Guarapuava is located at 25°23'36" south and 51°27'19" west. The region is known as the centre of the state of Paraná, in the third plateau, also called of the Plateau of Guarapuava. Discovered by the Portuguese in 1770, and founded in 1810, the city's name comes from tupy guarani meaning brave wolf (lobo bravo in Portuguese). Its elevation is 1120m (3675ft).
The first families to settle in the city were formed through the Tropeiros, which came from Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. These families had their roots in Poland, Italy and Germany. The city's birthday is celebrated on December 9, due to the beginning of colonisation between Rio Coutinho and Rio Jordão, in the goodwill of Nossa Senhora de Belém in 1819.
The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Guarapuava.