The number of destinations to teach English abroad are endless. Teaching doesn't have to involve an urban lifestyle either- Florianópolis, Brazil, also known as Ilha da Magia or Magic Island is a tropical mecca for surfers and explorers with rolling waves, luscious palmtrees and white sand beaches. This is how to create a life in paradise.
Known affectionately to locals as Floripa, Florianópolis is the capital city of the state of Santa Catarina along Brazil’s southern coastline.
Most of the city is located on the Island of Santa Catarina, known throughout the world as Ilha da Magia or Magic Island because of local folklore about witches dating back to the 1600s.
It is an island paradise that leave you wondering why you didn’t come sooner. Here’s a run-down of what makes Magic Island a magical destination for people from around the world:
Official counts record the permanent population of Floripa as 420,000. But when summer comes from December through February, you can expect that number to triple, transforming the whole island into one giant party, especially around Carnaval time in mid-February when Brazil is THE place to be.
Ask five different locals how many beaches there are on the island and you’ll probably get five different answers.
Online tourist information will put the count somewhere around 42. The locals, however, will tell you it’s more like 100 if you add in the smaller lesser-known beaches, which are also some of the most beautiful. The best out-of-the-way beaches can only be reached by boat or hiking trails over the mountains. Visiting them is well worth the effort.
If you’re into physical activity, Floripa has it all. The most important recreational activity that draws crowds of young people here is the superb surfing.
The Magic Island is the only South American stop of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour (WCT).
The island’s unique geography results in an array of conditions that will suit any and all levels of ability from beginner to professional. In addition to surfing there is a dizzying array of other action sports available, including kitesurfing, parasurfing, sailing, paragliding, parasailing, sandboarding, boating, fishing and hiking.
As the largest producer of meat products in the world, Brazilians love their barbecue, and Floripa is no exception. They call it churrasco, and you can get just about anything prepared on the grill. Then, of course there’s the seafood, which is also exceptional in its quality and variety. If you lean towards the meatless lifestyle, you’ll be surprised at the number of vegetarian and even vegan options available. Fresh tropical fruits are also in bountiful supply, as are freshly grown vegetables from the countryside.
One of the nice things about Magic Island is that you don’t need to have a car to get around.
There is an extensive and well-coordinated bus system that will get you to wherever you need to go on the island. The buses are clean, well-used and generally run on time. Be prepared to hold on tight though, as the drivers like to keep things moving at a rapid pace.
Whether you decide to stay for a few weeks, several months or longer, there are many inns (called pousadas), small apartment complexes and rental houses to choose from. Arrive in the off-season (June-November) for the best prices and availability.
Locals on Magic Island want to learn English and there are a surprising number of language schools from which to choose, although you’ll need a work visa to get hired by any of them. They are especially interested in having native English speakers as teachers. Check out The Language Club in Lagoa da Conceição, Wizard (multiple locations), English Now, Teddy Bear (multiple locations), and Cultura Inglesa, just to name a few.