Country Spotlight: Paraguay

When hearing of someone’s trip to South America it’s not often you’ll hear of a visit to Paraguay. As one of the smaller countries in the continent, it isn’t home to classically mainstream tourist attractions. But it doesn’t need them with fascinating sights and monuments of its rich history paired with a subtropical climate, rarely falling below 30 degrees Celsius October to March. 

Asunción is the capital of Paraguay and a must-see destination. It’s such a unique place mainly due to how much contrast is in such a concentrated space. Huge skyscrapers and nightclubs are mere meters away from worn-down colonial buildings. Mangos pile up on the pavements in summer from all the trees, even in more built-up areas. Avenida Mariscal López is one of the main avenues in Asunción, boasting the official residence of the President and is full of stunning buildings with plenty of restaurants and shops to fulfil the wants of anyone looking for a slightly more tourist-y element to the trip.

Speaking of restaurants, Paraguay has so many traditional dishes it is essential to eat at local cafes and restaurants. Kivevé is the most famous vegetarian dish made of pumpkin, cornmeal, and cheese. On the other hand, as the world’s 8th largest beef exporter, steaks, burgers, and asado (barbecue) dominate their gastronomy. La Cabrera is a restaurant specialising in this with a great ambiance, worth a booking.

Moving away from the capital, Ybycuí National Park is an experience accessible by a few bus journeys that run infrequently from the city. Swinging capuchin and howler monkeys can be seen all around along with huge amounts of colourful butterflies flying above the clear waterfalls. It’s heavily protected too, ensuring it stays in great condition. Mbaracayú Forest Nature Reserve, a sub-tropical forest home to over 400 species of birds, as well as alligators and capybara, is another place to find animals and see some of the rarer ones

Paraguay has so much to offer it’s hard to boil down into highlights, perhaps best visited on a backpacking trip or a holiday with more focus on getting to know local culture.

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Lauren Barrett

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May 2022
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