Paraguay

A country in the heart of South America, between Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, there is a feeling of mystery surrounding Paraguay. Full of forest, farms and folklore, there is an intriguing history to be found here stemming from the Guarani Indians who took over a Spanish expedition and brought it into their culture which created a hybrid society.  Even in the music of Paraguay there is a difference from it’s neighbours as it sways to love songs and European dances while it’s neighbours grind to salsa or tango!

Now, though, the differences between Paraguay and the rest of South America are becoming less distinct – politically, the country is part of the Mercosur economic union, with well-established trade routes to Argentina and Brazil. Moreover, the road to Bolivia is becoming more and more navigable – in the dry season, at least: the Trans-Chaco is now considered one of South America’s greatest road trips… and certainly the bumpiest.

Outside the capital of Asunción, head to the south where the remains of Mission settlements built by the Jesuits in the 18th century lie among lush, tropical forest near the banks of the Río Paraná. You will find evidence of fine craftsmanship of the Guaraní Indians who followed the Missions are scattered around the towns of Trinidad and Jesús.

In the north and west, the countryside is hard to penetrate and The Chaco is inhabited by a handful of Mennonite communities, indigenous peoples and the odd military outpost. But with fewer people, the more wildlife you will find here. Amongst the thick marshes and the thorny wilderness there are jaguar, puma and tapir and the trees are full of amazing birdlife.

The languages of Paraguay are Spanish and Guarani.  Visas are not needed by UK nationals. The best time to visit is May to September (their winter) as the rest of the year is uncomfortably hot.  It’s also wetter in the hotter months the worst time being January. The north is hotter than the south as it lies in the tropics.

Suggested experiences to do in Paraguay include:

  • Enjoy a live performance of the countries unique style of music in an Asuncion bar
  • Watch the sun set from a bat cruise on the Parana river along the Argentine border and wander in the tropical rainforests
  • Have a shopping spree in Ciudad del Este (cheap electronic goods!) before crossing the border to see Iguazu Falls in Brazil or Argentina
  • Explore the Jesuit history in towns like Trinidad and the museum at San Ignacio Guazu
  • Get up close to big cats and tapir in the wild area of the Chaco region

Get in touch to join a group adventure holiday to Paraguay or for me to put together a tailor made trip, maybe include some other parts of South America too.

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