Welcome to Paraguay, a beautiful landlocked country in South America that is often overlooked by travelers. If you’re planning your first trip to Paraguay, you’re in for a treat.
From its vibrant culture to its rich history, Paraguay has a lot to offer. In this essential guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the most of your first time in Paraguay.
Paraguay is a country with a unique blend of cultures, including indigenous, Spanish, and Guarani. This mix of cultures has created a fascinating and diverse society that is reflected in everything from the food to the music. When you visit Paraguay, you’ll have the opportunity to experience this rich culture firsthand.
Paraguay is also a country with a rich history. From the Jesuit Missions to the Chaco War, there are many stories to uncover. You can visit historical sites and museums to learn more about the country’s past and gain a deeper understanding of its present.
Let’s have a look at where to visit in Paraguay, and everything else you will need to know!
If you’re planning your first trip to Paraguay, one of the first things you’ll need to figure out is how to get there. Fortunately, there are several ways to reach this beautiful country, whether you’re coming from neighboring countries or further afield.
Arriving by Air
The easiest way to get to Paraguay is by air. The main international airport is Silvio Pettirossi International Airport (ASU), located just outside the capital city of Asunción. Several airlines, including American Airlines, Copa Airlines, and LATAM Airlines, offer flights to Paraguay from various cities in South America, North America, and Europe.
If you’re coming from Buenos Aires, you can take a direct flight to Paraguay that takes approximately two hours. Alternatively, if you’re coming from Bolivia or Chile, you may need to make a connecting flight.
Arriving by Land
If you’re traveling overland, you can enter Paraguay from its neighboring countries. The most common entry points are from Brazil and Argentina.
From Brazil, you can cross the border at Ciudad del Este, which is connected to the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu by a bridge over the Paraná River. There are several bus companies that operate between Foz do Iguaçu and Ciudad del Este, and the journey takes around 45 minutes.
From Argentina, you can cross the border at Encarnación, which is connected to the Argentine city of Posadas by a bridge over the Paraná River. There are several bus companies that operate between Posadas and Encarnación, and the journey takes around four hours.
It’s worth noting that if you’re planning to enter Paraguay by land, you may need to obtain a visa in advance, depending on your nationality. Citizens of some countries, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, can obtain a tourist visa on arrival at Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, but this may not be the case at land borders. Be sure to check the visa requirements before you travel.
Overall, getting to Paraguay is relatively straightforward, whether you’re arriving by air or land. With a little planning and preparation, you can look forward to an unforgettable trip to this fascinating country.
When it comes to getting around Paraguay, you have a few options to choose from. In this section, we’ll go over the two most popular ways to get around: public transportation and renting a car.
Paraguay’s public transportation system is extensive and affordable. Buses and taxis are the most common modes of transportation. Buses are the cheapest option, and they run frequently throughout the cities. However, they can be crowded and uncomfortable during peak hours.
Taxis are a bit more expensive, but they are a more comfortable way to get around. You can hail a taxi on the street or use a ride-hailing app like Uber or Cabify. Keep in mind that not all taxis are metered, so be sure to agree on a price before getting in.
Renting a Car
Renting a car is a great way to explore Paraguay at your own pace. However, it’s important to note that driving in Paraguay can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to driving in South America. The roads can be narrow and poorly maintained, and traffic can be chaotic.
If you do decide to rent a car, make sure you have a valid driver’s license and insurance. You’ll also need to be at least 21 years old, and some rental companies may require you to be 25 or older.
When it comes to renting a car, there are several options to choose from. International car rental companies like Hertz and Avis have locations in Paraguay, as do local companies like Sixt and Localiza. Prices vary depending on the type of car and the rental company, but expect to pay around $30-$50 per day for a basic car.
In conclusion, both public transportation and renting a car are viable options for getting around Paraguay. If you’re on a tight budget, public transportation is the way to go. However, if you want more freedom and flexibility, renting a car is a great option. Just be sure to take the necessary precautions and drive safely.
Top Cities to Visit
Paraguay is a country full of contrasts, and its cities are no exception. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just want to explore the local markets, there’s a city in Paraguay that’s perfect for you. Here are the top cities you should visit on your first trip to Paraguay:
Asunción is the capital city of Paraguay and the perfect place to start your trip. It’s a vibrant city with a rich history and plenty of cultural attractions. One of the must-visit places in Asunción is the Panteón Nacional de los Héroes, a monument to the country’s heroes. You can also visit the Mercado Cuatro, a bustling market where you can buy everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.
Encarnación is a city located in the south of Paraguay, on the banks of the Paraná River. It’s known for its beautiful beaches and lively carnival celebrations. One of the top attractions in Encarnación is the Costanera de la Ciudad, a scenic boardwalk that offers stunning views of the river. You can also visit the Museo del Carnaval, a museum dedicated to the city’s famous carnival.
Ciudad del Este
Ciudad del Este is a city located on the border with Brazil and Argentina. It’s known for its shopping, with plenty of malls and markets where you can find great deals on electronics, clothing, and more. One of the top places to visit in Ciudad del Este is the Shopping del Este, a mall with over 1,000 stores. You can also visit the Itaipu Dam, one of the largest hydroelectric dams in the world.
No matter which city you choose to visit, you’re sure to find plenty of things to see and do in Paraguay. From exploring the local markets to learning about the country’s history and culture, there’s something for everyone in this fascinating country.
Paraguay is a country of remarkable contrasts, boasting spectacular natural reserves and massive human-made dams. If you’re a nature lover, you’re in for a treat. Here are some of the natural wonders you shouldn’t miss on your first trip to Paraguay.
One of the most astonishing displays of raw power in South America is the Ñacunday Falls, known as the Niagara Falls of Paraguay. Located 900 meters from the meandering waters of the Paraná river, they form a single stream 40 meters long, flowing downwards over a giant basalt step. Another waterfall worth visiting is the Saltos del Monday, located just outside Ciudad del Este. These falls are surrounded by lush greenery and provide a great opportunity for hiking and birdwatching.
Paraguay has several national parks that are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Ñacunday National Park is famous for its astonishingly rich fauna and flora, and of course, the Ñacunday Falls. Cerro Cora National Park is another must-visit, located in the Amambay mountain range. The park is home to over 400 species of birds, as well as jaguars, pumas, and tapirs. If you’re interested in wetlands, you should visit the Tapyta Lake National Reserve, which is home to over 300 species of birds, including the endangered giant otter.
When visiting these natural wonders, it’s important to respect the environment and follow the rules and regulations of the parks. Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Remember that you are a guest in nature’s home, so behave accordingly.
If you’re interested in history and culture, you can’t miss visiting the Jesuit Missions in Paraguay. These missions were established by the Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries as part of their efforts to convert the indigenous people to Christianity. The Jesuits built several missions throughout Paraguay, but the most famous ones are the Jesuit Ruins of Trinidad and Jesus.
The Jesuit Ruins of Trinidad are located in the Itapúa department, about 30 kilometers from Encarnación. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most impressive examples of Jesuit architecture in South America. The mission was founded in 1706 and was home to around 4,000 indigenous people. When the Jesuits were expelled from Paraguay in 1767, the mission was abandoned and fell into disrepair. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the church, the cemetery, and the living quarters.
Another must-see Jesuit mission is the Jesuit Ruins of Jesus, which are located in the Misiones department. This mission was founded in 1610 and was home to around 3,000 indigenous people. The ruins are well-preserved and include the church, the bell tower, and the living quarters. Visitors can also see the remains of the workshops where the indigenous people learned trades such as carpentry and blacksmithing.
In addition to Trinidad and Jesus, there are several other Jesuit missions worth visiting in Paraguay. These include the Jesuit Ruins of San Cosme y Damián, which are located in the Itapúa department, and the Jesuit Ruins of Santa María de Fe, which are located in the Misiones department.
Visiting the Jesuit Missions is a great way to learn about Paraguay’s history and culture. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes and plenty of water, as the sites can involve a lot of walking. You can also hire a guide to provide more context and information about the missions.
Food and Drink
Paraguay is known for its unique and delicious cuisine that blends indigenous, Spanish, and Guarani influences. From hearty meat dishes to refreshing drinks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. In this section, we’ll explore some of the traditional foods and drinks you must try during your first time in Paraguay.
One of the most popular traditional foods in Paraguay is Chipa. This bread roll is made from cassava flour and cheese, and it’s a staple food that you’ll find everywhere. There are many variations of chipa, including sweet and savory versions. Another must-try food is Sopa Paraguaya, a cornbread-like dish that’s made with cornmeal, cheese, and onions. It’s often served as a side dish with grilled meats.
If you’re a meat lover, you have to try Asado. This traditional barbecue dish features grilled beef, pork, chicken, and sausages. It’s usually served with chimichurri sauce, a blend of parsley, garlic, and vinegar. Another popular meat dish is Bife Koygua, a beef stew that’s cooked with onions, tomatoes, and peppers.
Mate is a popular drink in Paraguay, and it’s similar to tea. It’s made by steeping dried leaves from the yerba mate plant in hot water. The drink is served in a gourd with a metal straw, and it’s often shared among friends and family. Another popular drink is Terere, which is a cold version of mate. It’s usually served in a hollowed-out gourd with a metal straw and ice. It’s a refreshing drink that’s perfect for hot summer days.
If you’re looking for something stronger, try Caña, which is a sugarcane-based liquor. It’s often served as a shot or mixed with fruit juice. Another popular alcoholic drink is Cerveza Paraguay, which is a light beer that’s brewed locally.
In conclusion, Paraguay has a rich culinary culture that’s worth exploring during your first time in the country. From traditional foods like chipa and asado to refreshing drinks like mate and terere, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, be sure to try as many dishes as possible and immerse yourself in the local food and drink scene.
When planning your trip to Paraguay, there are a few practical things you should keep in mind to make your trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Here are some tips on the best time to visit and what to pack.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Paraguay is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During this time, the weather is mild and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 18°C to 28°C. The rainy season, which runs from October to April, can be hot and humid, with frequent thunderstorms and heavy rainfall. If you’re planning to visit during the rainy season, be sure to bring waterproof gear and prepare for possible flooding in some areas.
What to Pack
When packing for your trip to Paraguay, keep in mind that the country has a subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Here are some items you should consider bringing:
Lightweight, breathable clothing, such as cotton or linen, for the hot and humid weather.
A rain jacket or poncho, especially if you’re visiting during the rainy season.
Comfortable walking shoes, as many of Paraguay’s attractions involve walking or hiking.
Insect repellent, as mosquitoes and other bugs can be a nuisance, especially in rural areas.
Sunscreen and a hat, as the sun can be strong, especially during the summer months.
A power adapter, as Paraguay uses type C and F electrical outlets with a voltage of 220V.
It’s also a good idea to bring some cash with you, as credit cards are not widely accepted outside of major cities. US dollars and euros are the most commonly accepted currencies, but be sure to bring small bills as larger denominations may be difficult to exchange. Finally, don’t forget to bring a photocopy of your passport and other important documents, and keep these in a separate location from the originals in case of loss or theft.
Congratulations on your first trip to Paraguay! You’ve experienced the country’s unique culture, tasted its delicious food, and explored its stunning landscapes. Before you leave, here are a few final tips to keep in mind:
Paraguay is a country that values freedom, and you’ll likely feel this sense of liberty during your stay. Whether it’s the open spaces and fresh air outside the cities or the friendly locals who welcome you with open arms, you’ll feel free to explore and enjoy this beautiful country.
If you’re looking for an adventure, make sure to venture out to some of Paraguay’s remote areas. From the Chaco region to the Itaipu Dam, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover. Keep in mind that some of these areas may be difficult to access, so plan accordingly and be prepared for a bit of a challenge.
Overall, Paraguay is a safe country to visit. However, it’s always important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Stick to well-lit areas at night, keep your valuables close, and don’t flaunt your wealth. By taking these simple precautions, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Paraguay is a unique and fascinating country that’s well worth a visit. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or nature, there’s something for everyone here. So pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!
If you’re planning your first trip to Paraguay, you may have some questions about the country and what to expect. Here are some common FAQs to help you prepare for your trip:
What is the best time of year to visit Paraguay?
The best time to visit Paraguay is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During this time, you’ll enjoy sunny days and cooler temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities. However, keep in mind that this is also the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and larger crowds.
Do I need a visa to visit Paraguay?
Most visitors to Paraguay do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days. However, it’s always best to check with your embassy or consulate to confirm the entry requirements for your specific country.
What is the currency in Paraguay, and can I use US dollars?
The official currency in Paraguay is the Guaraní (PYG). While some businesses may accept US dollars, it’s best to have some Guaraní on hand for smaller purchases and transactions. You can exchange currency at banks, exchange offices, and some hotels.
Is it safe to travel to Paraguay?
Paraguay is generally a safe country to visit, but like any destination, it’s important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid displaying valuables and keep an eye on your belongings in crowded areas. It’s also best to use licensed taxis or ride-sharing services for transportation.
What language do people speak in Paraguay?
The official languages of Paraguay are Spanish and Guarani, with Spanish being the most widely spoken. While you can get by with just English in some tourist areas, it’s always helpful to learn a few basic phrases in Spanish or Guarani to make your trip smoother.
What should I pack for my trip to Paraguay?
What you pack will depend on the time of year you’re visiting and the activities you have planned. However, some essentials to consider include comfortable walking shoes, lightweight clothing, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a reusable water bottle. Don’t forget to bring any necessary medications and travel documents as well.