Itauguá, Paraguay – Backpacking Guide

Itaugua sign with Ñanduti decorations

Itauguá, Paraguay is an expanding city with historical buildings, beautiful artisanship, scenic greenery, and lake views. Located about 30 kilometers from the capital, Asunción, and also known as the City of Ñanduti, Itauguá is famous for Ñanduti lacework and folk music. 

It’s the perfect place to stay in Paraguay if you want to visit both the big city and the country’s rural interior, as it’s a middle point between urban cities and the countryside. 

After falling in love with Paraguay, I packed up my stuff and moved to Itauguá. Here, I’ll share all the best things about my adopted hometown, from the best things to do to the top restaurants!

Itauguá, Paraguay – Budget Travel Guide

Itauguá, Paraguay Map & Resources

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Best Time to Visit Itauguá

Itauguá experiences moderate to hot temperatures throughout the year. You’ll enjoy your visit whatever time of year you choose to go, but it is best to pick your dates depending on your weather preferences and the activities you want to do. 

Beautiful Itauguá sky(1)
There are some pretty amazing sunsets to enjoy here!

If you don’t mind the heat, go during the summer months from December to February and you can enjoy local music at Cultural Friday shows and picnics by Ypacaraí Lake. Visit in the wintertime between June and August if you prefer cooler weather. On a chilly day, hike Cerro Patiño or eat fresh strawberries at the Strawberry Expo in nearby Areguá.

Spring and fall are great times to visit Itauguá for sunny weather. It is also not too hot or too cold from September through November and March through May respectively. If you’re planning on hiking, biking, or camping, and don’t want to deal with the humidity and summer vacationers, these are the ideal months to visit.

Lapacho in bloom
Beautiful colours in Itauguá!

Where to Stay in Itauguá

Itauguá isn’t a very large place, but there are a few different areas where you can stay. Depending on the activities you want to do and other places you want to visit, you’ll want to choose from one of the following options:

  • Downtown Itauguá – If you want to be near sit-down restaurants, bars, nightlife, grocery stores, and local events, you’ll want to stay in the city’s central downtown area. You’ll have easy access to buses and can explore the city on foot. 
  • Estanzuela/Patiño – Nature lovers should head away from the more populated areas for a green and peaceful getaway. From camping sites to cabins with lake views, visit the Estanzuela/Patiño neighborhoods to immerse yourself in the natural world and enjoy hiking and lakeside picnics.
Itaugua center
The center of the city is a great place to base yourself.

Best Hostels in Itauguá

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Hotel Olimpo – An inexpensive, fuss-free hotel in Itauguá’s downtown area, Hotel Olimpo has all the basic hotel amenities. Free breakfast, parking, WiFi, and a pool are all available for guests. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a good option if you want to stay in the city center.

Vista al Lago Suites – Beautiful, charming accommodations with a lake view. Vista al Lago Suites are a little pricier, but worth considering, especially for a couple looking for a romantic place to relax. It’s a peaceful spot off the beaten path, and the staff is friendly and helpful.

Estanzuela Eco Lodge – If you’re looking for an escape in nature, Estanzuela Eco Lodge offers a variety of accommodations, including a house for big groups, private rooms, glamping, and camping. 

Things to Do in Itauguá, Paraguay

1. Visit Itauguá Municipal Beach

Enjoy a day by the Ypacaraí Lake at this beautiful park. Bring your own asado or chorizo to grill on the barbecues, play volleyball, or take pictures on the charming dock. All the facilities are free to use and it’s a perfect spot to eat lunch or enjoy a treat from the nearby Strawberry Expo.

View of Ypacarai Lake from Municipal Beach
View of Ypacarai Lake from Municipal Beach.

2. Hike Cerro Patiño

Cerro Patiño is the best hiking spot in Itauguá, although you shouldn’t miss the nearby Cerro Koî in Areguá either. Hike to the top for views of the city and Ypacaraí Lake. The track isn’t always in the best of condition, but if you don’t mind untamed trails, you’ll enjoy it. 

3. Shop for Ñanduti

Itauguá is also known as the city of Ñanduti. This intricate lacework is a local handicraft and you’ll see references to it throughout the city. Don’t leave Itauguá without a Ñanduti souvenir! 

hats and fans made from Ñanduti
Itauguá is known as the City of Ñanduti!

Head to Casa Antonia Artesanías to take a look at the variety of pieces. You’ll also see locally made leatherwork, thermoses, and guampas for tereré and mate, traditional clothing, and more.

store selling local handicrafts
Casa Antonia Artesanías is THE place to go if you’re searching for traditional souvenirs.

4. Check Out the Patiño Ethnobotanical Garden

Plant lovers won’t want to miss this garden. You’ll get to discover the local plant life and spend time in the peaceful greenery. A guided tour is available from the caretakers and you can learn all about the plants and how to care for them. At times, they even hold workshops and classes.

5. Walk the City Streets to See Historical Buildings

Itauguá is home to colonial-style historical buildings that have been preserved through the decades. If you walk around the city center, you’ll find the Church Virgin of the Rosary, the San Rafael Museum, and many other buildings from centuries past, alongside newer buildings. 

Iglesia Virgen del Rosario
Iglesia Virgen del Rosario, Itauguá.

You can also visit the Plaza of Itauguá’s Founders, a park with monuments and plaques dedicated to famous founders of the city.

6. See Live Music at a Cultural Festival or Local Bar

Itauguá often has events featuring live music. During the summer, there’s an event called Cultural Fridays, where you can see local performers play Paraguayan folk music and perform traditional dances. If you’re not visiting during the summer, research if there are any other events planned during your stay.  

7. Eat Fresh Seasonal Fruit

In June and July, where Areguá meets Itauguá, the roadside fills with stands selling strawberry everything – baked goods, liquor, jam, and the fruit itself. Mandarins, grapefruit, avocado, and lemons are also abundant during the autumn and winter months. 

During the summer, you can’t walk a block without running into a mango tree heavy with ripe delicious fruit, and guava is also in season. Any time of year you visit, there’s bound to be some kind of fruit ripe and ready. Ask around and you’ll likely get invited to try, or find a tree in the street to pick from!

Paseo de los Ilustres(1)
Keep your eyes peeled for delicious fruit hanging from the trees above!

Food and Drink in Itauguá

In Itauguá, you can taste all of Paraguay’s most famous dishes, like chipa and sopa paraguaya. One dish, called lambreado, is a classic in Itauguá, made with cassava (also known as mandioca), ground beef, onion, garlic, and breadcrumbs. Be sure to try it during your stay!

There are plenty of pizza and burger places, as well as ‘lomiterias’, where shawarma-style meat wraps called lomitos are sold. Churrasquito, a sandwich with grilled meat, and asadito, a skewer of grilled meat, are also popular, and typically sold in roadside stands and out of people’s homes. 

Chipa guazú(1)
Chipa is a popular dish in Paraguay.

Itauguá also has a couple of popular bars where you can get a drink and listen to live music. Here are a few places you can get a satisfying bite to eat:

  • Arabia Kebab – A lomiteria with yummy chicken and meat wraps, as well as burgers and pizza. You can eat at the restaurant, take your food to go, or even get it delivered. Lomitos is a popular fast food in Paraguay, so don’t leave without trying one!
  • Urban Pizza – A small, modern pizza restaurant that serves drinks. They have indoor and patio seating, but it’s best for a small group, as it’s not a very big restaurant.
  • Kalafatis – Kalafatis is Itauguá’s most famous bar. The food options are limited, but it has a nice atmosphere and they often host events and live music.
  • La Cripta – A bar with a lively atmosphere and a variety of food options. They usually have events, concerts, and more on the weekends and holidays. If you want to make friends with locals and enjoy a beer, this is the place to go.
  • Colmán Resto Bar – Here you’ll find typical Paraguayan food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy cocido and chipa for breakfast, or a milanesa sandwich for lunch.

Getting Around Itauguá

Most people get around Itauguá on foot or by bus. If you’re staying in the city center, you can easily walk to restaurants and shops, and catch the bus from the main highway, Ruta 2. 

Street in Itaugua decorated with umbrellas
Itauguá is generally to get around on foot.

To get to other parts of the city, you’ll have to take a bus or an Uber or Bolt ride. The bus system isn’t easy to figure out. There’s no posted routes or an app to make things easier. Buses pass frequently and usually have a sign in the front with their route. You can also ask the driver if they pass by your destination.

Uber and Bolt are common in most of Itauguá and are convenient for getting to locations that are off the beaten path.

How to Get To Itauguá

If you’re traveling to Paraguay by plane, you’ll most likely arrive at the main airport, Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Luque. From here, you can travel to Itauguá by car, Uber, or bus. 

The bus stop is just outside of the terminal, and an Uber or taxi can also pick you up right outside of the airport. The drive is about an hour, and it will take longer by bus depending on how many stops the driver makes.

Itauguá street_
Most backpackers will head to the city of Itauguá on a bus.

Where to Go Next:

San Bernardino – A quiet, lakeside town with plenty of places to stay and activities to do, especially in the summer. Rent a bike, take a kayak or stand-up paddle board out on the Ypacaraí Lake, or go on an ATV adventure. San Bernardino is only a twenty-minute drive from Itauguá!

San Lorenzo – If you’re looking for more shopping and restaurant options, head to San Lorenzo. Catch a movie, go to the mall, or choose from a variety of restaurants to eat. It’s easy to catch a bus or an Uber to San Lorenzo from Itauguá.

Areguá – A small city that neighbors Itauguá, Areguá is famous for the annual Strawberry Expo, historical architecture, and locally made pottery. It’s also home to Cerro Koî, a small mountain with unique rock formations.

Haleigh Sparks bio pic
Haleigh Sparks

Haleigh is a freelance writer and traveler from California. Currently, she’s living in Paraguay (not to be confused with Uruguay) and traveling in South America. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her browsing flights, playing with her dog, or trying out a new recipe. Check out more of her work at her website

Find her on: Pinterest | LinkedIn

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