The RealWorld Guide to Paraguay
Right in the heart of South America, you might think that Paraguay would be a regular crossroads for travellers in the continent, but you'd be very much mistaken. Even backpackers tend to bypass it, but if you like getting off the beaten track then you might just find holidays in Paraguay to your taste...
It's fair to say that Paraguay just misses out on the stand-out attractions of many of its neighbours. The Iguazu Falls are just over the border in Brazil and Argentina, and although the Pantanal edges into Paraguayan territory, it's more easily visited as part of a holiday in Brazil than from Paraguay itself.
So there's nothing that you're going to make it on your top ten South American checklist, but spend a little time here and you'll soon learn to appreciate Paraguay's charms. The capital, Asuncion is like a living vision from a Graham Greene novel, and the well-preserved Jesuit missions offer an alternate vision of how South America could have turned out.
And did you know that Paraguay is the only country (if not the world) in which the colonising elite adopted the native language, Guarani? Today, more people have Guarani as a mother tongue than Spanish, although almost everyone is bilingual. It's just one example of the idiosyncracies that make holidays in Paraguay so interesting...
The sleepy city of Asuncion doesn't always feel like a capital city, at least until you see the grand buildings like the plantation-style Presidential Palace, the Cabildo or the Metropolitan Cathedral. In fact, with its slightly run-down feel of faded grandeur and humid tropical atmosphere, it has something of a Graham Greene feel to it all - part Our Man in Havana and part The Honorary Consul. Get beneath the surface, however, and you'll find a fun nightlife and incredibly friendly locals.
The Jesuit Missions
The Jesuits played a huge role in the colonisation of South America, and as one of the earliest settled areas, Paraguay was no different. Although the Jesuits were expelled from the Americas in the 18th century, their settlements (or 'Missions') remained and the Missions in Paraguay are some of the best-preserved and most important in South America. They were built as self-contained towns, with farms, houses, churches and schools and provide a fascinating insight into this aspect of South America's history. As such they are some of the most-visited sites on holidays in Paraguay.
Our Holidays in Paraguay
One of the delights of holidays in Paraguay is that there are so few other tourists, but it does mean that there is also very little tourist infrastructure to plug into. This means that although we'll be delighted to organise all kinds of holidays to Paraguay, things do need to be done very much on a tailor-made basis. You'll also probably want to combine things with time in other South American countries - probabably Argentina or Brazil - so the best things to do if you're planning any Paraguay holidays is to get in touch with us and we can take things from there!
Contact us about our Paraguay Holidays