The city of Florianopolis, called “Floripa” by locals, is home to some of Brazil’s most beautiful white sand beaches, iconic surf spots, and rewarding treks. Holding vast stretches of the world’s most endangered rainforest, the Atlantic Forest, this natural wonderland in southern Brazil is the definition of paradise. Average temperatures rarely drop below 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° degrees Celsius) year round. With half of the city located on the Brazilian mainland and the other half located on the island Santa Catarina, this unique location offers tourists a taste of the big city as well as quiet island life. The capital of Santa Catarina state, the bustling city center of Florianopolis is lined with skyscrapers and surrounds the Hercílio Luz Bridge which connects the busy mainland to the laid-back island.
If you are a nature junkie like myself, skip the mainland and head straight to the island by bus, taxi, or Uber. The south of the island is far less developed than the northern half and the center area near Lagoa da Conceição, which means more access to pristine beaches, waterfalls, and hikes as you go further south.
About Cachoeira da Solidão (Lonely Waterfall)
Hidden below the canopy of the Atlantic Forest is a small waterfall known as Cachoeira da Solidão, which means Lonely Waterfall in English. Less visited than some of the more famous waterfalls on Floripa, Cachoeira da Solidão is beautiful and offers hikers the opportunity to enjoy the serenity of the forest while bathing in a natural freshwater pool below the fall.
How to Get to Cachoeira da Solidão
The hike to the Lonely Waterfall is only 45 minutes from the end of Praia dos Açores (Azores Beach) on the southern end of the Island. If you are coming from the center of Florianopolis, you can take a public bus for $4 BRL ($1.23 USD) or take an Uber for $40-$80 BRL ($12.34 - $24.70 USD) to Praia dos Açores. A trip to this half of the island is worth it for the spectacularly clean beaches that are far less crowded than those near the center, let alone the hike to the Lonely Waterfall.
Once you are at Praia dos Açores, face the ocean and turn right towards the cluster of rocks at the end of the beach. Walk in this direction until you get to the rocks. You will need to cross these rocks in order to get to the next beach, Praia da Solidão, where the trail begins. You can either climb the rocks or take the trail above the rocks to get to Praia da Solidão (see photo).
Once you get to the beach on the other side of the rocks, walk about two-thirds of the way down the beach until you see a concrete bridge over a freshwater lagoon leading into the ocean. At the bridge, you will begin to see signs that say “Cachoeira” which will lead you to the waterfall. Cross the bridge and take a right at the next sign, about 100 feet (30 meters) after the bridge. Then take the first left and follow the small stream uphill until you pass the final sign for the waterfall.
After the final sign, there is a fork in the road where you should go left. When you reach a makeshift stand with a red roof and recycling bins, you are nearly at the waterfall. Once you reach the waterfall, feel free to swim in the refreshing natural pools and even jump off the rocks into the water. However, always use caution when jumping into the water from the rocks above since the pool is relatively small and there are some shallow areas.
Advice for Going to the Solidão Waterfall
Açaí is a typical Brazilian snack made of frozen açaí fruit. It is served as a smoothie and is commonly topped with granola, banana, and guarani syrup.
Flip flops are OK. This is a light hike, but be careful of slippery tree roots and mossy rocks along the way.
No need for sunscreen. This hike is mostly in the shade thanks to the lush Atlantic Forest which surrounds the waterfall.
Bring bug repellent. The bugs aren’t horrible, but they will surely take a nibble or two if you decide to hang out beside the water. Eco Travel Tip: Repellent should be applied after going in the water since the chemicals will run off into the water which eventually feeds into the ocean.
Fill up your reusable water bottle. Although the hike is mostly in the shade, the humidity on the island can cause you to sweat a lot, so don’t forget to drink water.
Reward yourself with Açaí! On Praia da Solidão, look for a snack stand just before the bridge with delicious Açaí for only $10 BRL ($3.08 USD).