Top Paraguayan Experiences
Explore the Paraguayan Chaco
A number of endangered species roam the vast expanses of the Paraguayan Chaco. Nature lovers visiting this largely uninhabited wilderness with an experienced guide will delight in spotting the region’s elusive and exotic wildlife.
Engage with Artisans
Paraguayan artisans keep the country’s ancient traditions alive, designing delicate nanduti lace, embossing leather crafts, and embroidering finely woven ao po’i linens. Many are happy to share their craft with foreigners, explaining the history and showing off their workshops.
Visit the Jesuit Ruins and Towns
Established in the 17th and 18th centuries, the once vibrant Jesuit Missions are considered one of the most unique social experiments in history. Step back in time as you visit the ruins of Trinidad and Jesus (both UNESCO World Heritage sites) or the still thriving towns of San Ignacio and Santa Maria.
Hit the town in Asuncion
Paraguay’s capital boasts an energetic and highly affordable nightlife, even for those on tight budgets. As Paraguayans are highly social, going out is a great way to interact with locals, whether it’s at a free concert or packed night club.
Take in a sporting event
From the Trans Chaco Rally to local soccer and piki-volley matches, Paraguay’s passion for sports is infectious. Choose a local favorite and catch a game at the stadium or watch from a bar, surrounded by cheering locals.
Marvel at large-scale wonders
Combine a tour of the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam, the world’s second largest, with a trip over the border to the majestic Iguazu Falls for a one-two punch of large scale spectacle.
Embark upon a riverboat adventure
Riding a passenger boat up the Paraguay River is the most interesting way to access the Paraguayan Pantanal, where remote indigenous communities coexist with endangered wildlife and tourists are rare.
Paraguay is a welcoming country, rich in history, culture, and unexploited wilderness that has much to offer the adventurous traveler. Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos described his homeland as an island surrounded by land. Isolation has marked this nation’s history from the start, causing Paraguay’s Spanish colonists and indigenous inhabitants to intermarry, a situation that was unique to the New World. The blending of European and indigenous languages, traditions and lifestyles has continued throughout Paraguay’s history and still exists today. Since then, Paraguay has emerged from its isolation yet retains its strong, vibrant culture despite globalization efforts. Paraguayans are very friendly and inviting, eager to show off their country and culture to visitors. Its central location makes traveling through Paraguay an inexpensive and exciting addition to any South American itinerary. No matter your budget or appetite for adventure, this book will help you make the most of your time in Paraguay.
Tips for traveling in Paraguay:
Engage with locals: Visitors will find Paraguayans extremely hospitable and friendly. Most are eager to help you discover their country – they may teach you a few words in Guarani, give you an impromptu tour or connect you with friends and family in other parts of Paraguay. Getting to know the country like a local often times makes up for the lack of tourism infrastructure.
Learn the Guaram language: Paraguay is the only country in Latin America where the majority of the population speaks an indigenous language. Paraguayans have a soft spot for foreigners that speak even just a few words of Guarani. Spanish and Guarani are often intermingled, even within the same sentence. So don’t be afraid to practice the Guarani words and phrases in this book when appropriate (for more, see Languages and the Language Reference).
Visit the countryside: Travelers who venture beyond Paraguay’s major cities will be rewarded with beautiful landscapes and a glimpse into the country’s rich rural traditions. The way of life in the campo or interior (countryside) is an important part of Paraguayan culture.
Drink terere: Sitting in the shade, drinking terere is one of the best ways to bond with Paraguayans. Delving into the terere tradition is a good way to combat the heat and a hands-on way to experience a key aspect of Paraguayan culture (see Terere).
Be flexible: Take a cue from Paraguayans and adopt a tranquilopa (no worries) attitude. Being flexible will make your time in Paraguay immensely more enjoyable.
Mind the weather: Paraguayans organize their daily routines around the weather, be it hot, cold or rainy. Tourists should emulate locals and adapt their travel plans accordingly (see When to Visit).
Seek information offline: Paraguayan businesses have only recently begun to embrace the Internet. In general, you will have much better luck getting accurate information either in person or over the phone rather than online (see Staying Connected).
Map of Paraguay Photo Gallery