Paraguay: a beginner’s guide
Asunción is older than Buenos Aires, but it, and indeed Paraguay as a whole, has remained something of a backwater.
Top five attractions
- The Itaipu dam (the one that got switched off in November 2009, plunging southern Brazil into darkness) is one of the world's biggest.
- The Jesuit Missions of Trinidad and Jesús are not touristy and are as impressive as any in Argentina.
- The Gran Chaco, settled by Mennonites, is a vast stretch of savannah, scrub and swamp.
- Parque Nacional Ybicuy, the last rainforest in the country, has some good hiking trails.
- A passenger boat ride down the Río Paraguay, from Asunción to Concepción – take a rod and hook a huge dorado.
Asunción, a capital but with the proportions of a small town and possessed of a somewhat decadent beauty; quite a large number of elegant 19th-century buildings remain, as well as imposing monuments – many of them honouring dictators.
Souvenir to buy
Colourful doilies called ñanduti.
Everything in Paraguay is pretty quirky, but one colourful moment in history was the founding in the late 1880s, by Elisabeth Nietzsche (sister of the philosopher) and Bernhard Foerster, of Nueva Germania, a pure Aryan community, in the Paraguayan jungle.
‘At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig’ by John Gimlette. Witty, fact-packed narrative written after extensive travels in this much-ignored nation.
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
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
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 a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
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.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
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 London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.