“An empty corner of South America”, Paraguay turns out to be filled with a lot of attractions. The expanses of the Chaco savannas and tropical rainforest, the colorful capital of Asuncion and the Itaipu Dam – all about Paraguay: maps, photos, tours and entertainment.
“From the great river” – this is how the name of Paraguay is translated from the language of the Guarani Indians. In this country in the heart of South America, everything really revolves around water bodies in one way or another: the Paraguay River divides the country into arid plains (chacos) in the west and fertile El Dorado in the east, the full-flowing Parana provides local residents with fresh water, and tourists come to see one of the main attractions – the giant Itaipu Dam.
In the shadow of hyped Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay is nevertheless popular among travelers: people come here to enjoy the stunning nature of the tropics and subtropics in the expanses of national parks, to experience a mixture of Spanish and Indian cultures and to appreciate South American contrasts: pompous “casa” and “palacio” nearby with slums, craft shops side by side with mirrored mega malls, cathedrals next to shaman huts.
The capital is Asuncion. The major cities are Ciudad del Este and Encarnacion.
7 things to do in Paraguay:
- Walk along the wide avenues of Asunson, admiring the grandeur of the colonial mansions.
- Rush in a jeep along the deserted edge of the Chakos.
- See the largest dam in the world – Itaipu.
- Relax on the shores of Lake Iparakay and buy ceramics from local craftsmen.
- Try real mate.
- Find yourself in the heart of a relic wet forest by arriving in the Ibike National Park.
- Bring some color to life by purchasing a local ao poi T-shirt.
From the history
The indigenous people of Paraguay are the Guarani Indians. The Spanish colonizers arrived here in 1525, and Asuncion was founded a decade later. Jesuit monks played an important role in the history of the country: in the 16th-18th centuries they founded settlement colonies and significantly cultivated the Indians, without forcing them to abandon their traditions, so that the bloody conflicts characteristic of the Spanish colonization were avoided in Paraguay.
At the end of the 18th century, Paraguay did not stay long under Argentine rule until it gained independence in 1811. In the 19th century, the country managed to visit several times the richest on the continent, and almost devastated by wars with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. After World War II, Paraguay received many migrants from European countries. Of course, there were dictators and coups d’état, which, however, provided the country’s population today with a decent standard of living by the standards of the region.
Geography of Paraguay
The Paraguay River (vertically) and the Tropic of Capricorn (horizontally), intersecting, divide the country into 4 parts.
To the west of Paraguay, the region of the Chacos semi-desert plains, the Gran Chaco, occupies 60% of the territory, extends. In the High Chaco, at the foot of the Andes, it is hot, windy and practically devoid of vegetation, while in the Lower Chaco, closer to the coast of Paraguay, it is moderately green and humid: grass, shrubs, and Quebracho trees typical of the region grow.
South Paraneña is an area between the Paraguay and Parana rivers. The capital of the country is located here and most of the population lives here. People come to North Paraneña to see the colorful colonial city of Concepción, walk along the plantations of mate grass and, if they wish, get to Brazil through the border town of Bella Vista Norte.
And finally, the Paraná plateau – hills overgrown with tropical forest along the river of the same name. The capital of the region is Ciudad del Este, the second largest city in the country.
Paraguay is located below the equator line, so summer and winter correspond to Russian ones exactly the opposite. See citypopulationreview.com for weather information.
The eastern part of the country has a tropical climate, while the western part has a subtropical climate. In January (that is, in the middle of the Paraguayan summer), the temperature ranges from +25 to +34 ° C, and there are hot days on the Chacos plains up to +45 ° C. In July, the thermometer shows +20…+25 °C during the day and +14…+16 °C at night, but the weather is unstable: the warm winds of the Atlantic collide with the cold air currents of Antarctica, and the temperature is unpredictable: then +5 °C, then +35 °С. See also the weather forecast for the main cities of Paraguay for the next few days.
The best time to visit the country is from May to September.
The monetary unit of the country is the Paraguayan guarani (PYG), in 1 guarani there are 100 centimos. Current exchange rate: 100 PYG = 0.84 RUB (1 USD = 6863.48 PYG, 1 EUR = 7220.39 PYG).
You can exchange currency at bank branches or exchange offices (casa de cambio), the rate is approximately the same. US dollars, Argentine pesos and Brazilian reals are most readily accepted, but euros are not very welcome. Before leaving, guarani can be exchanged for currency everywhere – in the same banks and exchange offices, as well as directly at the airport.
You can pay by credit card only in large hotels, restaurants and shops in Asuncion and Ciudad del Norte. The rest of the country will require cash. You can withdraw money from foreign bank cards only at ATMs in bank branches. Banks are open on weekdays from 9:00 to 15:00, exchange offices are waiting for customers on Saturdays, as a rule, until 13:00.
In restaurants, it is customary to leave a tip of 10% of the bill for good service, and in inexpensive eateries (as in taxis) – just round up the fee. Doormen and maids can be thanked 3000-5000 PYG.
The price level in Paraguay is lower than in Brazil and Argentina, but higher than in Bolivia.