Paraguay never is at the top of the list of places to visit in South America, but it should be. This is a small landlocked country in the center of South America and the first fun fact is that it has the largest Navy and Coast Guard in South America. Actually one of the largest in any country. Yep you read that right.
Still recovering from years of dictatorship they have not put as much focus on tourism as many of their neighbors. For this reason I will be making a note on places you might want to hire a guide to help you not only find but maximize your experiences.
Getting to Paraguay is very easy, you will arrive either in Asunción, the capital city, or crossing over at the Iguazu Falls. Upon entry make sure you get your passport stamped with you tourist permit. So now that you are in Paraguay what is there to do?
A visit to Asuncion should include these three spots.
Palacio de Lopez the official office of the President and is the seat oft he national government and one of the treasures of Asuncion's cultural heritage.
Loma San Jeronimo One of the oldest barrios of the city. Loma San Jeronimo shines with bright dazzling colors, emitting a fun and authentic cultural atmosphere. Observe the traditional homes decorated in a myriad of color that surround the narrow sidewalks and hilly landscape. Eat at a variety of restaurants open all times of the day and try the authentic local barbeque and fish dishes. On the weekend, see the locals out on the streets entertaining tourists with cultural songs and dances. At the street's entrance you can find an information office that offers tour services.
Casa de Independencia A tour of this house-museum is like a spy adventure set in a perfectly preserved colonial house, with furniture, weapons, paintings and objects belonging to the period. Independence House also contains key documents relating to the revolution, after several previous attempts where they did not achieve their goal.
Next on your adventure is a real hidden gem but you must use caution and not get close to the edges. Head out to The Saltos del Monday. This amazing park is full of natural landscapes and beautiful waterfalls. Enjoy the beauty and peacefulness. The park has fun rope bridges and abounds in beauty. The perfect place for an adventure.
La Santisima Trinidad de Parana is one of the most fascinating places in Paraguay. This 17th century Jesuit mission or what was called a reduction, settlement, is the best preserved of several in Paraguay. A visit here is true trip back in history. Please show great respect and don't touch the artifacts as they worked years to preserve them for your enjoyment.
YBYCUI National Park is fabulous and requires great physical stamina if you plan on doing climbing. Taking a taxi to the top and then going down is highly recommended unless you are in top shape. But the views and experiences are so worth it.
Cerro Coro National Park is a huge national treasure. It covers over 5.5 hectacres. It is very easy to get lost in this park you should hire a guide a for the day and go explore.
Paraguay is a bilingual country with Spanish and Guaraní as its languages, and it is the only country where the native language is spoken by more non-natives than natives. It is based on nature and animal sounds called an onomatiopeic language.
Duels are still legal in Paraguay.
Paraguay's favorite sport is soccer. South Americans call them "the Italy of South America", known for rarely scoring but maintaining an incredible defense.
The some 50,000 ethnic Mennonites living in Paraguay are an anabaptist group, most originally from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, having migrated to Paraguay through Russia or Canada when their ancestors fled religious persecution. They live in the Chaco region and Eastern Paraguay, speak Plaudietsch & German, and produce most of the country's dairy output.
Paraguayans don't have door bells and to let someone know you are there you clap your hands.
If you bump into someone and don't have time to visit you greet them by saying adios, goodbye.
Every trip to Paraguay must include a trek to Iguazu Falls. The falls are at the junction of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. It is more touted as the place to go by Argentina and Brazil. It is a popular entry point into Paraguay. These falls are truly amazing. The largest hydroelectric dam in South America is between Paraguay and Brazil.
Paraguay is a fascinating country and a worthy destination on your South American journey. I would love to help you plan your journey. My expertise is in customizing your journey to perfectly suit your dream vacation. To schedule a complementary South American Journey Session when it is convenient for you click HERE.