Attractions in Paraguay

The 20 Best Sights of Paraguay

Paraguay is not too popular among tourists, but there is also something to see. The main attractions of this country are wildlife, interesting museums and the famous Itaipu Dam.

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Who should visit Paraguay and why?

First of all, people go to Paraguay to admire the incredible beauty of wildlife. Travelers are welcomed by the complex of Iguazu waterfalls and the plains of Gran Chaco, which are home to various representatives of exotic fauna. In nature reserves and national parks, you can walk through tropical forests and see the animals and birds that live here in their natural environment.

Historical sites in Paraguay are also quite a lot. Be sure to visit the National Pantheon of Heroes, dedicated to fallen soldiers in the War of Independence, the Jesuit Missions and the House Museum. And the Cathedral of Asunción is a beautiful example of ancient architecture that is definitely worth seeing.

Among the interesting structures are also worth noting the Bridge of Friendship, which connects the banks of Paraguay and Brazil, and the Itaipu Dam, which is the largest source of electricity not only in America, but in the world.

Historical sites and museums

National Pantheon of Heroes

nac panteon

The memorial is a symbol of Paraguay’s heroic history and is dedicated to the people who died in the bloody wars fighting for the country’s independence. The Pantheon of Heroes can be called the best landmark in Paraguay, and it is also one of the most revered and memorable places.

At the entrance are two bronze figures of soldiers, and inside is a sarcophagus covered with the national flag of the country. On the walls are inscribed the names of those who died during the war effort.

Jesuit ruins

iesuitskie ruini

There are 8 ancient Jesuit villages (missions) in Paraguay, of which 3 are fairly well preserved. They were built in the 17th and 18th centuries to “re-educate” the indigenous Guaraní tribe and convert them to the Christian faith. The most famous missions in Paraguay are Trinidad, San Cosme y Damián and Jesús.

All the villages are similar: there is a stone church with sacristies in the center, several schools are located nearby, and to the side there used to be Indian dwellings. These Jesuit villages are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Del Barro Museum

musei del baro

Located on the outskirts of Asuncion and has three subdivisions:

  • Paraguayan Museum of Contemporary Art – it features a collection of works by Latin American artists (paintings, sculptures and prints).
  • Indigenous Art Museum – Here you can see masks, figurines, baskets, jewelry and vessels created by different ethnic groups of Paraguay.
  • Museum of Ceramics – displays 300 examples of pre-Columbian ceramics, as well as ancient objects of applied art made of cloth, wood and metal.

Independence House

dom nesavisimosti

In this building, a group of conspirators signed the Declaration of Independence of the country from Spain in 1811. The house belonged to the Spaniard Antonio Saenz, which later passed to his two sons, who staged a coup in Paraguay. In 1943, the house was given to the government, and 20 years later a museum was opened in it.

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The nineteenth-century interiors have been fully restored, and the rooms contain weapons, personal items, and portraits of revolutionaries. The main exhibit is the sword of Fulgencio Yegros, who led Paraguay after its liberation.

Museum of Sacred Art

musei sakralnogo iskustva

This museum was opened very recently, in 2010. The main part of its collection is a private collection of Baroque Guaraní sacred art. The pearls of the collection are the 17th century statue of St. Peter in wood and the 18th century image of the Virgin Mary.

The museum has 6 exhibition rooms, an auditorium, souvenir and bookstore, and a cafeteria. Cultural events take place on the outdoor terrace.

Architectural Monuments

Church of San Buenaventura

cerkov san buenoventura

This church is considered one of the most beautiful in Paraguay. It is about an hour’s drive from Asunción, in the town of Jaguarón. That was founded by the Franciscans in the 16th century-they also had a hand in creating the church.

The temple building was built in 1772 and has been well preserved to this day. Outwardly the structure looks quite simple, but the interior decoration of the temple is striking in its magnificence and beauty.

Asunción Cathedral

kafedralni sobor

The cathedral is the oldest building and one of the main attractions in Asunción. Construction began in 1561 by order of King Philip II of Spain. The facade is in a mixed architectural style, with Gothic, Neoclassical, Baroque, and Moorish elements.

The main entrance is in the form of an arch framed by columns supporting the cornice. The facade is made in white color and is decorated with stucco, the image of the Virgin Mary and large windows. On the sides of the building there are two high towers with miniature domes.

The Government Palace

court

A beautiful mansion located in Asuncion serves as the residence for the president and government of Paraguay. It was designed by the Hungarian engineer F. W. de Morgenstern, and built by the Englishman A. Taylor.

Materials for the construction of the palace were brought from different parts of Paraguay, and masters from Europe were invited to decorate the facade. The highlight of the building is a gorgeous marble staircase. In the evenings there is a light show near the palace, and then it looks especially spectacular.

Grand Hotel Del Paraguay

grand otel

The Grand Hotel building is striking in its splendor: massive white columns combine with graceful galleries in the Spanish style. The marble interiors are sumptuous, and the hotel has a swimming pool and rooms with private balconies. The stylishly decorated restaurant serves delicious local cuisine.

Natural attractions and parks

Iguazu Falls

vodopadi aguasu

Located on the border of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, the Iguazu Falls are a system of 275 tumbling streams stretching for 3 kilometers. Iguazu means “big water” in the language of the Guaraní tribe.

In 1986 the system of waterfalls was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and in 2011 it was recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Tourists from all over the world come to admire the powerful streams of water, gushing from a height of 60 meters and forming small rainbows in the sunlight.

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Yubutsi National Park

nac park ubuzi

The most popular and most visited national park in Paraguay is located in the east of the country 150 km from the capital. This is a real tropical jungle where visitors can see different representatives of flora and fauna.

There are howler monkeys, huge spiders, exotic butterflies and tropical birds. Waterfalls, near which you can relax after a long walk, complete the landscape.

Botanical Garden of Asuncion

bot garden

Located in the capital of Paraguay, the botanical garden occupies 110 hectares. Most of the area is represented by a natural forest with centuries-old trees. Also in the park there is an apothecary garden, where grows medicinal herbs, and the “Mini Paraguay” zone, which contains rare plants brought here from all over the country.

It is also worth stopping by the local zoo to see different animals, birds, and reptiles. Visitors especially like the small tugua pigs, who are always welcome.

The Plains of Gran Chaco

ravnini gran chako

Paraguay has 20% of the plains of the Gran Chaco. The rest of it is divided between Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. The plains are near the equator, which is why the climate is so hot and what the locals refer to as “green heat.

The area is mostly occupied by savannas and tropical forests. The fauna here is quite rich: jaguars, howler monkeys, tapirs, pumas, armadillos and marsh deer. Tourists are attracted by the unspoiled and beautiful wildlife of these endless plains.

Cerro Corra National Park

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The park area is located in the eastern part of Paraguay near the border with Brazil. The national park protects a vast area of dry tropical forests and savannahs on the right bank of the Paraná River.

The main landscape is low hills and there are many caves in the park. This park is known not only for its scenic views and conservation activities, but also for its turbulent historical past. It was here that the final battle of the Triple Alliance War took place in 1870.

Lake Ipakarai.

osero ipakarai

This large but shallow lake in the southeastern part of the country covers almost 56 km2 and is only 3 m deep. Several tributaries flow into the lake and the Salado River flows out.

Ipakarai is very popular with tourists and locals. But due to nitrogen from the fields and cattle farms, the lake is highly polluted and its condition is gradually deteriorating.

Ibike National Park

nac park ibike

In the east of the country is the Ibike National Park, home to one of the largest preserved areas of tropical forest. The park’s main natural complexes are wetlands, gallery forests, and mixed and subtropical forests.

Among the tree species most commonly found are cedar, black laurel, and rosewood. A variety of animals are also found here, and it is believed that many species are still undiscovered within the Ibike ecosystem.

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Notable structures

Itaipu Dam.

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The dam on the border of Brazil and Paraguay is the largest hydroelectric structure in the entire world. Its construction began in 1971 and 12 years later it began generating electricity.

The shores of the resulting 1400 km2 reservoir have become a popular recreational area. Many tourists come here to see the legendary construction.

National University of Asunción

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The oldest public educational institution in Paraguay was built in 1889. Many important political figures graduated from the university, including two presidents of the country and the current incumbent.

Initially there were only five faculties: pharmacy and midwifery, clerks’ school, medicine, mathematics and law. Now the university already has 12 faculties with more than 40 thousand students. The national university also engages in outreach and activities to spread scientific knowledge.

Silvio Pettirossi Airport

aeroport

Paraguay’s capital city is home to the Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, named after the famous pilot. It is Asuncion’s air harbor, from which planes fly all over North and South America, as well as flights to Asia and Europe.

Planes from 17 airlines land at the international airport, and passenger turnover is about 1 million people a year. It is noteworthy that there is only one runway and terminal, but it has all the necessary services.

Friendship Bridge

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The bridge connects the Paraguayan and Brazilian banks of the Parana. Its inauguration in 1965 was attended by the presidents of both countries. The construction of the Friendship Bridge led to the active development of the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este, which is recognized as a free trade zone: goods here are much cheaper than on the Brazilian coast.

Tourists stop by to see the bridge when they go to Iguazu Falls.

Attractions in Paraguay, 10 of the most interesting places

The sights of Paraguay, 10 interesting places

Paraguay remains undiscovered for many travelers. Most tourists visiting South America chart their routes along the Andean axis: Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, leaving behind an area that includes Paraguay, northeastern Argentina and southern Brazil. And for good reason! This part of South America has plenty of interesting places to visit, too.

In recent years, located in the heart of South America, Paraguay is gradually beginning to develop a tourism business based on the potential of its natural beauty.

How can Paraguay surprise the experienced tourist? Here’s a list of Paraguay’s 10 most beautiful places.

1. Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay

The sights of Paraguay, 10 interesting places

The capital city of Paraguay, Asuncion, is now on the road to modernization and recovery from the dictatorship that the country endured at the end of the last century. The city seeks to return to its former glory, when Asunción was the most powerful colonial city on the entire continent. Asunción is like terre, the ubiquitous drink made from the mate grass: it may seem strange at first, but gradually you will understand its taste, love it and even become sad when it’s time to say goodbye to it.

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You will be surprised by the grandeur of the most important historical buildings around the Armory, such as the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Cabildo, the National Pantheon of Heroes or the Independence House, which symbolize the respect and pride of Paraguayans for their past.

If you want to enjoy the best sunset in Asuncion, the ideal place is Costanera, the promenade along the Paraguay River, renovated in 2013 and now still being developed. For a nice walk along it, don’t forget to buy an ice cream or rent a bike.

Want a little secret? Climb the steps of Loma de San Jeronimo, a typical neighborhood with colorful houses where you will be welcome and where you can taste the delicious chipa (cheese bread).

2. the Jesuit missions in Paraguay Santísima Trinidad de Paraná and Jesús de Tavaranga

These imposing ruins, vestiges of the Spanish colonial past, are silent witnesses to the difficult violent coexistence of the Jesuits and Guaranís. Built in the 17th century, up to 3,000 people of the community lived behind its giant stone walls. Walk among its buildings with their roofs open to the sky and listen to the stories that the sun-orange stones tell of their inhabitants before they were abandoned in the second half of the 18th century. In 1993, these missions were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

3. Encarnación, the jewel of southern Paraguay

The sights of Paraguay, 10 interesting places

If you decide to visit the “pearl of the south” of Paraguay, the town of Encarnacion, which borders the Argentine city of Posadas, you will find one of the popular tourist spots of the country’s residents who want to have fun, go shopping or sunbathe on the San Jose River beach. Shopping malls and stores with some of the lowest prices in the world await you here, with prices in bars and clubs increasing every year. The best time to visit this city is during carnival season, when, borrowing from the traditions of nearby Brazil, the streets turn into a giant party for a few days.

4. Gran Chaco – Paraguay’s natural treasure trove

If you are not a fan of big cities and prefer nature and various adventures, you will definitely want to answer the call of the vast and unexplored expanses of Gran Chaco. Dense forests and arid plains occupy a huge part of Paraguay and extend to neighboring Bolivia and Argentina. These plains are home to the Trans-Chaco Rally, Paraguay’s largest sporting event and a tough challenge for its participants.

Despite the extreme climate, these plains are amazing for the diversity of wildlife: jaguars, cougars, tapirs and hundreds of bird species are concentrated in Defensores del Chaco National Park, where you can go on a photo safari or participate in a biodiversity protection project.

5. Jaguarón – the town of ghosts

This small town, 48 km from Asuncion is ideal for those who are tired of the big city… But provided you are not afraid of ghosts. Paraguay tells of many supernatural phenomena occurring in this town, all fueled by numerous legends. This is one of the most interesting places in Paraguay.

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The town’s main attraction is the San Buenaventura Temple, an 18th-century baroque building built by the inhabitants of the place.

Don’t leave this town without climbing the nearby Jaguarón Hill, where, in addition to the magnificent panoramic view of the green plains, you can contemplate certain traces attributed to Santo Tomás. It is said that if you stand with your feet on these footprints on Good Friday, good luck and love will always be with you.

6. San Bernardino

Or San Ber, as it is affectionately known in Paraguay, is a resort town with a river beach closest to Asuncion, where everyone tends to go during the South American summer, from December to March.

Its history began in the 19th century as a German and Swiss colony, as evidenced by its colonial houses with Central European influences. Today, restaurants and entertainment venues are adjacent to these old buildings on the shores of Lake Ipakarai.

Enjoy a relaxing day on one of its beaches with a cocktail in hand, and you’ll blend in with the Paraguayans. You will quickly be mistaken for one of your own.

7. Salto Cristal Falls

The sights of Paraguay, 10 interesting places

This waterfall is located 120 km from Asunción, the capital of Paraguay. The waterfall itself and the lush vegetation surrounding it is one of the main destinations of local tourism. The waterfall is located in Ibicuy National Park.

8. Paraguay’s Sacred Mountain, Cerro Guazú

The sights of Paraguay, 10 interesting places

A visit to this mountain in Paraguay is very important for understanding the culture of the local tribes.

The Pai Tavitera Indians, who gave this mountain the name “Hasuca Venda,” consider this mountain the place where the creation of the world began. And the Pai Tawitera Indians’ self-name means “villagers of the center of the world.”

Numerous examples of rock art can be found here, the origin and dating of which are practically unexplored.

9. Salto del Mondej Falls

The sights of Paraguay, 10 interesting places

The Mondey Municipal Park and its main attraction, the Mondey Falls, is a natural complex of 9 hectares, located in President Franco of the Department of Alto Paraná.

Against the backdrop of tropical wildlife, the waterfall is a stunning sight and is of historical value, as it was one of the stopping points of the Guaraní migration routes in the pre-Hispanic period of history.

10. el Pantal

El Pantal or Gran Pantal is the largest wetland in the world, located in 3 countries: Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. It has an area of 340,500 km². It is one of the richest ecosystems in the world in terms of biodiversity of flora and fauna.

El Pantanal is a geological depression in the Earth’s crust. During the rainy season, from December to May, its water level rises up to 3 m and El Pantanal is flooded by 80%, giving rise to a system dominated by aquatic flora, which here reaches an expression unmatched anywhere else in the world.

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