The city was founded on June 15, 1860, but the colonization of Itajaí had started in 1658 when the Paulista João Dias D’Arzão arrived in the region. In 1750, Portuguese colonists coming from Madeira and the Azores made this region their home. By 1823 it became a prominent region for Portuguese settlers and, at the end of the 19th century, received a great number of German immigrants.
Itajaí and most of Santa Catarina State area is prone to torrential storms specially during the Spring season. Floods are frequent and even tornadoes can form.
In late November 2008, around 100 people perished in floods due to the long lasting showers that fell in Southeastern and Southern Brazil. 90% of the city was underwater and the port was partially destroyed. Many lost their homes and other possessions and had no ready shelters to turn to, for the rain combined with river waters invaded every section of the city and most of Central and Coastal Santa Catarina State. President Lula da Silva and other officials flew over the area to evaluate the damage and offer help. The state was declared a disaster area by the State and Federal governments.
It occupies an area of 304 km ², 20% urban and 80% rural (or conservation areas).
Is located on the north coast of Santa Catarina State, specifically at the mouth of the Itajai-Acú river. It borders onto the cities of Balneário Camboriú, Camboriú, Brusque, Gaspar, Ilhota and Navegantes. Headquarters of the largest fishing port in the country and the largest university in the state, the Univali (Universidade do Vale do Itajaí).
Itajaí is located in the Lower Valley of Rio Itajaí, the coast and the Atlantic Ocean. It is situated at the mouth of the Itajai-Acú, allowing the existence of the port. Church of the Blessed Sacrament
The city is basically flat - due to being at sea level The highest point is Morro da Cruz, 170 meters above sea level - much of the native vegetation can be seen in its full beauty. It was part of the defunct metropolitan area of Foz do Rio Itajaí, together with the neighboring municipalities.
Itajaí hosts one of the biggest festivals of Brazilian popular music. The festival is held every October and brings together musicians and artists from around the country. These meetings are a display of the rich culture of Itajaí.
The BR-101 is the main link to the city, and highways SC-100, BR-486, SC-470 and BR-470, Itajaí link to the rest of the state.
The climate in Itajaí is humid in winter and dry in summer. In summer temperatures can reach 40 °C (Temperature reached in 2000) and during the winter they can get as low as 5 °C. It is very rare to get temperatures outside this range. There are reports that the lowest temperature ever recorded in Itajaí was -1 °C in 1975.
As of 2014, the municipality of Itajaí conducted 1.61% of Brazil's total export trade with $3.91B (USD) worth of goods. This figure places Itajaí as the 8th highest exporter in Brazil. Of this, 86% or $3.35B (USD) was made up by the trade of animal products. The top five material goods exported by Itajaí for that year were poultry meat (52%), pork (21%), other prepared meat (9.6%), preserved meat (7.3%), and frozen bovine meat (2.2%).
The Port of Itajaí is the main port of Santa Catarina, and the second largest in Brazil in terms of the movement of containers. It serves as the main port for exports in the region, and almost all production of the state of Santa Catarina moves through it at some point.
Itajaí has many beautiful beaches, among them are the Molhes, Atalaia, Jeremias, Cabeçudas, Morcego, Brava (Angry) Beach and Solidão. One well-known tourist attraction is the Parrot's Beak, a 6-meter-tall rock in the shape of a Parrot. The city also boasts extensive rural areas and beautiful natural scenery, with a rich heritage of the Portuguese and German immigrants. Itajaí has a píer for passenger vessels, serving the coast of Santa Catarina and used by the customs, which guides ships in by laser. The Marejada, a Portuguese festival of fishing and seafood, is the principal festival of the city, showcasing attractions relative to the ocean and the Azores. Itajaí is also the hub of Nautical Club Marcílio Dias, a sport association for both football (soccer) and competitive rowing.
In 2013 it has been chosen as the arrival point of the Transat Jacques Vabre and it was a stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2012 and 2015.
The city is served by Ministro Victor Konder International Airport located in the adjoining municipality of Navegantes.