Backpacking Paraguay

Hello to all seasoned and aspiring backpackers!

How about exploring one of South America’s most unknown countries? Paraguay is waiting for you!

Is backpacking in Paraguay really worth it? After all, the country doesn't even have a coastline. The short answer: Yes! Paraguay is a great country, even without paradisical beaches and palm trees, and it could become your new dream backpacking destination. Its diverse nature and cities’ traditional flair will captivate you.

Currently, there is not any mass tourism in Paraguay, but the South American country is slowly becoming more and more relevant. Since Paraguay differs from the other South American countries, you have a great opportunity to experience a new culture and get a completely new perspective of the continent. Paraguay is characterized by its landscape, as besides gigantic waterfalls and endless green fields, there are mountainous regions that invite you to go hiking and small lakes where you can cool off. No matter what you are looking for, Paraguay offers everything a backpacker's heart desires. And one thing is certain: the country will exceed your wildest expectations.

This small country borders Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil; and while it has no access to the ocean, there is still plenty to see and do. The climate is best from June to August, as there are cool temperatures around 22 degrees, whereas from December to February it gets very hot and rains little. Indigenous people from the Maká tribe often welcome visitors at the airport offering their goods.

This is also where you can exchange your money for Paraguayan Guaraní for the first time. There are many ATMs; a visa works best. Paraguay is a real paradise for nature lovers, as two powerful rivers cross there; the Paraná River to Brazil and the Paraguay River to Argentina. Fishing is a popular sport activity here since everyone wants to catch the dorado, a huge freshwater fish. In South Paraguay, there are Jesuit ruins, a reminder of the country’s conquerors, and in the north of the country, there is the largest marshland on earth, attracting many scientists. Paraguay is also a popular country for immigrants: there is actually a German colony in the province Gaira with German supermarkets, bakers, butchers and restaurants.

The locals in particular form a special part of the backpacking experience. They still lead a traditional lifestyle, which has great importance for them, as they care a lot about keeping their originality. These are unique characteristics that backpackers do not find in just any country, and allow them to learn a lot from the locals – even if the country itself is not very modern. Backpacking in Paraguay is not only attractive due to the country’s stunning landscape, but also because of its culture, which is an enrichment for every backpacker.

There are many attractive destinations for backpackers in South America, such as Brazil or Chile, but if you want a real adventure, backpacking in Paraguay is for you. It might not be the go-to trip, but you will definitely not regret this leap of faith!

Paraguay is worth a trip.

See below for the perfect Paraguay itinerary for an unforgettable trip:


Important Basics

Official Language (Spanish)
EnglishSpanish
HelloHola
GoodbyeAdiós
Thank youGracias
Yes
NoNo
Capital city

Ascunción

Form of government

Presidential Republic

Best time to travel

March to November

Currency

Guarani (PYG)

Telephone area code

+595

Climate

The average temperature is between 20°C and 24°C

The climate is very humid with hot summers and mild winters

Fun Facts
  • Paraguay is home to the largest water reserve in the world, which has a size of 1.2 million square kilometres.
  • Most people here are bilingual; they speak Guaraní and Spanish.

Cities

Asunción

Visit the presidential palace, the railway museum and the house of independence in Paraguay’s capital. A large selection of souvenirs and handicrafts can be found near the Plaza de la Libertad, so walk through the streets and take it all in. 

There is a lot of hustle and bustle during rush hour at Mercado 4, where people meet, chat and make plans for the night. North in the city is a large zoo with a botanical garden that has 110 hectares of open space. Be sure to drink Tereré, a cold tea with herbs, and try Chipa Guasú, a kind of cornbread you can buy on every street corner.

Other interesting sites are the pilgrimage church, Catedral Virgen de Caacupé (Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Miracles), and Calle Palma, which turns into a party mile at night with clubs and restaurants. However, protect yourself from the tiger mosquito, particularly in Asunción and Ciudad del Este, as it transmits dengue fever.

Stay overnight in Isla Francia for €7 per night in a six-bed dorm.

Ciudad del Este

Continue by bus for about €9 to one of Paraguay’s most popular cities: Ciudad del Este.
Enjoy the shopping centres and grab some lunch – you will find the best restaurants in Lago de la Republica. Let yourself be enchanted by the South American flair and watch the city centre’s colourful hustle and bustle.

The Iguazu Falls are not far away, so take a ferry directly to Puerto Iguazu. Here, you can hear the roaring waterfalls from afar, which are 2.7-kilometres wide and up to 82 metres deep. More than 1.500 litres of water per second, from over 200 waterfalls, fall into the depth. Additionally, about 20 kilometres from Ciudad del Este is Itaipu Dam, the second-largest dam in the world. Book a guided tour to see what it looks like behind the scenes. 

Situated another five kilometres south of the city are Paraguay’s largest waterfalls, Saltos del Monday; there are two platforms from where you can admire them.

Spend the night in the Teko Arte Hostel & Bar for €10 per night in a ten-bed dorm.

Encarnación

For about €9, take the bus to the border town, Encarnación. It is located on the banks of the Paraná River and has a population of 60,000 people. You’ll even get a San Jose Beach feeling, as the artificial sandy beach is near a freshwater lake, surrounded by numerous restaurants and bars.

The Jesuit ruins at Trinidad, near Encarnación, are where the Jesuits converted the Guaraní people to Christianity. Visit Acuatico y Ecologico El Dorado and enjoy the water park’s various slides and pools. If you prefer visiting more cultural sites, go to Parroquia Catedral Nuestra Senora.

You can stay in Maui Waui International Hostel for €10 a night in a ten-bed dorm.

San Bernardino

Transportation to San Bernadino costs about €8. This former German colony gracefully lies on Ypacaraí Lake’s shores. The small town is about 50 kilometres from the capital and is a popular holiday resort. The city’s flag is black, red and yellow – strongly resembling the German flag. Also, some bakers and restaurant owners still speak German, as they are descendants of the founding families.

The town’s busiest season is during the summer months when all the clubs and restaurants are open along the main road. There are parties at night by the lake, and during the day you can partake in some sports activities or go for a swim. Either way, you will find pure relaxation here, as San Bernardino is idyllically situated and surrounded by mountains.

The city offers great accommodation in the Hostal del Lago for about €13 per night in a four-bed dorm.

Have fun in Paraguay!


Asunción

Asunción

Visit the presidential palace, the railway museum and the house of independence in Paraguay’s capital. A large selection of souvenirs and handicrafts can be found near the Plaza de la Libertad, so walk through the streets and take it all in. 

There is a lot of hustle and bustle during rush hour at Mercado 4, where people meet, chat and make plans for the night. North in the city is a large zoo with a botanical garden that has 110 hectares of open space. Be sure to drink Tereré, a cold tea with herbs, and try Chipa Guasú, a kind of cornbread you can buy on every street corner.

Other interesting sites are the pilgrimage church, Catedral Virgen de Caacupé (Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Miracles), and Calle Palma, which turns into a party mile at night with clubs and restaurants. However, protect yourself from the tiger mosquito, particularly in Asunción and Ciudad del Este, as it transmits dengue fever.

Stay overnight in Isla Francia for €7 per night in a six-bed dorm.

Ciudad del Este

Ciudad del Este

Continue by bus for about €9 to one of Paraguay’s most popular cities: Ciudad del Este.
Enjoy the shopping centres and grab some lunch – you will find the best restaurants in Lago de la Republica. Let yourself be enchanted by the South American flair and watch the city centre’s colourful hustle and bustle.

The Iguazu Falls are not far away, so take a ferry directly to Puerto Iguazu. Here, you can hear the roaring waterfalls from afar, which are 2.7-kilometres wide and up to 82 metres deep. More than 1.500 litres of water per second, from over 200 waterfalls, fall into the depth. Additionally, about 20 kilometres from Ciudad del Este is Itaipu Dam, the second-largest dam in the world. Book a guided tour to see what it looks like behind the scenes. 

Situated another five kilometres south of the city are Paraguay’s largest waterfalls, Saltos del Monday; there are two platforms from where you can admire them.

Spend the night in the Teko Arte Hostel & Bar for €10 per night in a ten-bed dorm.

Encarnación

Encarnación

For about €9, take the bus to the border town, Encarnación. It is located on the banks of the Paraná River and has a population of 60,000 people. You’ll even get a San Jose Beach feeling, as the artificial sandy beach is near a freshwater lake, surrounded by numerous restaurants and bars.

The Jesuit ruins at Trinidad, near Encarnación, are where the Jesuits converted the Guaraní people to Christianity. Visit Acuatico y Ecologico El Dorado and enjoy the water park’s various slides and pools. If you prefer visiting more cultural sites, go to Parroquia Catedral Nuestra Senora.

You can stay in Maui Waui International Hostel for €10 a night in a ten-bed dorm.

San Bernardino

San Bernardino

Transportation to San Bernadino costs about €8. This former German colony gracefully lies on Ypacaraí Lake’s shores. The small town is about 50 kilometres from the capital and is a popular holiday resort. The city’s flag is black, red and yellow – strongly resembling the German flag. Also, some bakers and restaurant owners still speak German, as they are descendants of the founding families.

The town’s busiest season is during the summer months when all the clubs and restaurants are open along the main road. There are parties at night by the lake, and during the day you can partake in some sports activities or go for a swim. Either way, you will find pure relaxation here, as San Bernardino is idyllically situated and surrounded by mountains.

The city offers great accommodation in the Hostal del Lago for about €13 per night in a four-bed dorm.

Have fun in Paraguay!

Paraguay Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Asunción
Home - Asunción
Flight
325
Isla Francia Six-bed dorm
7
2. Asunción
Asunción
-
Isla Francia Six-bed dorm
7
3. Asuncion - Ciudad del Este
Asuncion - Ciudad del Este
Bus
9
Teko Arte Hostel & Bar Ten-bed dorm
10
4. Ciudad del Este
Ciudad del Este
-
Teko Arte Hostel & Bar Ten-bed dorm
10
5. Ciudad del Este
Ciudad del Este
-
Teko Arte Hostel & Bar Ten-bed dorm
10
6. Ciudad del Este
Ciudad del Este
-
Teko Arte Hostel & Bar Ten-bed dorm
10
7. Ciudad del Este - Encarnacion
Ciudad del Este - Encarnacion
Bus
9
Maui Waui International Hostel four-bed dorm
13
8. Encarnación
Encarnación
-
Maui Waui International Hostel four-bed dorm
13
9. Encarnacion
Encarnacion
-
Maui Waui International Hostel four-bed dorm
13
10. Encarnacion
Encarnacion
-
Maui Waui International Hostel four-bed dorm
13
11. Encarnación - San Bernardino
Encarnación - San Bernardino
Bus
8
Hostal del Lago four-bed dorm
13
12. San Bernardino
San Bernardino
-
Hostal del Lago four-bed dorm
13
13. San Bernardino
San Bernardino
-
Hostal del Lago four-bed dorm
13
14. San Bernardino- Asuncion-Home
San Bernardino- Asuncion-Home
Taxi+Flight
335

Total price.

Flights 650,00
Transportation 36,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodation 145,00
Total831,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Chipas: This is a cornbread served with egg and cheese. An ideal breakfast, light but nutritious.

Soups

So’o-Yosopy: Paraguay’s most popular soup, made from corn flour and chopped beef in a spicy broth.

Main courses

Surubi:  This traditional fish, which comes from the Rio Paraná and is often prepared on a BBQ, is prepared with lemon, lemon balm grass and several spices. It is served with some added vegetables.

Empanadas: Famous filled dumplings from Paraguay, served with meat, egg or vegetables.

Milanesa: Breaded meat that tastes like schnitzel, which is traditionally paired with a spicy sauce.

Drinks

Cana: Paraguay’s national drink is made from sugarcane and sweet honey. An absolute highlight!

Mosto: Very sweet but healthy sugarcane juice, which the locals love to drink.

Paraguay

The exchange rate for 10,000 Paraguayan Guaraní is around €1.42 (as of February 2020). You can see the prices for certain products as well as the cost of living below.

Cost of living 

Food

Free time

Personal hygiene

Dos

As a greeting, give two kisses on the cheeks – this is the traditional way of saying hello in Paraguay.

Share your drink: No matter if it is Mate or Tereré, sharing is the norm here.

Learn the local language a little bit: Not only does it make communication much easier, but even only saying hello and thank you would make the locals smile.

Get used to an upright posture: A person’s posture says a lot in Paraguay, so be sure to straighten up.

Don'ts

Do not disrespect siesta: There is nothing going on in Paraguay during siesta-time, and visitors should respect that.

Don’t take time too seriously here: Time works differently in Paraguay, so don't count on punctuality and timetables.

Don't be reserved: It might happen that someone touches you on the arm or hugs you – don't be shy, be open.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

Not necessary

Vaccine

Yes 

Additional Remarks.

If you travel to Paraguay, you should consult a health care provider before your departure to discuss vaccination requirements. We also recommend researching the visa requirements for your country before your departure. If you plan to travel to the south of the country, a yellow fever vaccination is highly recommended.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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