Curitiba, the capital of Parana, is one of Brazil's urban success stories. It has received various United Nations awards, including the Habitat Scroll of Honor in 1992 for its "Trash That Ins't Trash" initiative.

This efficient system of collectiong and recycling garbage involves purchasing usable waste from disadvantaged sections of the community. This city has managed to modernize in a relatively sane manner- historic buildings have been preserved , a handful of streets have been closed to cars and there are many parks, gardens and wide boulevards.

The population is mostly the descendants of Italian, German and Polish imigrants with great respect for their historical past have also lead to the preservation of the Paranaense Museum, Flowers Street, the Guaira Theatre, the Paiol Theatre, and the stately Federal University of Paraná.

Around Curitiba city, there are many interesting attractions.

Parque Estadual de Vila Velha - This State park lies 52 miles from Curitiba. It contains twenty two extraordinary rock formations dating from Carboniferous period (300 milion years ago).

The Curitiba-Paranagua Railroad- This railroad, a feat of engineering dating from 1880, runs through Brazil's dense Atlantic forest. On its 70-miles journey the train passes through 13 tunnels carved through solid rock and crosses 41 bridges spanning abysses and foaming rivers. The view from the carriage windows is breathtaking, and you will see a variety of trees in the tropical forest, including Sapicais, green ebony, jacarandas and guapiruvus.

Ilha do Mel- Boat trips to the Ilha do Mel depart from Paranagua city. This island is a nature reserve with beatiful beaches and rustic pousadas. There are no roads or cars on the island. Its undoing might be its increasing popularity.