One of the World’s Most Important Coastal Ecosystems: Paraná, Brazil

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

This article was first published at the The Travel Word, who have agreed to its republication here. View the original article on The Travel Word.

Curitiba, the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná, is the biggest city in Southern Brazil. It has the country’s eighth largest urban population, approximately 3.2 million people spread across 26 municipalities. It is also an important cultural, political and economic centre in Brazil.

Curitiba, the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná, is the biggest city in Southern Brazil. It has the country’s eighth largest urban population, approximately 3.2 million people spread across 26 municipalities. It is also an important cultural, political and economic centre in Brazil.

"Vista panorâmica de Curitiba, da Torre daOI/Brasil Telecom"

From Curitiba's Telecom/Ol Tower, there is an unbeatable 360-degree panoramic view. There is also a telephone museum in the lower levels that attracts numerous visitors to this part of Brazil. Photo courtesy of Laura Lott from Flickr/whltravel

Despite its size, Curitiba is considered by some people to be an ‘unknown’ destination, especially when compared to São Paulo, Rio de JaneiroSalvador and other cities in Northeast Brazil. What most travellers do not even imagine is the exuberant flora and fauna found in the city and its surrounding areas, especially the wonderful islands on Paraná’s coastline.

Curitiba is located in an ‘ombrophilous mixed forest’ area also known as Araucaria moist forest, a sub-type of the Mata Atlântica or Atlantic Forest. The city is therefore fittingly famous for its green areas, like the Botanical Gardens and three greenhouses used for the annual production of native and exotic tree species, fruit plants and flower seedlings. Elsewhere there are thick populations of purple and yellow ipês (tabebuia) and Paraná or Brazilian pine (Araucaria angustifolia).

Biodiversity by Rail

To reach Paraná’s coast from Curitiba, you can go by car or take one of the most exciting train tours in the world across the Serra do Mar, one of the best-preserved Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest areas.

The incredible ecosystems of between Curitiba and Parana's Coast glide by during the train trip across the Serra do Mar, one of Brazil's best preserved Atlantic Rainforest areas. Photo courtesy of Carlos Renato Fernandes

Along the 110 kilometres of rail, the train traverses 14 tunnels, 30 bridges, and several mountains and viaducts. One highlight is the Viaduto do Carvalho, a segment of rail suspended on five masonry pillars above a hillside of rock; you almost feel like you are flying. Another unforgettable sight is a 70-metre waterfall called Véu da Noiva, which means ‘bride’s veil.’

Once you arrive in Morretes or Paranaguá, two historical and colonial towns located on the Paraná coast, you aren’t far from amazing landscapes, rich animal and vegetation biodiversity, spectacular bends, canyons, gorges, waterfalls and a lot more. You will also find the piers mooringboats to Superagui National Park and Ilha do Mel State Park and Ecological Station. Both are gorgeous islands offering up-close contact with the environment of the region, each of them with its own characteristics and peculiarities.

Ilha do Mel State Park and Ecological Station

Ilha do Mel is carpeted by the Atlantic Forest and home to two conservation units devoted to preserving the natural environment of the island. The Ecological Station covers approximately 95% of the island, focusing on scientific research and environmental educational. In addition to similar pursuits, the Ilha do Mel State Park is also open to the public for leisure and tourism.

Ilha do Mel, PR: Praia de Fora vista do Farol das Conchas

The Praia de Fora beach catches late afternoon light on the Ilha do Mel, a favourite island and state park on Paraná's Coast of Brazil. There is a strong focus on environmental preservation and education, as well as scientific research, but also public visitation, leisure and tourism. Photo courtesy of Guilherme Mendes Thomaz

The island is a perfect destination for hikers, bikers, surfers, nature lovers and anyone who just wants to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Beautiful beaches, rich flora and fauna, mangroves, lagoons, swamps and other interesting attractions such as the Fortress Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres, the Lighthouse Farol das Conchas and Encantadas’s Grotto have turned the paradisiacal isle into one of the most visited places in Southern Brazil.

Superagui National Park

In 1989, environmental activism resulted in the creation of Superagui National Park, 21,400 protected hectares that are considered by the UN as one of the most important coastal ecosystems in the world. The park was also been declared by UNESCO a Biosphere Reserve in 1991 and a World Heritage Site in 1999.

Superagui National Park includes Ilha do Superagui and other small islands on Paraná’s coast such as Ilha das Peças, Ilha de Pinheiro, Ilha do Pinheirinho and some contiguous continental areas like the Rio dos Patos and Canal do Varadouro. Bays, beaches, mangroves and abundant Atlantic Forest compose the Superagui National Park ecosystem.

The lush vegetation of Brazil's Parana Coast, seen here at Superagui National Park, is why the area is considered by the UN as one of the most important coastal ecosystems in the world

The park is the natural habitat of a multitude of animal and plant species, some of them rare or endangered, such as the red-tailed Amazon (Amazona brasiliensis), the broad-snouted caiman(Caiman latirostris), the cougar (Felis concolor), the brown howler monkey (Alouatta fusca) and the Superagui lion tamarin (Leontopithecus caissara). This last one is a monkey species only been found on Superagui Island. Agoutis, deers, wild pigs, toucans, marine birds, jararaca and coral venomous snakes, among other animals, can also be found in the region.

On Ilha do Pinheiro, the roosting habits of the red-tailed Amazons are a strong draw. These endemic birds leave their nests in the morning to fly to the larger islands and then on to the continent, where they spend long daytime hours. They then flock by the hundreds back to the island at the end of the day, a natural spectacle not to be missed.

Another appealing animal is seen on the way to the park are dolphins. Wherever you end up, you are close enough to Baía dos Golfinhos (Dolphins Bay) at Ilha das Peças that you could see many groups of them. A dolphin-watching jaunt on Dolphins Bay is certainly a must-do when you go to Ilha do Mel State Park or Superagui National Park.

Along Paraná's Coast of Brazil, the endangered endemic red-tailed Amazon, or papagaio de cara roxa, perform their spectacular daily migration from Praia Deserta beach to the mainland and back. Photo courtesy of Guilherme Mendes Thomaz

There are also human settlements in the area, like the small fishermen communities on Ilha das Peças and Ilha do Superagui, where they run other businesses, such as pousadas and guesthouses, camping grounds, bars and restaurants. These locals live a life in sync with nature; unlike their counterparts on Ilha do Mel, Superagui locals also have less access to new technologies, which means that traditional costumes and dances, like the fandango(Paraná Coast’s popular dance), are preserved for future generations. Public access to the park is restricted, so you can only visit the communities, the beaches and their immediate surroundings.

The greatest land attraction of Superagui National Park is Praia Deserta, a 38-kilometre-long desert beach that can only be appreciated on foot (a four- to seven-hour hike) or by bicycle (rentals are available in the park).

For more about the wild nature, rich fauna and flora of Brazil’s Paraná Coast, contact Special Paraná, your local connection in Curitiba and Paraná’s Coast, also an expert on the area’s accommodation, tours, activities and loads of local hints.

Guilherme Mendes Thomaz


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Filed under Ilha do Mel, Morretes, Paranaguá, Pictures, Superagui Island, Tours, Tours in Curitiba, Tours in Morretes, Tours in Paranaguá, Train Tour from Curitiba to Morretes, Train Tour from Curitiba to Paranaguá, Travel Tips

SEGWAY CURITIBA: Experience Curitiba in an innovative and fun way!

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz


You might have seen a Segway but just don’t know the name of that interesting two-wheeled vehicle that you saw…

Segway is an innovative self-balancing personal and electrical transportation device, perfect to be used on pedestrian sidewalks and pathways. It was created in 2001 in the United States and it is the first self-balancing  and zero emissions personal transportation vehicle. Yes, it doesn’t have any accelerator or brakes! The acceleration responds to the conductor’s movements and inclinations, simply leaning forward or backwards, very easy and safe to use/ride. Segway can reach speeds of 20 km/h (12 mph) and can only be used by people older than 12 years old that weights between 45 kg (100 lbs) and 118 kg (260 lbs).

Segway Tours Curitiba

Segway Tours Curitiba

Segways are ecologically correct, does not pollute the air and it is not noisy! The two-wheeled has been transforming the way people get around and stroll around the cities…

The tourism industry have discovered its potential and Segway Tours have been launched in several main travel destinations around the World. They are very exciting, fun, safe and give you the opportunity to experience the destination in a  new way!

Considering this, Special Paraná (‘s local connection in Curitiba and Paraná Coast)launched few weeks ago SEGWAY TOURS CURITIBA, the first Segway Tour in Brazil with daily departures!

It is very very easy to ride a Segway! Even though, the tour guides will give you a short training and orientation session before the tour for about 20 minutes, so you can try and practice until you feel yourself confident and ready to glide through Curitiba riding your Segway. It is so easy that I guarantee that you will be ready within 5 minutes!!!

After that, the guide  will lead you on the tours where you will get to see Curitiba in a different perspective! The groups are small (5 people) and fun is guaranteed either on sunny or rainy days, during the day or at night!

Segway Tours Curitiba

The acceleration responds to the conductor’s movements and inclinations, simply leaning forward or backwards, very easy and safe to use

Special Paraná offers 4 Segway tour options ! Check them out:


This is the main and most popular tour. Taking the Central Basic Segway Tour you get to see several interesting places in downtown and main tourist attractions of the historical center of Curitiba like: Tiradentes Square, Cathedral, Saint Francis Ruins, Belvedere, Largo da Ordem (Old Town), Paço da Liberdade (former city hall), Generoso Marques Square, Palácio Avenida, Rua das Flores (pedestrian street), Boca Maldita, Rui Barbosa Square, Zacarias Square and Osório Square.

Price per Person:  R$ 80 (Monday to Friday) and R$ 100 (Saturday, Sunday and Holidays)

Duration:  1 hour 30 minutes (approximately)

Departures:  9h; 11h; 14h; 16h30 and 18h30

For bookings and further details, click here.


This is an excellent tour option for you that want to enjoy and ride Segway for more time and also get to see other famous tourist places in Curitiba, the wonderful Oscar Niemeyer Museum and the relaxing Pope Woods. In this route, you will ride your Segway on bicycle paths most of the time and see the following points of interest: Tiradentes Square, Cathedral, Osório Square, Rui Barbosa Square, Rua das Flores (pedestrian street), Santos Andrade Square, Federal University of Paraná, Guaíra Theatre, Passeio Público, cycle path, Pope Woods and Oscar Niemeyer Museum.

Price per Person:  R$ 120 (Monday to Friday) and R$ 150 (Saturday, Sunday and Holidays)

Duration:  2 hours 30 minutes (approximately)

Departures:  Advanced bookings indeed.

For bookings and further details, click here.


In this tour you will pass by most tourist attractions in Curitiba downtown and historical centre, like: Tiradentes Square, Cathedral, Saint Francis Ruins, Belvedere, Largo da Ordem (Old Town), Paço da Liberdade (former city hall), Generoso Marques Square, Palácio Avenida, Rua das Flores (pedestrian street), Boca Maldita, Rui Barbosa Square, Zacarias Square, Osório Square, Santos Andrade Square, Federal University of Paraná, Guaíra Theatre, Passeio Público, Praça 19 de Dezembro Square, Riachuelo Street and Solar do Barão.

Price per Person:  R$ 120 (Monday to Friday) and R$ 150 (Saturday, Sunday and Holidays)

Duration:  2 hours 30 minutes (approximately)

Departures:  Advanced bookings indeed.

For bookings and further details, click here.


This is an alternative route for when it is not possible to pass by the historical centre of Curitiba in reason of  the events and cultural celebrations that  take place in the local. The attractions visited in this tour are: Passeio Público, Rua Riachuelo, Santos Andrade Square, Guaíra Theatre, Federal University of Paraná, Rua Barão do Rio Branco, Eufrásio Corrêa Square, Train and Railway Museum, Carlos Gomes Square, Rua das Flores (pedestrian street), Osório Square, Rui Barbosa Square, Tiradentes Square, Generoso Marques Square and Paço da Liberdade (former city hall).

Price per Person:  R$ 120 (Monday to Friday) and R$ 150 (Saturday, Sunday and Holidays)

Duration:  2 hours 30 minutes (approximately)

Departures:  Advanced bookings indeed.

For bookings and further details, click here

Tours departure from Crowne Plaza Curitiba Hotel. The hotel is located on Rua Presidente Carlos Cavalcanti, 600 –  downtown, really close to Passeio Público and Largo da Ordem, the historical center.

Come to experience this new tour that Special Paraná exclusively brought to Brazil! Book your Segway Tour Curitiba now and get to know and experience Curitiba in a different way!

You can also contact Special Paraná at +55 (41) 3232-1314 or

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Ilha do Mel, Paraná: A Paradise in Southern Brazil

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

Ilha do Mel, PR: Praia de Fora vista do Farol das Conchas

Ilha do Mel, PR: Praia de Fora vista do Farol das Conchas

Ilha do Mel is  one of the most beautiful travel destinations in Southern Brazil and it is considered a paradise on earth for many people. The island is located on Paraná’s Coast, around 4km from the coastal town of Pontal do Sul (120km from Curitiba, the capital of the brazilian state of Paraná). The island is a perfect place for all kinds of people and there is a lot to see and do.  Ilha do Mel receives lots os people from many countries, mostly responsable travellers, families, couples, teenagers, sufers, hikers, among others.

Boats to Ilha do Mel

The only way to reach the island is by boat, where you have the option to leave from Pontal do Sul (40 minutes), Paranaguá (1h45 minutes) and Morretes (1 hour). Boats leave daily from 8h00 to 17h00 every hour during low season and on summer time (December to March) there are departures every 30 minutes and the last boat leaves at 20h00 (departure times can be changed, so make sure to ask!). There are 2 pieers, Encantadas and Nova Brasília the same to access Praia Grande, Praia do Farol e Praia da Fortaleza, considered the nicest beaches and also where you will find the best surf spots on Paraná’s Coast.

Farol das Conchas, Ilha do Mel

Lighthouse "Farol das Conchas"

There is no streets or roads, just trails to give access to other beaches and places. No cars are allowed on the island, so if you would like to visit the other side of the island, the only way is to walk or biking for couple kilometters. If you prefer, you can also take the boat that goes side to side (Encantadas – Brasília and Brasília – Encantadas).

The island has 5 villages: Fortaleza, Nova Brasília ou Brasília, Farol, Praia Grande e Encantadas where locals live and run their busines, mostly pousadas, bars and restaurants. You can find great  pousadas on Ilha do Mel for every budget! Our staff visited all of them and selected for you the best pousadas to stay for each category (budget, midrange and top end). Click here to see  the pousadas we recomend to you on Ilha do Mel. You can see  complete information about pousadas like: pictures, prices, location and book online easily and safely!

Fortaleza Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres

The main touristic attractions on Ilha do Mel are the lighthouse Farol das Conchas, the fortress Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres, Encantada’s Cave and the isthmusthe in Nova Brasília.

For further and detailed information about Ilha do Mel, bookings, tours, weather, pictures, movies, events and more visit or contact us: or +55 (41) 3232-1314



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Curitiba: The Brazilian capital of Christmas

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

Curitiba is considered the Brazilian capital of Christmas and the city really gets excited andvery very pretty with all the lights and Christmas decoration.

Another amazing thing that happen in Curitiba at the end of the year to celebrate this beautiful date is the famous HSBC Christmas Choral that starts TONIGHT!!!

HSBC Christmas Choral at Palácio Avenida

HSBC Christmas Choral at Palácio Avenida

The HSBC Christmas Choral is a breathtaking and sweet event that sends a message of peace and hope. The HSBC Christmas Choral is one of the most traditional and exciting Christmas celebrations in Curitiba and also in Brazil. The chorale formed by more than 160 children, presents Christmas songs in the windows of the historical HSBC building, the famous Palácio Avenida.

The historic building Palácio Avenida located at Calçadão da XV or Rua das Flores is all decorated with a fantastic illumination. Fireworks complete and give even more magic and charm to this fantastic event that happens in Curitiba every year. The Palácio Avenida becomes a real Christmas card!

This year, the HSBC Christmas Choral completes 20 years and 200.000 people are expected to watch the spetacle.


November: 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th at 20h30.

December: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 17th, 18th and 19th at 20h30.

If you are visiting Curitiba during Christmas, watching the choir is a must-do!

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Watch the video: Enjoy Curitiba | Curta Curitiba | Aproveche Curitiba!

We found a really interesting and cool video about Curitiba made by the Curitiba City Hall and we would like to share the video with you here! The video is available in 3 different language: EnglishPortuguese and Spanish. Watch it, enjoy Curitiba and find out what one of the best cities to live in the World has to offer you and how you can enjoy Curitiba!

Enjoy Curitiba – in English


Curta Curitiba – em Português


Aproveche Curitiba – en Español


We hope that you enjoyed watching the video and we would love to hear your coments and feedback about the video.

If you are coming to Curitiba, please check out the Curitiba touristic portal and book online: hotels, tours, transfers, travel insurance, among others…

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FIFA 2014 World Cup Brazil: 14 Good Reasons to Visit Curitiba during the World Cup!

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

Now that the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is pver, the World is already looking forward to the next one, the FIFA 2014 World Cup Brazil.

People are already starting to look and search information about Brazil, the official host cities, what to expect and do during the World Cup. One of the official host cities confirmed by FIFA is Curitiba, the capital city of the Brazilian state of Paraná (the state of the world-wide famous Iguassu Falls too). Curitiba has the largest population (1.8 million inhabitants – 7th largest nationwide) and the largest economy in Southern Brazil. According to he American magazine Reader’s Digest, the city is considered the best place to live in Brazil

If Curitiba is considered the best city to live in Brazil, what about to visit? What to do? What to expect?

The EMBRATUR – Brazilian Tourist Board, selected 14 good reasons for you to visit Curitiba during your travellings around Brazil and of course, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil:

1) Host City for 1950 and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

2) World’s Most Sustainable City (Globe Award 2010 – Sweden).

3) Sustainable Transport Award 2010 (ITDF – USA).

4) Over 50 m² of green area per inhabitant, with 32 parks and woods.

5) The cleanest city in South America.

6) Brazil’s largest ethnic diversity.

7) Best cultural destiny in Southern Brazil (Veja Magazine).

8) 4th best brazilian city for tourism (Trip and Tourism Magazine).

9) Brazilian 3rd best infraestructure (Exame Magazine)

10) Over 150 hotels, 10.000 apartaments and 18.000 beds.

11) Various gastronomy options with influence of numerous ethnies.

12) Great shopping: more than 30 malls and street markets.

13) Home of Atlético Paranaense, Coritiba and Paraná, soccer teams with 6 national championship titles.

14) Located less than 100 km of the shore, with historical cities, islands, beaches and bays.


We would love to hear your comments! Feel free to share and leave a comment about other reasons to visit Curitiba.

Other posts about Curitiba, Brazil:

Inspiring Curitiba: 20 photos that will make you want to visit Curitiba!

A Green City: Parks in Curitiba, Brazil

Surprise Yourself in Curitiba, Brazil

From:  EMBRATUR –  Brazilian Tourist Board


Filed under Accommodation, Articles, Curitiba, Curitiba 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, Curitiba's public transport system, Gastronomy, Hotels, Informations, Movies, News, Restaurants, Travel Tips, Videos,

Cachaça Gastronomical Festival 2010

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz


Festival Gastronômico da Cachaça

The Municipal Market of Curitiba is promoting from June 27th – 29th of 2010, the Cachaça Paranaense Gastronomical Festival 2010. At the festival, visitors will get the chance to learn how to make special cocktails and dishes made with cachaça, a very popular and typical brazilian drink.  Visitors will also try the cachaça degustation of the best cachaças produced in the Brazilian state of Paraná and other products made of sugar cane, watch lectures with experts on the history of cachaça, news and trends.

The “Parana Cachaças Award 2010” is a award promoted by the Handcrafted Cachaca producers of Parana Association (Aprocapar) and will reward the best cachaça of the festival. The Municipal Supply Department, the Municipal Market of Curitiba traders Association, the Federal University of Parana and Sebrae-PR are coordinating the festival.

The event will be held at the Organic Sector of the Curitiba Municipal Market and it is a great place to visit if you are in Cuirtiba during the event.

Click here to find out more information about the Cachaça Gastronomical Festival 2010!

Municipal Market of Curitiba: Av. Sete de Setembro, 1865 – Curitiba, PR – Brazil.   Phone: +55 (41) 3363.3764

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Vila Velha State Park, Brazil: Curious and Very Interesting Sandstone Formations!

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

Nowadays, closing a vulnerable area can not be the best way to protect it. This idea has increased between managers and environmentalists – especially when the degradation agents (even unintentional) are the local communities. Opening the protected area for visitors and allowing the tourism activity to explore these areas of environmental protection will cause impacts like garbage, depredation, the habit to take “natural souvenirs” home, etc. However, if the visitation is well planned, developed and managed it can surely bring lots of benefits to the protected area.

Several areas in the Brazilian state of Paraná adopted this idea and are now using the income provided by the tourism activity to preserve the environment and also as an alternative for those who are considered illegal habitants on these areas.


"The Goblet" is the symbol of Vila Vleha State Park

A clear exemple is the Parque Estadual de Vila Velha or Vila Velha State Park. The park covers 40% of its operational costs revenue with the fee charged to visit the park (R$13 National visitors and R$25 for International visitors). In addition, the local demand leads the public power to invest more in infrastructure, as safe trails and bathrooms. “The tourist demand helps a lot in the financial and economical aspect and at the same time requires more investment. Equipments are required aiming to minimize the impact caused by visitors, especially a place filled of vulnerable elements as Vila Velha State Park”, emphasizes Maria Randall Dalcomune, coordinator of Vila Velha State Park.


Vila Velha State Park or Parque Estadual de Vila Velha is located about 90km (55 miles) from Curitiba. The park was created in 1953 and was listed as a State heritage in 1966. The park is famous because of its intriguing, curious and very interesting sandstone formations rise from fields which were at the bottom of an ocean 600 million years ago.

Volcanic eruptions, glaciation, and erosion by wind and rain have created over 20 gigantic shapes of a camel, a sphynx, a goblet and many others. The Goblet is a key element in an indigenous myth which explains the creation of Vila Velha. Seen from a distance or from the air, Vila Velha reminds a medieval town, standing majestic in the Paraná region of Campos Gerais.


Furnas at Vila Velha State Park, Paraná - Brazil

At Vila Velha State Park you can also visit Furnas, craters which formed as sandstone collapsed and where water accumulates forming beautiful water mirrors. Of the two craters known as Hell’s Cauldrons, the most attractive to visitors is the deeper one, in which a panoramic elevator goes down to a deck above the water mirror.


The Golden Pond

Golden Pond or Lagoa Dourada is another tourist attraction in the park. A similar process to the creation of the craters gave origin to the Golden Pond or Lagoa Dourada, so called because the incidence of solar rays on it used to create a bright, golden effect, thanks to the presence of mica on the bottom.

You can cover all the attractions in half a day, making Vila Velha State Park a very attractive day trip from Curitiba. Check out the Vila Velha and Furnas tour and book it online now!

The park is open all year, daily (except for Tuesdays) from 8:30 to 15:30h


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VIDEO: “Curitiba’s BRT: Inspired Bus Rapid Transit Around the World”

I found this excellent video “Curitiba’s BRT: Inspired Bus Rapid Transit Around the World” on Youtube and decided to share…

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Happy Birthday Curitiba! 50 Reasons to Love Curitiba…


Curitiba, Brazil - 317 anos

This blogpost was inspired on a special edition reportage by the most traditional newspaper of Paraná, GAZETA DO POVO for the 317th birthday of Curitiba, Brazil.

The newspaper GAZETA DO POVO consulted a selected group of people and personalities born and raised in Curitiba, to list together, 50 aspects, things and reasons to love, like and be proud of this amazing city – today and in all other 364 days of the year…

Click here to see the reportage “50 Reasons to Love Curitiba”

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