Curitiba is the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná in the south of the country. It has a beautifully restored old center (cidade velha), where, every Sunday, a large arts and crafts market is held which draws thousands of visitors.
The city has 1.8 million inhabitants and is a true melting pot of cultures. Besides descendants from Portuguese colonists and African slaves, descendants from other immigrants, from for example Poland, Germany, Italy and Ukraine live in the city.
Curitiba is located in the south of Brazil at an altitude of 934 meters. East of the city lies the mountain range Serro do Mar. Because of these mountains, it rains a lot in Curitiba, about 1500 mm annually. In winter it can be quite cold; it's the country's coldest city, mainly because of the high altitude.
Curitiba is an industrial and commercial center. Car production plays a big role in local economy, just like (financial) services. About 2 million people visit the city every year, as a result of which many inhabitants earn a living in tourism.
Curitiba Airport, Aeroporto Afonso Pena, is situated 17 kilometers southeast of the city center in Sao José dos Pinhais. The airport is easily reachable by rental car from Curitiba's center. First drive to the Jardim Botanico and then via the Rod. Curitiba Paranaguá and the Roan. Contorno Leste (part of the beltway around the city) to the airport.
Curitiba has a very efficient public transport system, with fast buses, which run on special bus lanes. The long, double-articulated buses stop at elevated platforms, making boarding and disembarking easy for disabled people as well. There's also a special tourist bus which stops at over twenty places of interest.
Although Curitiba's network of streets is well-organized, it may not be easy to find your way around. This is because of the many one-way streets and streets reserved for buses in the center. It's difficult to find a parking place in the city center, but there are several parking garages (locations are signposted) where you can park your car.
The city has an extensive choice of accommodations. Especially the budget category is well represented, but you can also find rooms in midrange or luxury hotels, or in an apartment building.
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