- 2 weeks
Eastern Paraguay is a vibrant mix of slow-moving colonial towns, sultry tropical forests and lively cities. This itinerary takes in a little bit of everything for those with limited time but an unlimited spirit of adventure.
Start with a historical tour of Asunción, take day trips to Yaguarón (for the Franciscan church), Caacupé (for the basilica) and San Bernardino (to mix with high society). From here, head east to the jungle lodge at Mbaracayú Biosphere Reserve. Back in civilization at Ciudad del Este you can do some shopping, or visit the awe-inspiring Itaipú Dam nearby. It's only a short day trip to the breathtaking Salto del Monday, and you'll have time to nip across the border to Brazil and Argentina to compare it with Iguazú Falls. A night in the forest at Hotel Tirol will prepare you for another few days' bird-watching in the wilderness at Parque Nacional San Rafael. After all this moving around, you'll be glad to relax on the Paraná river beach and enjoy the top-class restaurants in trendy Encarnación. It's also a great base for visiting the nearby Jesuit missions of Trinidad and Jesús. When you're ready for a change of scene, cross the international bridge to Posadas, Argentina.
Three Weeks: Paraguay on a Budget
- 3 weeks
Contrasting the humid, populated, eastern Oriental region with the dry, deserted western Chaco region, this itinerary is aimed at budget travelers who want to get a feel for the contrasts that make Paraguay such an unforgettable, off-the-beaten-track destination.
Arrive in Paraguay, crossing from Posadas, Argentina, to the 'Pearl of the South' Encarnación, just in time for Carnaval. Be sure to take a day-trip to visit the Jesuit reducciónes at Trinidad and Jesús, returning to Encarnación for a couple of days lounging on the river beach. Take a walk on the wild side with a 3-day tour to Parque Nacional San Rafael. Then head west to the Jesuit museum at Santa María de Fe, stopping for chipa (manioc bread) at Coronel Bogado along the way. Probe into unexplored southwestern Paraguay in Pilar, the City of Birds, where you can give something back by volunteering with Para La Tierra. From here it's north to the capital Asunción to sample some craft beers and nightlife. Thirst suitably quenched, experience the landscape contrast in the dry Chaco at the Mennonite colonies of Loma Plata and Filadelfia. Visit one of the Chaco northwestern national parks before continuing along the Ruta Trans-Chaco and crossing into Bolivia.