Paraguay, one of only two landlocked countries in South America, offers gorgeous natural landscapes as well as a fascinating heritage and multifaceted culture.
Rivers are vital to the economy of this South American country: In fact, ‘Paraguay’ in the Guarani language, refers to “borne from water” or, per Britannica, “the river that gives birth to the sea”.
With two mighty rivers that flow into the Atlantic Ocean, Paraguay is a major producer of hydroelectric energy, the source of the country’s electricity. Paraguay is also among the world’s leading soybean producers.
Paraguay is in the center of the South American continent, bordering Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil.
Getting to Paraguay
From Istanbul, Turkish Airlines operates flights to Asunción, Paraguay’s capital, via daily flights to Panama’s Tocumen International Airport and Brazil’s Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport. The trip from Istanbul to Asunción, including connection time, takes between 17 and 25 hours.
Best times to visit Paraguay
From October to March – the spring and summer seasons in Paraguay – are the most ideal for traveling around the country.
Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, and other cities
The longest continually inhabited area in the Río de la Plata Basin, Asunción is also one of the South America’s oldest cities, founded by Spanish colonialists in the 16th century. Paraguayan independence from Spain was declared in Asunción in May 1811.
Despite a youthful population, Asunción is a relatively quiet city. The city’s historical center lies between Colon and Anrequera Streets and, while modern high-rises now draw attention in the center of Asunción, colonial structures can still be seen along the Paraguay River;
19th-century buildings such as Asunción Cathedral, the Presidential Palace and the Pantheon of Heroes are considered among Asunción’s most important structures. Other highlights include the Jardin Botanico and the Carmelitas district, with shopping malls, bars and cafes.
As well, the National Congress Building (Palacio Legislativo), Cultural Center of the Republic, the Barro Museum (Museo del Barro), and the Cathedral of Asunción (Catedral Metropolitana) are well worth a visit.
Ciudad del Este
Ciudad del Este, Paraguay’s second largest city, is home to the Tierra Guarani Museum, a rich repository on the history of the Guaraní – a group of indigenous peoples of Paraguay and surrounding regions.
Also known for affordable electronics and other items, Ciudad del Este – near the border of Brazil and Argentina – draws visitors from both those countries for its shopping opportunities.
In 1860’s, the southern Paraguayan city of Luque served as the country’s capital before that title was given to Asunción. Paraguay’s third-most populous city, Luque is known for the production of harps and guitars, as well as its goldsmiths and jewelry artisans.
The city’s highlights include the South American Football Museum (Museo del Futbol Sudamericano) and the Feliciano Cáceres Stadium, the venue for the 1999 Copa América soccer match.