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Ecotourism in Brazil


Travel & Tours / Brazil – Guaraqueçaba (State of Paraná) is located in the southern Lagamar Complex, 170 km northeast of Curitiba and one of the main entrances to the Superagüi National Park (see map). In tupi - guarani, Guaraqueçaba means "Rest of the Guará", a red sea bird that gave the caiçara village its name.

The first information about this region goes back to 1630, when Gabriel de Lara, founder of the captaincy of Paranaguá, discovered a promising gold mine in the Serra Negra area, attracting a large number of miners and adventurers. Arond 1770, it was the time of the missionaries of the house of "Missões de Cananéia", that founded an agricultural and religious establishment in Superagüi with the purpose of civilizing the Carijó Indians.

The first seeds of the village of Guaraqueçaba were spread with the finalization of the chapel of Bom Jesus dos Perdões, at the feet of the Quitumbê hill. Behind the chapel leads a small trail to the top of the hill, from where there is a fantastic view over the mangrove bay of Guaraqueçaba. Many personalities from Brazil and abroad visited or lived in the Guaraqueçaba region and were seduced by the exhuberancy of its nature and local ecosystems.

Aside from Hans Staden, the German painter and linguist Julius Platzmann lived on Pinheiro island between 1858 and 1864. During his stay, he studied the grammar and language of the local Indians, publishing a Tupí - German dictionary, after his return to Germany.

Guaraqueçaba had its golden years from the mid of last and the beginning of this century. Its economy was based on the production of banana and rice such as fishing and the exploitation of noble woods. It presented many characteristics of large cities, in that time: two journals, “O Paraná” (1900) and “A Reaçao” (1917), a shooting club, miss election, literature and music club and telegraph.

Guaraqueçaba's development was very slow. Electricity, for instance, only in 1980 was installed. Until than, the light was provided by generators, solely until 10 a clock at night. Thanks to Copel, the state owned energy company, today the majority of the local communities on the islands have access to solar energy. Unfortunately, the maintenance of the solar panels became a mayor obstacle, due to the lack of training and spare parts.

One of the principal attempts to recover the region's economy was the construction of the Antonina - Guaraqueçaba road (rodovia estadual PR - 404), in the beginning of 1951. The idea was to connect PR-404 with the existing BR-101 and to build a coastal "super highway" between São Paulo and Curitiba. It took 21 year to inaugurate the 100 km long road, from which until today only 20 km are paved and the remaining 80 km are a simple earth trail. Thanks to the protests of environmental organizations, the continuation of this road, until the State of São Paulo, at least until now, was never finished – Adventure Travel / Brazil.

See also: São Paulo - Curitiba (guided tour)
                 São Paulo - Curitiba (trail maps)