Overview

Landlocked, rural Paraguay is a bit of an unknown quantity for visitors, well off the beaten track, and culturally very different from its neighbours, Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. However it’s a friendly, quirky place, easily reached by land from neighbouring attractions such as the Iguazú Falls which is just over the border from bustling Ciudad del Este where duty free goods are snapped up by Brazilian and Argentinian day trippers.

It’s more than a tax free shop however. Northwest from the capital, Asuncion, stretches a vast, flat, stiflingly hot territory of salt flats, swampland, dry forest and cattle ranches, the scarcely populated Chaco. Inhospitable, maybe: but various species of wild mammal such as armadillo, tapir and even jaguar survive here. East and south of the capital tropical forest is more lush and home to an array of tropical birds. Nature lovers won’t be disappointed and numerous national parks are abundant with wildlife.

The indigenous population of Guaraní indians is still very much in evidence and their language is spoken widely. Colonial Spain has left its mark here, in the sleepy riparian capital Asunción, and the country is dotted with the ruins of Jesuit settlements. Remote Paraguay has always offered a refuge for people under threat, from European Mennonites to refugees from Nazi Germany.

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The weather in Paraguay is wide and varied

Landlocked, rural Paraguay is well off the beaten track for visitors, and culturally very different from its neighbours. Made up of vast, flat salt flats, swampland, forests and cattle ranches in the north to topical forest in the east and south, nature enthusiasts will revel in the variety of wild mammals such as armadillo, tapir and even jaguar and the numerous national parks full of tropical birds. In terms of climate, Paraguay is subtropical and warm year round, but the best time to visit is considered to be April – September when the weather is less humid and there are plenty of festivals including Oktoberfest where descendants of German immigrants celebrate their heritage. Temperatures increase from mid-September to end of May with high summer from December to February when it can easily reach 35°C in Asuncion. The best time to visit the rural communities and wildlife of the Chaco is June – September. If festivals are your thing then the 5-day carnival event in February / March culminating on Shrove Tuesday includes parades, music and dancing well into the night.

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    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

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