Curitiba lies in the state of Parana and is the largest city in this state. It has population of about 1,879,355 people and is the largest city in the southern region of Brazil. The city of Curitiba is very important because of its culture and politics.
For a large period of time in its history, Curitiba was based mostly on cattle farming that had become quite popular in the area. In the mid-1900’s the population began to grow rapidly, and increased to over a million people. The city government had to make some drastic plans, and change to accommodate the rising population in the city. It has become one of the most important cities for its trades and services. Moreover, it is a fine example of urban-planning, with green areas, pedestrian zones, and an eco-friendly mentality: this city is known as one of the best big cities to live in Brazil. There are so many great and interesting things to do in Curitiba, such as visiting the Museo Oscar Niemeyer or the beautiful Jardim Botanico Curitiba. Below is our Curitiba travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
MUSEU OSCAR NIEMEYER – This beautiful and exotic building is a great place to visit. There are rotating art exhibits here as well as a section on Oscar Niemeyer himself, one of the most famous architects in Brazil.
LARGO DA ORDEM – This old style colonial part of the city is a great place to enjoy the culture. In this part of the city you can enjoy walking the traffic-free cobbled streets, and visit many of the stores selling art and other items. On Sunday, the streets fill up with markets, and you can find many different items and paintings for sale.
JARDIM BOTANICO CURITIBA – This is one of the more beautiful parts of the city, and a great place to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty. You can see the glass greenhouse that is centred in the Botanical gardens.
FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF PARANA – This university has a beautiful museum that contains artifacts and discoveries from the Tupi-Guarani, as well as some rotating exhibits.
PAIOL THEATRE - This theatre was once a gun powder barn, and was redesigned to hold theatricals. This is a beautiful place to go and experience both the culture and the history.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
There is a railroad that runs through Curitiba and offers day trips that return to the city. This is one of the cooler things to do in Curitiba for the views that are offered from the train ride. If you are looking for something to do that will take you to the surrounding area, this is the trip to try.
Curitiba is considered the ecological capital of Brazil, as produce is locally-grown, and fresh products are readily available. As a result, food and cuisine play a big part in Curitiba’s culture, and you can expect to try a variety of tasty dishes. Barreado is a delicious meat stew, traditionally cooked in a clay pot for 24 hours. Feijoada is a pork and black bean stew.
If you’re looking to sample many dishes, why not go to a ‘Por Quilo’ restaurant: here you’ll have a buffet selection, and you just pay by weight. These places are easy to spot – there’ll be a sign outside.
Bouquet Garni (Alameda Doutor Carlos de Carvalho 271) is the place to go to for fresh, organic food – it’s all-you-can-eat buffet-style, vegetarian, and delicious. What’s on offer depends on what’s in season. Mains, salads, desserts, juices are included in the fixed price.
If you’re a meat-lover, Churrascaria Arco Iris (Rua Maestro Carlos Frank, 2287) is a must! This is a cozy place, with a variety of high-quality meat dishes. There is an all-you-can-eat buffet, and a BBQ..Salads, pasta, and beer also are good choices here.
For a local experience, go to Mercado Municipal (Av. Sete de Setembro, 1865), where you’ll find cafes, food-stalls, and an organic food court. Go to pick up fresh fruits and veg, wine, cereal, spices, dried fruit, meat, fish… you name it! Or simply wander the aisles and absorb the atmosphere.
There are lots of pubs and bars in Curitiba where you can wind down the night and enjoy a beer or a drink. The Batel neighbourhood is the place to go for clubbing, and for bars head to the Largo da Ordem district.
If you want a few pints in a relaxed atmosphere, try Bar Brahma (Av. Pres. Getúlio Vargas, 234) for a selection of draft beer and snacks. For happy hour, head to Taco El Pancho (Rua Bispo Dom Jose, 2295) – the drinks, music, and Mexican vibes will get you ready to party. Continuing with the Mexican theme, if you want to go out and dance, check out Zapata Mexican Bar (R. Jose Saboia Cortes, 383) for live music. To continue the fiesta, go to Vox Bar (R. Barão do Rio Branco, 418) on a Friday or Saturday night – here you can party ‘til sunrise.
During the winter months of Brazil (from May to September), the temperature is a little bit cooler at about 12 – 15 degrees Celsius. In the summer months (from December through to March), the temperature does rise a little bit, but is still at about 18 – 20 degrees Celsius. The rainfall happens year-round, but the heavy rain falls from September to March.
The bus station in Curitiba provides transport all over Brazil, as well as places in Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay. From Sao Paulo, it’s 7 hours by bus, and from Rio it’s around 15 hours (going via Sao Paulo), or 12 hours if it’s a direct journey.
Being one of the major cities in Brazil there is an international city airport. It has daily flights to other major cities in Brazil, and offers international flights to Miami and to other South American countries. From Rio, it’s a 1.5 hour direct flight to Curitiba, and from Sao Paulo it’s just 50 minutes.
There are plenty of options for lodging in Curitiba. You can find a range, from hostels for backpackers to fancier hotels for those looking to splurge on their visit to the city.
One option is Curitiba Hostel (R. Dr. Claudino dos Santos, 49). This place is centrally-located, close to bars, nightlife, attractions, and parks. The breakfast is good, and the staff are very friendly – stay here for hotel standards at hostel-prices. Another great choice is Curitiba Casa Hostel (Rua Brasilio Itibere, 73): clean, comfy, well-situated, and with helpful staff. A fancier option is Iris Curitiba Shopping (Rua Brigadeiro Franco 2154), which has all you would expect from a good hotel.
Always be aware of where you are and that you are in safe areas of the city. At night-time, do not walk alone and leave the main areas of the city due to the chance of robbery.