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Tangua Park, Curitiba - © Alan Kleina Mendes Ilha do Mel Beach Cave, Ilha do Mel Fort, Ilha do Mel Train, Curitiba - © Cesar L. Martins Boat, Ilha do Mel Botanic Garden, Curitiba

Curitiba is the symbol of the success story of Southern Brazil. It is a modern, young and lively town and its inhabitants are undeniably proud of it: with a new and efficient transport system, active environment protection, beautiful gardens, extremely well-maintained monuments (the Sacred Art Museum, the Church da Ordem Terceira de Sao Francisco das Chagas, Praça Generoso Marques,…) amidst modern and audacious buildings. But Curitiba is also special for the many parks contributing to the well being of its inhabitants. It has an European feeling to it (in the nineteenth century the town welcomed a quantity of German, Polish and Italian immigrants), but it is a Brazilian Europe where people are not separated by their cultural background. The best way to reach the coast and the National Parks is to start from Curitiba, by the Curitiba - Paranaguá railway, a remain of the glorious age of trains which have linked the State capital to the coast since 1885. The railway crosses the splendid mountains of the Serra do Mar, then the Atlantic Rainforest (Mata Atlántica). Established in 1549, Paranaguá has become one of the main harbors for the export of Brazilian coffee, lumber and Soy. This colonial city is certainly charming with an old district in the bay, a tropical atmosphere, the Ponto do Sul harbor, and the deserted Ihla do Mel, a paradise island anchored at the entrance of the Paranaguá bay (1h journey). The Ilhla do Mel with its suggesting name (literally honey island) is full of promises. The park is protected, cars are not allowed and the only ways to get around are by foot or by boat. It is perfect to discover the colorful fauna and the abundant flora along the paths in the forest before relaxing on the dreamy deserted beaches on the coast. Off the coast, the Superaguï Island and the marine park around it are famous for the mangroves and saltwater swamps, but also particularly for the abundant fauna which has evolved in this peaceful heaven. Jaguars are hard to see but other less shy species will let you approach them, particularly the hundreds of parrots and dolphins which live there. A destination of choice for nature and wildlife lovers.


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