Quaraí, Brazil, has a population: 24,000. It is located on the border with Uruguay. Their economy is supported mostly by cattle and sheep, rice production, and trade. The river Quaraí seperates Quaraí from Artigas, Uruguay, forming the border between Brazil and Uruguay in this region.
In 1817, the Prince Rejent of Brazil gave José Melo a plot of land in what is now the town of Quaraí. Three years later he sold it to João Batista, and since that time the region has been called "Passo do Batista". This is where both Quaraí and Artigas, Uruguay, are located. By 1859, the city plan had been layed out after several battles between Brazil and Uruguay.
Quaraí has a subtropical climate. The average daytime high of 25° C (76° F), and the nightly average low of 14° C (57° F). The city's elevation averages 112 meters (367 feet). The average yearly rainfall amounts to 1339 mm (53 inches) of rain.
So, my impressions: I arrived late in the afternoon. After getting off the bus I immidiately went to the immigrations office to exit Brazil and go into Uruguay. At the office I discovered I was too late, they were close for the night. So, for the people who live in these two towns they don't have to stop or check-in with immigrations, they are free to come and go as they want. For anyone wanting to go into the other country further than these two cities they must check with immigrations. I had to find a hotel and return in the morning after the office opened at 9am. I found a hotel, pretty crappy place, but since it was only one night I didn't care. It was dark by that time but I went out walking around the small downtown area anyway. Then in the morning I did a bit more walking around and taking pics, they're in the photo album. Finally around 10am I crossed the international bridge and entered Uruguay. Quaraí is nothing special, so don't bother putting it on a must-visit list. It's very small, the one park/plaza that I found was not well-kept, and most of the streets are still cobblestone.
My goal is to find a new place to live. So to reach that goal, I am traveling most of South America, visiting the countries of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, passing through Argentina, visiting Paraguay, passing through a bit of Brazil, and finally visiting Uruguay. I have a list of towns, about 70 that meet these qualifications: Cities with average day temperatures of 22-28° C (72-83° F) and night temps of 14° C (57° F) and higher; and a population between 28,000-300,000. I analyzed climate and population data of around 700 towns in the countries mentioned above and then pulled out the ones that meet the previously mentioned criteria, which leaves about 70. My preference leans towards towns of less than 100,000 people. And, now that I have visited more than 30 towns/cities, I've decided I will probably want an inland town. I love the beach and walking in the warm water, but getting sunburned is just too easy, even on a cloudy day. At least here in Ecuador. I've also decided that any town with more than 100,000 population will be too big. I've decided that any small town/city (less than around 80,000 population) that meets the temp specifications and has a supermarket and ATM is one worth considering to live in.
My goal is to visit the towns and discover which one calls out to me - "Chip, Chip, make your new home here, this is your new home town". That hasn't happened yet, but the towns listed below are very close to giving me that feeling. At any rate, I am not visiting tourist attractions or archeological sites, etc, those will have to wait for another trip through South America.
At this point in my journey, I had ten towns on my Top 10 list, but I narrowed it down to four:
- Tingo Maria, Peru
- Moyobamba, Peru
- Catamayo, Ecuador
- Puyo, Ecuador
In my travels in Ecuador, I visited 32 towns/cities. In Peru, I visited 26 towns/cities; in Chile, only five towns; and in Argentina, I visited 14 towns. I visited 12 cities in Paraguay, and in Brazil, two.
Next up: Rivera, Uruguay.