Paraguay


Paraguay destinations

about Little-visited, little-known Paraguay is a country much misunderstood. Despite its location at the heart of the continent, it is all too often passed over by travelers who wrongly assume that a lack of mega-attractions means there's nothing to see. However, it's ideal for those keen to get off the gringo trail for a truly authentic South American experience.

Paraguay is a country of remarkable contrasts: it's rustic and sophisticated; it boasts spectacular natural reserves and massive human-made dams; it is a place where horses and carts pull up alongside Mercedes Benz vehicles, artisans' workshops abut glitzy shopping centers, and Jesuit ruins in rural villages lie just a few kilometers from interesting colonial towns. The steamy subtropical Atlantic Forest of the east is a stark contrast to the dry, spiny wilderness of the Chaco, the location of the isolated Mennonite colonies.

Extraordinary biodiversity makes Paraguay a notable destination for ecotourism, in particular bird-watching. Hot spots for bird- and wildlife-watching include Parque Nacional San Rafael, Mbaracay煤 Biosphere Reserve and the Laguna Capit谩n area of the Chaco.

Despite the large open spaces, hiking and camping are difficult. Much of the land is privately owned, and even the national parks usually only have a limited trail system. You are strongly advised to not attempt to camp in the Chaco unless accompanied by a local guide. People go missing every year.
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It's hard to get your head around Asunci贸n. At its heart, the city is beautiful and simple, with a sprinkling of original colonial and beaux arts buildings, international cuisine, shady plazas and friendly people. Probe a little deeper, however, and you'll see another side: smart suburbs, ritzy shopping malls and fashionable nightclubs. Despite the heavy traffic and diesel fumes in the historic center, this is one of South America's greener and more likable capitals, and it doesn't take long to get oriented.

Asunci贸n es la capital de Paraguay y est谩 situada junto al r铆o Paraguay. Es conocida porque alberga el majestuoso Palacio de los L贸pez, sede del gobierno y despacho oficial del presidente. Cerca de este, el Pante贸n Nacional de los H茅roes cuenta con un mausoleo y placas conmemorativas de personajes hist贸ricos paraguayos. El museo Casa de la Independencia destaca por la arquitectura colonial y exhibe objetos que documentan la emancipaci贸n del dominio espa帽ol.

A unique municipality by virtue of its listing on a major stock exchange, Asunci贸n is the capital city for the Republic of Paraguay. Asunci贸n is also one of South America鈥檚 oldest cities.

Asunci贸n was the site for a Guinness World Record on October 26, 2013 when the largest harp ensemble involving 420 harp players who came together from around the globe. Participants auditioned for the record attempt with professional harpists, harp teachers and students. The youngest participant was age 8 while the most elderly player was over 70 years old.

Paraguay exported an estimated US$8.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. Paraguay鈥檚 highest-value export are electrical energy, soya beans, oilcake and other residues, bovine meat, corn, rice, insulated wire or cable and wheat according to the International Trade Centre.

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Sleeping

Accommodations are more expensive in Asunci贸n than in the rest of the country, but it's unlikely to bust your budget. As the capital city the full range of options are available, from the super luxurious to the bed-in-a-room type.

Eating

Asunci贸n's eating options reflect its cultural diversity: sophisticated local, Asian and international foods abound and even vegetarians are catered for. Carnivores, however, will find the ubiquitous all-you-can-eat grill restaurants hard to resist. Though there are some good pit stops in the center, Asunci贸n's most refined restaurants are in the eastern suburbs, especially Villa Morra.

City Center

For typical Paraguayan food, try out the million-and-one options south of the center along Av Figueroa, known locally as La Quinta Avenida, or sample the asadito stands (mini meat kebabs with mandioca; 3000G) on street corners.

East of the Center

On Sunday it's best to head to one of the large shopping centers such as Mariscal L贸pez, Shopping del Sol or Paseo La Galer铆a, all with food courts.

Drinking & Nightlife

Some bars and all discos charge admission for men (women usually get in free) if you arrive after 10pm. Options are limited in the center and most of the flashy clubs are a short cab ride east of downtown. For a more upmarket (and pricier) scene, head to Paseo Carmelitas off Av Espa帽a.

Entertainment

Asunci贸n has several venues for live music and theater, such as the Teatro Municipal and the Estaci贸n Ferrocarril; the season is March to October. Large international music concerts usually play at the Jockey Club.

Asunci贸n's main shopping malls have multiscreen cinemas. Films are often in English with Spanish subtitles. Tickets start from around 25,000G, but may be more at weekends. See www.cines.com.py for schedules.

Shopping

Asunci贸n offers Paraguay's best souvenir shopping. The typical Paraguayan souvenir is a set of matero, bombilla and termo (gourd, straw and flask) for terer茅 (iced herbal tea) consumption. These are ubiquitous, though quality varies. The ground floor of the Senatur office has examples of local artesan铆as (handicrafts) from around the country, ranging from intricate Luque silver to fine 帽andut铆 (lace).

A small antique market is held along Palma on a Sunday.

Travel with Children

Travel with children can be difficult and it is uncommon to find child-changing facilities except in the more upmarket restaurants. Irregular pavements are an issue for prams, and there are few ramps for access.

LGBT Travellers

Paraguay is an old-fashioned country, with conservative views. Despite a growing LGBT movement in the country, high-ranking government officials (including the outgoing president) have expressed views that suggest that reviewing equality laws is not high on their agenda. Public displays of affection between same-sex couples are unknown. Gay bars are appearing in Asunci贸n, but on the whole homosexuality is not yet widely accepted.

What to do in Asuncion

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