Paraguay, while endowed with numerous resources and abundant ways to unwind from busy urban lifestyles, has often not been on many tourists’ radars. And you know what that means – tons of sites to explore, devoid of the usual hassles that come with venturing into popular tourist spots. There is so much you can do in Paraguay, and thanks to the warm relationship between Paraguay and the U.S., you will not need a visa if you will travel for 90 or fewer days for tourism or business. Even so, you must have a valid passport with one blank page at the time of entry; else, you will not be allowed into the country.
Once you have a valid passport in hand, you can quickly delve into some of the most fascinating things to do in Paraguay. What are they?
Watch a Football Game
South America has produced some of the greatest footballers in history. After all, you can hardly talk about good football without touching on the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Alisson Becker, and Vinicius Junior. So, you can imagine that football is one of the sports that unites Paraguayans. While you are in Paraguay, catch a live football game where you can immerse yourself into the Paraguayan spirit, cheering on budding talent with the locals. The games are usually quite heated, which is expected of a country that made it to the 2019 World Cup Quarter Finals. Who knows? You could witness the making of yet another football icon!
Munch on Chipa Asador
They say that the best way to explore any culture is through culinary experiences. And that could not be truer in Paraguay. They have a local favorite, Chipa Asador, a cheese-flavored baked roll stuffed with fat, eggs, salt, and cassava starch. It’s a blend like no other which is often served hot. To experience the roll like a true local, head to the markets during the weekend and experience the making of a truly delicious snack!
Spend the Day at Asuncion
Delving into any country’s history is always a great way to understand the culture of any region. And in Paraguay, the best way to do this is by spending a day in the capital, which features a colonial Spanish grid system. It is home to some of the country’s oldest buildings, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. When you are not busy marveling at the architectural wonders, you can also visit the town’s museums, mansions, and historical sites for a walk down memory lane.
Explore the Green Hell
The term Green Hell may make you think you are in for quite a terrible experience. But that is not the case. Instead, it refers to a wild adventure through the Chaco Boreal, stretching from the Rio Paraguay down to the Rio Pilcomayo in the west. Here, you will be subject to soaring temperatures that can hit about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But your mind will not be on the heat; rather, the sights and sounds will enthrall you. You can view snakes, jaguars, armadillos, anteaters, otters, piranhas, and other animals you have previously seen on TV. And when you are not cruising the blackened waters under the heat, you can also trail the surrounding trails where you can view the animals up close for an exciting adrenaline thrill. It is undoubtedly a trip to remember!
Head to the UNESCO Sites
It’s always refreshing to set foot in preserved sites that depict a country’s history as it were back in the day. And what better way to do this than by visiting the La Santisima Trinidad de Paraná and Ruinas Jesuiticas de Jesús de Tavarangué sites? These have been around since the 17th century, thanks to the missionaries who put them up. Here, you will learn how the Jesuits worked hard to assimilate the Guaraní into their religion. However, a Guaraní war broke out in the 18th century, forcing the Jesuits out of the lands, resulting in the abandonment of the colonies. The ruins you visit today are what’s left of this era and are a great way to peek into the effects of slavery and colonization back in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Kick Back at Encarnación
When the temperatures soar in the hotter months (especially from December to February), you can cool off by heading to the waterfront area in Encarnación. Here, you can interact with locals and other tourists as you beat the heat with some cool waters. Besides, you can also participate in myriad events going down by the beach, including carnivals. There is never a dull moment at Encarnación; you can use this to spruce up an already fun trip.
Visit Iguazu Falls
What would you say to a view of 275 individual falls crashing down between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil? It’s quite a wonder to behold and will remain ingrained in your memory for years. It is one of the natural wonders of the world. And to make the trip even more memorable, you get to cross into another country on your two feet!
To get to the falls, you will need to cross the Friendship Bridge and can venture out as far as 18 miles from the start of the bridge without a passport. If you wish to go further than this, you must stop for a passport stamp. But that likely won’t be necessary because you will get a fantastic view of the falls without venturing that far into a foreign land.
Pass by Parque Nacional Ybycuí
This exotic Atlantic Forest is home to tropical birds, capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, peccary, and other flora and fauna. Inside, you also visit the iron foundry and museum and can take a dip in the falls. If you wish to walk through the forest, you can do so with a guide, enabling you to interact with the fauna up-close as you walk through trails inhabited by butterflies. Very few experiences come close to this.
To keep cool under the heat, sip some terere as you traverse Paraguay. This highly caffeinated drink will keep you refreshed and spare you from dehydration. Please note that your passport must be valid for the entirety of your stay in Paraguay. If it has expired or is close to expiry, renew it before leaving the country to avoid getting sent back to the U.S. upon arrival.