Archive for May, 2010

the Curitiba-Paranaguá railway journey

the Curitiba-Paranaguá railway journey

Curitiba, Brasil

The Curitiba-Paranaguá railway line (commercially known as Serra Verde Express) is one of the most important tourist attractions in the state of Parana and one of the most interesting train journeys you can embark on while in Brazil. The railway line covers the distance between Curitiba and the city of Paranagua in the state’s coast. On the way, it cuts through the middle of the Serra do Mar mountain range.

Trem da Serra, Paraná

The remarkable engineering feat in itself would make the trip worth your while. Building a railway line going up the mountain range was no mean feat. In spite of the difficulties, the 110 kilometres of railway line were built in just five years at the end of the XIX century (in the same period of time but in modern XXI century the authorities of São Paulo haven’t been able to complete the 12 kilometres of the new yellow subway line). Engineers had to build 14 tunnels and 30 bridges.

The are three distinct parts to the trip. During the first third of the journey, the train leaves Curitiba and progressively the urban landscape turns into open space. Monkey-puzzle trees abound. On reaching the upper part of the mountain range, the landscape changes. Soon the train embarks upon a vertiginous but at the same time slow descent through the slopes of the Serra do Mar. Once it reaches the plain at the bottom of the valley, the train reaches speed until its arrival at Morretes railway station.

Trem da Serra, Paraná

During the trip your carriage window will present you with wonderful landscapes covered by the dense subtropical rainforest (mata atlântica) of the Serra do Mar. It is the largest chunk of preserved mata atlântica in the entire Brazil.

Trem da Serra, Paraná
Trem da Serra, Curitiba-Morretes, Brasil

One of the most thrilling moments of the trip is the crossing of the giant São João iron bridge (photo above and below).

Trem da Serra, Curitiba-Morretes, Brasil

Slowly the landscape opens up and you will be able to contemplate both the mountain tops and the Ocean far away.

Trem da Serra, Paraná
Trem da Serra, Curitiba-Morretes, Brasil

For most of the trip, as it can be seen on the following video, the train rides very close to the dense rainforest.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

  • Website: la página web del Serra Verde Express, with an English version, contains all the up-to-date information regarding the trip, schedules and prices.
  • Journey: from Monday to Friday the train only reaches Morretes. The duration of the trip is approximately three hours, although it can take longer depending on the traffic along the railroad. On Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays the train reaches Paranaguá too (five-hour trip).
  • Schedules: the train departs from Curitiba at 8:15 am and returns in the afternoon.
  • Carriages: there are four classes. From cheaper to most expensive: econômico, turístico, executivo and litorina de luxo. The company’s website contains a description of each category. Economy class tickets cannot be purchased over the internet. You need to get to Curitiba station to be able to buy them. They are sold out first so if you are planning on traveling economy you are advised to get your tickets a few days in advance.

ADVICE:

  • Unless your are heading to Ilha do Mel (in that case you’d need to take the train to Paranaguá), we recommend you to get off at Morretes, walk around the town and have lunch there (you must experience the delicious barreado meat stew, a local delicacy). Return to Curitiba in the afternoon.
  • You can return to Curitiba by train, by van or by bus. If your budget is tight, get a regular bus back from Morretes to Curitiba. When you get to Curitiba integrated railway and bus station in the morning, and before you embark on the train, purchase your return tickets Morretes-Curitiba from the Viação Graciosa counter.
  • Fog can ruin your trip as it makes it absolutely impossible to enjoy the landscape. But it is difficult to tell when fog is likely to form.
  • Although there are views at both sides of the train, we recommend you sit on the left side of the carriage, where the best views are at some of the most spectacular passages.

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May 31, 2010 | By More
Woodstock arrives in Brazil in 2010

Woodstock arrives in Brazil in 2010

There is now official confirmation. The SWU Music and Arts Festival (the Brazilian Woodstock) will take place at the Fazenda Maeda near the city of Itú, 100 km from São Paulo, on the 9, 10 and 11 October.

Ticket prices and information here.

The bands confirmed so far are:

Dia 10: Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon, Regina Spektor, Sublime with Rome, DJ Sharam
Dia 11: Linkin Park, Incubus, Pixies, DJ Erol Alkan

There is a very strong chance the legenday Woodstock music festival will land in Brazil in 2010. As reported by the media, the Brazilian Woodstock would take place at the Fazenda Maeda near the city of Itú, 100 km from São Paulo, on the weekend of the 9 and 10 October.

People have written reams on the subject but the only information we feel it is 100% reliable is posted at Eduardo Fischer’s Twitter profile. He’s the organizer of the Brazilian event. On his profile Eduardo declares the official confirmation has not been given yet and also points out that the band lineout is anything but confirmed. The names being posted all over the internet are just speculation.

As there is no official confirmation yet there is no information whatsoever on tickets sales and prices.

As soon as we here any news about the event we will post it here and at our Twitter and Facebook profiles.

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May 26, 2010 | By More
CDC: reliable health information for travelers to Brazil

CDC: reliable health information for travelers to Brazil

Even if you are not an American citizen, the US government’s CDC website should be your starting point for any consultation on health issues related to your upcoming trip to Brazil. You will find the information under the section Health Information for Brazil.

It contains thorough, reliable and up-to-date information on all health issues, including a section on vaccines and another section on items you might want to bring with you on your trip.

Whenever a new fact emerges the CDC releases a travel notice. On the last few days there have been notices on yellow fever, dengue, H1N1 flu and measles.

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May 24, 2010 | By More
dates of the 2011 carnival in Brazil

dates of the 2011 carnival in Brazil

carnaval 2009, Amanda Françoso, madrinha da bateria, Vai-Vai

According to the official calendar, the 2011 carnival will take place between 5 and 8 March. The Rio de Janeiro escolas de samba will parade at the sambadrome on Sunday 6 and Monday 7. The São Paulo parades will take place on Friday 4 and Saturday 5.

Although the dates seem miles away, the farsighted travellers will make accommodation arrangements for the period long in advance – it is the only way of finding good value accommodation for places like Rio or Salvador.

As more details emerge I will keep you posted.

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May 20, 2010 | By More
Rio de Janeiro’s Michelin guide for free

Rio de Janeiro’s Michelin guide for free

The entire Michelin guide for Rio de Janeiro is available for free consultation at the following link on Google Books. Plenty of worthy information and details to help you plan your visit to the city of Rio.

At the Books on Brazil section of this blog you can check the details of other printed guides with focus on Brazil.

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Rio bus station: Terminal Novo Rio

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May 17, 2010 | By More