Though founded in the early 18th century, Itajai only started to develop during the mid-19th century when surrounding parts in the Brazilian southern state of Santa Catarina began to see an arrival of European immigrants who generated business for the port. Toward the close of that century, the town itself received a considerable influx of Italian, German and Polish immigrants, whose descendants now make up the bulk of the population. Out in the countryside, neat farms and distinct European architecture are still evidence of these early immigrant settlers. Despite its early beginnings, Itajai looks fairly new, with few buildings dating from before 1950. And while it may be short on “must sees,” the town benefits from nice beaches and its close proximity to Camboriú, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Santa Catarina state. In addition to white sand beaches, Camboriú boasts a busy commercial centre and the only cable car in the world to link two beaches. A day trip away is Blumenau, settled by German and Italian immigrants. Evidence of their heritage can still be seen in the town’s traditional style architecture and memorials. Pier Information The ship will be docked at the Itajai commercial pier, within walking distance to the town center. Taxis are generally available by the pier entrance, but you are advised to establish the fare before setting out. There are few English-speaking drivers. Shopping A variety of shops line the downtown pedestrian street. Most of them carry items of interest to the local population rather than tourists. The currency is the real. Cuisine As a busy port with freighters and tankers calling from around the world, Itajai offers a number of good but basic eateries, offering regional dishes as well as international fare. A bar and eatery, located just across from the pier entrance, is a popular attraction due to its seafaring clientele who have decorated the walls of the establishment over the years with interesting slogans and drawings. Other Sites There are few “must-see” sites in Itajai, but taking a stroll along the pedestrian street or having a look inside the cathedral may offer an interesting look at local lifestyle and activities. Beaches About a 10-15 minute drive away one can find Itajai’s beaches of Atalaia and Geremias, or still a bit farther the Praia Cabecudas. Beaches do not offer any tourist facilities, but are popular with locals. More upscale beach facilities can be found at Camboriú, a 6-mile (10 km) drive from Itajai. Private arrangements for independent sightseeing are limited in this port and subject to the availability of English-speaking guides.