Curitiba

The botanical garden in Curitiba, Brazil

Curitiba is the capital of Paraná, Brazil. If you're heading for Iguaçu Falls from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, it's worth stopping by for a day or two.

Understand

Curitiba is one of the largest cities in the prosperous Southern region, and its population is largely descended from German, Ukrainian, Russian, Italian and Polish immigrants. The city is known to urban planners worldwide for its innovative public transit system.

There is a great cidade velha (old city) in the center which is restored very well for its 319 years. There is a huge arts and crafts fair every Sunday in the old city that is well worth visiting.

Get in

By bus

Curitiba's Bus & Train Station (Estaçao Rodoferroviária) is a large station with 3 terminals (train terminal, interstate bus terminal and intrastate bus terminal) provides scheduled bus service from Curitiba to all over Brazil, as well as locations in Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

Actually the bus is the best way to come from or go through São Paulo and Florianópolis, since the travel doesn't last too long and the bus terminals are strategically located downtown in these cities (avoiding traffic jams and long transfers to distant airports). São Paulo Station is not located exactly downtown but is nearby, and has a subway station inside the terminal. Curitiba-São Paulo: travel time 6h, R$60–80, departures every hour (there's no need to book in advance). Curitiba-Florianopolis: travel time 4h30, R$50–70, lots of departures every day (although not so widespread than to São Paulo)

By plane

Curitiba is one of the major cities of Brazil and is served by an international airport, named Aeroporto Afonso Pena (CWB), which is in the nearby city of São José dos Pinhais and about 17 km (10.6 miles) from Curitiba city center. There are daily scheduled departures to São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Brasília and other major cities. It also serves flights to other Paraná State cities, such as Foz do Iguaçu, Londrina and Maringá. International destinations with scheduled flights from Curitiba are Buenos Aires (Ezeiza), Montevideo and Asunción, although other destinations may be eventually served on a non-scheduled basis.

Major airlines such as Gol, Pluna and TAM provide scheduled services to other cities, including those in Paraná State, as well as international destinations. Other minor airlines, such as OceanAir, Webjet, Passaredo and TRIP, also serve Curitiba in scheduled and non-scheduled basis.

There are different options of ground transportation between Afonso Pena Airport and Curitiba city center. Regular city buses depart every 20–30 minutes on business days and cost only R$2.85, R$1.50 on Sundays. The Airport Shuttle departs every 20 minutes on business days and is quicker than the city buses and much more comfortable, but its fare is R$10.00. Taxi cabs are available 24 hours per day, but the fare varies on the final destination. You can plan on roughly R$50 to go downtown. There are more than 4 rental companies in site.

By train

Due to the Brazilian government decision on not providing passenger train services anymore, Curitiba is no longer serviced by scheduled passenger train service. However, there is a touristic train route that goes to Paraná State's ocean coast, reaching its end in Paranaguá. It is definitely a worthwhile ride for those willing to see natural and Atlantic Forest scenery, with many waterfalls, cliffs, peaks and historic sites. For more information see the Do section

By car

Coming from São Paulo use BR-116 South. From Florianópolis use BR-101. From Porto Alegre use BR-116 North.

Get around

Curitiba has a very simple and practical transportation system. Public transportation consists entirely of buses. There are several different types of bus, each with a different function.

Driving can be difficult for those who are not used to the traffic in Curitiba, especially for first comers. In the central area, there are many one-way streets, parking restrictions as well as pedestrian-only and bus-only streets. Bus lanes are very common in Curitiba, as the city has over 60 km (38 miles) of them. Most avenues are wide and have spacious sidewalks and they are mostly laid out in a grid system in the city center area.

Public transportation is probably the best option for those visiting the city. The fare is R$2.60 (€1.00 / US$1.30) and R$1.00 (€0.40 / U$0.60) on Sundays, and you can connect for free between the bus routes if you connect inside the bus depots or the tube stations. There are also special services, like the City Center Circulator, which costs only R$1.50 (€0.60 / US$0.75), the Touristic Route, which serves more than 20 attractions and allows each rider visit 4 of them paying only one fare, although expensive (R$27.00), and the Airport Shuttle, operated with mini-buses between Curitiba downtown and Afonso Pena Airport (R$8.00).

Actually the best way to come from the airport to downtown is a city bus lane called "aeroporto", which final stop is on the tube just next to the airport's main entrance. The fare is R$2.60, cheaper than the Airport Shuttle (R$10.00) and way cheaper than by taxi (R$50.00).

The public bus system is generally good in comparison with other Brazilian capitals, but overcrowded in rush hours.

Due to safety concerns, after 10PM, passengers can ask for bus drivers to stop anywhere along the route, not just in the designated bus stops. This is only valid for buses that are not part of the BRT system. After midnight, most buses stop circulating. From 1AM to 5AM, buses known as "madrugueiros" circulate on an hourly basis. Bus schedules and itineraries can be consulted either from Google Maps or the city website (machine-translated into English).

See

Botanical Garden

Many tourist attractions are closed on Monday. The tourist bus is not running on that day either.

Municipal libraries, located at schools or public places, with a reference collection of five thousand books inspired by two ancient landmarks: the library and the lighthouse from Alexandria. The modular building, with a metallic structure, has a height of 17 meters and 98 square meters of built area. The internal division is simple: the ground floor – where the books are, a hall and a spiral staircase, leading to the top of the tower, where there is a lair, covered with a metallic vault and above it a rooster. The Farol das Cidades, João Gava Street, s/n° - Abranches. M-F 9AM-9PM, and on Sa 9AM-1PM. The only one of its kind, is different from the others because of its collection, made of videos and CD-ROMs, equipped with computers and connected to the Internet and to the City Hall geoprocessing, with free access to the population.

Ópera de Arame (Wire Opera)
Japan square
Metropolitan Cathedral at Tiradentes plaza
Paiol theatre

Churches

Parks

Tanguá Park

Weather

Frost in a July morning

Many visitors from outside Brazil are not prepared to feel cold in this tropical country. This is precisely the case in Curitiba, located off from the tropic parallel, and elevated by an altitude of almost 1000 meters above the sea level. These factors mean that winters (jun-sep) can reach freezing temperatures specially by night, which make coats and further protections necessary. Even in the other seasons, cold nights are not something unexpected, albeit it will rarely go down to freezing levels. Summers (dec-mar) tend to be mild, with some hotter days of maximum through 30's C or 90's F, but occasional nights of 10's C or 50's F.

Curitiba is very well served of rain, there's no dry season, and the dwellers are not familiar with a timelapse of more than 4 ou 5 days without showers. There are some metereological issues that makes long periods of a permanent light rain or drizzle, which may comprises several weeks, typically foggy and grey, barely similar as London.

Snow is very rare and the last precipitations took part in 1975. But there's lots of sites in 3h or 4h of traveltime that snows every year, specially Palmas (300 km) and São Joaquim (400 km). Frost, nevertheless, is very common within the city limits and produces painting-like landscapes in the urban parks, notably Barigui Park and Jardim Botânico (until 8AM, before the sunlight starts to melt the frost)

Do

View from the Serra Verde Express

One fun day trip is to leave the train in Morretes, and hitch a ride upstream by taxi or farmer's cart along the Nhundiaquara river. There is a bridge a few miles upstream (Punda de cima?) where you can rent an innertube (boia cross in Portuguese), and get a ride a few miles upstream on dirt roads. A fun float down the river through the tropical jungle is spectacular, refreshing, and you won't find a cleaner place in Brazil. An unforgettable day, especially if it is not a holiday time or weekend when it may be more crowded. Look for the bottle-hotel near the tube take-out point - that would be a memorable place to stay if it is open (seasonally).

Learn

Foreigners interested in learning Portuguese will likely find Celin the most affordable course for its good educational standard. It is maintained by the Federal University of Paraná.

Buy

Best places to go shopping in Curitiba, just like any place else in Brazil, are the Shopping Malls. As of May 2007, there are 5 main Shopping Malls in Curitiba: Mueller (www.shoppingmueller.com.br), Estação (www.shoppingestacao.com.br), Curitiba (www.shoppingcuritiba.com.br), Crystal (www.shoppingcrystal.com.br) e Park Barigüi (www.parkshoppingbarigui.com.br). In 2008, the new Shopping Palladium will be opened (www.shoppingpalladium.com.br).

If you like to walk outside, there are some nice places in Batel. Walk along Carlos de Carvalho street and its crossing streets. If you are looking for something from well-known international brands like Prada, Dior, Armani, D&G and Diesel, you might like "Maison Capoani" a boutique located at end of Comendador Araújo Street on Batel, near to Crystal Shopping Center.

Eat

Curitiba has a good variety of restaurants, ranging from modest to upscale restaurants.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Curitiba has been known for many years as a safe city thanks to its low crime rate compared to Brazilian cities of a similar size, although it's been on the rise recently.

As any big city, pedestrians must watch out the surroundings when walking on the streets, even by daylight. Stay away, or move yourself fast and cautiously, from streets where there are few or no people in the sidewalks, specially in the adjacencies of the Historical Center, anytime. Both residents and tourists should avoid rambling long distances after dusk. In spite of the fact that Curitibans are more reserved people compared to the average Brazilian, the lack of people in the streets at night reflects a general fear of thefts and assaults, as most people prefers to get around by car.

Crime involving tourists is generally non-violent and related to thefts and pickpocketing. In general, neighborhoods are relatively safe, however caution should be excerted in the following (particularly, but not exclusively, at night):

The neighborhoods on the south side of the city (Sitio Cercado, Fazendinha, Pinheiriho, Cidade Industrial, Tatuquara), are the poorest areas and so far the most dangerous places, albeit there is not anything attractive to the regular tourist. Home of roughly 1/3 of the population, these places also host the majority of the city's shantytowns. More avoidable neighborhoods: Parolin (south side), Cajuru and Uberaba (east) and Campo Comprido and São Braz (west).

At night it is best to get around by taxi. The public transport are almost entirely off after midnight. For more, see the section on transportation.

In general, a common-sense approach to personal safety is advised. Curitiba is a big city, and with it come the usual problems (poverty, homelessness, drugs, prostitution, etc.). Be cautious with your personal belongings, and avoid walking around empty areas by night.

Cope

Language

Portuguese is the primary language spoken by most curitibanos. Most of people don't speak English.

Water

The quality of tap water in Curitiba is considered to be good quality and safe to drink (unless you are in an old building with outdated plumbing).

Go next

Routes through Curitiba

Mafra Fazenda Rio Grande  S  N  Pinhais São Paulo


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 12, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.