Paraguay is a country of great contrast – from vast and modern cities to beautiful waterfalls, wild plains and historic ruins. Unlike other countries in South America, Paraguay does not have a highly-developed tourism industry – but that’s changing more and more as the transport system improves. Whether you’re planning a trip to the country, or are looking for a unique place to volunteer abroad, Paraguay really is a country you won’t ever forget.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with five top things to do in the country. Combining history, culture and natural beauty, we hope you’ll agree that Paraguay is a place you need to check out on your travels.
Visit Lake Ypacarai
Lake Ypacarai is a vast shallow lake, surrounded by cities, and located around 28km east from the capital of Asuncion. San Bernardino the “summer city” is probably the most popular city on the lake, a holiday resort overlooking the lake where you can join in all manner of watersports, from fishing to scuba diving. A visit to the artisan City of Aregua is a must, an old summer town that maintains its early 20th Century flavour.
Casa de la Independencia
The Casa de la Independencia, or the “House of Independence” was built in 1774 and has a great historical importance in the hearts and minds of the Paraguayan people. It was from this house that the revolt against the Spanish began, so it’s seen as the birthplace of the independence of Paraguay. On the night of 14 May, 1811, a group of brave Paraguayans came out of this house and announced that Paraguay was finally free from Spanish rule.
The rooms of the house are home to a number of important exhibits. The Office Room contains important documents signed by various patriots, as well as a bureau owned by Fernando de la Mora. A sword belonging to Fulgencio Yegros can be found in the Dining Room, while a large mural painted by José Laterza Parodi cane be seen in the Yard.
Panteon Nacional De Los Heroes
Panteon Nacional de los Heroes is a plaza which is a must for any visitor of Asuncion. Whenever something historic happens in the capital, the locals descend on the square with their flags to celebrate the event. The ceremonial changing of the guard is held here several times a day, while vendors sell everything from traditional Paraguayan art, to bows and arrows, headdresses, pottery and much more. These stalls are open until dusk. The plaza is also good to explore other nearby attractions – such as the National Congress, the National Cathedral and the Municipal Museum.
La Santisima Trinidad de Parana
One of the small colonies established by the missionaries, La Santisima Trinidad de Parana is more commonly known as “The Holy Trinity of Parana”. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paraguay. Located near the modern city of Encarnacion, Trinidad de Parana was built in 1706, designed to be a central self-sufficient city to house the local Indian population. Today, the ruins of what’s left are the most well-preserved ruins in the country. This is mainly due to the fact that it was the last of eight missions constructed in the country.
We’ve saved the best sight to last with the Iguassu Falls. Standing at the point where Argentina and Brazil meet Paraguay is a collection of spectacular waterfalls, which truly are one of the most stunning sights on earth. The falls are a designated UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, the sheer volume of water that falls every second is a sight – and sound – to behold. The deafening roar of the water splashing against the rocks will leave you breathless, as will the sight of the falls against the green forest backdrop.
Author bio – This post was supplied by Original Volunteers, which runs a number of volunteer projects in Paraguay. For more information please see the website.