Category Archives: Superagui Island

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 whl.travel 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

Surprise Yourself in Curitiba, Brazil

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

Thinking about Brazil, Curitiba is not the first thing that comes in mind. The city has been surprising travelers from all over the world and is becoming popular over the years. Once in Brazil you can’t leave without going to Curitiba.

Ilha do Mel Farol

Ilha do Mel's light house

Curitiba is the capital city of Parana State, located 1 hour and 20 minutes from Rio de Janeiro and only 30 minutes from São Paulo by plane. The city is considered one of the best places to live in Brazil because of its great infrastructure. Doesn’t matter what your looking for, Curitiba is an awesome city for everyone and has a lot of interesting things to do/see like famous parks, museums, night clubs, restaurants, bars, soccer stadiums, squares, buildings, etc. There are also a lot of touristic attractions around the city like famous islands (Ilha do Mel and Ilha de Superagui), historic cities like Morretes, Antonina, Castro, etc.

First of all, Curitiba has a really fun and exciting nightlife, with plenty options of bars, nightclubs, pubs where the partying doesn’t stop until 5 or 6 in the morning. This added to the Brazilian partying and entertainer spirit, guarantee the night. Curitiba has also great options of restaurants that serve really good food and most of them are cheap. Besides the Brazilian stake houses as known as “Churrascarias” and typical Brazilian restaurants, the gastronomy in Curitiba is a synthesis of habits and cultures. Italian, Arabs, Poles, Germans, Portuguese, Japanese among many other, brought their habits, traditions and culinary to the city. However, since you’re in Brazil you must prove the delicious local culinary.

logo curitiba cidade sede fifa world cup 2014The city has three soccer teams. Atlético Paranaense plays the 1st division of the Brazilian Championship and Coritiba and Paraná play on the 2nd division. Watching soccer games is a really interesting and exciting experience in Curitiba, especially at Atlético’s stadium called “Arena da Baixada”. The stadium was selected to be one of the headquarters stadiums for the FIFA World Cup in 2014. At the stadiums you can feel the energy and passion that the Brazilians have for soccer and their teams.

Curitiba has so many tourist attractions. However, the highlights are Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden), the handcrafts market at Largo da Ordem, Oscar Niemeyer MuseumÓpera de Arame (Wire Opera House), Largo da Ordem (Old town), Tanguá Park, Barigui Park, Brasil Telecom/OI’s Tower, Passeio Público and the historical building of the Federal University of Paraná.

JardimnBotanico Curitiba Botanical Garden

The Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden of Curitiba) is modeled like the French Gardens is a great place to go stroll and relax. The parks are also a great option for that and locals enjoy a lot the green areas of Curitiba .

Feirinha do Largo da OrdemThe Feirinha do Largo da Ordem (handcrafts market) happens every Sunday at Largo da Ordem. At the market you can find local handcrafts and all kinds of food. Most tourists really like the fresh pastéis, caldo-de-cana (sugar cane juice), bolinho de bacalhau.

Museu Oscar Niemeyer - Oscar Niemeyer MuseumThere are always exhibitions of famous artists at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum . The museum was drawn by the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and it’s architecture impress everyone that pass by the local. On the field behind the museum, on Saturday the kids practice football (yes…American footbal, NOT soccer) and on Sunday a lot of people go to the field to play with their dogs.

Visit the Torre da OI/Brasil Telecom is worthwhile. The tower has more than 100 meters , where you can have an amazing panoramic view of Curitiba.

UFPR - Universidade Federal do Paraná

At Praça Santos Andrade, located in downtown you can check the Teatro Guaíra and the beautiful building of the Federal University of Paraná , the first university in Brazil.

The Tourism Line in Curitiba is a great option for tourists. For R$20.00, the bus line pass by the main tourist attractions in Curitiba and gives you the option to stop off at three points of your choice. The buses circulate every 30 minutes, in an approximately 45 km trip that takes around 2.5 hours to complete.
Train_tour_Litorina_Curitiba_Morretes

The famous Litorina train tour from Curitiba to Morretes...

Once in Curitiba , the train tour to Morretes becomes a “must do”. The construction of the railroad in 1880 was one of the big challenges of that time for engineers. The track starts in Curitiba at 934 m above the sea and goes until Morretes just a few meters above sea level. It is one of the most impressive train rides of the world because of the tropical vegetation of the Atlantic Rain Forest , breathtaking bridges, turns and gorgeous landscapes.

This is just a really short description about Curitiba. For more information web sites like Descubra Curitiba and Viaje Curitiba are really helpful to tourists, however, they are in Portuguese. For english speakers  here you can find general and complete information in english about Curitiba and surrounding areas.

From:  Traveler article on Trip Advisor.

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