Boats at the shore in Asunción, Paraguay

Asunción, Paraguay

Asunción is the capital and by far the biggest city of Paraguay. It has no beautiful backdrop, the coast is far, far away, there is nothing much spectacular to see or world famous carnivals to attend…. but still, by visiting Asunción you will be sure to hit the true heart of South America. It is often in the ‘in-between’ places like this where true travelers find a little slice of heaven…

Asunción offers up a lot of history about South American flair and, like many off the beaten track places, really friendly people welcome you on every corner – most of whom are really curious and talkative, because tourists are not that common in the country at all. Arriving by plane, Asunción will naturally be your first stop, so why not linger for a day or two, before heading off to visit the popular dry-forest region of Gran Chaco to see some indigenous Paraguayan wildlife…

EDIT - Paraguay

Places to stay in Asunción:

  • Black Cat Hostel: A really nice hostel with an excellent location. Eligio Ayala 129.
  • El Viajero Hostel: A very popular hostel with a good social atmosphere, lovely swimming pool and terrace area. Alberdi 734.

Things to do:

Getting around: There are a couple of lovely spots in Asunción. You can visit them by collectivo, which costs about 2,500 Guarani per drive and person. Taking a collectivo is cheap and easy, not to mention a great local experience! Usually you will find some other locals in need of a ride loitering on the side of the street, stand beside them and wave if you spot the collectivo that you want to take. (Usually they have signs in the front window with the destination.) If you hit the spot where you want to get off, shout or ring the bell – if you can find one!

El Bolsi: After that you can pay a visit to El Bolsi, a restaurant in Estrella 399. It’s a traditional place in Asunción, which is always crowded and the food is really good, local and homemade. If you visit Asunción, El Bolsi is a must! We recommend sitting at the counter, which gives u a little bit extra flair and from where you can watch everything that is going on in the restaurant.

Panteón Nacional de los Héroes: When you finally hit the City Centre you should first see the Panteón Nacional de los Héroes, it’s a really colonial style building in the middle of a town square. All around it, indigenous women sell jewelry, on some days a whole market spreads around that corner of Asunción where you can find mostly anything from hammocks, to earrings, blouses or “tattoo artists”, who can tattoo you the motive of your dreams right away amidst a bulk of curious Teens.

Casa de la Independencia: For those who want to delve into the interesting history of Asunción, we recommend to visit the Casa de la Independencia, besides a nice history lesson you will get to know calm policemen who are enjoying their tereré (a trasitional Paraguayan tea drink, like Argentina’s mate) in the sun in the street 14 de Mayo y Pte. Franco – and will offer you a sip of the communal beverage for sure!

The Promenade: End your day by strolling along the promenade at the Rio Paraguay to watch the sun set. It seems that everyone heads down here in the evening time… Enjoy a chipa (a traditional Paraguayan cheese bun) or bring your own bottle of tereré, lika a Paraguayo would!

Visit Chaco’i: If you want to see the city from a different point of view, you should pay a visit the small community of Chaco’i. It’s a rural area opposite of Asunción from where you can see the skyline of the paraguayan capital. There is not that much happening here, but you are likely to spot a few monkeys in the trees and guaranteed to meet a bunch of awesome people along the way who will offer to guide your visit. To go there you have to take a small boat from the harbor of Asunción and go through the huge building to jump into one of the small collectivo boats. The boat ride to Chaco’i is about 20 minutes (about 3500 Guaranis per ride) and you will pass locals fishing in the river.

Where to go Next?

From Asunción you can go anywhere in Paraguay, since it is the capital, almost every route begins or ends here…  Here are some suggestions:

  • Luque: This small, but charming city is the perfect day trip from Asunción, where you can buy wonderful cheap silver jewelry. Just take the collectivo from the city with the sign Luque in the front window – easy!
  • San Bernardino: This is a really nice town, located very  close to Asunción. Here, you can experience a lot of German influences (due to the immigration here during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s) and enjoy the view above the huge Ypacarai lake. You will find a lot of fancy houses, since San Bernardino is a kind of summer retreat, where rich people used to spend their summers (end of November till February).

This Destination Page was Written by Claudia Jordan

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