Known for its famous beaches, tropical climate and rainforest, Brazil has a whole different culture as you move south. Curitiba, the capital city in the state of Parana, is an important cultural and economic center of Latin America. It’s one of the top ten largest cities in Brazil with a population of nearly 2 million inhabitants.
Curitiba was a favorable location for settlement in the 1700s due to it being between cattle-breeding countryside and marketplaces. In the 1800s and 1900s Curitiba greatly expanded because of logging and agriculture of its native pine tree, which was the reason behind the name of the city. The name Curitiba comes from the Tupi word meaning “many araucaria seeds,” araucaria being the native pine tree seen all over the city.
For being a huge metropolitan area, Curitiba is actually one of the safest and cleanest cities in Brazil with several outdoor parks and culturally enriching activities. In fact, some of the parks in Curitiba actually offer insight into the history of the city and its people. Tingui and Tanguá parks are named after indigenous tribes of the area, Tangua Park has a huge waterfall and great views you do not want to miss. A symbol of Curitiba is the botanical gardens which have a magnificent lawn modeled after French gardens and the iconic glass building which is sure to come up in your Curitiba google search. If you’re looking for a park to take a stroll, jog or bike Parque Barigui is a popular spot, make sure to get fresh coconut water while you’re there!
In Curitiba, you can choose to have a more outdoor adventure or explore the metropolitan aspects of the area. The best way to do so is by tour bus, Linha Tourismo is a municipal bus line specifically for tourism. Starting at the center of the city, (a great place to do some shopping and get food) you’ll hop on the bus and be able to stop at several sites in the city including the several parks, public market, train station turned shopping mall, eye-shaped museum designed by Oscar Niemeyer, The Wire Opera, the several neighborhoods/parks dedicated to the immigrants of Curitiba and so many other sites. It’s important to do your research on where you want to visit and what’s close by, there’s always something exciting to see.
In terms of food, there’s always something delicious to eat. It’s Brazilian tradition to have a little coffee and pastry in the afternoon and there’s no shortage of places to do so. Also, definitely stop and have a Brazilian hot dog, have a pastel(like a fried empanada), and eat some feijoada(bean stew accompanied by rice, vinaigrette and collard greens), Barredo (traditional meat stew) and have a churrasco(unforgettable Brazilian barbecue.) If you do stop at Santa Felicidade, the Italian neighborhood, definitely eat at Madalosso, a family restaurant that became a staple of Curitiba. There you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat meal of Italian cuisine, come hungry! Another restaurant with delicious seafood is Bar Do Victor, which opened in Curitiba in 1955 and has several locations in the city. Another gem in Curitiba is Bar Do Alemão, a german inspired bar with delicious food and drinks. Finally, if you’re looking for a taste of it all, Curitiba has several markets, called feirinhas, which pop up all over the city.
In Curitiba, there’s never a dull moment. With several parks, malls and history anyone who visits will find something they like. By doing your research into what the city has to offer, you can create a travel experience that’s unique to you.