Paraguay The Chaco
The semi-arid wilderness of the Chaco is rich in wildlife and a great destination for birdwatchers.
The Paraguayan Chaco is likened to the Brazilian Pantanal because it is rich in wildlife and a great destination for birdwatchers. The regions have a lot of species in common. However these are different ecosystems: much of the Chaco is semi-arid: although it does rain it does not flood seasonally like the Pantanal.
The Chaco really is an adventure destination, rewarding for those who are seeking out wilderness places in an increasingly developed and accessible world. It’s for those who would actually be enticed by the regions’ nickname, the ‘Green Inferno’ – the land is flat, thorny and sweltering, though it does support vast cattle ranches in the zone of humid savannahs.
For centuries, no one lived there except a few hardy indigenous tribes and neither Paraguay nor its neighbour Bolivia cared in whose territory it fell: this changed when the possibility of (as yet unmined) oil reared its head and a bitter war took place in 1932-5. The population is tiny, swelled only by the existence of Mennonite colonies. Members of this European Christian pacifist sect prefer to life apart from other cultures and their towns, such as remote Filadelfia, have striking blond inhabitants who still speak a kind of High German. A visit to their settlements is most intriguing.
Travel to the Chaco to observe cacti the size of houses in what is really a beautiful if melancholy landscape, seeking out wildlife such as caiman, lowland tapir, giant anteater, armadillo and Chacoan peccary. It's an exciting destination for birders: Birds include eagles, rheas, tinamous, black-bodied woodpeckers and woodcreepers. The saltpans and swamps attract a large number of waterfowl.
Unlike the Pantanal, the Chaco is totally undeveloped for tourism: there are no upscale lodges, you stay in Filadelfia or Loma Plata and drive to the best spotting locations.
Holidays The Chaco
From expertly designed Pre-designed Holidays to trail-blazing Group Tours, browse our range of carefully crafted holidays.
Paraguay / Argentina / Iguazu Falls
Signature Paraguay: The Missions and the Chaco
12 days from £3,740pp
Where to go when - our guide to The Chaco
The weather in The Chaco is wide and varied
Similar to the Brazilian Pantanal, the Chaco region is rich in wildlife and a great destination for birdwatchers. For those of an adventurous nature, the land is flat, thorny and sweltering and for centuries nobody lived here. Completely undeveloped for tourism, you will stay in Filadelfia or Loma Plata and drive to the best wildlife spotting locations. The best time to visit is June – September when temperatures are cooler and more comfortable.View our The Chaco weather guide
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Consultant
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our Sales team.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant
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.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Ben Line - Travel Consultant
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.