Western Santa Catarina is a region of the state of Santa Catarina in Southern Brazil. The region is called the “granary of the State”, as it has a large agro-industrial production, agriculture and livestock, slaughterhouses and food industry. The region has nicknames, being known as the "Verdant Valleys of Uruguay" or, historically, called the "New Colonies Region". The region is particularly attractive due to its traditional cuisine, thermal waters and the beauty of its nature and natural parks.
Western Santa Catarina is a well-defined region within the state, with well-established geographic boundaries. These limits determine the points of contact with other regions of Santa Catarina, Brazilian states and neighboring countries. Let's explore the main geographic limits of the West of Santa Catarina:
The northern limit of the West of Santa Catarina is established by the border with the state of Paraná. On this frontier, cities like Palmas, in Paraná, and General Carneiro, in Santa Catarina, stand out.The southern limit of the region is defined by the Uruguay River, which separates Santa Catarina from Rio Grande do Sul. The Uruguay River forms a natural boundary between the two states and establishes contact between cities like Dionísio Cerqueira, in Santa Catarina, and Barracão, in Paraná, with cities in Rio Grande do Sul, such as Frederico Westphalen.
The eastern limit of the West of Santa Catarina is demarcated by the central region of the state of Santa Catarina. Cities like Joaçaba and Campos Novos are some of the ones that mark this border. The west limit is determined by the international border with Argentina. On this frontier, cities such as Dionísio Cerqueira, in Santa Catarina, and Bernardo de Irigoyen, in Argentina, stand out.
- 1 Abelardo Luz
- 2 Caçador
- 3 Chapecó
- 4 Concórdia
- 5 Dionísio Cerqueira
- 6 Fraiburgo
- 7 Itapiranga
- 8 Paraíso
- 9 Pinhalzinho
- 10 Piratuba
- 11 Quilombo
- 12 São Carlos
- 13 São Lourenço do Oeste
- 14 São Miguel do Oeste
- 15 Seara
- 16 Treze Tílias
- 17 Videira
- 18 Xanxerê
The West of Santa Catarina is a region full of historical and cultural riches that attract visitors from all over Brazil and the world. With a remarkable multicultural heritage, the destination offers tourists a unique and enriching experience, exploring its traditions, heritage and natural beauty.
The history of Western Santa Catarina goes back centuries, with the presence of indigenous cultures that occupied these lands. Later, in the 19th century, there was a significant process of European immigration, mainly with the arrival of German, Italian and Polish settlers. These immigrants played a fundamental role in the formation of local communities, bringing with them their customs, architecture, cuisine and traditions that, until today, are present in the region.
Colonization left a rich architectural legacy, such as churches, houses and historic buildings, many of which have been preserved and are important tourist destinations, allowing visitors to get to know the past of the region up close. Cultural diversity is one of the highlights of Western Santa Catarina. Each ethnic group brought its beliefs, typical festivals and customs, and these influences are present in local celebrations, festivals and regional cuisine.
The traditional festivals are a special attraction, where you can experience the excitement and color of the cultures present in the region. Notable examples are typical German festivals such as Oktoberfest, Italian festivities with their canteens and wine tastings, and Polish festivals with dances and folk music. The influences of the colonizers are reflected in delicious typical dishes, such as German foods, such as pork knuckle, sauerkraut and sausages, Italian dishes, such as polenta and pasta, and Polish cuisine, with its pierogis and sausages. Visitors can enjoy true gastronomic experiences, knowing the history and culinary secrets passed down from generation to generation. In addition, the West of Santa Catarina is also rich in handicrafts, music and typical dances, which can be appreciated in presentations and cultural fairs.
The geography of Western Santa Catarina is marked by a diversity of landscapes and natural features that contribute to its regional identity. This region is located in the state of Santa Catarina, in the southern part of Brazil, and is known for its natural beauty, agricultural and cultural activities. The West of Santa Catarina is characterized by a predominantly undulating and gently sloping terrain, with average altitudes ranging between 300 and 600 m (980 and 1,970 ft) above sea level. The region is in the Uruguay River basin, and several rivers and streams cross the territory, contributing to the formation of valleys and small alluvial plains.
The predominant climate is humid subtropical, with well-defined seasons throughout the year. Summers tend to be hot with frequent rainfall, while winters are relatively cold and frost can occur in some areas. This climate variation favors the practice of diversified agricultural activities, such as the cultivation of grains, fruits, vegetables and the production of milk and meat. The original vegetation of western Santa Catarina was largely composed of subtropical forests, but over the years, many areas have been converted into pastures and fields for agricultural activities. Even so, there are remnants of native vegetation in some regions, mainly in protected areas, such as parks and environmental reserves.
Agriculture is one of the main economic activities in Western Santa Catarina. The region is known for its diversified agricultural production, including the cultivation of soybeans, corn, wheat, rice, beans, among others. In addition, livestock has a significant role in the local economy, with the creation of cattle, pigs and poultry for the production of meat and milk. The culture of Western Santa Catarina is influenced by the traditions of the different ethnic groups that colonized the region, such as Germans, Italians and Poles. Typical festivities, traditional cuisine and folk dances are some of the cultural manifestations present in the region.
In colonial times and at the beginning of the 19th century, the region close to Argentina and Paraguay was characterized by the activity of "balseiros". Balseiros were men who built and sailed on improvised rafts, transporting mainly wood extracted from the region's forests for sale in Argentina. This river activity was essential to the local economy, and ferrymen were considered important figures in the social and commercial life of the area.
Western Santa Catarina was also the scene of one of the most important conflicts in Brazilian history, the Contestado War (1912-1916). This war was an armed conflict between the sertanejos and the government's military forces, disputing ownership of land in the Contestado region, a border area between the states of Santa Catarina and Paraná. The conflict was motivated by social, economic and religious issues, and left a legacy of regional struggles and tensions.
Before the arrival of European settlers, the western region of Santa Catarina was inhabited by several indigenous peoples, such as the Kaingang, Guarani and Xokleng. These indigenous groups lived in harmony with nature and had a deep relationship with the land and the environment. As of 2023, there are efforts to preserve and value the culture and traditional knowledge of these peoples, recognizing their importance in the formation of regional identity.
Although the West of Santa Catarina is predominantly an inland region, the state of Santa Catarina as a whole offers a wide variety of tourist attractions on the coast. The coast of Santa Catarina is famous for its beautiful beaches, such as Florianópolis, Balneário Camboriú, Bombinhas and others. In addition, there are several islands, natural parks, trails and the opportunity to practice nautical activities, such as surfing and diving.
In short, the West of Santa Catarina is a region that has a fascinating history, with diverse cultural influences, from the ferrymen and their relationship with Argentina, the Contestado War that marked the place, the ancestral presence of the indigenous people and, also, the proximity to the beautiful attractions of the coast of Santa Catarina. These elements combined make the region unique and full of opportunities for visitors to explore and learn more about the rich history and cultural diversity of Western Santa Catarina.
From Serafin Enoss Bertaso Airport (XAP IATA), in Chapecó, there are regular flights to São Paulo (SP), Florianópolis and Campinas (SP). Due to the distance from other national centers, access via air transport is preferable, considering that road transport can take a long time and roads are not always at their best quality.
There are regular bus lines for road transport to the state of Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul and the state capital. Western Santa Catarina has a well-developed network of transport connections, making it easy for residents and tourists to move to different directions, including Florianópolis, the state of Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Argentina and São Paulo.
To travel from the west of Santa Catarina to Florianópolis, the state capital, the main access routes are the BR-282 and BR-470 highways. The BR-282 is an important connection that connects several cities in the western region, such as Chapecó, Xanxerê and Joaçaba, to Florianópolis, providing a faster route for travelers who want to visit the capital and enjoy the beautiful beaches and tourist attractions on the island.
The west of Santa Catarina borders the states of Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul, which facilitates interconnection through highways. The BR-282 and BR-158 are important roads that connect the west region of Santa Catarina to the south of Brazil. The BR-158, for example, connects cities like Maravilha and Cunha Porã, in Santa Catarina, to Palma Sola and Santo Antônio do Sudoeste, in Paraná, and then heads towards Rio Grande do Sul, passing through cities like Erechim and Passo Fundo.
Western Santa Catarina also has road connections with Argentina, facilitating integration between the two countries. The main route that connects the region to the neighboring country is Ruta Nacional 158, an Argentine road that borders the city of Dionísio Cerqueira, in Santa Catarina. This border is an important point for trade and tourism between Brazil and Argentina, allowing the flow of people and goods.
For those who want to travel from the west of Santa Catarina to São Paulo, the main access options are the BR-282 and BR-153 highways. The BR-282, which passes through cities like Chapecó and Xanxerê, is a common route used by those who want to go to the capital of São Paulo or other cities in the state of São Paulo. The BR-153, also known as Rodovia Transbrasiliana, is another option to connect to the neighboring state.
To travel in the region, it is possible to use public transport by bus (in cities between cities), renting vehicles for travel, private transport services (taxis, uber and 99). As in the rest of Brazil, transport is carried out mostly by road.
Regarding the tourist attractions, the following stand out:
- City of Chapecó;
- City of Joaçaba;
- City of Xanxerê;
- City of São Miguel do Oeste;
- Park of Palmtrees;
- Rineu Gransotto Regional Exhibition and Event Park;
- Valley of Anhanguera;
- Museum of History and Art of Chapecó;
- Oktoberfest (typical festivals in several cities);
- Wineries (several throughout the region);
- Cachaçaries (several throughout the region);
- Craft Breweries (several throughout the region);
- Faxinal dos Guedes Ecological Park;
- Cascade dos Marins;
- Rio do Peixe;
- Piratuba Thermal Park;
- Chapecó River Canyon (near the border with RS);
- Araucaria National Park;
- Fritz Plaumann State Park;
- São Miguel Waterfall.
Western Santa Catarina offers a variety of destinations and activities for tourists to explore. From natural beauties to cultural and historical experiences, the region offers options for all tastes. Below, I describe some options for destinations and activities in the region:
Chapecó is one of the largest cities in the West of Santa Catarina and offers several tourist attractions. Visitors can visit Parque das Palmeiras, a pleasant place for walks and picnics. The Museum of History and Art of Chapecó is an interesting stop to learn about the local culture and history of the region. In addition, the city is known for its gastronomy, with excellent restaurants serving typical dishes of regional cuisine.
Sao Miguel do Oeste:
This city is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes and is known for its parks and recreational areas. The Rineu Gransotto Regional Exhibition and Event Park is a great place to walk and enjoy outdoor activities. Nature lovers can also visit Serra do Anhanguera, where it is possible to hike and enjoy the panoramic view of the region.
Typical Festivities and Cultural Events:
Throughout the year, several cities in western Santa Catarina hold typical festivals and cultural events that celebrate the traditions of the different ethnic groups present in the region. Festivities such as the Oktoberfest (in several cities), the Festa Nacional do Leitão no Rolete in Quilombo and the Festa Nacional da Onion in Ituporanga are some of the unmissable options for those who want to experience the typical culture and cuisine of the region.
One of the great attractions of Western Santa Catarina is rural tourism, which allows visitors to get to know the routine and customs of agricultural communities. Farms and rural properties open their doors to receive tourists interested in learning about food production, participating in field activities and tasting fresh products.
These are just some of the options for destinations and activities in the West of Santa Catarina. The region has a lot to offer travelers, providing authentic and enriching experiences, whether in the midst of exuberant nature, exploring the local culture or participating in traditional festivals and events.
The gastronomy of the West of Santa Catarina is a true celebration of local flavors and traditions, which reflect the cultural diversity and influence of the different ethnic groups that colonized the region, such as Germans, Italians and Poles. With a rich agricultural and livestock production, the regional cuisine values fresh and typical ingredients, resulting in tasty and authentic dishes.
- Barbecue: As in other regions of southern Brazil, barbecue is a much appreciated tradition in western Santa Catarina. Succulent and well-seasoned meats are grilled over open fires or barbecues, accompanied by farofa, vinaigrette and other complements.
- Cuca: Cuca is a delicacy of German origin, a sweet dough cake with various fillings, such as fruit, cheese, cream or chocolate. It is a delicious option for afternoon coffee.
- Strudel: Another German heritage, the strudel is a puff pastry stuffed with apples, raisins and cinnamon, resulting in an irresistible dessert.
- Pierogi: Inspired by Polish cuisine, pierogi is a dough filled with ingredients such as potatoes, cheese, meat or cabbage, boiled or fried.
- Gnocchi: Gnocchi is a typical dish of Italian cuisine, usually served with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
- Cheeses and sausages: The region is famous for its cheeses, sausages, salamis and other sausages produced by hand, guaranteeing authentic and traditional flavors.
- Wines: The region's vineyards produce quality wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, making wine tourism an unmissable experience for drink lovers.
- Cachaça: The artisanal cachaça is also a characteristic production of the West of Santa Catarina, with distilleries that offer different flavors and varieties of the drink.
The gastronomy of the West of Santa Catarina is celebrated in events such as typical parties and festivals, where visitors have the opportunity to taste traditional dishes, taste wines and craft beers, in addition to appreciating local delicacies in a festive and welcoming environment.
The gastronomy of the West of Santa Catarina is a journey through the flavors of the cultures that shaped this enchanting region. It is a delicious experience that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the richness of local ingredients, irresistible aromas and culinary traditions that make this part of Brazil so special and captivating.
The production of beverages in the West of Santa Catarina is one of the most striking manifestations of the local culture, which has its roots in the influences of the German and Italian communities that colonized the region. This cultural heritage is reflected in a wide range of handcrafted drinks that delight visitors with authentic and unique flavors.
Wine production is one of the oldest traditions brought by European settlers, especially Italian immigrants. The region is known for its vineyards, where several varieties of grapes are grown, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. Local winegrowers apply traditional production techniques, combined with modern technologies, to create wines of high quality and distinctive taste.
Tourists have the opportunity to visit family owned wineries, taste different labels and learn about the wine making process. Wine tourism has become increasingly popular in the region, providing pleasant experiences for lovers of this ancient drink.
Cachaça is another drink traditionally produced in the West of Santa Catarina. The culture of sugar cane was brought by the Portuguese settlers and, over time, the artisanal production of cachaça was established in the region. Traditional stills are used to distill the drink, preserving the flavor and essence of local raw materials.
Cachaça producers in the region offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the beverage's manufacturing process, taste different types and flavors, and purchase bottles as authentic souvenirs of their visit.
With the German cultural influence, the production of draft beer and craft beers also gained prominence in the West of Santa Catarina. The region has several breweries that stand out for their craft production and traditional manufacturing methods. Draft beer and beers are made with local ingredients, resulting in unique and delicious flavors.
Tourists can visit the breweries, learn about the brewing process, enjoy different styles and flavor combinations, and, of course, toast with friends and family in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
In summary, beverage production in the West of Santa Catarina is a true reflection of the rich local culture, with its German and Italian influences. Visitors have the opportunity to enjoy fine wines, authentic cachaças, draft beer and craft beers, immersed in an atmosphere of tradition and history, providing a unique and tasty experience in the region.
The region has very low crime rates compared to the rest of Brazil and due to colonization, which created a strong sense of progress in the area due to the effort, work and well-being of the community, as well as the strong religious feeling of the population (mostly of Catholic origin). Even in the large cities of the region, such as Chapecó, São Miguel do Oeste, Concórdia and Xanxerê, security is adequate, with prompt attention to the needs of the population (police services, firefighters, civil defense and tourist services).
The emergency telephone numbers (free of charge) are: firefighters (193), police (190), traffic emergency (153), urgent medical assistance/SAMU (192), Highway Police (191 and 198).
For health problems, to hospitals and public care services (Units of Emergency Care), which offer quality medical and drug treatment at no cost. There is also a high quality private medical service, at the level of the country's major capitals, especially in the larger cities of the region (Chapecó and Xanxerê). The region has public air transport service coverage for emergency situations (civil defense, medical emergencies, traffic accidents).