Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 World cup host cities - Curitiba, Brazil

About:

Curitiba is the capital of the Brazilian state Paraná, which is located in the southern part of Brazil. The city was founded in 1693 and 1,8 million people live there nowadays.  The population is formed mainly by European emigrants from Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Poland and Italy.
Before start to travel to Brazil check my post - 6 things to know, before you travel to Brazil.
Curitiba - Brazil, Foto: Portal da Copa

Location

Curitiba is situated in south part of Brazil at about  105 km (65 mi) west of the Atlantic Ocean and sits on a plateau at 932 m (3000 ft.) above sea level. The city occupies an area of 432 sq. km. (166 sq. mi.).

Climate

Curitiba has a subtropical climate, but because of the altitude of almost 1000 meters above the sea level, an average minimum temperature during the winter (June-September) is 7 °C (45 °F) and sometimes falling even below 0 °C (32 °F). In the summer (December-March) temperatures could reach of maximum through 30°C / 90°F.

How to get there


  • by air

Afonso Pena International Airport is located about 17 km (10.6 miles) from Curitiba city center and close to Sao José dos Pinhais.
There is minibus line (Aeroporto Executivo) connecting the airport to the city center, which costs R$ 10,00 / USD 4,5. The Direct Line 208 (Ligeirinho Aeroporto) is another option of transportation to downtown.
Taxi services:
Associação Rádio Táxi Alternativa - +55 41 3257-5757
Associação Rádio Táxi LTDA -  +55 41 3262-6262
Associação Teletaxi - +55 41 3224-2424
Taxi service from airport to Curitiba downtown will cost you about R$ 60 / USD  27.

  • by bus

The main bus terminal is part of the larger Train and Bus station -  Estaçao Rodoferroviária. There are buses from Curitiba to most of the Brazilian cities, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

 How to Get Around

Public transportation system in Curitiba consists mainly of buses (metro system is under construction) and it is the recommended transportation option for tourists. Single ticket costs between R$ 1,50 and R$ 2,70  (USD 0,67 / USD 1,2).

World cup 2014 Stadium location 

Baixada Arena will be the venue of four group stage World Cup 2014 matches. Located just 3,5 km /2 mi from Curitiba city center, the stadium has capacity of 42 000 seats.
To get to the stadium, you can take bus number 203 or to walk (which will take you half an hour from Praça Tiradentes).
Group stage
16.06.14 – Iran - Nigeria
20.06.14 – Honduras - Ecuador
23.06.14 – Australia - Spain
26.06.14 – Algeria  – Russia

Where to Stay

If you are looking for cheap hotels, the best option to find something is around Curitiba’s city Centre. If you prefer to stay near the stadium, there are a lot of good hotels at walking distance of the Arena da Baixada:

Where to Eat

Like in most Brazilian cities, you will find fixed price restaurants or Por Quilo in Curitiba, too. The very typical dish you must try is – barreado (beef stew that simmers slowly for more than 24 hours in a clay pot). Restaurants offering local cuisine can be found at the Batel area, while Santa Felicidade area abounds with Italian restaurants .
The favorite drink in Curitiba, like in the rest of Brazil is ‘caipirinha’ (cachaca, liquor that is distilled from sugar cane mixed with lime and sugar).

What to do and what to see

While in Curitiba you may visit Botanical Garden with its Flower Museum, Oscar Niemeyer Museum (One of the biggest and most modern museums in Brazil), Barigüi Park (1.4 million sq.m. park), Ópera de Arame (one of the symbols of Curitiba), Metropolitan Cathedral at Tiradentes plaza , Japan square and historic part, (Largo da Ordem / Praça Coronel Enéas, Praça Garibaldi – São Francisco).

Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014 World cup host cities - Fortaleza, Brazil

About:

With population of about 2,5 million people Fortaleza is the capital city of the Brazilian state Ceará. Located in Northeastern part of Brazil, Fortaleza is the fifth largest city in the country.  Discovered in 1500 and founded as a village in 1726, Fortaleza is one of the popular tourist destinations with its 34 km/ 21 mi of wonderful beaches.
Before start to travel to Brazil check my post - 6 things to know, before you travel to Brazil.
Fortaleza - Brazil
Fortaleza - Brazil, Foto: Portal da Copa

Location

Fortaleza is situated in the north-east part of Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean coast and occupies an area of 313 sq. km. (121 sq. mi.).

Climate

Fortaleza has a tropical climate and average temperatures of 23º C / 73 °F - 31º C / 88 °F. The rainy season is from February to May and the dry one, between July and December.

How to get there

  • by air
Pinto Martins International Airport is located just 8 km /5 mi from the city center.
The taxi to the center will cost you about R$ 30 (USD 13.5). Another transport option to get to downtown is to catch buses:
404 – Airport-Benfica-Rodoviária
066 – Paramgaba-Papicu-Airport
027 – Siqueira-Papicu-Airport
Fare is R$ 2.20 /  USD 1.
  • by bus
The main bus terminal is close to the airport and it takes about 25 minutes to get to downtown and about 15 minutes by bus 404 to the airport. There are buses to the most parts of the country (via connections).

How to Get Around

Tourists in Fortaleza usually go to the most attractive part - Beira Mar, which is basically the sea side. If you prefer do discover the city by bus, you will have no problems to do it, because there is good public transport network. The ticket price for buses is R$ 2 / USD 1.
Taxis in Fortaleza have stickers on the rear windows, displaying the fare, so avoid those which don’t have such information displayed.

World cup 2014 Stadium location 

Castelão Arena (Estadio Castelao) was completely refurbished for the World cup and now it has almost 59 000 seats. Located just 7 km /4 mi from the airport, the stadium is easily accessible.
To get to the stadium, you can take bus number 666.
Group stage
Match 7
14.06.14 – Uruguay - Costa Rica
Match 17
17.06.14 – Brazil - Mexico
Match 29
21.06.14 – Germany - Ghana
Match 38
24.06.14 – Greece – Côte d'Ivoire
Round of sixteen
Match 51
29.06.14 – 1B – 2A
Quarter-Finals
Match 57
04.07.14 – W49 – W50

Where to Stay

Most of the accommodation options in Fortaleza are located east of the centre in the Dragão do Mar. Tourists prefer to stay along Iracema beach, Mereiles and along Avenida Beira Mar up to the Mereiles area.
There are however some hotels near to the Arena Castelão:

Where to Eat

Fortaleza cuisine offers  Ceará is Baião-de-dois , churrasco , feijoada , tapioca and some other typical dishes for the Northeast of Brazil and of course seafood. Most of the restaurants in the city are located around Varjota - along Rua Fredrico Borges and its side streets.
Some good restaurants and bars:
Voinilo  – a fish restaurant;
Coco Bambu – Brazilian cuisine;
La France – rich selection of dishes and good wines;
Parque Recreio – open air restaurant, which offers barbeque;
Forró do Pirata – for dance lovers;
Santa Clara Café – café.

 What to do and what to see

The city has several urban beaches, which attracts lot of tourists:  Praia do Futuro, Praia de Iracema, Meireles, Aquiraz, Caponga, Beberibe. There are a lot of opportunities for water sports (scuba diving, Surfing, Kite, and Wind Surfing) and sand buggy rides.
You may also visit Dragão do Mar Cultural Centre, Museu de Arte e Cultura Popular, city Cathedral, Museu do Automóvel (car museum), Fortaleza Central Market  and to see the sunset from Ponte Metalica or Praia Iracema. In addition there are a lot of festivals during the whole year in Fortaleza.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 World cup host cities - Manaus, Brazil

About:

Manaus is the capital of the biggest Brazilian state Amazonas. Founded in 1693, the city has population of about 2 million people. Amazonas is one of the foremost far-famed places on the earth as a result of its within the middle of the world’s biggest woodland. The state is larger than France and Spain put together.
 Before start to travel to Brazil check my post - 6 things to know, before you travel to Brazil.
Manuas - Brazil
Manuas - Brazil, Foto: Portal da Copa

Location

Manaus is situated in the north part of Brazil, where the Negro meets the Amazon river (also known as Solimões) in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Manaus occupies an area of 11 sq. km. (4 sq. mi.), while the Amazonas state is 1.5 million sq. km. (579 238 sq. mi.).

Climate

Manaus has an equatorial climate and average temperatures of 28º C / 82 °F and air humidity of over 80 %. The rainy season is from December to May and the dry one, between June and November.

How to get there

Access to Manaus is mainly by boat or airplane, because the city is located in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

  • by air

Eduardo Gomes International Airport is the main entry point to Manaus and is located 14 km / 9 mi north of downtown.
To get Amazonia Arena, you could use bus lines 59 Com. São Pedro/C. Sales/T3; 306 Airport/T1/City Centre and 3 T3/Redenção/Ponta Negra. Ticket price is R$ 2.75 (USD 1.2). Taxi price to Amazonia Arena is fixed to R$ 65.00 (USD 30) .

  • by boat

If you have 5 days to spend, you can take a boat from Belém (on the Atlantic Ocean) and reach Manaus on the Amazon River.

How to Get Around

You could use Manaus public transport, but have in mind that from 5 to 7 pm at and 7 to 8 a.m., buses are filled with commuters and it’s not a bad idea to avoid travelling at that times.
Taxis have two rates:
1.Working days, from 6 am to 10 pm: R$ 2.40 / USD 1
and
2.Working days, from 10 pm to 6 am and  Sundays and holidays: R$ 3.20 / USD 1.5

World cup 2014 Stadium location 

Amazonia Arena (Arena da Amazônia) will host 2014 World cup football matches. The stadium has 45 000 seats and is just 7 km / 4.3 mi away from the airport.
Group stage
Match 8
14.06.14 – England - Italy
Match 18
18.06.14 – Cameroon - Croatia
Match 30
22.06.14 – USA - Portugal
Match 41
25.06.14 – Honduras - Switzerland

Where to Stay

There are plenty of hotels in city center (centro), but for those of you who prefer to stay near Amazonia Arena, there are a few options on a walking distance.

Where to Eat

Manaus cuisine offers delicious river fishes, which you definitely must try. Tambaqui is the favorite fish of Amazonian people and pirarucu is the biggest one. Other local meals are: tacacá – local soup; tapioquinha - a glutinous pancake made from manioc starch. The typical local drink is sugar cane juice.
Some good restaurants:

  • Cafeteria do Largo – Brazilian cuisine;
  • Tambaqui de Banda – a fish restaurant;
  • Casa da Sopa - a soup buffet.

What to do and what to see

The Amazon rain forest attracts thousands of tourists, who are curious to see wildlife on land and in the rivers. One of the top attractions is the place of the confluence of the Rio Negro River’s black waters and the Solimoes River brown waters, flowing side by side without mixing.  So if you decide to see those wonders of the nature, it’s good to know that there are boats tours in Manaus. You may also try some of the river beaches like Ponta Negra Beach and Praia da Lua Beach or to visit The National Park of Jaú.
Beside the amazing Amazonian nature, there are other places of interest in Manaus like Amazonas Opera house (Teatro Amazonas) and Rio Negro Palace.

Monday, May 12, 2014

2014 World cup host cities - Natal, Brazil

About:

Founded in 1599, Natal is the capital city of the Brazilian state Rio Grande do Norte. With its population of more than 800,000 people, the city is one of the major tourist destinations in Brazil. Natal with its amazing beaches, is becoming more and more popular among Brazilian and international tourists. It is a fact that Natal is one of the Brazilian cities nearest Europe and North America.
Natal, Brazil
Natal, Brazil
Before start to travel to Brazil check my post - 6 things to know, before you travel to Brazil 

Location

Natal is situated, where Potengi River disgorges its waters into the Atlantic Ocean. The city is divided into four areas – South (tourist area), North (industrial area), East (Natal’s historical center and major sights) and West and occupies an area of 179 sq km (65 sq mi).
Climate
Natal is known as the Sun City, because of tropical climate and annual average temperatures of 28º C / 82 °F. People who live here, enjoy 300 sunny days a year.

How to get there

  • by air
The easiest way to get to Natal is via Augusto Severo International Airport (Aeroporto Internacional Augusto Severo) . Located 20 km / 12 mi from downtown, it will take you about 15 minutes to travel from airport to the city.

How to Get Around

The major transport mode option is taxi. There are buses however, but usually very crowded.  Another very exiting transport option you may use to discover, mainly city beaches is to hire a buggy. Its price is about USD 140 – 150, but it’s worth.

World cup 2014 Stadium location 

The new Dunas Arena (Arena das Dunas) replaced the old Machadão stadium. With its capacity of 42 000, the stadium will host the following 2014 World cup football matches:

Group stage
Match 2
13.06.14 – Mexico - Cameroon
Match 14
16.06.14 – Ghana - USA
Match 22
19.06.14 – Japan - Greece
Match 39
24.06.14 – Italy - Uruguay

Dunas Arena is located about 5 km/ 3 mi south from Natal old town and is connected by public transport buses 24, 33, 33a, 35, 42, 43 and 66.

Where to Stay

Dunas stadium is located in a residential area, so the most accommodation options are available along the seashore.  There are, however some good hotels around:


Where to Eat

Natal cuisine makes use of several local ingredients, which create some different (local) tastes and flavors. You will find variety of sea food restaurants. Here are some typical dishes you could try:
  • Feijoada - stew of black beans, beef, and pork
  • Acaraje - deep-fried ball of black-eyed peas
  • Carne del Sol: sun-dried beef meat
  • Churrasco – typical Brazilian barbeque

What to drink:

Cachaca - the national spirit of Brazil;
Caipirinha – traditional exotic cocktail

Some good restaurants:

  • Abade – one of the best restaurants in the city;
  • Camarões  - seafood;
  • Casa de Taipa – Brazilian food;
  • Tranquilo for buffet lovers

What to do and what to see

Don’t forget that Natal is well known for its natural beautiful white sand beaches. The most famous are : Ponta Negra; Praia do Forte ; Via Costeira.
Other popular places, you may wish visit:

  • Natal's Historic Center - declared a national heritage site in 2010;
  • Forte dos Reis Magos – a fortress built in 1,598;
  • The largest aquarium in Northeast part of Brazil;
  • Dunas Park - Second biggest urban park in Brazil;