Our Favorite Islands
But WaitThere's More
Find other great ideas in these related stories:
- Car-Free Destinations for Your Big Summer Trip ›
- Top Islands in the World ›
- The Best Cruise Ship Cabins ›
- Natural Swimming Holes Around the World ›
- The Best U.S. Beach Resorts ›
- Last-Minute Escapes: Beach Vacations ›
- 12 Hotels with Overwater Bungalows ›
- 29 Restaurants on 11 Caribbean Islands ›
- Ten Island Escapes from the Cold ›
- Unexplored Caribbean ›
- World's Sexiest Fitness Retreats ›
The island: Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil
The goods: Not so long ago, only surfers knew about this isle along Brazil's southern coast. But that changed after the international fashion world was swarmed by models hailing from the area (including Gisele Bündchen, born in a nearby state). The island itself, nicknamed "Floripa" and connected to the mainland by bridge, ain't so shabby either. It has managed to avoid being built up by big, crass hotels.
Be sure to: Pull yourself away from the beaches long enough to visit the fishing village of Ribeirão da Ilha, just down the southern coast. You'll get a sense of what Floripa was like before even the surfers arrived.
Best beach: Of the more than 100 beaches here, party-all-the-time Praia Mole is where the surfers and would-be supermodels most dedicatedly show off their form while sinking to their ankles in soft white sand and drinking the afternoon away.
Perfect season: To see and be seen—which is what everybody comes for—make your entrance between Christmas and Carnaval, which falls in late February or early March.
Call it home: Praia Mole Eco Village, with balconies that look out to the island's best surfing and bikini-admiring beaches.
Praia Mole Eco Village
Tel: 55 48 3239 7500
Doubles from $70