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
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Sally Dodge - Travel Expert
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.
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.
Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert
Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.
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.