I have mentioned many times my fascination with trains. While Brazil has many few rail lines, The Serra Verde Express from Curitiba to Morretes is one of them. Built almost 120 years ago, the 3-hour ride goes through the Atlantic rainforest. The line used to go to the town of Paranagua on Sundays, but this doesn’t happen anymore.
I bought my tourist class ticket at the Curitiba train/bus station the day prior. I decided to go to Morretes by bus in the morning, and back on the train in the afternoon in order to enjoy it during the sunset hours.
Morretes was a boring town to me. It has a few churches and a river that runs though it. I saw everything I wanted to see in 1 hour and the rest was spent looking forward to the 3pm train departure. I tried the “barreado” which is the famed local dish. I found it OK, but not great. I arrived at the station 15 minutes early and was glad to find out that there was nobody sitting on the seat next to mine. I counted a total of 10 train cars. Most of them were tourist-class with 3 of them being the more expensive executive ones.
The night before, the owner of the hostel where I was staying at in Curitiba had told me that the seats faced the wrong direction on the return trip. This disappointed me but there was nothing I could do then since I had already bought the ticket. To my great surprise, when the train started moving it was doing it with the seats facing forward. I then realized that the seats in the tourist-class trains can and had been flipped. Maybe only the ones in economy class face backwards. So, from Curitiba to Morretes, you want to be seating on the left side of the train for the best views. On the way back, the best seats are on the right side. This is where I was seating.
I had my head outside the window for almost the entire duration of the trip, bringing my head in occasionally to dodge a tree branch or two. There’s a Portuguese narrator that provided information as we passed different interest points. A snack (small packets of cookies and crackers) and a soft drink were provided. I felt very happy the whole way, like a kid on his first train ride. The first section has a lot of forest scenery, a few tunnels, and lots of local kids by the tracks waving hello.
The middle part is the best, with all of the above plus a series of bridges.
The last part was pretty boring as it goes very slowly through the towns outside of Curitiba.
The overall scenery was nice, but not spectacular. I still enjoyed the experience a lot because I simply love train rides. I don’t know if I would go there to specifically ride it, but it’s definitely worth doing it if you already are in Curitiba.