7 Things Curitiba Gets Completely Right

English: Flag of municipality of Curitiba, cap...

Curitiba’s flag kind of reminds me of another one I know well. (Wikipedia)

I have been living in Curitiba for a while now and, while it might not be the best city in the world it certainly has a lot going for it.  Here are 7 things that I think Curitiba gets completely (or at least mostly) right.

And in the interested of balance, here is a post called ‘6 Things Curitiba Gets Completely Wrong‘.

1. Recycling

The numbers vary, but it seems that around 80% of the waste produced in Curitiba is recycled.  This is an extremely high number and one that should make most other cities in the world blush in disgrace.

Edit: Since posting this it has been pointed out to me that the figure is 80% of collected waste is recycled, not 80% of produced waste.  This is still an impressive figure, but it does make a difference.

2. Public Transport

Ok, so it isn’t completely right.  There are problems with the public transport system in Curitiba, but in relation to everywhere else I have been to in South America it is pretty bloody good.

3. The Weather

English: Winter skyline in Curitiba.

Winter skyline in Curitiba. (Wikipedia)

We have seasons.  We get summer and winter. Sometimes in the same day, but at least it isn’t always baking hot or always pissing down with rain.  I lived in the UK where it always seemed to rain, and in Rio where it was always hot.  Curitiba seems to strike a nice balance between the two.

4. Cold People

They come in for a lot of stick from the rest of Brazil because they are cold or snobbish.  They don’t talk to you on the bus and if you are in the lift with them they all get their phones out and stare at them as if they have something really important that they simply must look at right now.  They don’t, it is just a good excuse not to have to look at the other person in the lift and start a conversation.  Anything beyond how are you is a deep and meaningful conversation.  For me, this is great.

5. Beer

There are now lots of places to buy decent beer.  It might be expensive but we have the option.  There are also a number of small artisan or micro breweries popping up all the time.  Thank god we don’t have to always drink Skol or Antartica anymore; it would be enough to drive a man to sobriety, or pinga.

6. Food

The Italian food here is amazing, due to lots of Italian immigrants.  But we also have some excellent Arabian food, German food and quite a few other types.  We even have quite a good Indian restaurant now.  The variety is here, as is the quality and it is usually affordable.  (One proviso, please stay away from Santa Felicidade.  All the tourists go there to eat because it was an Italian neighbourhood, but in my experience the food is over-priced plastic rubbish).

Greenhouses at night in the Botanical Garden o...

Greenhouse at night in the Botanical Garden (Wikipedia)

7. Parks

There are lots of big parks all around Curitiba.  Curitiba is a strange big Brazilian city because it doesn’t have a beach, so these parks are our beaches.  They are also, more often than not, used as flood plains so that when it rains all the water has somewhere to go.

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42 thoughts on “7 Things Curitiba Gets Completely Right

  1. Love this. I agree with you on people trying to chit chat for no reason… I like it too.
    But Curitiba is quite different from the rest of Brazil, no? Well, at least, this is the impression I got.

    • Thanks for your comment Annabelle.

      I think you are right, there are lots of differences between Curitiba and the rest of Brazil. But then Brazil is so big that there are also differences between Rio and the rest of Brazil, Sao Paulo, Salvador and so on.

  2. That is the reality of Curitiba, my friend. I’m laughing because it really is so.
    I was born here and my grand grandparents came from Italy, so we still have the “European coolness”. But it’s good because we do what we do without being bothered. Although the city has grown in a few years and a lot of people from other parts of Brazil, giving a more cheerful air.
    May you continue enjoying this spectacular city is Curitiba and never drink Skol and Antarctica, LOL.
    And sorry for my bad english 😉

    • Silvio, you have nothing to apologise for about your English. Unfortunately, sometimes I have no choice but to drink Skol. But it is ok occasionally 😉 I think it is good that the city had grown as it adds a bit more to the city.

      • Stephen, if you like Fuller´s and many others, take a look here: Empório Weiss – Cervejas Especiais´
        R Eduardo Sprada, 416
        It is my favorite. People will talk to you only if you ask for – including the owner 😉

      • I was born here (curitiba) and i’m completely in love with this town! I can recommend some awesome places for drinking beer: Hop’n Roll Beer Club! Close to shopping mueller for begin…!

      • I was in Hop’n Roll a couple of weeks ago and they have an impressive variety of beers. Somebody told me that they sell home brew kits as well, so I might have to go back and check that out.

  3. HI there! I totally agree about the beer. It’s great. There are so many new brands now and it seems like Curitibanos would rather pay more than drink awful ones.

  4. Curitiba will be one the most important city in the future for whole world…the word is sustainability.
    Curitiba. Minha cidade, minha vida.

  5. I lived in Curitiba for 5 years, for me this city is the best in Brazil, for sure there are many problem as the big cites, but for some reason I think Curitiba is different, still different, maybe in the future it will be the same or not, I had good times in this City, I’m Brazilian I’m proud that, I spent my 29 years in the Parana State, Great State (province), but the point is, we have the some problems for everyone that live in Brazil, the corruption, Government == some bad people, not only Government, I mean, the people sometimes look like animal, wild animal, they’re so selfish and dishonest, sometimes I ask myself, why?? after 29 years living there, after a lot fights, I decided to get out, to get a life, now I’m living in Vancouver, I think here(Canada) is the best place to live forever so far, we have problems here, but in Canada I feel respected, I feel like human.

  6. Hey! I am happy to read your post with positive points (according to your reference) you have noticed about Curitiba. I remember that post with not so good things about Festa Junina, so this is a different approach here. 🙂
    I went to Curitiba when I was 12yo as a tourist, but I did not notice the people there were cold. That would not be a positive point for me, I love the friendliness we can find on the streets in many Brazilian cities. In fact, that is one thing I miss a lot living here in the US. On the other hand, I was happy to read they recycle a lot there as it is still very precarious in Rio.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • These are just my opinions about the place I am living, Tereza. There is no perfect place, but everywhere has advantages and disadvantages. I think the important thing is not to think the place you live is heaven or hell, but to be honest and see it as somewhere in between.

  7. Great article! I have been living in Curitiba for about 7 years. I like it, I guess, but since I came from San Diego, CA, it has a lot to compete with. I totally agree with you about the beer. If I see another can of Skol I think I’m going to freak. I really enjoy Bar Alemao in Largo de Ordem. But you’re gonna get an unpleasant shock when you see the bill at the end of the night. :/ As far as people being cold, it doesn’t bother me too much. No extra chit chat on elevators. But it does bother me sometimes when people in my own condominium never say hello or participate in community get-togethers. The biggest drawback to living in Curitiba is the lack of beaches. My surfing ‘career’ has really suffered! hehe

    • Thanks for your comment Jeff.

      I come from Birmingham, right in the middle of the UK where we are about as far away from a beach as it is possible to be in Britain. This means that a lack of beaches isn’t really a problem for me (although I do miss our extensive canal network 😉 ) and I never had a surfing career.

  8. Great post, is always good to read a different perspective about Curitiba. Brazilians tend to idolize Curitiba a little bit, but in my opinion is for a fair reason. My husband is English and I just took him to visit Curitiba, since that’s where my parents live in Brazil. I think he liked the city but since we got a lot of cloudy and rainy days during our stay he said the city felt like “home” 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Larissa.

      When the cloud comes in for a few days it can get a bit depressing and English.

      While I do like the city I am also aware of some of its problems and, if I can find the time, I’ll write about some of them next week.

  9. I’m living in Rio and recently visited Curitiba. It was truly a breath of fresh air. I couldn’t believe that a place like that existed in Brazil. I can understand why you chose to live there.

    • Thanks for the comment.

      I lived in Rio for a while and I loved it. The two problems with the city are the fact that everything is so dmaned expensive and it is too crazy there to bring up a family. If you don’t have any responsibilities, though, it is the place to be.

    • To be honest, I don’t think it is going to make that much of a difference. Some of the projects that were proposed have been dropped, most of the ones that are being implemented are going to be late and now the focus is just on making everything look good cosmetically. It looks like it is going to be a missed opportunity to me.

  10. Pingback: Six Things to Know About Curitiba, Brazil - WanderingJustin.com

  11. Pingback: What’s Brazil Like? - WanderingJustin.com

  12. It is good to know that our public transport system is good in relation of South America, I use it 2 times/week to come back from school, in the other days, one of my parents come get me.

    • I’ve started walking a lot more now. This is mainly because of the price and the fact that I need to get two buses to where I work, but walking only takes me about 10 minutes longer.

  13. Curitiba really have a lot of parks, all the people I know who came from other countries/citys to Curitiba says that the thing they most liked in here is the parks and tourism points, my professor said that Curitiba is a touristic city and I totally agree with him, my favourite is the Bosque do Alemão.


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