After doing sightseeing for a day or two, what would be more suitable than spending some time outside the city, on the secluded tropical beach, without the traffic noise... If you look for this, then Ilha do Mel is the place to go.
The island is a natural reserve and impresses with its scenery. It is an extraordinary place with no roads and cars, an ecological paradise. You can wander along miles and miles of quiet white sandy beaches, as Praia da Fortaleza, Praia do Farol das Conchas, Praia de Fora do Farol, Praia Grande and others. There are trails that run between hills, the view is stunning.
On Ilha do Mel not only nature is being preserved but history as well. You can visit Fortaleza Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres (Fort of Our Lady of the Pleasure), historical fortress built in 1767 and Farol das Conchas (Conchas Lighthouse) from 1872. Worth visiting is also Gruta das Encantadas (the Enchanted Grotto).
There are several pousadas (inns) to stay and restaurants where you can get fresh sea food. Nightlife is concentrated around weekends with live forro music and dancing.
The best way to get a boat to the island is Pontal do Sul.
Starting in Dall'Armi, Luiz and me continued our wine tasting journey and finally ended in Durigan Winery. It is the biggest and the most modern from those that we have visited and it offers the greatest selection of wine.
Durigan family arrived in Brazil in 1845 from Treviso. Their activities were always dedicated to agriculture, especially the wine. The beginning of wine production goes back in 1873. In 1932 the wine factory was awarded with a quality certificate and a medal of honour. Production was improving all the time and the top quality continued to the present time.
The finest Durigan wines are Tinto Cabernet Savignon, Rose Cabernet Savignon, Tinto Merlot, Branco Moscato Giallo and Espumante Moscatel.
On arrival one of professional staff offered us assistance. He was very friendly and explained all about the winery and wine and was particularly enthusiastic when he was telling about the visit of wineries in Italy. We tasted everything from sparkling wine to white and red. As always, red was my favourite, but I enjoyed others as well.
Avenida Manoel Ribas 6169 - Santa Felicidade
Some 8 km northwest of the city is Santa Felicidade, an outer suburb of Curitiba. The residents like to refer to it as an Italian colony inside the city. It's the neighbourhood where some of the first immigrants from northern Italy settled. They dedicated themselves to the agricultural production and especially in wine and cheese making. The name of the area is homage to the Brazilian Dona Felicidade, who donated a part of her land to the hard-working Italian immigrants.
Today the main reason to visit Santa Felicidade is for the restaurants, which line the main road, Avenida Manoel Ribas. It has some of the city's best and biggest restaurants and wineries with production right there. Among others, there is Madalosso, the second biggest restaurant in the world (Guiness Book 1995). These places generally offer the northern Italian dishes that have been adapted according to the availability of ingredients and the results are an interesting blend of local Brazilian and Italian influences.
Alongside Avenida Manoel Ribas you also find shops selling plants, wooden furniture, wicker items, crafts, wine and other local produce.
The residents work hard to maintain their Italian culture and heritage and it shows in the architecture and personality of the area. Santa Felicidade is the location of several annual festivals, including the Grape festival in February and Wine Festival in June and July.
Yellow buses to Santa Felicidade can be caught on Travessa Nestor de Castro (just below Curitiba's historic quarter) and the journey takes about 45 minutes.
I've listed this as an 'off the beaten path' as most tourists don't ride busses. But in Curitiba, the bus is actually a tourist attraction. The bus system in curitiba has the highest percentage uptake of any city in the world, due to people brave enough to blow out the the car lanes and add bus lanes, and also due to other innovations. Just step into one of the tubes, buy your ticket, and wait for the space-port to open into the world of public transport. Busses run every 3 minutes on major lines!
For those interested in community/social programs, education, etc., try to visit one of the city's "Lighthouses of Knowledge." Located in more than 45 neighborhoods throughout the city, the Lighthouses of Knowledge (which literally are lighthouse-like structures) serve as neighborhood libraries, have computer centers with free Internet and computer access for local residents (and turistos!), and are often located adjacent to public schools. The lighthouse beacons also serve as facilities for community policing, helping to ensure safe neighborhoods for the city's residents and children.
Photo 1: Exterior: Lighthouse of Knowledge
Photo 2: Interior: Internet, library, police and other services found inside
This place is an experience for your five senses... lots of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, japanese and chinese ingredients and beverages (imported beer and exclusive wines).
It counts also with a Patio with some fast-food and regular restaurants where you can eat very good for very reasonable money.
It definitely worths a visit...
When I'm in Curitiba it is kind of Saturday morning hobby...
This tower is usually known in Curitiba as "Torre da Telepar". Telepar was the name of the local telecom company, recently acquired by BrasilTelecom.
The company however maintains the tower open for sightseeing in one of the highest neighborhoods in Curitiba. From the top the visitor can have a 360 degrees view of the city's skyline.
Located in Merces district. Northern from downtown.
This is the newest museum in Curitiba, the Novo Museu (or New Museum), built after the project of the famous brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (the same that projected Brasilia, our Capital).
Visitors can always have interesting exhibitions mainly focused in the culture and arts of Curitiba and Brazil...
Another gorgeous park built in the city in honor of the german immigrants who begin to settle in Curitiba in the early 1800's.
In the park visitors can walk on the trail of Hänsel und Gretel (after the tale of Brothers Grimm) and reach the gingerbread and candy house, where usually on saturday afternoons children listen to tales told by the crone that lives in the famous Brothers Grimm tale...
Interesting for kids for sure, but also for grownups looking for some silence, woods smells and some green.
Passeio Público is the most central and the first park in Curitiba. Built in 1886 it has around 70 thousand square meters (m²) of natural forest on the banks of Belém river. At that time, the park was lighted using fish-oil lamps.
In the 19th century, it became for some time the Bothanical Garden of Curitiba. It was also the first zoo in town and even nowadays visitors still can see some captive animals and a aquarium.
Curitiba has a variety of influences due to the immigrant waves that began to settle in the surroundings of the old town from mid 1800's.
One of the biggest communities in the city is the ucranian, and the ucranians have also a place dedicated to them in this beautiful town: Tingui Park.
Charming and pleasant train trip to the colonial town of Morretes.
Trip takes about 1h30 of breathtaking landscapes of natural atlantic rain forests and mountains.
You can make the round trip by train or take the train to Morretes and the bus back to Curitiba.
In Morretes, do not miss the typical dish called "Barreado" served in any of the restaurants in downtown.
Definitely worth a day trip.
The city and the Instituto Curitiba Informatico has a program, Digitando Futuro, which provides free computer and Internet access for all residents, even the physically handicapped. For example, the Rua 24 Horas, which was designed to be easily accessible for the handicapped, computer access is provided free to all residents. Staff at the computer facility at Rua 24 Horas have equipment that enables the handicapped (e.g., paraplegic, quadraplegic, and even the blind...) to use computer equipment. Staff is on hand to provide assistance and are very friendly (many are local youth who are hired by ICI.)
The city of Curitiba provides many ways for local residents to access computers and the Internet for free. In addition to the "Lighthouses of Knowledge" (see tip in this section), and the Internet facility located in Rua 24 Horas, Curitiba residents also learn about the free computer services in their neighborhood through the Connecto Bus, which travels to a different neighborhood every week. Housed in a bright green bus that provides Internet access via satellite and cable, computer terminals are available for local residents to learn how to use computers. While using the computer terminals on the Connecto bus, residents are informed of other, permanent locations of free community Internet and computer services (such as the Lighthouses of Knowledge.)
In many communities around the world, the area underneath freeway/highway onramps serves as a gathering place and shelter for homeless families and individuals. In Curitiba, the city's social planners have turned these natural gathering places into cafeterias and job training centers, to help the less fortunate get food and nourishment and give them access to social services and assistance programs.