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State Park of Vila Velha

State Park of Vila Velha

Although we always had clients visiting Vila Velha, I had not been going for a long time and I wanted to go check it out to give you firsthand information! The Vila Velha State Park is already a classic for anyone who visits Curitiba and continues to be beautiful – check out the information here and include it in your schedule too! Find here what you will find:

– Where is located

– About the park

– Sandstone

– Furnas and Lagoa Dourada

– What else to visit in the region

– Cologne Witmarsum

– Dutch colonies

– Father’s Hole (Buraco do Padre)

– Klein Brewery

– Dish Route

WHERE IS LOCATED

First, the road from Curitiba to Ponta Grossa is beautiful and is only 90 km away on a very good highway. In Curitiba we are in the first plateau and the vegetation and the landscape change as we move away. The araucaria forest gives space to fields and the rock formations typical of the Campos Gerais. It is beautiful to see and on the way you will pass through Campo Largo and next to the Witmarsum Colony.

You can combine the walk to the Old Village with other attractions, as you will see later

Access is via BR-277 towards Curitiba / Ponta Grossa.

ABOUT THE PARK

The State Park of Vila Velha was created in 1953 and during this period it underwent several modifications in its structure. Before people could even climb on top of the sandstones and to readjust it, it was closed for several years.

As we are still working to inform people about nature care, the visits today only occur with monitors to avoid depredation of this natural patrimony. Eating is not allowed to not attract animals. Smoking is also prohibited.

At the Visitor Center there is parking, information, ticket office, restrooms, snack bar and souvenir shop. It is from there that the buses that lead to the attractions of the park. Schedules are fixed and it is mandatory to hire accredited guides in the park to accompany visitors.

The Vila Velha State Park usually opens to the public on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays the visits must be scheduled in advance so that an accredited guide is waiting for you. The park closes for maintenance on Tuesdays. It opens at 8:30am and the last visit takes place at 15:30pm. The maximum number of visitors per day is 800 people. Therefore, it is important to schedule to go in the morning and ensure!

Schedule at least 3 hours for the visit, which is the time it takes Sandstones and the visit to Furnas and Lagoa Dourada, considering that you will get one schedule after another.

It is important to go with comfortable sneakers with non-slip soles and bring sunscreen and repellent. For young children the trail can be tiring, but it is a great opportunity for a family activity.

The transportation inside the park is done by bus from the park itself, always accompanied by a guide. If it is a large group with its own transportation, it can also be used, as long as it is not too high, since the access to Lagoa Dourada has a height and width limit, as it passes under a bridge. Inquire in the park administration about the restrictions.

The region where today is the State Park of Vila Velha was seabed many millions of years ago. In the second part of the sandstone trail you can touch the fine sand that forms them. It’s very different from the one we found at sea – it took 300 million years for her to stay like this!

SANDSTONE

The main attractions of Vila Velha State Park are sandstones, which have very curious shapes, some more obvious and others that require more imagination. The guides point and show each one.

The sandstones were formed by the action of winds, rain and erosion in a process that lasted 300 million years.

Sandstone visit schedules are frequent and on busy days the transportation of the park leaves every 30 minutes.

The sandstone trail has two parts. The first part has 1,100 meters and only 7 steps. It goes up to the bowl and lasts about 50 minutes.

Arriving in the glass, which is the most famous sandstone of the park, the visitor can choose to return to the bus or continue walking the second part, which is a bit more pulled.

The second part of the trail is over 1,600 meters long and almost 200 steps, which concentrate more at the end. Here the vegetation is closer and you can see the sandstone very closely. As it is more humid, the sandstones have another color and consistency. It is very interesting to do both parts of the trail and know everything, but if it has rained in the previous days, the second part of the trail may be slippery.

vila-velha-special-parana-joel-rocha

FURNAS AND GOLDEN POND

Another part of the Vila Velha State Park houses two other attractions: the Furnas and the Lagoa Dourada (Golden Pond).

The Furnas are wells of collapse that were formed 400 million years ago. That is, they were “caves” that at some time in the past, millions of years ago, collapsed, leaving these craters on the ground. Two furnas of the park have structure for visitation. The trail to Furnas is 700 meters long and 15 steps.

The Furna 1 is the most characteristic and has a diameter of approx. 80 meters and 110 meters deep, in addition to the flooded area. In the late 1970s a lift was built for visitors, which today is disabled due to environmental and safety issues.

The second furna is longer and its diameter varies from 90 to 150 meters. It also has 100m of depth and a flooded area of more than 50 meters.

The Lagoa Dourada (Golden Pond) is an ancient cave in the process of silting, that is, it is gradually breaking down in a process of millions of years. The name is given the color of the reflection of its waters at certain times of the day, when its surface appears gold. The trail to get there is short – about 400 meters. The lagoon extends over an area of approximately 220 meters and its depth varies from 5 to 40 meters. You can not fish or swim here. It is a natural aquarium of Rio Guabiroba. The access to the Golden Pond is by a trail of approx. 400 meters long and some steps.

WHAT ELSE TO VISIT IN THE REGION

The Campos Gerais region has several cool places that you can include in the script. Here are some cool ideas to get to know and combine with your trip to the Vila Velha State Park. I hope you enjoy the options below, which are successful among our customers. But if you prefer something different, we can put together a personalized script!

COLOGNE WITMARSUM

The old Cancela farm was bought by Mennonites in the 1950s that turned it into an important dairy and agricultural hub that has developed tourism in recent years. They are Russian-Germans who came to Brazil to maintain their faith and customs. Work, family and religion are the basis of the community, which still preserves the German language. The visit to the Heimat Museum, which tells the history of the colony, is almost obligatory and a great lesson in the perseverance of this working people. The colony is a rural community, without a defined  downtown area. There is the cooperative, where is the supermarket, restaurants, cafes, shops and even a craft brewery. You can choose to have lunch specialties typical of Germany or perhaps a very tasty colonial coffee, with breads, cheeses, salami, savory and pies produced here. And be sure to try the fine cheeses produced here – they are a delight!

The tour of Vila Velha and Colonia Witmarsum can be done with prior schedules Monday and Wednesday to Sunday!

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NETHERLANDS COLONIES

A little further on from Ponta Grossa are Carambeí and Castrolanda, which received Dutch immigrants from 1911 and 1951, respectively. In Carambeí is the Historical Museum, Brazil’s largest open-air museum with a reconstructed 70% scale on the site. It is very interesting and picturesque, ideal for photos. The story of the pioneers was told here, which was the headquarters of the first cooperative of Paraná, Batavo. The community was developed on a tripod: education, Christianity and cooperativism.

In addition, Carambeí is famous for its pies – be sure to try it. In both Koffiehuis, the café at the Historical Park and at the famous Frederika’s confectionery you will find a huge variety – all very tasty!

The next stop is Castrolanda, with its Cultural Center which houses a real windmill and historical museum. Castrolanda was founded in 1951 and since then has developed a lot and has become the Dairy Capital of Brazil. At the mill and in the Cultural Center you will see details of the founding of the cooperative, which was organized even before the Dutch arrived in Brazil! Each immigrant took on a task in this enterprise that was to settle in a new country: farmers, stonemasons, bakers, teachers, pastor, etc. The space also has a restaurant and souvenir shop.

The tour of Vila Velha and Dutch Colonies is available from Friday to Sunday.

BURACO DO PADRE – “HOLE OF THE FATHER”

Access is by dirt road in the rural area of Ponta Grossa, but the place is well worth for those who enjoy quiet walks in the middle of nature. A light trail of 1 km takes a beautiful waterfall of 30m high, formed by the River Quebra Perna. The trail is accessible even for wheelchair users and leads to the lagoon formed by the waterfall. According to reports, the name of the place is due to the fact that in the past it was used by Jesuit priests for meditation. And it makes perfect sense! It is a very beautiful place that conveys a lot of peace.

buraco do padre

If you enjoy waterfall bathing, be sure to bring bathing suit and towels. You will not resist when you reach the end of the trail. For those who like to climb, there are two appropriate areas in the park: the Favo Sector and the Macarrão Sector. Bring your gear! The place has grills, bathrooms, snack bar and 24h security. It opens from Thursday to Sunday.

Also, on the way you can make a stop at Porto Brazos, which has several products based on blackberry. The blackberry chopp and the blackberry syrup waffles are a delight! The Vila Velha and Burado do Padre tour can be done with a previous appointment from Thursday to Sunday!

KLEIN BREWERY

The region of Curitiba is famous for its artisanal beers. In Campo Largo you can meet Klein, who is one of the great brands of the region. The restaurant of the brand is very nice and you can try some of the 14 labels produced here. A strategic stop for you to have lunch and to know the reason of the craft beers of the region of Curitiba are gaining more and more fans around Brazil and the world outside. But if you do not like beers so much, you can try the cider produced here (a delight!) Or the kombucha teas, which are still new in Brazil – also very tasty. The menu is varied and the dishes are very well served. The tour includes a “rule” of tasting, that is, 4 different types of chopp for you to know. Soon the factory will be attached to the restaurant and you can check the brewing process closely.

Klein (3)The tour can be confirmed on Saturdays and Sundays, with early booking.

PORCELAIN ROUTE

If you are thinking of renovating the dishes in your home, it is a good idea to combine the walk to Vila Velha with a visit to the shops in Campo Largo. The city is the capital of crockery (porcelain) in Brazil and in the factory shops you will find great variety and inviting prices. And they ship all over Brazil! The itinerary is aimed at shopping, since the visit to the manufacturing area is restricted and can be scheduled only for groups well in advance.

Louças

Did you like the suggestions about Vila Velha?

You can book one of the routes above with us and enjoy the exclusive service to which Special Paraná customers are accustomed! Or we can put something different for you – get in touch! Count on us to organize your visit to Curitiba and region!

curitiba-guide-youtubeBibiana Antoniacomi, tourism professional since 1995 and owner of Special Paraná Turismo Receptivo since 2007.

Dutch Settlements: a great tour close to Curitiba

Dutch Settlements: a great tour close to Curitiba

The settlement Castrolanda is located in Castro, in Paraná Estate. Its original area was 5,000 hectars and was the new home for Dutch immigrants that left Europe after the World War II. They arrived 1951 and were astonished about the size of the fields, totally different of what they had in Holland. Uniting the names Castro and Holland, the settlement started and the cooperative Castrolanda was founded.

memorial-castrolanda With the arrival of the Dutch families, agricultural infrastructure was brought. Exhibition at the Immigration Memorial.

But not everything was easy at the beginning. The pioneers had much work here and had to adapt to Brasil, with unknown cattle deseases and lack of technical assistance. But as they were allowed to bring their own equipment, they could establish a very successful dairy industry and developed quickly.

Milk Capital City 

At present days, Castrolanda cooperative is dedicated to expand business and achieve more space among the greatest cooperatives in Brazil. Their development is remarkable! Castro is known as the Milk Capital City due to the high productivity and quality reached here. Every year the event Agroleite is held here and presents exhibitions and new techniques to improve the milk production. It is the most complete event in the area in Brazil and a great opportunity for networking. 2016 the event will happen from 18th to 22nd October.

agroleite-castrolanda

► Entrance of “Cidade do Leite” – Milk City.
agroleite-castrolanda2Agroleite is one of the most important events of this area.

The cooperative built 1991 the Immigrant Museum that shows the history of the pioneer families who arrived here. The museum is located in an old house in European style. The furniture and objects were donated by the local families. A new museum is being built to have more space for exhibition. We will tell more when it is ready!

De Immigrant: one of the greatest windmills outside the Netherlands

In Castrolanda you will visit the windmill De Immigrant – the immigrant – inspired by the Woldzigt, located in Dentre, the hometown of many of the immigrants. The wings of the windmill are 26m long and its height is 35m. The windmill itself is a great attraction and inside you will visit the Dutch Immigration Memorial, in honor to the people who arrived here in the 1950´s. The museum is simply known as “windmill”  and was opened 2001, when the settlement completeted its 50 first years of existence. The windmills are the symbol for Holland and also for the cooperative.

moinho-de-immigrant-castrolanda
► Windmill De Immigrant in Castrolanda – it is also the Dutch Immigration Memorial.

Inside the memorial, a trip back in former times. Visitors can walk up 4 floors and have the chance to know more about the immigration, the history of the settlement and of the cooperative and enjoy the local built – curiosly, it is completely made of wood, without nails! The memorial has also a library and a typical Dutch pub. There is a souvenir shop! The Memorial is open from Friday to Sunday from 2pm to 6pm. Other days are subject to confirmation for groups of minimum 10 persons. For lunch or a coffee, you can make a stop in the local restaurant – Café de Molen, a rustic place that serves regular meals, nothing fancy.

memorial-da-imigração-holandesa

► Music instrument called Notenkraker.

castrolanda► Typical Dutch wooden shoes for pictures!

Biggest history open air museum in Brazil

When you arrive in Carambeí, you will have some more history about the Dutch immigration. Here, everything looks very real! You will visit the biggest history open air museum in Brazil spread over 100,000 sqm. In the middle of beautiful gardens you will find constructions like the ones from 1930´s to 1950´s. Visitors can imagine vividly how things where in the past. The memorial was created to preserve the memory of the pioneers, that left many benefits for the local community.

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► Right at the entrance you will cross a bridge brought from Holland!

The bulding from 1946 hosted the first part of the museum and is named “Casa da Memória” –  opened 2001. In 2011 the new part was ready: the historical village, true reproduction of the former houses in a 60% escale. Houses, train station, school, dairy industry, slaughter house, church and even the cemetery can be visited. All houses have objects from the past and remind the first years of the settlement. The “Parque das Águas” is the newest part of the museum and was opened 2015. It was inspired by the Zaanse Schanans, an environmental park in Holland.

Curiosity! Carambeí was the home of the first cooperative in Brazil, presently known as Batavo!

passeio-perto-de-curitiba-parque-histórico-carambeí (1)

carambeí-paranápasseio-perto-de-curitiba-parque-histórico-carambeí (4)► Architecture and much culture!

An interesting immersion in the local history and a great opportunity to see the local landscapes! A tour close to Curitiba for locals and tourists to experience the region from a different perspective, away from the beaten tracks. Do not forget your camera – the place is great for pictures!! There is also a souvenir shop with nice stuff to take home. Carambeí Historical Park opens from Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm. At the memorial house the entrance is free. The entrance fee for the other areas costs R$ 15 per person. Children from 7 to 12 years old, students, teachers and blood donors pay half. Children up to 6 years old and older than 60 years old are free.

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► What about to take a souvenir home?

Pies and more pies at Frederica’s!

This tip is a very special one – and quite delicious!! For the pies lovers, Frederica´s Koffiehuis is a mandatory stop. Located at Carambeí, you will find here sweet and savory pies in a very nice ambiance. During weekends, live music. From Wednesday to Friday, special offers for craft beer and appetizers in the evening. It opens from Wednesday to Friday from 2pm to 9pm and weekends from 2pm to 8pm. Adress: Avenida dos Pioneiros, 1010 – Carambeí – (42) 3231-4401.

frederica's-carambeí

► A beautiful place to enjoy delicious pies!
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► Cruchy strawberry pie at Frederica´s!

Find more information about Curitiba and region in our guide – download it now for free!

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Witmarsum Settlement: a menonite experience close to Curitiba

Witmarsum Settlement: a menonite experience close to Curitiba

Paraná Estate is a melting pot of many different cultures. Close to Curitiba there is the Colônia Witmarsum, located 65 km from Curitiba. In a short trip you can now more about the menonites who came to Brazil and have a countryside experience.

The Colônia Witmarsum was founded by menonites who came from the town Witmarsum in Santa Catarina. Originated in Frisia – today a part of Holland and Germany – the menonites arrived in Santa Catarina in 1930 and a group of them came to Paraná Estate 1951. They searched for more land to establish with their families and bought the Cancela farm in Palmeira. The Colônia Witmarsum was founded as a place to work and live according to their religion and habits. With much dedication and effort, the settlement is now reference in the milk and cheese production and other agricultural products and is a pleasant destination for a tour.

museu-de-história-witmarsumColônia Witmarsum has about 2,000 inhabitants, 1,200 of them are menonites. They keep alive their traditons and the German language and cuisine. You will be delighted with the beautiful landscapes and enjoy the country atmosphere. A very nice and rather unknown tour that will make your trip more interesting!

→ Book a tour that unites the beutiful rock formations of Vila Velha with Witmarsum!

To know more about the history of the settlment and about the menonites, the Heimat Museum is a mandatory stop. The place was the former main house of the farm Cancela and has a collection of dear objects of the pioneers.

museu-witmarsum

colônia-witmarsum-museu-acervo-2colônia-witmarsum-museu-acervocolônia-witmarsum-museu-acervo-3A trip back in time! The museum opens weekends and holidays from 2pm to 5pm. For visits during the week, it is necessary to book ahead. The entrance fee costs R$ 5,00. The local history teacher Egon Phillipsen works at the museum and will tell more details about the menonites and the settlement. Our tours include always a tour guide that will make the tour more informative and attractive to you. More information and bookings here!

Right beside the museum there is a tourist information office, where you can also buy some local products. The place is very charming!

centro-de-informações-turísticas-witmarsumFor lunch, enjoy the local German cuisine. At Bela Vista you will try delicious and traditional food as spätze (a kind of pasta), sauerkraut, kassler, sausages and much more! Do not miss the blackberry juice and apple strudel.

almoço-em-witmarsumrestaurante-em-witmarsumFor an afternoon coffee, Café Kliewer is a good choice! There is an option where everything is included (café colonial) or you can also order individually pies, sandwiches, cookies and much more. A good infrastructure for kids, with playground. A nice and rustic place to end the tour.

There are also some stores with local products to take home. Local visitors love to buy the fine cheese produced there. The cheese production began 1999 with the help of a Swiss cheese specialist and made Witmarsum famous in the region. Delicious cheese sorts as asiago, camembert, brie, emmental, raclette, among others…

You will find the shop Toll right in front of Café Kliewer. It sells cute things from Germany, such as the famous “Räuchermännchen”. You will also find here Kuckkuck clocks, decoration articles and local products.

loja-artesanato-witmarsumartesanato-alemão-witmarsumWitmarsum has now its own craft beer, the Usinamalte. You will find it in several restaurants and cafés. It is worth to try it!

usinamalte-witmarsum-cervejariaAnother nice suggestion is to make a tractor tour at Tracktur. They take between 10 and 25 minutes inside of a local farm. A fun experience for the whole family! It is also possible to ride a poney at Ponyland on Saturdays and Sundays.

Passeio-de-Tracktur-witmarsumWirtmarsum is a very and different destination just 65 km away from Curitiba. A pleasant and quiet place. Do not expect a village with a central square. The farms are a bit away from each other because it was a former farm that was divided among the first settlers and each one developed different activities as time went by. Today many locals are dedicated to tourism and the number of visitors increase every year, especially during weekends.

Do you want to visit Witmarsum?

>> Tour Vila Velha and Witmarsum <<

Did you know that you can also book technical visits about agriculture and milk production? Just contact us and we will be delighted to help. Phone: +55 41 3232.1314 | Email: info@specialparana.com

Curiosities about the menonites and about Witmarsum

  • The menonites did not come directly from Germany – before that they had moved to Russia, but they kept their German traditons. They ran away from Russia 1929 because they would be forced to entry the army, what is against their faith.
  • Boqueirão, a neighborhood in Curitiba, also welcomed many menonites and the milk production was important there as well. They delivered milk to Curitiba´s homes and shops in the past.
  • Most inhabitants of Witmarsum speak German fluently and the local public school teaches German too
  • Witmarsum Cooperative produces fine cheese and high quality milk. The productors are located close to the industry unity, what guarantees more quality to the final product. The location at 1,000 m above sea level, the climate and pastures are importante for the cattle well-being.

colônia-witmarsum-turismo-rural

  • According to the menonite pastor Fridbert August, the menonites are anabaptists. They were part of the Luther reform that gave access to the Bible to all christians, defended the separation between Government and Church and also the batism was made at adult age. In present days, the menonites are known for looking steadly to follow what Jesus said, for their peace principles and for their community lives. Colônia Witmarsum is a great example of that.
  • Amish is a conservative Christian group that lives in the USA and Canada. They are “cousins” to the menonites. Menonites are more progressive and less rigorous. The Amish, by instance, do not allow the use of technology, as automobiles and phones.

Find more information about Curitiba and region in our guide – download it for free now! curitiba-guide-youtube