WHAT TO DO IN PARAGUAY – 10 DAYS ITINERARY

When you ask someone having a gap year in South America, there is a big chance that Paraguay is not part of their itinerary. This country is often overlooked and skipped in favor of Latin powerhouses like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, well, pretty much everything else. Add to the fact that many nationalities will need a visa to visit this country, which further alienates those wanting to see it.

My Paraguay visa, given in Foz do Iguaçu.

However, if you decided to visit Paraguay, you will be one of those brave souls to discover this off-the-beaten-path destination. Since my goal is to see as many countries as possible, I decided to explore and be one of the lucky Filipinos to step foot in this mysterious place.

So, what to do in Paraguay? There are lots actually, and this 10 days itinerary that I made will give you an idea of what to do during your visit.

You can check my visa application experience at their consulate in Foz do Iguaçu here for those who need one to enter.


PARAGUAY FAQS

What is the capital of Paraguay?

The capital city of Paraguay is Asunción, considered one of the oldest cities in Latin America.

What is the official language of Paraguay?

Paraguay is one of those Latin American countries with two official languages: Spanish and Guarani.

What currency do they use in Paraguay?

Guarani is the official currency of Paraguay. As of this writing, the exchange rate between USD and Paraguayan Guarani is 6,669 Guaranis.

Do I need a visa to visit Paraguay?

Certain nationalities, including Americans, Canadians, and Australians, need a visa before visiting Paraguay. You may get a visa on arrival at the Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, depending on your nationality. As a Filipino, I cannot avail of the visa on arrival scheme, so I applied for it at the Consulate of Paraguay in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.

Click this link for my Paraguay visa application story.

Is Paraguay dangerous?

Almost everyone I talked to about my plans to visit the country dissuaded me from visiting due to its not-so-nice reputation. Well, I am happy to report that it´s not as dangerous as they say. Asuncion, for example, is relatively safe, with police roaming around the city throughout the day. I went out with someone late at night one time, and I didn’t feel in danger at all.

However, Ciudad del Este can be dangerous, and someone may easily con you if you don´t speak the language. As with other places, exercise caution at all times.


WHAT TO DO IN PARAGUAY – PLACES TO VISIT

CIUDAD DEL ESTE

  • Ciudad del Este is a shopper’s paradise, a place where one can hunt for electronics and other wholesale items. You will find Paraguayans shopping here, and Brazilians and Argentineans from the bordering town of Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil) and Ciudad de Iguazu (Argentina)because of the cheaper and tax-free items on sale here.
  • This city borders both Argentina and Brazil, so it is possible to reach both countries from here.
  • To those needing a visa to enter Paraguay, Paraguay’s Consulate in Foz do Iguaçu is the best place to apply for it. They don’t ask for any requirements aside from credit card copy, and they release it within the day.
  • Some travelers enter Ciudad del Este without passing at the immigration. Doing so is risky; you may pay a hefty fine and be detained if caught.
  • I arrived on a Sunday, and the city felt like a ghost town; everything was closed and quiet. Come Monday; however, the city became overwhelmingly crazy.
  • From Foz do Iguaçu, you can catch a local bus to get here. Be sure to stop at the immigration of both Brazil and Paraguay to get your passport stamped.
  • You can visit the Itaipu Dam by taking a local bus going to Hernandarias from the city center. Just tell the assistant that you will go down to the Itaipu Dam center. The tour is free, and you only need to show your passport.
  • There are numerous oriental and Arabic restaurants in the city due to the influx of Asians who started their business here.
  • You can also visit Monday falls by taking a local bus. I didn’t do it because I already saw the falls in Iguacu.

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival by bus from Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
  • Check in at Teko Arte Hostel

Day 2

  • Day trip to Itaipu Dam
  • Afternoon stroll at the city center

Day 3

  • Travel to Asuncion

ASUNCION

  • The capital city of Paraguay is one of the first settlements in Latin America.
  • I stayed near the city center, near the concentration of most of the city’s exciting places.
  • The tourist information center offers free tours in English and Spanish. They only had the Spanish tour guide when we did ours, so I became the translator for everyone in the group.
  • We ate local food at a market. The food stall here serves cheap, delicious food in huge portions.
  • Asuncion is sweltering hot, and there were lots of mosquitos everywhere, so pls reserve a room with an air-condition, and always apply insect repellent.
  • Paraguay is one of those landlocked countries without access to the coast, but that didn’t stop them from building their own “beach.” In Asuncion, this man-made beach is called Costanera de Asuncion, and it is just beside the city center.

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival in Asuncion from Ciudad del Este
  • Check-in at El Nomada Hostel

Day 2

  • Full day city center free walking tour
  • Late afternoon stroll at the Costanera de Asuncion

Day 3

  • Free day, food trip

Day 4

  • Travel to Encarnacion

ENCARNACION

  • It is a city bordering Argentina’s Posadas, the capital city of Misiones province, divided by the Parana River.
  • It contains the only UNESCO Heritage site of Paraguay – The Jesuit Missions Ruins.
  • Most travelers would cross the border to Misiones to continue their adventure. It’s straightforward; you need to take a local bus to the bridge connecting both cities and have your passport stamped at both the Paraguayan and Argentinean immigration.
  • You can find most hostels near the bus station. I stayed at Colonial Hostel, which is just three blocks away.
  • Buses to the Jesuit Ruins leave frequently from the bus station, so you don’t have to worry. Going back to the city, stop any bus that passes by, as all of them will stop in Encarnacion.
  • I arrived at an unfortunate time; it was the pandemic’s start, and they closed the ruins for safety measures.
  • There is also an artificial beach (Playa San Jose) that contains some of the city’s international restaurants like Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Mcdonalds.

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Late afternoon arrival from Asuncion.
  • Check-in at Colonial Hostel.

Day 2

  • Jesuit Ruins tour (failed due to COVID)

Day 3

  • Border crossing to Posadas, Argentina.

10 DAYS PARAGUAY ITINERARY BUDGET COST

I didn’t spend a lot in Paraguay since I didn’t stay long. Surprisingly, looking back, Argentina became cheaper to stay in than Paraguay due to the Argentinean peso’s devaluation. I exchanged a lot of my Guaranis to USD in anticipation of my travels to Argentina.

CIUDAD DEL ESTE EXPENSES

ITEMPARAGUAYAN GUARANIUSDPHILIPPINE PESO
Paraguay visa660,465.00100.004,888.35
Hostel CDE170,000.0025.741,258.23
Grocery CDE65,000.009.84481.09
Lunch City Center33,000.005.00244.25
Dinner Chinese Restaurant57,500.008.71425.58
Magnet Itaipu Dam15,000.002.27111.02
ATM fee 2x50,000.007.57370.07
Bus to Asuncion60,000.009.08444.08
TOTAL1,110,965.00168.218,222.67


ASUNCION EXPENSES

ITEMPARAGUAYAN GUARANIUSDPHILIPPINE PESO
Hostel Asuncion166,000.0025.131,228.63
Dinner day 135,400.005.36262.01
Lunch day 214,000.002.12103.62
Dinner day 212,000.001.8288.82
Magnet Asuncion32,000.004.85236.84
Free Walking Tour15,000.002.27111.02
Lunch day 320,000.003.03148.03
Terere5,000.000.7637.01
Uber to Bus Station27,000.004.09199.84
Bus to Encarnacion100,000.0015.14740.14
TOTAL426,400.0064.563,155.95



ENCARNACION EXPENSES

ITEMPARAGUAYAN GUARANIUSDPHILIPPINE PESO
Hostel Encarnacion130,000.0019.68962.18
Transportation to Jesuit Ruins20,000.003.03148.03
Lunch 115,000.002.27111.02
Dinner 115,000.002.27111.02
Grocery33,500.005.07247.95
Bus to Posadas11,000.001.6781.42
TOTAL224,500.0033.991,661.62



TOTAL EXPENSES

CurrencyAmount
Paraguayan guarani1,761,865.00
US Dollar266.76
Philippine Peso13,040.03

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