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Overflowing with beaches, prone to flooding with torrential storms during the months of spring and where tornadoes form, Itajai nevertheless oozes a laid-back vibe of charm. Sitting in the state of Santa Catarina with a history going back to 1658, the city was actually founded in 1860 after numerous Portuguese settlers and German immigrants called it home.
Sitting at sea level in the Lower Valley of Rio Itajai, this port city is at the mouth of the Itajai-Acú River with the largest fishing port in the country. It also has the largest university, Univali. Humid during the winter months, the city is bone dry in the summer. Itajai is the 8th highest exporter in Brazil, predominantly of animal products - think meat, poultry, even frozen bovine meat.
Culturally rich, the city holds the biggest annual music festival in Brazil in the month of October when it becomes a moving musical feast bringing musicians and artists from around the country to one place. The other major festival of feasting, but this time for your eyes and your stomach is the "Marejada" - imagine masses of seafood to pig out on - it showcases the city's ties to the ocean and the Azores. You can check out the tourist attraction known as "Parrot's Beak". A 6-meter tall rock shaped like a parrot...duh. Take a stroll around the pier where passenger ships dock or take a jaunt into the rural areas for some fresh air.
The beaches are the draw card for masses of tourists. Check out Molhes, Atalaia, Jeremias, Cabeçudas, Morcego, Brava (Angry) Beach and Solidão, to get your feet wet. The city is also the hub of the Nautical Club Marcilio Dias for those that like to paddle a boat.
Whatever you do, there is plenty of time to indulge in "feijoada" - a stew of black beans, sausages and pork (much of it being trotters and ears).
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