Change Yourself…Change The World.

Paraguay Bucket List
November 5, 2012, 6:30 am
Filed under: Paraguay

Sorry to narrowly miss my resolution again to post every Sunday– sometimes it is impossible to know where the time goes in the Peace Corps. I have weeks where I have almost nothing to do, and then weeks where I’m so busy the days pass by in a frenzied blur. These past two weeks have all been one big, colorful and incredible blur of events and happiness- spending time with friends, visiting new areas in Paraguay, and going on plenty of adventures- but everything else took a hit in my life, including this blog. Specifically, I missed posting yesterday (Sunday) because I was busy summiting the tallest mountain in Paraguay (more details soon!) But I’m back! And so sore I can’t leave my bed.

A few weeks ago I made my own personal Bucket List, a list of things I’d like to do before I die. While I was drafting this list, I was concurrently creating another: My Paraguay Bucket List: things I want to do before I leave Paraguay.

There’s not a lot of tourism in Paraguay, and it’s a shame. I sometimes meet the rare tourist in Asunción or Encarnación (two major cities in Paraguay), and they always tell me they’re just ‘passing through’ to Bolivia or Argentina, and staying in Paraguay for only one day. It makes me a little sad that they don’t see or understand what Paraguay really has to offer. Paraguay is a beautiful country with an incredibly rich culture, open and kind people, yummy food (I mean come on, who doesn’t like straight-out-of-the-oven chipa?), and– yes, there are plenty of things to do and see!

The thing is, I can’t really blame these tourists though- there are plenty of things to do and see- but you don’t know about it unless you live in Paraguay. Paraguay’s tiny section in Lonely Planet’s ‘South America on a Shoestring’ (previously one of the only travel materials on Paraguay) has little facts or flavor on Paraguayan culture and cool things to check out. Luckily, this amazing guidebook (written by a Paraguayan) was just published, which describes a lot of interesting and informative history and culture of Paraguay, and highlights some of the best places to visit.

Anyway– after living in Paraguay for a year and a half, I’ve learned quite a lot about what the country offers- and so without further ado, here are the things I’d like to do and see before I finish my service!

Paraguay Bucket List

Visit the Chaco (Paraguay’s largest and most undeveloped department)
Visit Salto Cristal (a gorgeous waterfall in Paraguarí)
Go zip-lining in Paraguarí
Buy a Paraguayan hammock in Carepegua (the hammocks are beautiful here, and nearly every Paraguayan has one)
Buy beautiful ñanduti lace in Itagua (a famous type of lace in Paraguay, and Itagua is the best place to buy them)
Buy an ao’poi shirt and dress (ao’poi is a special fine Paraguayan woven cloth, perfect for the hot summers)
See the Jesuit Ruins in Trinidad
Go to Paraguayan soccer game at a stadium (this is definitely a huge cultural highlight)
Visit the Itapua dam
Ride a boat up the Paraguay river
Take a picture with a carpincho in Villarrica (carpinchos are giant rodents the look like hamsters, except they’re the size of a pig. They are so cute!)
Go to carnaval in Encarnación (Outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, Encarnación has the wildest carnaval celebrations in South America. Perhaps this is because the city ‘Encarnación’ was named after carnaval (‘In Carnaval’)
Do the Virgen de Caacupe pilgrimage on December 8th (This is one of the largest and most important holidays in Paraguay- people from all over Paraguay walk on foot to make a religious pilgrimage to the city of Caacupe on December 8th)
Visit Laguna Blanca (one of Paraguay’s most beautiful beaches- yes there are beaches in landlocked Paraguay!)
Eat at Lido Bar (one of Asunción’s most famous restaurants where you can get amazing Paraguayan food)
Eat at Este Lugar (another recently opened restaurant in Asunción which features delicious Paraguayan food)
Explore Mercado 4 in Asunción
Run at ‘Parque Ña Guazu’ in Asunción (a well-known park for exercise enthusiasts)
Check out ‘the expo’ in Asunción (what is this expo? I have no idea, but it’s held every year in July in Asunción and every Paraguayan tells me I must see it)
Check out the strawberry expo in Aregua (the city of Aregua has a yearly expo of all things strawberries!)
Visit Pilar (a city in Paraguay)
Climb Tres Kandu (the largest mountain range in Paraguay)

I hope this list inspires those who haven’t been to Paraguay to come and see what they’re missing. I hope to check all of these off before August 2013!

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I found your list while looking for things to do while in Paraguay. Even in Spanish and Portuguese I can’t find good tourist information, so I’m really grateful that you shared your bucket list.

Cheers for the guide book recommendation as well.

Comment by josh

Thanks Josh! Glad you enjoyed. Hope you have a great time in Paraguay!

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

Good morning how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people’s diversity from all over the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this I would ask you one small favor:
Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Paraguay? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Paraguay in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

Emilio Fernandez Esteban
Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
28902 Getafe (Madrid)

If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

Yours Sincerely

Emilio Fernandez

Comment by Emilio Fernandez

[…] I fulfilled one of my goals on my Paraguay bucket list (now updated!) by making a pilgrimage to ‘Virgen de Caacupé’ (Virgin of Caacupé). […]

Pingback by The Pilgrimage to Caacupé: An 18.5 Mile Walk to Honor the Virgin « Change Yourself…Change The World.

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