anyone, especially foreigners. After trying to get a decent tourism-related job for over one year, my youngest son, who is Brazilian and born on the Island, has a Degree in Tourism from one of the best universities in the country and is a true native speaker of English, Spanish and Portuguese found himself forced to leave Florianopolis to work in the south of Brazil as here he was offered only extremely low salaries to work in the hospitality industry," confessed one member living in Florianopolis.

Best Time to Find a Home in Florianopolis

Numerous expats advised arriving to Florianopolis during the off season in order to find an affordable home. One expat advised, "coming now in the offseason (when it is cold), you will find prices really cheap ($200-$500 US). If you come in the Temporada time, everything is unbelievably expensive. My girlfriend and I paid R$1200/month for a terrible place until prices went down." Another expat in Florianopolis said, "yes, getting a place for 6 months was very difficult for us. The reason is this is a dream island for rich Argentines, Uruguayans, internationally etc. We looked without much luck to find somewhere to live, while nice houses sit empty waiting to be lived in just for new year and carnival. There doesn't seem much middle ground in prices, either cheaper than we wanted to pay and not very homely, or far too expensive. Our search was made harder because we wanted a nice place, being here 6 months we wanted a homely environment, not surfer/student/cheap tourist digs. Happily we're in a lovely house now, I made a deal that we moved out for these 12 peak days, and got our rent for the 6 months cut in half, such is the amount of money they can make at these times. Everyone has told us 6 month rents aren't really done, it has to be 1 year, but our UK visa rights are a maximum 6 month stay. Basically it's either a 1 year lease or you pay expensive day rates -- that's your challenge here (unless you're loaded, then expensive is subjective!). After March, I hear it is far easier, but then that's the summer's end. I have to say we only considered living near the beach, we are a 5 minute walk away, we didn't see the point of moving here and staying in the main city part. If I'd have any advice before, it would have been to know to get here as early before the summer as you can, maybe August, and it would have been easier."

Finding a Job in Florianopolis Can Be Challenging

"To our dismay, Florianopolis has not changed at all in general and especially regarding employment opportunities. It is very difficult to make a living here and, if you happen to get a job, money is scarce," explained one expat. The most common recommendation for expat employment is teaching English. One member said, "the best way to get a job here is to teach English at one of the many schools (Teddy Bear, CNA, Language Club, etc). I am lucky enough to still work for an American company and have a salary in dollars, so that has helped the situation immensely."

Starting a Business in Florianopolis

"Regarding the possibility of opening a business here in Brazil, I would suggest contacting Sebrae. It's an agency that provides free advisory about opening business in Brazil and studies the viability and market potentials you would have with your business. You may also need help from a migration consultant to help you go trough the bureaucratic part of the process, which included obtaining the right visa, permanent residency and documents such as CPF of CNPJ (companies) that would allow you to legally open your business here," recommended another expat.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

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May 21, 2016 07:25

For the whereabouts of attaining a Naturalization Form to take my Citizenship exam? Please respond with good information! :James. In tender care.

First Published: Jun 18, 2015

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