Sitting Room

Thursday, December 13, 2007

To Santa Terezinha de Itaipu

SANTA TEREZINHA DE ITAIPU – Santa Terezinha de Itaipu (Terezinha pronounced as Tahy-rahy-zeen’ nyah) is a free, autonomous, independent and young city of 25,000 souls liberated from or gotten rid of Foz do Iguaçu in 1984. So STI, for short, is a city that share the same history, aspirations and cultural profile as Foz do Iguaçu. The main difference is that while Foz do Iguaçu tend to be into the third sector and services, STI is actively an agricultural land with some factories, business and, I think, three hotels (Hotel Tamburi, Hotel Praia Sol and Hotel Mucuri). All the hotels of STI face the BR (Brazilian Highway) 277. The city has what they call Tourism Terminal which is made up of the City’s artificial beach (far better kept than the one in Foz do Iguaçu) with bikini-clad beauties (also men), camping area, barbecue area, resuarnt bar, activities mainly in the summer months when the Government of Paraná offers programs like Viver Verão (live Summer) and so on. STI is also a dormitory city for many people who work either in Ciudad del Este or Foz do Iguaçu. It means that people need transportation. The Foz do Iguaçu – Santa Terezinha de Itaipu bus has been in existence for as long as I can remember – at least back to 1977 – when the area seemed to me to be a group of houses separated by very red, muddy streets with giant quicksand-like potholes where the buses of Viação Itaipu seemed to have a habit of being sucked in. Passengers had to get off and help push the bus out of the slippery mud pools. It is very different today except for the Viação Itaipu that still covers the line connecting the two cities. The bus line has been called metropolitan since the time when metropolitan was both little understood and hardly applicable to Foz do Iguaçu. The price is R$ 2.00 with no discrimination as to nationality, social class or whatever.
If you have the time, Santa Terezinha may be a good idea. Night time bus frequency is bad. Be ready to return by taxi. The STI metropolitan does not departs from the TTU Terminal. It leaves from the Travessa Luiz Gama, outside the terminal. If you would like to see the Praia (beach) of Santa Terezinha take the bus Santa Terezinha witk a sign that reads “Prainha”.
Santa Terezinha de Itaipu lies outside the Iguaçu / Iguazu International Tourism Pole (IITP) – a Mercosul designated special area that when applicable will make the life of tourists easier as far as visas are concerned. If you have been officially and legally admitted to one of the three countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay), you would not need visas to roam freely the area within the limits of the IITP. In the case of Santa Terezinha you will need a visa since it is outside the IITP. The limits of Foz do Iguaçu, Puerto Iguazu and the Aiport of Ciudad del Este (mingá Gazú, actually) are roughly the limits of the Pole. As of today only Argentina is close to atttaining the control necessary for the IITP. Brazil is getting closer with investments in the border structure. Paraguay still has a long way. In the meantime, you wait!

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