From Brasilia we flew to Curitiba, in the south of Brazil. We arrived in the late morning and the first thing we noticed was that it was cold. In fact, it was the coldest we’d been the entire trip. The sky was also overcast, and it was kind of drizzeling.

After getting out our sweatshirts, we got a really useful map from the guy at the airport information desk, and then we went to the hostel. Curitiba has two hostels and we went to the one in town (Hostel Roma). They only had a room available for one night, and it was R$77, but we hadn’t seen anything cheaper yet so we took it. The hostel turned out alright. It has a good breakfast with a lot of variety, but it didn’t have a very social atmosphere (there seemed to be a lot of older people and live-in residents).

Then we went out to see the city. Curitiba is supposed to have among the highest standards of living in all of Brazil. (A friend always used to tell me it was a “first world city,” though I know that description imperfectly represents the rest of the country.). There is significantly less poverty in the city, the public transportation system is considered one of the best in the world, and overall it’s a generally safe place.

That means that Curitiba is a great place to live. On the other hand, however, it also isn’t the most exciting place to visit. It has an historical sector from the colonial period, a nice botanical garden, and a few other sites, mostly spread out along the outskirts of the city. For R$20 you can take a bus that stops at each one, and you can get on and off the bus several times without paying again. We opted not to do that, however, because we didn’t want to see most of those sites. Instead we walked, which too a long time but saved money.

Probably my favorite thing in the city was the Oscar Niemeyer Museum, which is a contemporary art museum housed in a giant eye shaped building that was designed by the guy responsible for much of Brasilia’s architecture. It cost R$4 to get in and had some interesting installation exhibits.

Another thing worth mentioning is that Curitiba actually ended up being one of the cheapest cities we’ve visited. I had expected it to be expensive, given its high standard of living, but food there was actually fairly cheap. Also, for our second night we stayed in Hotel Aruba, which was only R$50.

Curitiba, however, was really only a means to an end, and from there we headed to the renowned Iguacu Falls.


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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