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Visit the Mennonite colonies

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Visit the pacifist Mennonite agricultural colonies of the remote Chaco.

Mennonites are the people of pacifist Christian communities in Russia, Canada and Europe who fled the obligation to do military service in their countries of origin. Paraguay, which has absorbed refugees of many religious and political complexions, gave them refuge in the 1920s and 30s but they were obliged to establish their colonies in the most inhospitable territory, including the Chaco.

The towns and villages, of which Filafelfia is the most notable, are a mix of the Wild West and modern, Germanic-style efficiency. They have adopted modern dress and practices but jealously guard their autonomy. Each Mennonite colony operates an agricultural co-operative system. The main source of income is beef cattle: they are expert breeders. 

The Mennonites of the Chaco speak Plattdeutsch, a form of German although those of Canadian origin also speak English. They are also passionately Paraguayan. A visit to these unique communities and hearing their stories is a highlight of any visit to Paraguay and essential to an understanding of this complex country. 

Paraguay
The Chaco

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    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.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Ben Line
    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.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Consultant

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.

  • JimAshworth
    Jim Ashworth - Travel Consultant

    Jim first caught the Latin American travel bug in 2001 when he decided at the last minute to join a friend travelling around Central America – he hasn't looked back since.

Meet the team