Introduction

It's hard to get your head around Asunción. At its 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. Despite the heavy traffic and diesel fumes in the historic center, this is one of South America's greener and more likable capitals, and it doesn't take long to learn your way around.