Murray, a 30 year old white man, is standing in front of a really impressive waterfall holding a beer and wearing a cowboy hat. The steam from the waterfall is all around him.
Salros del Monday

10 Best Things To do in Paraguay

So we told you already why we loved Paraguay here, but: ‘What is there to do in Paraguay?’ . This was a question we were asked COUNTLESS times before visiting, which honestly we were not really able to answer from our searches online.

Introduction to Paraguay

So we told you already why we loved Paraguay here, but: ‘What is there to do in Paraguay?’ Our friends asked us COUNTLESS times before we went. And now we can tell them! To be honest, there are a lot of things you can do there, but this article aims to give you the absolute best things to do in Paraguay.

Because of the small amount we knew about Paraguay, it had never really been on our radar, until (while we were planning our recent trip to Brazil) we found that it was actually cheaper to fly first into Paraguay, rather than Sao Paulo or Rio. We quickly fell head over heels in love with Paraguay and everything it had to offer, and now we are just surprised more people don’t visit.

If you’re looking for underrated countries to visit in South America, Paraguay is not to be skipped.

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An impressive building with a domed roof and columns at the front. There is a Paraguay flag at the front.
Asuncion is full of impressive buildings

The 10 best things to do in Paraguay

1. Take a walking tour in Asunción

We love a walking tour anyway, even better a free walking tour, and would highly recommend the one we took in Asunción with Guru Walk. We were so pleased we did this as honestly we would not really have known much about Asunción/Paraguay without it and would have struggled to communicate with local people, since we don’t speak Guarani (the official language of Paraguay) and our Spanish is only conversational.

Our tour was meant to last around 3 hours, we ended up staying for about 4, purely by choice as we were so fascinated by what our guide, Victor, was telling us and wanted to learn more. This walking tour also goes into several beautiful buildings in Old Asunción, such as the Cathedral, the old government chambers and the Casa de la Independencia, which is really helpful to orient yourself. As we have said below, if you have time, we recommend a further deep dive into the Casa de la Independencia, as it a fascinating museum in its own right.

2. Visit Saltos del Monday

I would definitely say this was the most beautiful place we visited in Paraguay. Located on the outskirts of Ciudad del Este, a city mostly famed for its cheap shopping and for being the neighbour to Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Argentina, Saltos del Monday should absolutely be a tourist stop in their own right. The waterfalls are around 12 USD per person to visit and are a short, accessible walk from their entrance.

The views are beautiful and the birdlife is also very diverse and rare. We highly recommend taking the elevator (which you need to pay a small fee for in addition to the ticket) all the way to the bottom of the falls for a really unique perspective of them. The stairs are closed so you will need to take the elevator if you want to visit this section. There are a couple of restaurants and a gift shop as well, if you need to get drinks or something to eat.

Murray, a 30 year old white man, is standing in front of a really impressive waterfall holding a beer and wearing a cowboy hat. The steam from the waterfall is all around him.
Saltos del Monday Falls

3. Visit the Chaco

The Chaco is essentially Paraguay’s answer to the Brazilian Pantanal and honestly, a much cheaper alternative. The wildlife you will see here is similar: capybaras, tapirs, incredible birdlife and, if you’re lucky, the elusive jaguars. Think extremely rural countryside with very few facilities and quite difficult to get to, but once there you can expect to be wowed by a diverse display of nature and some incredible scenery.

Before coming to Paraguay, this was the one thing everybody told us to do, as the wildlife is really unique and in abundance. Getting there is not difficult on Paraguayan buses, but we highly recommend taking a tour guide.

A jaguar is draped over a tree branch, with his paw hanging to the side. He looks very hot.
The wildlife of the Chaco

4. See some Jesuit ruins

Around 5 hours to the South of Asunción, near Encarnación, is a old Jesuit settlement, which has some buildings of interesting historical significance. A guide is highly recommended to enjoy the full experience, however most guides in the area offer tours in only Spanish or Guarani (according to our local contact – unfortunately this wasn’t something we had chance to do).

We would recommend asking a guide in Asunción if they have anyone in the area they can recommend.

5. Eat phenomenal food

All of the food in Paraguay was amazing, and we don’t say that lightly! In a country that is a true amalgamation of all of its inhabitants from various cultures, as well as a heavy local indigenous influence, you have a real mix of flavours to choose from, no matter what it is you’re looking for.

The local cuisine is heavily dependent on meat, but because of all the various cultural influences, you can also expect to find a lot of pizza, pasta, German dishes (such as schnitzel), Japanese food, paellas, the list goes on!

Though traditional food in Paraguay is mostly meat-based dishes, we didn’t struggle to find vegan/vegetarian food (especially with the help of Happy Cow). We found that there were a lot of paellerias and pizzerias, which had great options, as well as a couple of restaurants in Asunción that sold vegetarian or vegan empanadas/pastries/sandwiches/salads.

The two restaurants we were recommended for all tourists to try were El Bolsi (which did indeed live up to the hype) and Lido Bar, which was nice – it had a real local feel to it. Others we would recommend: La Malquerida in Recoleta area (beware, the portions are HUGE), and Natu Vegetarian Restaurant near Saltos del Monday

Four plates of traditional Paraguayan food are laid out on a table, including farofa and empanadas, traditional food in paraguay
Empanadas are a staple!

6. Cheap shopping

Paraguay is one of the cheapest countries in the world for shopping as it is mostly tax free. Ciudad del Este in particular is well known for its designer goods at discount prices, and cheap electronics. Don’t forget, if you choose to do this, to contribute to the local economy.in a different way, for example, by eating locally or buying local souvenirs, as otherwise the money does not make its way back to the locals at all.

A wall mural of a beautiful girl surrounded by butterflies and toucans. There is a cactus in front of her face and the main colour of the mural is orange. This walking tour in Asuncion is one of the best things to do in Paraguay.
The beautiful street art of the Chacarita

7. Do a Chacarita tour in Asunción

Without shadow of a doubt, this is one of the best things to do in Paraguay, if not the best, and if you do one thing while in Asunción, we highly recommend it be this. The Chacarita was previously a slum area of the city, with a bad reputation for drugs and petty crime. In recent years, it could not be further from this, and people from all walks of life live there with their families. The inhabitants are gradually changing their reputation through street art, which covers ever corner of the Chacarita, and you can book a tour with Chaca Tours to see it and hear about it in greater detail.

The project is entirely run by locals and costs very little. The guides run tours in both English and Spanish and have a wealth of knowledge about each piece of art and the story behind it. You will also learn about life inside the Chacarita and the people who live there.

8. Hang out on an inland beach

Though Paraguay has no coastline, they do have a beach! This is down by the river and is one of the best spots in Asunción to relax and enjoy a local atmosphere. There are no sit-down restaurants, but there is a bustling marina, with plenty of street food stalls, and places to buy drinks and snacks. If you bring your own cup and some cash, you can also try tereré.

A small inland beach on the banks of a river, with lots of bikes on the marina.
Paraguay’s inland beach

9. Drink Tereré

Everywhere we went in Paraguay, we would see locals carrying giant flasks and reusable cups, and stalls set up with chopped herbs and spices. They use this to sip on tereré or maté, which is a herbal tea infusion, drunk through a filtered straw. Tereré is the cold version and maté is the warm version – they do have this infusion all around South America, but it’s quite different in Paraguay and a lot sweeter than elsewhere. To drink this, you’ll most likely have to share a cup with a local, which a great way to meet new people!

A mate/terere station is set up, it is essentially a table full of herbs and cups with a large wooden pestle and mortar to the side ready to prepare the drink.
A terere station

10. Visit the Casa de la Independencia

This is already a stop on the Guru Walk walking tour we recommended earlier, but it’s well worth a visit in its own right, as it’s a fascinating site for learning about Paraguayan history. We do recommend downloading Spanish on Google Translate (if you’re not a Spanish speaker) before you go, as all of the signage is in Spanish and you won’t have too much of an idea what’s going on.

You can use the feature on Google translate to take a picture of the signs and it will automatically translate them. This museum goes through Paraguay history from the time they were first invaded by conquistadors to modern day Asunción and gives a great idea of what they have been through so far.

A white plaster building with two Paraguayan flags at the entrance. The building is otherwise unimposing.
Casa de la Independencia

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    Written by Emma

    Emma

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