Paraguay might not be one of the most visited countries in South America, but it has a lot to offer. Overshadowed by its neighbors Brazil and Argentina, with which it shares the Triple Frontier, Paraguay is slowly introducing itself as a welcoming destination.
Being landlocked may have made the country misunderstood, but what makes it worth a visit is its authenticity. It has a mix of urban jungles, rural bliss, and lush wilderness. From its nature reserves and man-made wonders to the rich culture and hospitable locals, this country wants to be seen. So why Paraguay? Because this nation is all about long-lasting impressions.
10 The Capital City Says "Hi"
Asuncion is dubbed the “Mother of Cities” because it’s one of the oldest in South America. As such, it’s filled to the brim with historic buildings and cultural landmarks. One historic attraction is the Casa de la Independencia, a house built in 1772 that served an important role in the country’s independence. As the nation's capital, Asuncion is tourist-friendly. It has lots of restaurants, the entertainment scene is colorful, and the nightlife is thriving. However, travelers should not miss visiting its historic sites like the National Pantheon of the Heroes, the cultural center Cabildo, the majestic cathedral, and the inviting Calle Palma. Wherever in Asuncion, it's always Buenos Dias!
9 More Magic Beyond Asuncion
Beyond the capital lies more Paraguayan wonders. Caacupe, for instance, is known as the nation's spiritual capital because of the presence of a large sanctuary. Paraguari, meanwhile, is perfect for thrill-seekers who want to trek, rappel, or zipline. Central, on the other hand, is known for its handicrafts. Further away from Asuncion, there are more experiences to gain. Thanks to its location near the Paraguay River, San Pedro is a favorite recreational area. For hikers, they can conquer Amambay’s trails while revelers can attend Guaira's famous carnival. Whatever floats a tourist’s boat, Paraguay’s departments can deliver.
8 The Paraguayan Chaco Is Brimming With Surprises
Paraguay might not be the richest country in South America, but it’s wealthy in natural wonders. Most of its wilderness is located in the Chaco — an area so vast and brimming it has three national parks: Defensores del Chaco, the largest in the country; the flooded Tinfunqué, and the thorny Teniente Agripino Enciso. Ecotourism is a big thing in the Paraguayan Chaco because of the teeming wildlife. Animals that can be spotted in the area include capybaras, anteaters, tapirs, jaguars, maned wolves, and pumas, among many other unique critters. Mother Nature is generous, and that’s evident in Paraguay.
7 Sportfishing Is Satisfying
Though landlocked, numerous rivers make Paraguay a place for wet and wild adventures. Thanks to the abundant waterways, sportfishing is a favorite pastime in the country. One famous tributary is the Tebicuary, where anglers can score dorados, catfish, and pacu, a relative of piranhas. The Paraguay River is ideal, too, even for casual fishers, because it is home to some catfish and ray-finned fish, some of which are endemic. Tourists just need to bring or rent some gear, put their game face on, and reel in the big ones.
6 Birdwatching Is A Must-Try
Aside from fishers, avian lovers will also have a fun time in Paraguay’s ecological areas where their feathered friends await them. More than 700 bird species consider the country their home — as they should because its reserves are the perfect spots to nest. Within the forest, tourists can spot the Bare-throated bellbird, the national bird. Between the Uruguay and Parana Rivers, seedeaters, pipits, blackbirds, bitterns, harriers, and nightjars can be sighted. Other unique species can also be seen in Pantanal, Cerrado, and the ever-giving Chaco. Birds thrive in the country, so tourists should keep their eyes peeled.
5 The Festivals Are Inviting
Each Paraguay department has its unique celebrations that highlight its culture, history, food, and nature. Tourists who would travel in time for the festivals will surely leave with unparalleled experiences. Aside from carnivals, other famous events are Cordillera’s Poncho Festival; the grand Feast of the Missionary Tradition in Santiago Misiones; the folkloric Festival Ycua Salas in Itacurubí del Rosario; the music-filled Guavira Poty Festival in Paraguari; and Villarrica’s festival that celebrates the Paraguayan race. Feasts abound, so the fun is endless.
4 The Jesuit Architecture Is Stunning
The Jesuits conducted many missions in Paraguay and some parts of their settlements remain standing. These missions now attract tourists, thanks to their distinct design and unique architecture. Every corner of these landmarks is Instagrammable, so travelers will have a field day posing for pictures. Two such attractions are the Missions of La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná and Jesús de Tavarangue, both recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The former is known for its impressive stone buildings while the latter for its artistry. Whichever a tourist chooses to visit, they’ll end up going home with awe.
3 Fun Times In Estates And Farms
Tourists who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city can opt to go rural. Paraguay is not short on places that are off the beaten path, offering weary travelers calm. In Guaira’s Francisca Farm, for instance, guests can try horseback riding, camping, or fishing while enjoying mountain views. Montesur in Itapua, meanwhile, has a small forest where families can check out orchids and bromeliads. In Atyroga, art is highlighted in every corner, while Iparoma Estate is proud of its natural pool. Be it a ranch or a farm, the rural offerings of Paraguay are all about rest.
2 The Food Is Good
The Guaranis know how to cook good food, so the cuisine might as well be considered a tourist attraction of its own. From the yerba mate infusion that is terere to the tasty chipa guasu, travelers will have happy tummies. In the morning, tourists can try the traditional chipa with their coffee and then have milanesa as lunch. For an afternoon snack, the appetizing mbeju is recommended, then there’s pira caldo for dinner. If tourists crave a midnight snack, the kosereva has them covered. It’s one gastronomic adventure in Paraguay.
1 Culture So Colorful
Thanks to its colorful past, Paraguay has an interesting culture. The collection of its traditions is impressive and is not just displayed in museums but everywhere, like the common sulky rides, for instance. Cabildo in Asuncion is the main point of interest for cultural immersion. The landmarks of Jesuit and Franciscan missions should not be overlooked, too. The museums, however, are not to be outdone because there are a lot of them. Some feature chairs, mythology, and “Archives of Terror,” while others focus on health, clay, sacred art, and “memories.” All unique, all proud.