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The Serra Verde Express between Curitiba and Morretes offers sublime views of threatening mountain canyons, tropical green lowlands and the vast, blue Atlantic. As you descend, watch as the climate and environment change – the weather becoming hotter and muggier, the vegetation lusher and greener.
The train leaves Curitiba at 8:30am daily (9:30am on weekends December to January), descending 900m through the lush Serra do Mar to the historic town of Morretes, arriving at noon and returning at 3pm (arriving back in Curitiba at 6:30pm). There are three classes of service. One-way economy/tourist/cabin or imperial class tickets cost R$85/119/235. The last of these includes a bilingual guide (and beer!) for up to four people (in a private cabin or camorote) or in an car decked out in ’30s-era decor (imperial). Additional services are sometimes available.
Views are most spectacular from the left side of the train (right side on the return trip), but the democratic computer ticketing system prevents requests – it takes turns between left and right (good luck!). Reservations are highly recommended during summer. Prices and times change frequently, so be sure to stop by the train station or check the website in advance.
If you want to make the ride a little more interesting (and start drinking at 7am!), Cervejaria Bodebrown, one of Brazil's leading craft beer breweries, runs the Beer Train on the same route three or four times per year. The trip isn't cheap, but includes unlimited tastings of five beers (usually unique or new offerings paired with bread and cheese), lunch and transport. Trust us – it's a good time!