Places in Paraguay
It's hard to get your head around Asunción. At heart the city is beautiful and simple, with a sprinkling of original colonial and beaux arts buildings, international cuisine, shady plazas and friendly people. Probe a little deeper, however, and you'll see another side: smart suburbs, ritzy shopping malls and fashionable nightclubs.
Paraguay's southernmost region, east of the Río Paraguay, is home to some of the country's most important historical sites. The Jesuit ruins, national parks and the locura (madness) of Carnaval make it an eclectic and fascinating area to visit. On the way from Asunción to Encarnación you'll pass through the town of Coronel Bogado.
Encarnación, 'La Perla del Sur', is Paraguay´s most attractive city. It's also known as the 'Capital de Carnaval' and, following the completion of the new costanera (riverside promenade) with its fabulous river beach, is referred to rather ambitiously by some locals as the new Rio de Janeiro. It is rather less proud to be the birthplace of dictator Alfredo Stroessner.
Corresponding to the region known as Alto Paraná, this area was once the domain of ancient impenetrable forests teeming with wildlife. The building of the second-largest dam in the world changed all that, flooding huge areas of pristine forest and swallowing up a set of waterfalls comparable to those at Iguazú.