Considered by many to be one of Brazil's safest, cleanest and most well-organized cities, Curitiba is one of the best destinations in South America. The name "Curitiba" comes from the Tupi words kuri and tyba, which together translate to "many pine seeds." The city rests on a plateau more than 3,000 feet above sea level, though it is only about 65 miles from the Paranaguá Bay, which empties into the warm waters of the South Atlantic Ocean.
The first European settlers arrived in 1693, however, the first 10 years of the city's existence was a violent period due to the conflicts between European colonists and the indigenous tribes of the region. The city experienced a huge influx of immigrants in the mid-1800s from countries such as Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Russia, making it one of the most culturally diverse cities in Brazil.
Curitiba will be hosting a number of games during the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup, which is set to begin in June and run until the middle of July. The impressive Estadio Joaquim Americo - better known as the Arena da Baixada - will be the location of the international soccer contests. The stadium has a reputation as being one of the best in the country, and is the home field for the local club Atletico Paranaense. It came as no surprise to the Brazilian fan base when this historic stadium was chosen to house some of the world's best players as they attempt to secure their place in history as World Cup champions for the sixth time.
Art and Culture
With such a wide range of cultures represented in Curitiba, it is easy to see why this city is home to some spectacular artistic and culturally significant venues. The sprawling metropolis is home to some of the country's most beautiful architectural achievements, as well as a number of establishments that allow visitors to take in the unique and inspiring art of Brazil. The city itself is a wonder of modern planning and design, and currently the model for reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.
Oscar Neimeyer Art Museum
This museum first opened its doors to the public in November 2002, and ever since it has been considered one of the best in the city. The unique design was created by Oscar Neimeyer, a famous Brazilian architect for whom the museum is named, and features more than 170,000 square feet of gallery space that houses a vast collection of fine artwork. The building also contains a 400-seat auditorium, cafes, mechanical lifts and leisure spaces for patrons to enjoy as they meander through this colossal structure.
The Guaíra Theater and Cultural Center was built in the 1970s, and remains one of the largest concert halls in South America with a maximum capacity of nearly 3,000 people. Visitors will enjoy a wide range of performers, such as the Symphony Orchestra of Paraná, the Balé Teatro Guaíra and the Teatro de Comédia do Paraná, who perform concerts, dance routines and theatrical performances, respectively. Visitors should take the time to enjoy a matinee performance or after-dinner concert at the Teatro Guaíra during their trip to beautiful Curitiba.
Over the course of the past century, a large number of Japanese immigrants have made a home within the inland city of Curitiba. A memorial to that heritage resides along the Avenue Sete de Setembro, in the Praça do Japão. In this scenic park, visitors will find 30 gorgeous Japanese cherry trees and a few artificial lakes, designed to reflect the natural landscape of Japan. In 1993, a tea house and cultural center were added to the square, where guests can enjoy a piping hot beverage and learn about the cultural idiosyncrasies of this Eastern culture.
Curitiba After Dark
The country of Brazil is known for its epic festivities during the celebration of Carnival, and Curitiba certainly offers some similar flair every weekend. The population of this vast metropolis has a large concentration of younger individuals, so a good time is never hard to find. Whether you're in the mood for a quiet dive bar to enjoy a chilled beverage or a wild electronic club to dance the night away, this expansive city has plenty to offer.
This popular club features nightly guest DJs that spin tracks ranging from hip-hop to electro house. Two floors and three bars ensure that you can easily obtain your beverage of choice in timely fashion and make friends with the locals who frequent the spot.
Sláinte Irish Pub
If you're in the mood for a pint, head over to the Sláinte Irish Pub, located near the Praça da Espanha. Here you'll find a warm and comfortable atmosphere that mimics the charm of an authentic Dublin pub. Order up a round of Guinness or check out some of the local brews on tap.