South America Travel


Paraguay


Paraguay, the poorest and least well-known country in South America, will surely succeed in taking you off the beaten track. The country sits modestly between Brazil and Argentina and is split down the middle by the Paraguay River. On the east lies the green and hydrated agricultural region. Indigenous people can be seen working the fields of the rolling hills, which are covered by grasslands and subtropical forest. On the north and west side of the river lies the Gran Chaco, which is a harsh, uninhabited wilderness of dense scrub patches and swamp. Paraguay makes an interesting destination, since it is the rural heartland of South America, with the old way of life fully preserved.

The Parque Nacional Ybicuy will give you a glimpse of landscape typical of the east side of the river. It is a great place for hiking and you could spend days exploring the expanse of rolling hills, which are covered in rain forests and streaked with tumbling streams and many waterfalls. It can be reached by Asuncion, Paraguay's capital city.

Asuncion is as dynamic and modern as any South American city, but maintains an idyllic old world elegance. The streets are lined with luxury boutiques and colonial mansions, giving it a touch of royal air, a probable remnant of European influence. Just outside the city you'll find beautiful countryside and warm, quaint farming villages, which can be reached by the route known as the Circuito de Oro.

You also won't want to miss seeing a slice of life of South America's heartland. Some ranches, (estancias), allow for tourists to stay on as guests, which provide a unique experience and a first hand look at the traditional way of life of the rural Paraguayans. The beautiful countryside will be a relaxing and energizing respite from the bustle of the city.

A boat ride through the Rio Paraguay is also a must see. A passenger boat will take you through the capital city Asuncion and Concepcion as well as remote farming villages. A boat trip makes for another relaxing way to see the countryside.

For those travelers interested in history, the Jesuit mission towns of Trinidad and Jesus, are another spot unique to Paraguay. There you'll find well-preserved monuments and churches that are the remains of the utopian Jesuit settlements that were built in the eighteenth century.



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