Paraguay – a hidden treasure?

“Why are you going to Paraguay? There is nothing to do! Thats what I usually heard when I told people my plans about going there. However, I was sure Paraguay has some sights to offer and many things to see… Guess who was right? Yes! Paraguays population is very small for its size so it has amazing large areas of nature to offer. I just had one week there, so what I have seen is not that much, but I will come back for sure to discover more of this unknown treasure.

Paraguay

In general I have to say that Paraguay should be way more famous for its nature, its waterfalls, its hills, its ruins and most important for its people. It is definetly one of the countries where everybody started to speak to me in a very friendly way, people really liked to help me and were very interested in my stories. Some friends did even give me presents before I left, they also made a small party and 4 people brought me all together to the airport! So the most important thing to do in Paraguay is to hang out with the locals! Also I can tell you that Paraguay is definetly not dangerous (Well maybe some neighborhoods in Assuncion but everything else is safe!). But in general I never felt unsafe in any way. Another reason to visit Paraguay are the prices! Coming from the outside everything seems cheap! (E.G. 3 beers for like 1,30€ is a typical offer you will find in most shops)

So in general if you are interested in a very authentic country, without any other tourists or you want to hang out with the locals and see some undiscovered nature, you just can’t skip Paraguay! Don’t worry if you don’t find information online. Ask the people once you are there and you will discover that Paraguay has more to offer than anyone thinks. I just saw this small part, but it was already amazing:

Ciudad del Este

Entering from Brasil I came directly to Ciudad del Este. For anyone who wants to see the Iguazu fall actually it would be a good idea to stay here in Paraguay, as it is cheaper and there are Buses all the time to either the Brasilian or the Argentinian side of the waterfalls. As I saw them already before I tried to find out what else I could do in the city. As the weather was bad I sadly didn’t make it to the nature reserve of the big dam which the city is actually famous for. Still I was very happy with my decision to go to the Cataratas de Monday (the Monday waterfalls).

Monday Falls Paraguay Ciudad del este
Me swimming underneath the Monday Falls

Besides one other couple, me and my friend where the only persons there and actually the waterfall was way bigger then we thought. The park itself is a cute spot to hang out for a while but what we liked the most, was to go down to the river. There you had a perfect view on a rainbow and the waterfalls from its downside. Also there was noone else so we were swimming in the water and just enjoying the time! Actually it was one of my favourite days. In the evening we went to the 3 border viewing point. But, as expected, it was not very special.

3 Borders Paraguay
3 Borders Paraguay

As we couldnt find a bus to go back from there we decided to hitch hike. That worked out in the first 5 minutes and the guys nearly brought us all the way back to our hostel. Ciudad del Este itself is more known for its cheap shopping centers – However don’t miss the Monday waterfalls if you are ever going there!

Encarnacion

As all together I just had one week I went straight to Encarnacion and didn’t check out the national parks on the way. The city itself is a cute town where you could strall around. It also has a beautiful beach directly in the city with a view on the Argentinian side of the river.

 Beach in Encarnacion Paraguay
Beach in Encarnacion

There are many bars to go out to but the main touristy thing is a bit outside of the city: In Trinidad and Jesus. Those are two old ruin towns with a mix of spanish and guarani influence. They are not that big, but neither expensive so it is definetly interesting and worth a visit.

Ruins in Trinidad Paraguay
Ruins in Trinidad

With my research I found out there is a lot more to do close to the city but with the time limit I decided to go further to Assuncion, the capital, to see what I could do there.

Assuncion

Actually I was really lucky, because a friend I made in Encarnacion came from the capital and he invited me to come and stay with him for the 3 days I would be there. So I was staying in a smaller neighborhood outside the city. Which was definetly an amazing experience to spend the days with the locals. E.g.: All sitting together in front of a vollayball field, some playing, some drinking beer and listening to music. Or that any neighbor just comes by whenever they want. The lifestyle is definetly different in Europe so even though I am used to the difference already, it was still a little culture shock (in a good way!). One day my friend did show me the city center, which was not that impressive – however going out later that day was quite crazy as the cities nightlife is really big. Also close to the city are many small cool spots to visit. As an example my friend did show me “La casita del Cerro” a bit outside of the city. Its a small little hill which you can hike where the view is still amazing as there are no other mountains around it.

Hills outside Assuncion Paraguay
Hills outside Assuncion

There are many spots like this on close to the capital so I am sure you will be happy in Paraguay. Just don’t believe the people telling you there is nothing to see… they are wrong! I would have loved to stay there longer.

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