A southerly state of sweeping, sparsely-populated beaches, sun-bathed Santa Catarina is one of Brazil's prime escapes. Lush green scenery, tempting ocean waters and spacious beaches make Itajai and its surrounding beach resorts a haven of indulgent relaxation. A European flavour adds an interesting twist to the region, and there's a particularly strong German imprint on the area - especially during lively Oktoberfest celebrations.
Enjoy the novel experience of swinging in a cable car, up above dense rainforest, to soak in the spine-tingling view from above. Soar over the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve below, which teems with rare and diverse wildlife. The only cable car in the world built to connect two beaches, it's a perfect demonstration of how seriously beach worshipping is taken in Santa Catarina.
Colourful Portuguese architecture adds charm to Itajai itself, like the picturesque Paroquia Santissimo Sacramento church, with its kaleidoscopic rose window bathing colour across the interior. The busy Avenida Brasil is packed with life, shops and restaurants, and there's always the option to lie back and indulge on your beach of choice. Settle into the coastal sweeps of Brava or Cabecudas beaches, which stretch down towards neighbouring Camboriu - perfect for relaxing with the sound of the washing waves, and the soft white sand between your toes.
Recline as surfers whip across rolling waves and paragliders launch into the air from the surrounding hills. With so much fresh sea air and bright weather to enjoy, you may feel the urge to try something new. Hikes through jungles, cycles along airy bike paths, or adrenaline-raising watersports are all options. Cap it all with a wander of the city's waterfront, watching the descending sun as it glints through skyscrapers and flickers on the waves.