Entertainment and Attractions in Paraguay
Paraguay is usually visited as part of combined tours of South America, but the country has enough attractions for a full visit.
A trip to Paraguay usually starts from the capital – colorful Asuncion, which will soon celebrate its 500th anniversary. In the appearance of the city, it is easy to notice typical Spanish features: wide streets diverging diagonally from spacious squares, a large number of parks and fountains.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Paraguay is 7.22 million (2021).
The historic center of Asuncion is the center of colonial mansions with rich stucco and figured lattices, almost everyone has their own well-groomed garden. The main attractions of the city are Manzana de la Riviera (“apple of the coast”), an area between two bends of the Paraguay River, and a complex of buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries: the Presidential Palace, the House of Culture and the Municipal Library. The House of Independence (Casa de la Independencia) is not only the oldest building in the capital (late 18th century), but also the location of the Museum of Colonial History.
You should definitely admire the oldest city hotel, where you can stay even today, and at the same time see a collection of furniture and paintings from the century before last. A monument to the turbulent history of the country is the National Pantheon of Heroes, near which you can observe the changing of the guard. The most-most of the Asuncion churches are the magnificent cathedral of the 17th-19th centuries, the temple, which is part of the pantheon complex and dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and the church in the Recoleta cemetery. The most interesting museums are the National Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, the Ethnographic Museum and the Museum of Folk Crafts of Paraguay. The magnificent botanical garden is the pride of Asuncion: the name “mini-Paraguay” has stuck to it.
Surroundings of the capital
Within a radius of 100 km from Asuncion, there are a large number of towns and villages that are part of the Central Route, which is actively advertised by the national tourism office. The first thing to do is to visit the center of the country’s music industry, Luka, where all kinds of national stringed instruments are made. The city of Jaguarín is famous for its Franciscan missions, San Lorenzo for its ancient church with amazing carved wood interiors (one of the richest in South America), and the village of Paraguare for its 18th century colonial buildings.
People come to Aregua to relax on the shores of Lake Iparacay and buy ceramics, to Itaugua they buy Nyanduti lace, and in Piribebua they admire the Virgen-la-Miracles church and taste the best chacha. The city of Trinidad is the largest missionary center in Paraguay: here you can visit Jesuit missions and historical churches of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Eastern Paraguay is a real paradise: rivers, dams and reservoirs, waterfalls and lush tropical vegetation. The stunning richness of South American nature is most fully represented in the national parks of Ibique (relic rainforest) and Cerro Coro (rainforest and savanna). The Fortin Toledo Reserve is known for its ecosystem of dry forests and savannahs inhabited by the rarest species of animals. Man-made sights of the region are the largest dam in the world Itaipu 200 m high and the 65-kilometer Yasireta dam. If you want to learn more about the history of these places, come on excursions in Ciudad del Este.
Chaco is a harsh and beautiful land. In the humid Lower Chaco (the first 350 km west of Asuncion), travelers visit historic Mennonite German settlements, birdwatching and exploring national parks. In the arid Upper Chaco, it is worth seeing traditional Indian settlements, the National Defense Historical Park and numerous reserves where big cats are guarded.
Holidays and events
Paraguay would not be called a South American country if there was no carnival here. It takes place annually in February, and although it cannot outdo the Brazilian one, it is very colorful, cheerful and bright, with costumed performances and street processions. Carnival takes place in towns and villages, everywhere with their own characteristics. Another important event is the Day of the patron saint of Paraguay (Dia de San Blas), which is celebrated in early February for the fifth century.
The most colorful holidays of the country are August 15 (Foundation Day of Asuncion) and December 8 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception). On Independence Day, May 14-15, city streets are decorated with garlands and flowers, and national flags are hung everywhere. As elsewhere in the Catholic world, Paraguay celebrates Christmas on December 25, as well as Easter week. January 1 – everyone’s favorite “Ano Nuevo”, that is, the New Year.