Paraguay is a country of many cultures, which is reflected in its literature, art, music, cuisine and people. In fact, Paraguay claims 17 indigenous ethnic groups, as well as German, Japanese, Brazilian, Argentine and Bolivian communities. Paraguay offers two main regions that are rich in culture and attractions, divided by the Paraguay River: The Eastern Region features countryside with foothills, valleys, streams, lakes and forests. In addition, most of the country’s cities and towns, which date back to colonial times, are located here. The Western Region is less populous but offers expansive ecological and biological reserves in the Gran Chaco Americano Forest, the largest dry forest in South America, as well as farms and foreign colonies.
Indigenous art includes basketwork and feathered ornaments from the Guaraní peoples, as well as ceramics and wood carving. In addition, European influence has resulted in pieces like necklaces and ornaments made with glass beads. Visitors can see local handicrafts like these at various museums, including the Andrés Barbero Ethnographic Museum in Asunción.
Asunción, Paraguay’s capital city, features a historic downtown and architectural landmarks, such as the Riviera Block, which consists of the city’s oldest house, the Cathedral, López Palace, the Railroad, and the House of Independence, all located within one city block. In addition, Asuncion offers performances at the Lírico Theater, along with nightlife, shopping and dining. Paraguay’s other major cities include Encarnación, located less than an hour from the Jesuit Ruins of Jesús y Trinidad, a UNESCO Treasure of Humanity; Ciudad del Este, a commercial city located an hour from Iguazu Falls; and Villarrica, the “Cultured City.” Paraguay also has a wide variety of wildlife, including jaguar, deer, puma, blue macaw and great horned owl. In fact, Paraguay has approximately 40 protected wildlife areas, including the Champions (the largest) in Chaco National Park.
Local cuisine in Paraguay is largely defined by Guarani culture, with items like parrillada (grilled meat), mazamorroa (corn mush), sopa paraguaya (corn bread with cheese and onion) and bori-bori (chicken soup with cornmeal dumplings), which are served in a variety of restaurants and cafes.
Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Asuncion is served by six South American airlines. Local bus line 30-A connects the airport with the city center, but visitors also can rent a car or take a taxi into town. The city is small enough to navigate on foot, although taxis and buses are available in town.
Paraguay, which is located in the Southern Hemisphere at the Tropic of Capricorn, has a temperate to hot climate most of the year, with average daytime highs of about 75 degrees, although it can climb as high as 105 during summer (December through March). Winters are generally mild, making this season a good time to visit. Precipitation varies by region: the Eastern Region is more humid, and the Western Region is arid.
Have travel questions? Our community of experts can help.
When most people think of Brazil, they remember Rio’s Carnival, tropical jungles, the Amazon or such thriving metropolises as Sao Paulo. Well, leave your preconceptions about Brazil at home, because one of the country’s top tourist destinations, frequented by savvy insiders, is the...Read More
Famous for its gorgeous beaches (Ipanema and Copacabana), gorgeous models (Gisele Bundchen) and infectious music (samba and bossa nova), Rio de Janeiro is ideal if you are seeking more than just a typical beach vacation. Brazil’s cultural capital and most fashionable city, Rio is also a...Read More
For most North Americans, Cartagena, Colombia, is little recognized. Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage site with a colonial walled city, historic 17th-century fortress and lively, 24-hour streets, Cartagena remains unfamiliar to many.
However, Cartagena’s “unknown”...Read More
As you land, your plane banking in through the clouds, you will catch your first glimpse of Salta City, a 4,000-foot-high, flat urban grid ringed by a patchwork of green and brown farmlands. Farther on, the high, desolate Andes of this far northwestern province loom at their widest point --...Read More
Welcome to the Brazil decade! With the FIFA World Cup coming up in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, Brazil is attracting even more attention than it was already attracting with its samba music, soccer stars and supermodels. Brazil’s biggest problem in promoting itself as a destination is...Read More