A few days in Paraguay are all you need to grasp the importance of yerba maté in the local culture. For full immersion, take a yerba-maté factory tour, which incorporate plantations, production, packaging and, of course, the practice of drinking the tea. Visit the Selecta (25,000G) and Pajarito (free) factories; the former includes a visit to their nature reserve.
Tours are arranged through Mate Roga, the tourist office on the main road in the yerba maté capital, Bella Vista del Sur, 45km east of Encarnación. With the giant guampa (gourd) and bombilla (straw) in front, you can't miss it!