Ok, so it isn’t really Curitiba’s best beach, but that is because Curitiba doesn’t have any beaches seeing as how it is up on a plateau about 1, 000m above sea level. However, in about an hour’s drive you can be at the beach (assuming you aren’t trying to drive there on a holiday, when it can take 3 times as long) and they all have one thing in common: they are crap.
They are all long and flat without any real charm to them. The sand is usually packed down so that walking on the beach is like walking on soft concrete. The water is often dirty, and usually cold and the currents can be very strong.
There is, however, one exception to all of this.
Ilha do Mel (Honey Island) is an island about a 30 minute ferry-boat ride away or an hour and a half from Paranagua. Most of the island is a nature reserve and the numbers of visitors are restricted to about 4,000. As soon as you get off the ferry, if not before, all your stress disappears because the way of life here is a lot more relaxed. The reason for this is, I think, the fact that there are no cars here so everything goes a lot slower.
On the east cost of the island, which faces the Atlantic, the wind is strong and the waves are usually very big. I’ve been told that this is the best surfing in Paraná although, as a non-surfer, I couldn’t tell if this is true or not.
On the west, more sheltered, side there is practically no current and the waves are very gentle, making it perfect for families. The view is somewhat spoiled by the huge ships coming into port, but you can ignore them after a few caipirinhas from the beach front bar.
You can walk up a few hills or just lounge around in a bar or on the beach. There is music in a few places, but never too loud to piss anyone off. There are boat trips around the island, or to go and find some dolphins.
It almost has everything.
The only thing that is missing is a doctor, so that when your 2-year-old son dislocates his elbow all you can do is beat a hasty retreat back to the mainland.
And that’s when the stress really hits you.
I am still reading ‘The Magus’ by John Fowles. As it is such a long book, and I have so little time I think I am going to be reading it for a while yet. It has become very complex but the writing is excellent and keeping my interest up.