Welcome to the state of contrasts! Yes, this is nation where you spend a mind-blowing vacation amidst many contrasts – rural and modern, poor and wealthy, natural scenes and artificial creations, and carts and Mercedes. So, the tourist attractions in Paraguay are diverse justifying the contrasts. But, do not think that the journeys between these attractions is tough; in fact, it is very comfortable. No matter where you go, from Jesuit ruins to subtropical rainforests, the tourist attractions in Paraguay promise a memorable vacation for your entire family. In my first trip, I explored the capital and the Chaco region.
ASUNCION is a rich colonial capital of the state with its own pros and cons. Tourists love discovering the original colonial buildings, international cuisine, cozy plazas, and showy shopping malls. And yes, the citizens here are also very welcoming. But, these pros win the minds of the visitors that get a bit upset by dengue mosquitoes, air pollution, and merciless heat. I and my family visited the following places of interests.
Start by wondering at the oldest edifice of the city called the Casa de la Independencia. Erected in 1772, this is the historic landmark where the Paraguayans declared independence in 1811. As of now, visitors come here to explore an old-fashioned museum that is the home of furniture, coins, and copies of speeches. Note that the descriptions and details are only in Spanish.
One more historical edifice is the Catedral Metropolitana nestled at the southeast end of Plaza Constitucion. It was constructed in the 19th century, today boasting a nearby museum. Panteón de los Héroes is the site where the remnants of the former president Francisco Solano López and other main characters of the national tragic wars are preserved. A guard keeps a watch on these relics and that after every eight days; the guard changing ceremony occurs that even you can attend.
Located across the street from the Palacio de Gobierno, Centro Cultural Manzana de la Rivera is a site of eight hued and restored structures. Out of all of them, the oldest is the Casa Viola that stands here since 1750 and provides the Museo Memoria de la Ciudad where the history of the metropolitan progress of the city is preserved in form of exhibits.
Take up a bus and be at Museo Boggiani in 45 minutes. This is one of the most recommended tourist attractions in Paraguay to visit. In this well-organized museum, you will come across the largest collection of feather art from the Italian ethnographer Guido Boggiani who did the fieldwork with the Chamacoco Indians of the Río Paraguay. One more spectacular museum to explore is the Museo de Historia Natural housing a collection of insects where one of them has a marveling wingspan of 274 mm. You can reach here easily from the downtown via the direct bus 44-B (‘Artigas’) from Oliva and 15 de Agosto.
Take bus no 30 from Oliva and alight at Av Molas López to see the Museo del Barro nestled in the east of the center and to the south off Callejon Canada. Housed in a modern building, this is where you can see all the collections ranging from the latest paintings, to the pre-Columbian and local crafts, and to political cartoons of the famous Paraguayans. The Museo Etnográfico Andrés Barbero is a free anthropological and archaeological museum where you will find displays of local devices, ceramics, weavings, fine photographs, and maps about the location of each of these items.
To have some great views of the city, head to the Parque Carlos Antonio Lopez that itself is perched high above the city. For some shade and tranquility, the Botanical Gardens is the best place to be situated on a former property of the Lopez family on the Paraguay River banks.
The CHACO is an interesting area occupying 61 percent of the total land, but with only 3 percent of the population. From the capital, you need to drive to reach the Low Chaco that is packed with lonely plains, palm forests, and marshes. Mennonites of the German ancestry inhabit the area as the only well settled community with farms and own schools. For the tourists, a few major national parks of the country are nestled here. These are the Defensores del Chaco, Tifunque, Enciso, and Cerro Cora along with the protected reserves in Mbaracayu and Nacunday offering over 600 bird species, 200 mammal species, and a multitude of reptiles and amphibians. On Earth, this is the second largest forest area and is a must to visit for ecotourism fans. Located in the northeast of Chaco, do not miss one of the top tourist attractions in Paraguay namely, the Iguazú Falls famous for its picturesque cascade.
Best Time to Visit
Winter: May to September