The 9 most beautiful places to visit in Paraguay

Vue aérienne du Cerro Jhú (Cerro Negro)

Planning a visit to Paraguay? Here are the 9 most beautiful places not to be missed to get the most out of this endearing country!

A « little » country wedged between three giants, Brazil, Argentina and Chile, Paraguay is often forgotten by tourists. Unlike its neighbors, Paraguay has no must-sees, nor does it loom large in the traveller’s imagination. Yet the country has a unique character. Free from tourist infrastructures, it represents a destination of choice for lovers of authenticity. Visiting Paraguay means getting away from the big travel agencies and overcrowded buses and putting your trust in its people. And let’s face it: an exceptional welcome awaits you!

Let yourself be carried away by the discreet charm and gentle way of life of Paraguay. But what are the places not to miss during your stay? Here are the nine most beautiful places in Paraguay.

1. Asunción

Carlota Palmerola, Asuncion, Paraguay

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Julio Ricco

The capital of Paraguay, Asunción is nicknamed the Mother of all cities. It was founded in 1537, making it one of the oldest colonial cities in South America. Its architectural heritage is well worth a visit. In 1811, the city freed itself from the yoke of Spain and finally gained its independence. However, the rest of the country’s history was marked by long years of dictatorship, which are only just coming to an end. A stroll through Asunción will take you to historic monuments that mark the history of Paraguay: the House of Independence, the National Heroes’ Pantheon and the Lopez Palace.

The town has a warm, peaceful atmosphere. Take the opportunity to discover Paraguayan culture! Don’t miss the Museo del Barro, a museum of indigenous folk art. Finally, lose yourself in the maze of multicolored markets and sample the local cuisine.

2. Jesus del Tavarangue

Ruines à Jesus del Tavarangue, Paraguay

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Matyas Rehak

The history of Paraguay is marked by an episode without parallel in the rest of the world. From 1609 to 1763, the Jesuit Mission established a theocratic state on the territory. This unusual province declared the native Americans « as free as the Spaniards ». Provided, of course, that they submitted to the Church… Society was organized around the reducción, small villages structured by the Jesuits. At first, the Guaranis were able to retain their own family structure. But little by little, the Jesuits imposed a Christian way of life. However, this « utopia » offered exceptional living conditions for the time. All inhabitants were educated and literate, public services were open to all, workdays lasted 6 hours, free time was devoted to the arts, and so on.

On your way to Jesus del Taravangue, you’ll have the opportunity to observe the remains of a Jesuit reducción. The site includes a church, cloister, houses, workshops and vegetable garden.

3. Ybycuí National Park

Cascade de Ybycuí, Paraguay

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Emilia PP

Want to get away from it all? Ybycuí National Park is Paraguay’s most visited park. In fact, it’s the easiest to get to. Guardaparques ensure the safety of the area and can guide you during your visit. Covering more than 5,000 hectares, the park offers extraordinary landscapes. As you explore them, you’ll come across a biodiversity that is unique in the world. Magnificent orchids and a wide variety of trees cover the park. But you’ll also come across monkeys, armadillos and coatis.

Once there, visit the emblematic waterfalls: el salto Mina and el salto Guarani. They pour their crystal-clear waters into a tropical setting teeming with life. Along the way, you can admire the fluttering of the immense multicolored butterflies that call Ybycuí home. All in all, a visit to the park is a must during your stay in Paraguay!

4. La Laguna Blanca

Laguna Blanca, Paraguay

Photo credit: Flickr – Abriles_

The Laguna Blanca is one of Paraguay’s most beautiful sites. A vast, crystal-clear lake surrounded by white sand dunes, it has an undeniable charm that draws visitors right to it. It’s the perfect place for those who want to relax and enjoy water sports such as diving or kayaking. But its gentle landscape also harbors a rare wealth of flora and fauna. Indeed, Laguna Blanca lies at the junction of three biotopes. Nature lovers are in for a treat! In particular, the site is renowned as a bird-watching mecca. More than 280 species of birds inhabit the area. Grab your binoculars and set off to discover them!

5. Encarnación

Carnaval à Encarnación, Paraguay

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Matyas Rehak

Known as the Pearl of the South, Encarnación is also known as the Carnival Capital. And with good reason: every year in January, February and March, the city puts on its festive costumes! It’s a must-see destination in Paraguay. Every weekend, the streets come alive with parades. A breathtaking spectacle for visitors, many of whom come to see Paraguay’s biggest carnival.

But Encarnación also displays its full potential in summer. The banks of the river are ideal for bathing, and the city is alive with excitement after dark. This festive, summery atmosphere is ideal for meeting Paraguayans! In short, this is a sparkling destination not to be missed during your stay.

6. La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná

Jesus Ruines, Trinidad de Parana

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Lukasz Kurbiel

Trinidad de Paraná is the second Jesuit relic to be visited in Paraguay. Like its neighbor, Jesus del Tavarangue, it is a Unesco World Heritage Site. In fact, both sites are among the least visited on the list! So make the most of it! The ruins of the reducción de Trinidad are particularly well preserved. The low number of visitors helps to make the place magical. Chances are you’ll find yourself alone among the ancient stones. At worst, a few birds will accompany you. It’s the ideal setting to enjoy the atmosphere steeped in history… a history that played a decisive role in Paraguay’s destiny.

7. Gran Chaco

Pécari du Chaco, Paraguay

Photo credit: Shutterstock – maloff

Tinged with mystery, the Gran Chaco is a wild South American territory that occupies the western part of Paraguay. The eloquent meaning of its name, in Quechua « hunting ground », is a dream come true for the most adventurous travelers. If you love nature and solitude, this is the place to go.

However, visiting the Gran Chaco is not a project to be prepared lightly. If you wish to embark on this adventure, it is advisable to enlist the help of a guide. This desert territory experiences stifling heat spells of up to 50 degrees Celsius! Not to mention the fact that you’ll find yourself a thousand miles from any inhabited land… The only creatures that cross your path will come from the exceptional fauna that inhabits the area. Unfortunately, these birds, mammals and reptiles are now threatened by the development of livestock farming on these lands.

8. Itaipu dam

Barrage d'Itaipu à la frontière du Brésil et du Paraguay

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Mykola Gomeniuk

Adjacent to the Brazilian border, the Itaipu dam is the world’s largest and most productive power plant. This titanic structure measures no less than 7 kilometers in length! It is here that 90% of Paraguay’s electricity and 25% of Brazil’s are generated. But why go and see a dam? Simply because the view is breathtaking. Standing 65 storeys high, Itaipu dominates the landscape. It unfurls its gigantism with an aura of awesome power. If you’d like to visit, there’s a « special » tour that takes you inside the dam. And if you’re planning to stay for the evening, there’s a light show starting at 8pm.

9. Saltos del Monday

Chutes d'Iguazu à la frontière du Brésil et du Paraguay

Photo credit: Shutterstock – R.M. Nunes

In a tropical setting not far from Ciudad del Este, the Río Monday drops abruptly to a height of 45 metres. A triptych of bubbling waterfalls forms. This spectacular sight is sure to make your stomach turn. Yet few visitors come to see los Saltos del Monday. Is it because of Paraguay’s low tourist numbers? Or is it due to the nearby presence of Brazil’s famous Iguazú waterfalls? Whatever the case, it all adds to Paraguay’s status as a hidden treasure. If you’re staying in the country, ask a cab to take you there to contemplate this incredible natural heritage.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Paraguay