Tag Archives: Brazil

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

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.

15)

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


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Cachaça Gastronomical Festival 2010

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

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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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Happy Birthday Curitiba! 50 Reasons to Love Curitiba…

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

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

A picture sometimes can tell more than 1.850.775.594 words! Considering this, we have selected 20 pictures to show a little bit of our amazing and famous Curitiba… and show you why you should put Curitiba, Brazil on your travel list!

1. Jardim Botânico | Botanical Garden:

Inspired on the French gardens, the Botanical Garden of Curitiba is a famous postcard-picture landmark of Curitiba. The gorgeous greenhouse attracts many tourists and researchers from all over the world due to its exotic and wide collection of tropical and sub-tropical flora and fauna. Gorgeous! It is Curitiba’s main sightseeing place!

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Jardim Botânico - Curitiba, Brazil

2.  Museu Oscar Niemeyer | Oscar Niemeyer Museum

The amazing Oscar Niemeyer Museum is definitely another famous postcard of Curitiba. Designed by the famous and globally recognized Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer. Its fabulous “eye” shaped architecture, beauty, size and collors will get you really impressed!

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Oscar Niemeyer Museum (MON) - Curitiba, Brazil

3. Universidade Federal do Paraná | Federal University of Paraná

The Universidade Federal do Paraná or Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) was established in 1912 and it is the oldest brazilian university. It is considered one of the best and hardest universities to get accepted in Brazil.  In the picture bellow you can see the historical building, the official symbol of Curitiba, located just in front of the beautiful Santos Andrade Square.

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UFPR - Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil

4. Memorial Ucrâniano no Parque Tingui | Ukrainian Memorial at Tingui Park

Ukrainian Memorial is a very interesting and beautiful place to visit in Curitiba. Located at Tingui Park, the Ukrainian Memorial was built in honor to the important Ukranian heritage in our State. The church of the memorial is a replica of a church that exists in the countryside of Paraná State and also holds an interesting pêssankas, images, pictures, icons exhibition.

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Ukrainian Memoria at Tingui Park - Curitiba, Brazil

5. Paço da Liberdade

Paço da Liberdade is a lovely place to stroll and visit in Curitiba. The beutiful building with neoclassical details and art-nouveau drawings was built in 1916 and used to be the headquarters of the old Curitiba City Hall and Paranense Museum. Its was revitalizated in 2009 and all the details were carefully preserved. The place currently belongs to SESC and it is  a great cultural, musical and artistic place counting with library, bookstore, a charming coffee shop, movie theater, music studio, computer lab, exhibition rooms, etc.

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Paço da Liberdade - Curitiba, Brazil

6. Parque Tanguá | Tanguá Park

One of the best and most famous parks in Curitiba, Tanguá Park was built over two disabled quarries and covers a total area of 235 thousand square meters. The park is also part of the project to guarantee the preservation of the Barigui River. Besides the lakes, its artificial waterfall and tunnel attracts many visitors and it is possible to across it by foot or boat. The park has also a harbor, bike lane, race track, snack bar and parking lots. Go to Tanguá Park in the late afternoon to enjoy a amzing sundown.

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Tanguá Park - Curitiba, Brazil

7. Rua das Flores – Calçadão da XV de Novembro | Flower’s Street – Pedestrian Street

Flower’s Street is the name of the pedestrian area of the XV de Novembro street  and Luiz Xavier Avenue, located in Curitiba downtown. Inaugurated in 1972, it was the first pedestrian street in Brazil and it is characterized by its centennial buildings and houses, shops, banks, popular restaurants, tourist bars and flowerbeds in its entire extension.  Flowers Street or Rua das Flores  is also a street artists’ stage, as clowns that play, make fun and interact with the pedestrians; musicians; man-statues; plastic artists; hippies selling their handcrafts; poets; etc. A unique and original spot in Curitiba

flowers street, rua das flores, pedestrian Street, Calcadao da XV, Curitiba, Brazil

Calçadão da XV de Novembro - Curitiba, Brazil

8. Catedral Basílica Menor de Nossa Senhora da Luz de Curitiba | Curitiba’s  Cathedral

Located at Tiradentes Square,  the beautiful Catedral Basílica Menor de Nossa Senhora da Luz of Curitiba was built from 1876 to 1893, in neo-Gothic style, inspired in the Igreja da Sé of Barcelona. The Cathedral is dedicated and has an image of Nossa Senhora da Luz dos Pinhais, Saint Patron of Curitiba. It was founded on March 29th, 1693 and it is considered the most important construction on Tiradentes Square.

Catedral Basílica Menor de Nossa Senhora da Luz de Curitiba, Catedral de Curitiba, Curitiba's Cathedral

Catedral Basílica Menor de Nossa Senhora da Luz de Curitiba

9. Largo da Ordem | Historical Center

The old town of Curitiba, also known as Largo da Ordem or Historical Center used to be an area of intense commerce of the city. Nowadays, the area is more known by being an historical, cultural and artistic area of the city because of its old architecture of its houses, buildings and churches, such as historical monuments, artistic panels, cultural places, art galleries, bars, restaurants, etc. Every Sunday, the famous Handcraft Market or “Feirinha do Largo da Ordem” attracts a lot of locals and tourists to Largo da Ordem! Very exciting!

Largo da Ordem, historical center, old town, curitiba, parana, brazil

Largo da Ordem - Curitiba, Brazil

10. Feirinha do Largo da Ordem |  Handcraft Market of Curitiba

The traditional and lively Handcraft Market or “Feirinha do Largo da Ordem” is held here every Sunday from 10h to 14h and it is a meeting point for locals and tourists. It was created in 1973 and is currently the second largest craft fair in Brazil! At the feirinha you can find and buy so many cool, different and interesting stuff that are made and sold by over 1,350 artisans and sellers. It is the best place to buy souvenirs in Curitiba. Do not miss it!!!

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Feirinha do Lardo da Ordem (Handcraft Market) - Curitiba, Brazil

11. Ópera de Arame | Wire Opera House

The Wire Opera House was inaugurated in 1992, in the Quarries Park, close to the Cultural Space Paulo Leminski, the Wire Opera impresses visitors for its tubular structure and transparent polycarbonate roof construction. It has capacity for 1,640 spectators and a 400m² stage to host artistic and cultural presentations. The external area of the Wire Opera is also spectacular. In the place of an old quarry, visitors can appreciate the native forest that surrounds it, lake with many fishes, several species of birds and a of 10 meters cascade. If you have the opportunity to watch a play or a concert, you must do it!

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Wire Opera House - Curitiba, Brazil

12. Parque Barigui | Barigui Park

Created in 1972, Barigui Park is one of the largest and oldest parks of Curitiba. The park received the same name of the river that was dammed to form the lake of the park. Several species of wild animals live in the park, as birds, capybaras and small rodents. Lots of people frequent the park, especially before and after work on weekdays, and along the whole day and beginning of the night, on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The park also offers an excellent infrastructure counting with cooper track around the lake and other parts, walking and running lanes, outdoors equipments for gymnastics, barbecue grill kiosks, basketball, soccer and volleyball courts, exclusive lanes for bicycles and skateboards, bars, restaurants, etc. On beautiful and sunny days, Barigui Park is a great leisure and entertainment option for many tourists and locals, mainly the young ones.

Curitiba Photos, Photos of Curitiba, Photos Curitiba, Curitiba Brazil Pictures, Park Barigui, Barigui Park, Curitiba parks

Barigui Park - Curitiba, Brazil

13. Torre Panorâmica da OI/Brasil Telecom | Brasil Telecom/OI’s panoramic tower

Built in 1991 by the state-owned company Telepar,  the tower belongs now to Oi. The tower has 109,5 meters of height and it is the only Brazilian telephony tower with a observatory open for visitors. From the observatory you can have a spectacular 360º panoramic view of Curitiba. The telephone museum tells the history of the telephony is very interesting and also attracts lots of visitors to the tower. Great place to visit in Curitiba!

torre panoramica da oi brasil telecom, panoromic tower, curitiba, parana, brazil

Basil Telecom/Oi's Panomic Tower - Curitiba, Brazil

14. Bosque Alemão | German Woods

A tribute to the German immigrants, the German Woods or Bosque Alemão covers an area of 38,000 sq m and it is a delight for children, who particularly enjoy the Hansel and Gretel House and the Philosopher’s Tower. From there you can get a fantastic view of Curitiba. The German Woods also house a wooden neogothic church, dating back to 1933, with a concert hall aptly called Bach’s Oratorium. The park has other attractions that include a library for children and a German Poetry Square with a replica of an old German building called the Casa Mil.

Bosque Alemão, Portal Alemão, German Woods, Curitiba photos, Curitiba parks, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

German Woods - Curitiba, Brazil

15.  Bosque do Papa | Pope Woods

One of the most important Curitiba parks, Bosque do Papa or Pope Woods is a beautiful park to stroll and relax in Curitiba! The park was created in honor to Pope John Paul II and to the great Polish community in Curitiba and it bases the Polish Immigration Memorial. There are seven original wood houses in the center of the forest illustrates the architecture and way of living of the Polish immigrants of Curitiba. Besides a statue of Pope John Paul II, the park has also a craft store, Polish coffee shop (delicious cakes!), Polish houses and still offers a vast green and arborous area, trails, playground and bike lanes.

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Pope Woods - Curitiba, Brazil

16. Praça Tiradentes | Tiradentes Square

Tiradentes Square is the oldest one in town! It is considered the point where Curitiba was born and started its development. This famous square was remodelled many times over the years, but since its last reformulation in 2008  partially recovered its history, renewing its walks and benches. A new glass floor gave an extra charm to the square!

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Tiradentes Square - Curitiba, Brazil

17. Passeio Público

Passeio Público was the first public park created in Curitiba, on May 2nd of 1886. Its a great ileisure area containing lakes, bridges, small and a big green area in the middle of the city. The park also houses many especies of birds and monkeys.  Its gate is a copy of the Paris Dog Cemetery gate and give even more charm and beauty to the park. Great place to see and stroll in Curitiba!

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Passeio Público - Curitiba, Brazil

18. Transporte Público de Curitiba | Curitiba’s Public Transportation System

Curitiba developed a non subsidized, private owned, public transport system called BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) that today is a model internationally recognized. Insightful, long term planning with several innovative solutions has provided the citizens with an effective system that gives priority to public instead of private transport. Besides being model in public transportation and urban planning, Curitiba is also considered the ecologic capital of Brazil.

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Curitiba's Public Transportation System

19. Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente

In the middle of the green Bosque Zaninelly, the criation of the Free University on the Environment or Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente – UNILIVRE made Curitiba to be recognized as the first city in the world to have a special place for studies and wide dissemination of environmental and ecological knowledge to the public. The architectonic project of the university is VERY interesting!!!

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UNILIVRE - Curitiba, Brazil

20. Teatro Paiol | Paiol Theater

Built in 1906, the old  gunpowder storeroom of Curitiba was transformed into a charming theater with capacity for 225 people. The Paiol Theater was inaugurated and honored for Toquinho and Vinícius of Moraes, in 1971, with the music “Paiol de Pólvora”.

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Paiol Theater - Curitiba, Brazil

Click here for further information about these tourist attractions! If you are coming to Curitiba, we suggest you to contact whl.travel’s local connection in Curitiba, a local tour operator and accommodation provider commited with sustainable tourism. Check out their Curitiba touristic portal in English

We would love to hear about your experience in Curitiba ! Share with us! Please leave a comment 🙂

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History and Leisure in Antonina, Paraná – Brazil

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

The city of Antonina, in the Paraná Coast, is famous for its street carnival and its historical architecture, with very old houses, squares, monuments and old churches. In Antonina you will also be able to appreciate the rich local cuisine with typical foods and dishes of the region. Beyond the traditional Barreado (the most famous typical dish of Paraná coast), shrimps, crabs and other sea food can be found in the Municipal Market, that was restored by the Paraná Government in the end of 2007.

The Market is one of the more important tourist attractions of the city, and is located in the Paranaguá bay. The state have spent around R$ 366 thousand in investments to revitalizate the area. The market counts with restaurants, souvenir and handcraft stores, ice cream, snack bar, travel agency and bathrooms for special necessities.

The space still contemplates the traditional fish market. The Antonina’s fish market was inaugurated in 2009 to take care of local fishing with a properly and hygienic space. The pier is also being reformed and it will be concluded soon.

All this makes Antonina a great option of leisure and entertainment in the region, a place of meeting where tourists and locals can exchange experiences and get to know a little more about the history and culture of Paraná tasting and experiencing the good food, natural beauties and tourist attractions of the region.

For more general and tourist information about Antonina you can take a look at www.morretes-antonina.com.br !!!!

Antonina hotels

Antonina tours and activities

Antonina restaurants

Weather in Antonina

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A Green City: Parks in Curitiba, Brazil

This post was first published on the City Parks Blog – http://cityparksblog.org

One of the most well regarded world cities in terms of urban planning is Curitiba, Brazil — a place known for its efficient and innovative bus rapid transit system. But the city is also known for its parks, in particular using them to increase quality of life and act as green infrastructure to protect against floods.

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Tanguá Park, Curitiba

The city has about 50 square meters of parkland per person (i.e. 12 acres per 1000), most of which were created in the last 30 years under the direction of forward-looking urban planner/former mayor Jaime Lerner. The protected land is complemented by compact housing, as the city of 1.5 million has a population density of 10,750 per square mile (which is around the same as Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.).

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Ukranian Memorial - Tingui Park

Roughly 21 million square meters (5,190 acres) are linear parks along rivers and streams that act as buffers between flood-prone rivers and the city. Legislation set aside certain low-lying areas and river basins as special protection and management areas. The city also used a loan to purchase land at a number of critical sites around the city. Engineers built small damns and created new lakes that act as holding basins when flooding occurs.

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Botanical Garden

In effect, these green spaces are giant stormwater facilities, with the lakes as central features. If rains are heavy, the lake rises over the surrounding parks. And Lerner and parks director Hitochi Nakamura made sure to connect places to one another (as mentioned in the below linked video). Together they helped create over 90 miles of new trails within the city, located in southern Brazil about 250 miles southwest of São Paulo.

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Barigui Park

Much has been done to document what’s occurred in Curitiba. A nice 15-minute video (YouTube) by Journeyman Productions gives a good overview, and includes interviews with both Lerner and Nakamura. (The segment on parks starts just after the seven-minute mark.) Another good resource on all of the planning efforts and problems that persist in the city is the book, Urban Renewal, Municipal Revitalization: the Case of Curitiba Brazil.

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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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Curitiba Launches Six New Tours!

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

Curitiba has definitively confirmed itself as a important tourist region and city, with options for everyone. The Núcleo de Turismo Receptivo (Receptive Tourism Nucleus) of the city, organized by the Sebrae/PR in partnership with the Tourism Institute of Curitiba, launched six new specific tours in the capital of Paraná state, Brazil.

In agreement with the Sebrae/PR consultant and manager of the tourism project, Patricia Albanez, everyone that is direct and indirectly involved with the tourism in Curitiba need to know about these new products. “They are differentiated and attractive scripts, that privilege tourism attractions that are barely awarded in the traditional tourist packages of Curitiba. Moreover, these new tours are relatively fast and can be added in the routine of people who come to Curitiba for business, work, events or leisure.”

Innovative Tourism

Patrician Albanez affirms that the reason of creating and divulging these innovative tours in Curitiba aim to provides the tourist the “experience economy”, where tourists can get the chance to live the city deeply and see it in different forms. The capital of Paraná also becomes a highlight touristic city in southern Brazil.

“The Núcleo de Turismo Receptivo’s project exists since last year and its main objective is to organize and foment the receptive travel agencies of the city, assisting them on businesses diversification and qualification. The Nucleo is composed by 9 specialized companies that are innovating the tourism activity in the city, demonstrating a great associativism “, evaluate the consultant.

THE NEW TOURS IN CURITIBA:

“Caminhando por Curitiba – Curitiba Walking Tour” Special Paraná Turismo & Eventos
This tour is basically a fun and exciting stroll around Curitiba downtown to learn the history and culture of Curitiba. In a approximately 5 kilometers walk will take the tourist to streets and tourist attractions, accompanied by anecdotes and curiosities of the last 350 years of the city. You will also get to see many awesome images of the old Curitiba and see what the city looked like hundreds of years ago.

Visited places:
– Tiradentes Square (Cathedral)
– Largo da Ordem (Ordem Church, Rosario Church, Flores Square)
– Belvedere and São Francisco Ruins
– Solar do Barão
– 19 de dezembro Square
– Arab Memorial
– Passeio Público
– Santos Andrade Square (Teatro Guaíra and University)
– Eufrásio Correia Square (old Train Station)
– Barão do Rio Branco Street
– Marechal Deodoro Street
– Zacarias Square
– Boca Maldita and Osório Square
– Pedestrian area
– Paço da Liberdade

Included in the price:
– Local guide (Portuguese, English, German, French and Italian available)
– Bus ticket

Departure time: Monday trough Saturday (9h and 14h) – between 2 and 10 participants.

BOOK “CURITIBA WALKING TOUR” ONLINE NOW!

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“De Bar em Bar – From Bar to Bar” – MMS Turismo
This tour is perfect and made specially for visitors that loves to make new friendships and wants to know and experience the best bars of Curitiba. In this tour you will go to three or four bars in the same night, guaranteed sit in one of the best tables, beyond an amused and pleasant night. Duration: 4 hours.

Departure time: Monday trough Sunday at 20h.

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Passeio de Compras em Curitiba – Shopping in Curitiba” – ONETUR
This tour will take to go shopping in Curitiba. You will visit malls, shops, outlets and commercial centers of Curitiba, where you can buy many things like clothes of famous national and internationally brands, artisan clothes, mineral rocks, souvenirs, etc.

Duration: 3 – 4 hours
Departure time: Monday trough Friday at 14h.

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Caminhos da Arte Paranaense Paranaense Art Road” – Sermann Turismo
In this tour you will walk around 5 kilometers in approximately 4 hours stroll by the heart of the city to see art works of the city made by the most famous artists Paraná state like Poty Lazzarotto, João Turin, Oscar Niemeyer, etc. This tour will show you the essence of the local art, well known for its multiple languages as painting, sculpture, mosaic, architecture and design.

Departure time: Tuesday trough Saturday at 9h.

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“Curitiba Multicultural” – BWT
Curitiba is fruit of the immigrants’ efforts that, in the XIX century, had chosen the city as its safe port. In a 3 hours stroll you will get to see multiple ethnic marks and the most cultural beauties of the city like the Arab Memorial, Muslim Mosque, Japanese Memorial, Pope Woods, German Woods, the famous Italian neighborhood Santa Felicidade and Tingui Park.

Departure time: Daily (9h and 14h) – minimum of two participants.

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“Esporte Tur em Curitiba – Sport Tur in Curitiba” – Kallisté Turismo
This tour is a great option for visitors who appreciates sports.  Trough a guided visit, this tour will take you at soccer stadiums, the Autódromo Internacional de Curitiba and skate parks of Curitiba.

Duration: 3h30 (approximately)
Departure time: Tuesdays and Fridays – minimum of two participants.

Click here to check other tours in Curitiba and surrounding areas!

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Sweet and Natural as Honey: Brazil’s Ilha do Mel

By Maureen Valentine

This article was first published at the whl.travel blog, who have agreed to its republication here. View the original article on the whl.travel blog.

Found off the coast of southeast Brazil, Ilha do Mel, which means Honey Island, is about as far from life’s chaos as serene nature can get. Hikers, surfers, bird watchers, stargazers and nature lovers alike are in awe of all that this little Atlantic island has to offer. In fact, many agree that Brazil’s most pristine beaches are located right here, where, until the 1970s, the local economy was dominated by fishermen and the lack of traffic spared the land as an ecotourism haven.

haha

As Ilha do Mel is an island of fishermen, this colourful pier is always full of activity. Sampling the abundance of seafood available in the eateries from the daily catches is always a treat.

As Ilha do Mel is an island of fishermen, this colourful pier is always full of activity. Sampling the abundance of seafood available in the eateries from the daily catches is always a treat.

Ilha do Mel is hardly a mass tourism destination, which is one of the things the locals and visitors love about it. Recently reconnected with the mainland –  electricity was introduced in 1998, as were regular boat shuttles, water pipes and other eco-friendly amenities – the island today is fortunately still car-free, a sandy knot of trails crisscrossing an ecological reserve protected by strict regulations on guesthouses, restaurants, stores and tourism. Even better, one guiding principle on the island – a long-term one – is to preserve the environment in its unspoiled state.

Building and Supporting Sustainable Infrastructure

Ilha do Mel is a relative newcomer as a tourism destination and is actively fine-tuning its infrastructure. Efforts are also being made to educate local business owners about business improvement opportunities that tap into tourism as a force for long-term sustainability and an improved standard of living.

Boats are a common sight around this oddly shaped island, since they are the only form of motorised transport. Travellers must reach the island by boat and can walk its expanses, taking in all the magnificent views.

Ilha do Mel boats

Boats are a common sight around this oddly shaped island, since they are the only form of motorised transport. Travellers must reach the island by boat and can walk its expanses, taking in all the magnificent views.

Within this framework, some guidance is being offered by Discover Paraná, the whl.travel local connection on Ilha do Mel, in cooperation with Sebrae, a non-governmental organisation that contributes to the sustainable development of communities by offering to micro and small enterprises the conditions necessary for their survival.

“Our main focus on Ilha do Mel is to train the local guesthouse owners,” explained Bibiana from Discover Paraná. “Together with Sebrae, we take part in meetings. On these occasions we explain to entrepreneurs what the Internet is, how Internet bookings can help them, how they can reach clients, what clients expect from them etc. Building up the entrepreneurs we will build up the destination, as they will be more aware about what they can do. With this done, a change in the destination will be a natural process.”

One local guesthouse owner, Carlos, is a community leader and involved with many programs, like the Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Bem Receber‘, which educates and incentivises entrepreneurs to create and run projects relating to responsible tourism, including water and energy saving, staff education and training, waste recycling and more. As a result of his participation in this program, Carlos’ pousada, Enseada das Conchas, as well as another lodge called Fim da Trilha, have succeeded in reducing the accommodations’ waste production. Travellers staying in these inviting, locally owned Ilha do Mel hotels and guesthouses are rewarded with the knowledge that efforts are being made to minimise the environmental impact their stay is having on the surrounding gorgeous gardens.

Getting Practical

Ilha do Mel is accessible only by boat from Paranaguá or Pontal do Sul. From Pontal do Sul, the 30-minute service runs every hour in low season, every 30 minutes otherwise. Cars can be left in Pontal do Sul, in parking lots from which public transport buses easily reach the dock. After 5pm, private boat transport must be arranged.

From Paranaguá, boats depart for the 90-minute crossing two to five times per day, depending on the season. The boat owners are organised in an association and all tickets include the price of the return trip, as well as a nature conservation fee of approximately US$2 dollars. All passengers arriving from Pontal do Sul must produce a badge showing that the fee has been paid.

pousadailhadomel_fortress_fortaleza

This fortress was built by the Dutch in 1767 to ward off English buccaneers. Its whitewashed walls are quite a remarkable site and tourists are welcome to peruse the dark, dreary jail, which is quite a contrast to the beauty of the rest of the island.

Upon arrival at the island’s dock, several men wearing uniforms (t-shirts) wait to assist travellers with luggage. Their services are priced at fixed rates, depending on the location of the guesthouse; haggling is not usual in Brazil. These helpers are also organised in an association and only the next worker in line is able to take luggage, a very helpful service for guests who don’t know their way around the island and will have difficulty toting their bags through the sand.

Travellers who can get by with a little Portuguese will find that guesthouse owners are more than willing to lead personalised Ilha do Mel tours that bring to life their little paradise in the Atlantic. Others will simply take pleasure in exploring the bountiful jungle or strolling along pristine, sandy beaches. Surf enthusiasts will find all their needs met by Fernando (from Pousada Treze Luas) and Zeco (from Grajagan Surf Resort), experienced surf instructors with boards for rent or lessons to teach.

The local cuisine is all about fish and seafood. Try the best of it at Mar e Sol, where the ‘Prato Surfista’ is highly recommended.

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