lake, waterfall, beach, native bush land and cliffs. These
ingredients are combined at Lagoinha do Leste, hidden in the
southern hills of Santa Catarina Island. Being one of the
last spots of Atlantic forest still preserved in Florianópolis,
Parque Municipal da Lagoinha do Leste was created by law in
1992 encompassing 453 hectares of exuberant beauty.
Lagoinha do Leste is only accessible by foot or by sea, but
landing is difficult because of the waves. A more unusual
alternative is to go by helicopter! Because of the difficulty
in accessing the region, the environment has been protected.
The hike is enough to work up a sweat, but it is not challenging
and can be done painlessly by people who have an appreciation
are two alternative treks, each with their own advantages.
The quickest route is a one-hour hike departing from the village
of Pântano do Sul , through bush land and over the hills.
This is the most popular route used by visitors. The ground
is rocky and irregular but walking is easy if you mind your
steps. Once the ascent is over, you are rewarded by the fabulous
view of Lagoinha. It is then a simply hike down until you
can sink your feet in the sand.
longer alternative starts at Armação Beach. First, cross the
stream to reach Matadeiro Beach and from there take the southbound
seaside path along the top of the hill. This route takes approximately
two and half to three hours, in a hike with views that come
straight from a postcard.
scenery is astoundingly beautiful, consisting of waves breaking
on the rocks below, freshwater springs bubble up from under
the ground and the discrete company of the local inhabitants:
seagulls, birds, hawks, small rodents, lizards and very rarely,
snakes (they won't disturb you if you don't disturb them).
Even though the trek is relatively safe it is always good
to be careful.. The low-lying bush is spiky and can result
in some scratches to the more careless individuals.
beach at Lagoinha do Leste is just over one kilometer long
and faces the open sea. It is enclosed between rock cliffs
and hills covered in native forest behind it. The lagoon from
which the place derives its name catches its water from a
hydrographical basin composed of small streams originating
in the forest. The whole of this natural setting shelters
a rich biodiversity.
has had the privilege to witness the amazing phosphorescent
seaweeds in the lagoon, which occur under special circumstances,
will have the scene forever etched in their minds. As in a
fantastic dream, the water sparkles to the lightest touch
and the wet sand glows as it is stepped on at night.
whole park was classified by law (3701/92) as a permanent
preservation area. The law prohibits land subdivision, construction
or extension of roads or any type of building, utilisation
of motor vehicles, hunting or plant gathering. At the beginning
of the trek in Pântano do Sul there is a city administration
sign asking visitors to bring back their trash and to avoid
lighting fires due to the threat of bushfires. Unfortunately
this request has been ignored by numerous visitors who leave
behind cans, bottles, plastic bags, shoes, and all sort of
last untamed space on the island has become a municipal park
but its upkeep is being taken care of only by its elfs, namely
the surfers and the permanent residents Mr Valdir and Mr Tibúrcio",
according to the social scientist Luiz Pereira, a native to
the island and a long-time visitor to the beach. Supervision
by Park rangers and the city administration staff is scarce
and has been inneffective in preventing the damage to the
the 5th of June of 1995, Mr. Pereira coordinated a cleaning
effort at the beach supported by the NGO (Non-Governmental
Organisation) "Loucos Varridos" from Rio de Janeiro, which
counts the actress Sônia Braga among its members. In a single
day 50 garbage bags were collected.
spite of the educational effect of that work, an effective
cleanup of the place would need to be done on a major scale.
In Mr. Pereira's opinion there is no point in hiding Lagoinha
do Leste from people or restricting access to it. He believes
it should be protected by means of installation of a sentry
box at the entrance and a stronger presence of park rangers.
"Ecotourism is a viable alternative these days but it needs
to be done in an organised way".
are some basic tips prior to starting the journey. First,
bring along some food. Lagoinha do Leste has no infrastructure
at all and the hike will make you ravenous. A basic rule -
sadly not followed by all - is to bring back all the garbage
you produce. You should bring a sturdy garbage bag for this
purpose. Please be aware that even a cigarette butt is trash.
prepared and wear a good pair of sports or hiking shoes, light
clothes, hat and sunscreen. Water will be plentiful along
the way if it rained some days before. However, it is a good
idea to take your own water supply to be safe.
up early to make the most of your day and to avoid the risk
of walking back in the dark. Going with a group is more fun
and safer. Access to the place is difficult and a simple ankle
sprain may ruin the adventure!
to get there: Either of two walking paths, one starting at
Matadeiro Beach and the other starting at Pântano do Sul Beach