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Paraguay is a vast, beautiful country with a long and rich history. It sometimes is called the "Heart of South America" due to its location on the continent but, it is usually passed over by travelers for their bigger, more well known neighbours. Paraguay provides travelers who are interested in the region a unique journey in one of the most underestimated countries in South America, having preserved its authenticity by being off the route of massive tourism.
Here are 10 reasons you should give Paraguay a try:
1. Unspoiled Nature
Paraguay offers a wide variety of beautiful landscapes, from rolling green hills, red dirt roads to rain forests. For a land locked country, Paraguay has numerous coastline views, from the costanera in Encarnacion, all the way up north on to the Paraguay River which leads to the Pantanal, where you have the chance to see jaguars, crocodiles and dozens of different bird species.
2. Journey Back in Time
When you visit this country it is almost as if you have stepped back in time (in a good way) to a time when life was simpler. A time when life moved a slower pace, everyone knows their neighbors, the air is fresh and clean and spending time with family is the most important thing.
Traveling through South America, especially in countries like Brazil, Argentina or Uruguay can make a big dent in your travel budget. But, while traveling in Paraguay you can forget having to constantly worry about how much everything costs. You could easily live on a budget of $30-$50 a day or even less.
The food in Paraguay may not be the healthiest of choices but it sure is delicious and hey you are vacation. There are definitely healthy options if you really want them and a lot of the food used in cooking is locally grown and organic. So you should definitely try the Chipa Guazu, Vori Vori, or even get yourself invited over for an asado (barbecue).
The national beverage of Paraguay is definitely Tereré. It is an infusion of yerba mate with cold water. (Here is an old post with the How-To's of drinking Tereré) But, it is more than just a beverage, it is a social event. You should try and get invited into a Tereré circle if possible, it is a great way to meet Paraguayans and really get to know them.
6. Helps The Future of The Country
Paraguay has a bumpy history and visiting this country not only supports the economy, but will also improve tourism and the future of the country
7. Paraguayans themselves
The people of Paraguay are easiest the biggest and best tourist draw. They are incredibly friendly and generous, don't be surprised if you are invited to drink tereré, eat lunch or even stay with them in their home.
8. The fishing
Paraguay might be landlocked, but it boasts a huge network of rivers that are excellent for fishing. All you need is some line, a hook, a sinker and some bait and you are good to go. Fishing by hand is the typically Paraguayan way and if you are lucky, maybe a local will even take you out on his boat. If you are really lucky, you might even catch Paraguay’s famous Golden Durado, a beautiful fish.
9. Admiring the murals of Asuncion
For the last couple years, Asuncion has organized international competitions for mural art (encuentros internacionales de muralismo), which has resulted in an outdoor museum of murals throughout the center of the city, varying from traditional, rural scenes to expressions of modern art. Look for them in the park next to the Presidential Palace and on Plaza de Derecho Humanos.
10. Catching the sunset (or sunrise) at the Jesuit Missions
In the 17th century, Jesuits built reducciones in Paraguay, south Brazil, and north Argentina. Their goal was to convert Guarani indigenous people to Catholicism while protecting them from Brazilian slave hunters. The Jesuits stimulated all forms of artistic talent, and as a result a new form of art evolved that was a mixture of traditional Guarani symbols and designs and traditional colonial Baroque. The best-preserved ruins and UNESCO World Heritage Sites are the missions of Jesus de Tavarangue and Trinidad de Parana. They date from 1685 and 1706, respectively, and have the largest churches of all Jesuit missions, along with remnants of the reducciones. Late afternoon or early morning are the best times to visit, when the soft light gives the ruins an air of mystery.