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Paraguay is a landlocked country surrounded by Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil, lying some 1440km (900 miles) up the River Paraná from the Atlantic. The River Paraguya, a tributary of the Paraná, divides the country in two widely differing regions. The east, where the Paraná forms a natural border with Brazil, has rolling hills, fertile plains, grasslands and heavily wooded areas. Asunción, the capital, is situated on the Bay of Asunción, an inlet off the Paraguay River in a former estate of the Lopez family on the Paraguay River. Paraguay’s university is in San Lorenzo, founded in 1775. A popular tourist itinerary is the ‘Central Circuit’, a route of some 200km (125 miles) that takes in some of the country’s most interesting sites, including the famous Iguazú and Monday waterfalls located near Paraguay’s fastest developing town, Ciudad del Este on the Brazilian border. In the west, the scarcely populated Chaco area, consisting mainly of empty plains and forests, provides a habitat for hundreds of wildlife and bird species. After the Amazon, this is America’s second largest forest area, whose national parts and biological reserves are popular among enthusiasts of ecotourism. Typical local dishes include chipas (maize bread flavoured with egg and cheese) and palmitos (palm hearts). In Asunción there are numerous bars, casinos and discotheques. The parrilladas or open-air restaurants offer by far the best atmosphere, especially in Asunción. There are casinos in the border towns of Ciudad Del Este and Encarnacion.
There are 11 national parks and protected areas, the largest of which are in the Chaco region in the north of the country. Birdlife is particularly abundant, and there is also a wide variety of animals, including the Chacoan peccary, once thought to be extinct. Visitors should take plenty of insect repellent with them when visiting remote areas. A good way to view flora and fauna is from boats which run along some of Paraguay’s rivers. Trips can sometimes be arranged on cargo vessels if there are no passenger services. The trip along the fast-flowing River Paraguay from Asunción via Concepción passes through fascinating landscapes, eventually leading as far as the huge marshlands in the north and over the Brazilian border.
In Asunción there are numerous bars, casinos and discotheques. The parrilladas or open-air restaurants offer by far the best atmosphere, especially in Asunción. There is a casino at the border towns of Ciudad Del Este and Encarnación. The most popular traditional music in Paraguay is polcas and guaranías which have slow and romantic rhythms and which are used as serenades.
Special purchases include ñandutí lace, made by the women of Itagua, and aopoí sports shirts, made in a variety of colours and designs. Other items include leather goods, wood handicrafts, silver yerba maté cups and native jewellery.
The following are special events and festivals celebrated annually in Paraguay: Feb San Blás Fiestas. Apr Semana Santa (Holy Week festival). Mid-May Día de la Independencia (Independence day parades and festivities). Jun Verbena de San Juan (traditional fiesta, including walking on hot embers). Jul Expo Feria de la Industria; Nanduti Festival (traditional folk festival with arts and crafts), Itaugua. Mid-Aug Día de la Virgen de la Asunción and Aniversario de la Fundación de Asunción (religious and cultural celebrations). Sep Festival de la Alfalfa, Sapucai. Oct Encuentro Internacional de Coros (choir festival), Encarnación. Nov Festival del Poyvi (arts, crafts and music fair), Carapeguá. Dec Apertura de Temporada (opening of the tourism season), San Bernadino.
For More Info See Paraguay Travel Guide