Train ride to Paranagua
The train ride to Paranagua is one of those "must-do" activities in Curitiba. Unfortunately, the day that I went, it was very cloudy, so it was hard to take photos of the otherwise fantastic scenery. They do sell VHS and DVDs for about BRL$20 that is a good way to ensure you have photos/video of the spectacular train ride. (Also contains great historical/background footage of Curitiba.)
You can go to the central train station (EARLY or book ahead), or call one of the local tour companies. The tour operators will pick you up from your hotel by van, bring you the train station (they will have already reserved a train ticket for you), provide for van pick-up in Morretes, take you to Antonina and then back to Morretes for a traditional "barreado" lunch, and then drive you back via van along the historic stone road, with a short stop in Graciela (to sample the famous banana and ginger ice creams) before bringing you back to your hotel.
The cost of the train ride, lunch and van transportation if you go with a tour operator is about BRL$135, or USD $48. Pretty good price given that van transport, lunch and tour guide is included.
Here is the website for Osatur, the tour operator that I took:
They speak limited English, so do try to have your Brasilian Portugese phrasebook handy, or a friend nearby to help you with communication if you need assistance.
I've also included the link below to Serra Verde express, the primary operator for the train ride to Paranagua (Osatur uses Serra Verde for the train ride.)
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Best Public Transportation System in the World!
Curitiba's bus system is known in urban planning circles to be The Best bus system in the world. I wish I had taken pictures of it-next time. In the meantime, here is a picture of a toy bus.
What makes the bus system excellent is that it is fast, efficient, clean and affordable. On the express buses, rather than each passenger paying fare when boarding the bus, passengers pay fare upon entering a tubular (glass and metal) bus stop. When the bus arrives, doors open in the front and back, and all the passengers board at the same time, much like boarding a subway car. There are dedicated bus lanes along the major streets, enabling the buses to have the "right of way" (bus drivers are also given the ability to control traffic signals, minimizing waiting times at stop lights.
There are connector lines that go north-south, east-west, and in circular bands emanating from the Centro area.
The fare as of January 2004 (to travel anywhere on the bus system), was $0.65 BRL, or the equivalent of about $0.33 USD.
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Public Transportation System
Curitiba is famous (not also in Brazil) by its well planned public transportation system, which consists of a countless number of bus lines and connecting stations all over the city.
Lines usually cross the town over downtown, heading the direction downtown-neighborhood.
Main express lines (biarticulated busses) run on bus lanes in the main avenues and cross the city, linking the further districts.
Fare is about R$2,00 (less than US$0,70).
For longer bus trips, "leito" is the way to go!
For long distance bus travel to and from Curitiba from other parts of Brasil/South America, "leito" buses are the way to go! These are first-class, super-comfortable buses that travel long distances. Seating capacity is about 30 passengers, allowing for more ample space and privacy than a regular "commun" or less expensive bus. "Leitos" are so comfortable, they are comparable, or in some respects even more comfortable, than some business-class air travel. There is plenty of leg-room, allowing for almost full reclining, and it comes with a leg/footrest that folds out in to an almost prone position. Blankets, pillows and snacks are provided to each passenger, and a mini-fridge and coffeemaker in the back provides free beverages. For overnight trips, the bus windows are completely covered by curtains, allowing for maximum blockage of outside lighting, providing for a good sleeping environment. My travelmate and I took a leito from Curitiba to Rio de Janeiro, a 12-hour trip one-way. The roundtrip fare was the equivalent of about $100 USD; in comparison to airfares which cost about $300 USD.
For U.S. travelers, this is NOT Greyhound--it is much better (and MORE comfortable by far) than Greyhound.
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CWB - accessible and convenient airport
CWB, Curitiba airport, is modern, convenient, and has many connecting flights to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Manaus, etc. It is very easy to navigate around.
Taxi fare from CWB to the Centro area as of January 2004 was about $30 BRL, or the equivalent of $10 USD.
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Sightseeingtour Bus - "Jardineira"
There is an interesting and cheap way to visit the main touristic attractions in Curitiba: by getting the touristic bus - called Jardineira - because of its wide glass area.
It covers around 20 interesting points in the city and the tour takes around 2 hours. The tourist get off for three stops in total, getting to visit three places a little bit longer and then take another bus and go on with the tour.
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Tourist busses and schedule
Just a short explaination in English, you will find the schedule of the busses below, easy to understand even without knowledge of Portuguese. The busses stop at 22 different sights.
Passando por 22 pontos turísticos de Curitiba, os ônibus especiais da Linha Turismo oferecem um passeio de 2 horas em um trajeto de 40 quilômetros. O ponto de partida pode ser a Praça Tiradentes. A Linha funciona de terça à domingo das 9h00 até as 17h30, os ônibus saem de 30 em 30 minutos. Pagando a tarifa de
R$ 10,00, o usuário recebe uma cartela que lhe dá direito a um embarque e três reembarques, o que permite que a pessoa escolha o ponto turístico que quer conhecer melhor, podendo embarcar novamente na Linha Turismo para cumprir o restante do trajeto. Os veículos são equipados com sistema de som para fornecer informações gravadas sobre os locais visitados em três idiomas – português, inglês e espanhol.
Locais de Embarque e Horários da Linha Turismo
1. PRAÇA TIRADENTES
Marco zero da cidade, é dominada pela Catedral Basílica de Nossa Senhora da Luz, em estilo gótico, restaurada em seu centenário em 1993.
09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00
13:30 14:00 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:30 17:00 17:30
2. RUA DAS FLORES
A principal rua da cidade foi transformada no primeiro calçadão do país, em 1972. É importante eixo comercial da capital.
09:06 09:36 10:06 10:36 11:06 11:36 12:06 12:36 13:06
13:36 14:06 14:36 15:06 15:36 16:06 16:36 17:06 17:36
If your time in Curitiba is limited, an easy and interesting way to see the city's main attractions is to take a bus tour. Buses of LinhaTurismo covers 25 key reference points in Curitiba, completing 44 km in 2,5 hours. Stops include, for example, Parque Barigui and Tangua, Memorial Ucraniano, Opera de Arame, Rua 24 Horas, Teatro Paiol, Jardim Botanico and Santa Felicidade. The most central departure stop is at Praca Tiradentes.
Service is available from Tuesdays through Sundays, from 9am - 5:30pm, with buses leaving every 30 minutes. Ticket (16 RS) allow passengers to get off at five of the stops and rejoin the tour on a later bus. Comfortable white 'jardineira' buses have wide windows giving the passengers a better view of the city. They are equipped with a sound system that plays recorded messages describing sites in three languages: Portuguese, English and Spanish.
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Eco Efficient Bus Transport System
The urban transport system is one of Curitiba's best known planning successes, a model for cities around the world that want to implement eco efficient transport networks that are well integrated with urban form and produce environmental benefits.
Curitiba has a master planned bus-based transport system designed by Jaime Lerner. It includes lanes on major streets devoted to a bus rapid transit system. In 1979 was established Rede Integrada de Transporte - RIT (Integrated Transport Net). The transport system was designed to function like a subway system in terms of the amount of people it could transport and and the frequency between routes. Approximately 1.100 buses make about 15.000 trips daily There are several different types of buses, each with a different function. The city has 21 passenger terminals where it is possible to change buses and a single fare allows passengers to transfer from express to inter-neighbourhood and local buses.
The details of the system are designed for speed and simplicity just as much as the overall architecture. Key elements are the tubos (tube bus stops), made of metal frame and curved glass. They are specially designed to move passengers quickly. Passengers pay the fare in advance, as in a subway station. The platform of the tube station is parallel to the platform of the buses. Passengers enter from one end of the station and exit on the other end. Tubos provide citizens with a clean and protected area in which to wait for the bus.
Curitiba has a high rate of car ownership, yet the fact that so many citizens use public transport proves that its system is truly efficient. 75% of the city's population relies on public transport and Curitiba is rarely, if ever, troubled with traffic problems and probably has some of the cleanest urban air.
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On the way to Curitiba
Direction to Curitiba.This railway was builded in 1885 - orders of emperor Pedro I
13 tubes and 67 viaducts were constructed in unhuman conditions - belgian steel was used - and the meaning of this railway was transport of food between Morretes/Antonina and Curitiba
Tipp: People ever travelled on the Rio Bamba train in Ecuador will be disappointed!It is a tourist trap !
Not always good
Public transportation in Curitiba, despite of all the international fame, maybe can cause a worse impression than your guidebook's reference. You can face eternal waitings in some lines, sometimes up to 40 minutes. Even in rush hours a 15 minute waiting can be expected, leaving the stop completely packed inside.
In the cases of the long red articulated buses, you won't wait too much, but they are very slow. The good solution of give them an exclusive track is minimized by the number of stops (tubes) they have to stop by, doing it even if there are no one to jump in or off. And they are not free from the stop and go of the traffic lights. Another issue on these big buses is safety, it's always good to check if there's someone in a suspicious activity, since pickpocketing is increasingly reported in these long vehicles.
And don't expect to find anyone who speaks english when riding the buses there. Drivers and even passengers won't be able to help you if speaking a language other than portuguese.
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Curitiba's buses carry 50 times more passengers than they did 20 years ago, but people spend only about 10 percent of their yearly income on transport. As a result, despite the second highest per capita car ownership rate in Brazil (one car for every three people), Curitiba's gasoline use per capita is 30 percent below that of eight comparable Brazilian cities. Other results include negligible emissions levels, little congestion, and an extremely pleasant living environment...
International airport, 20...
International airport, 20 minutes south of the city centre. There's a public bus going there, but not very often, unfortunately you must rely on taxi. International flights are not so common, but there are lots of daily connections with Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Foz de Iguaçu, Florianopolis.
Bus transport is very efficient: arrival/departures from the 'Rodoviaria', 10 minutes walk from the city centre. Buses are going to almost everywhere in Southern Brazil, frequent connections to Sao Paulo (6 hours), twice a day direct to Rio de Janeiro (12 hours). If you want to travel at specific schedules, it's advisable to book in advance.
Rail: ... as usual in America, they are almost useless. It's worth knowing that a special (mainly touristic) train runs daily from Curitiba down through the Sierra do Mar to Paranagua. It has a very scenic route, with very nice views of the Atlantic rainforest and through the mountain rage dividing Curitiba from the Atlantic ocean. The railway itself crosses spectacular spots. If you want to travel on week-ends, you are requested to book in advance, especially during summer (December to March).
Well, Curitiba is world-know for its extremely efficient public transportation system. Try it! And don't miss the 'Ligeirinho', the grey-painted express lines, which alows you to cross the town in a matter of minutes.
A nice network of cycle-ways allows you to safely ride through the city traffic and to reach the most important leisure spots, such as parks, theatres, halls.
linha turismo - tourist bus with a difference
the linha turismo bus operating in curitiba is fantastic. for $10Real you get a days worth of travel on a bus around the key tourist sites in curitiba - 22 to be exact. it is a two hour round trip. your ticket allows you to get on and off 3 times so make sure you decide which are your must see destinations first.
as a bonus they have a recording on the bus in english, portuguese and spanish to let you know exactly where you are and why it is important.
between curitiba, morretes and rio
wait. so you say you want to go from curitiba to morretes. but you want to bus from rio to curitiba? are you going to catch a bus from morretes to rio?
you can buy a ticket a couple of days in advance from the bus station. i don't know about reserving online. i actually wouldn't do it. it may cost you a lot more, and the bus times change a lot between the time you purchase the tickets and when it departs.
i would just buy the ticket from curitiba a day in advance, to morretes, and when you get to morretes, buy the ticket to rio on the day you want to leave. from rio, tickets can be purchased on the day you want to depart for curitiba. there are many buses per day.
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