• Paraguay
    © iStockphoto.com / Rmnunes
  • Paraguay
    © Ond?ej Prosický / 123RF
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Explore the landscapes of Paraguay on foot

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
A small country nestled in between Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, Paraguay has no access to the sea. Cut into two parts by the Paraguay river, the country is divided between the East, where prairies, hills, tropical forests and pastures have attracted 95 % of the population, and the West, where marshlands and the alluvial plains do not allow neither the cultivation of the land nor life development. The capital city, Asuncion, gathers one quarter of the Paraguayan population in an environment of colonial architecture and modern tower blocks. Two national parks display everything Paraguay can boast as natural riches. In "Defensores del Chaco" national park, pumas, tapirs, crocodiles, toucans and parrots have taken up residence whilst Ybicuy national park will delight trekking enthusiasts who, in the midst of natural waterfalls, will enjoy the same wildlife scene. Those who travel to Paraguay will discover a wealth of opportunity and culture.

Our Editorial team's advice

If you wish to drive across High Chaco to Bolivia, make sure to have sufficient supplies of water, food and petrol. Once in Ciudad del Este, the fantastic Iguaçu waterfalls (remember the film "The Mission" with De Niro) are very close, on the Brazilian side of the border. Do not miss out on that!

pros

  • +Tourism hasn't developed very much yet.
  • +This offers the opportunity to soak in the culture of a landlocked country in the heart of the continent which displays wide desolate areas.

cons

  • -The weather, characterized in the whole country by very frequent rainfalls, can ruin a holiday.
  • -Bus trips can go over the originally due time by a few hours, or even a few days, because of the bad condition of the roads.

Food

Chipa is sweet yuca bread baked with eggs and cheese. Chipa Soo is stuffed with meat. Albondigas (meatball soup) are consumed everywhere in the country, as well as Soyo - meat and vegetable soup. "Empanadas" are unavoidable, stuffed with cheese, beans or meat. Heart of palm is a classic. Taste the beef, it is excellent (but choose a high standard restaurant in which to enjoy it). Do not forget to eat some Asado - a preparation of grilled beef, chicken, pork and lamb. It is generally served with cheese bread, salad and manioc. Mosto, or sugar cane juice, and maté, a type of bitter tea, are some of the local drinks. The hierba de Maté infusion is the traditional drink of the gauchos. It can be drank cold (terere) or hot (cocido).

Souvenirs

In Itauguá, in the south-eastern part of Asuncion, the n'anduté, (very fine fabric which comes in a range of about a hundred patterns), made by women, is the great speciality. You will also find the "aó poí" fine fabric in the shape of shirts, blouses, bags or blankets. The small items "pau de santo" are made with Paraguayan wood. Paraguay also produces some interesting leather items, pottery, straw hats (Piri), carved wood, silver and filigreed gold jewels. You will also find the Indian communities' handicraft such as bows and arrows, feather necklaces, etc. The Paraguayans also make their own musical instruments such as the Paraguayan harp (36 strings, no pedal).
Shops are open from 6.30/7 am to 12 pm and from 2.30/3 pm to 5.30/7 pm.