Is Paraguay worth visiting?
Why do so many seem to overlook this country?
And for those who come for a few days and write a blog post about it? Why do so many seem underwhelmed by their time here?
Today, we’re going to examine these questions in detail.
Let’s get started!
Why Do So Many Travelers Skip Paraguay?
Many travelers decide to skip Paraguay on their Latin American journey because it’s simply not on their radar.
For instance, a typical route and its variations for backpackers known as “the gringo trail” includes the following countries:
But not Paraguay!
There are a few reasons for this.
First off, Paraguay is a small, landlocked country of just over 7,000,000 people in the middle of the continent. It doesn’t serve as a transportation hub or a gateway to, well, anywhere.
There aren’t too many incoming or outgoing flights. The few flights available tend to be more expensive than one might think they should be. In a sense, you have to go “out of your way” to visit Paraguay if you’re sticking to a typical ‘gringo trail’ route and many travelers aren’t willing to do that.
Second, people think that Paraguay doesn’t have many cultural, architectural, geographical, or historical attractions compared to other South American countries.
In a sense, they’re right.
Paraguay certainly doesn’t get the attention of Peru and its history of the Incas, Brazil for its stunning beaches and carnival, or Ecuador for its gorgeous mountain scenery.
The beautiful things that Paraguay offers? Well, most travelers don’t know about them!
And that brings us to the third point.
Paraguay has a marketing problem! Most folks can’t even locate it on a map, let alone know anything about its people, history, or landscape. You don’t hear much about it in international travel magazines or websites, and it’s seldom mentioned in television or Netflix travel programs or even covered in books!
In short, most people skip over Paraguay because it’s unknown, out of the way, and they can’t come up with good reasons to go!
The Reason Travelers Who go to Paraguay Don’t Seem Impressed
Here in Paraguay, they say that people who visit cry twice. Once when they arrive, and once when they leave.
In other words, Paraguay takes a while to grow on you and doesn’t leave the best first impression.
Most visitors opt to stay in the center of Asuncion, which, to put it bluntly, has been in decline over the past few years. The infrastructure is crumbling, and many storefronts have ‘For Sale’ or ‘For Rent’ signs.
If visitors don’t stray past the downtown core, it’s easy to see why they may not be too impressed.
It’s not the best representation of Asuncion, let alone the entire country of Paraguay!
If one arrives here during summertime, they’ll experience oppressive heat that doesn’t exactly encourage exploring and walking around outdoors.
Indeed, Asuncion’s downtown core pales in comparison to Mexico City’s, Buenos Aires, Quito’s, and Lima’s impressive architecture and the hustle and bustle. And since downtown Asuncion is many tourists’ only impression of Paraguay, it’s not surprising that they come away underwhelmed.
What Makes Paraguay Worth Visiting?
The main draw of Paraguay is its rich, unique culture and unbelievably friendly people.
But this may not reveal itself after only a few days in the country!
English levels are low, so if you don’t speak Spanish or Guarani, you may have some initial trouble communicating and forming connections with people.
And it’s only outside Paraguay’s major cities that the country’s true beauty and rich culture become apparent. From savannahs in the east, marshes and rainforests in the north, all the way to the Chaco, the wild region of Paraguay, where you’ll encounter exciting wildlife species.
The small colonial towns peppered throughout the country seem frozen in time. Many people there continue to communicate in their indigenous language of Guarani and live traditional lives without many modern comforts.
These things are what make Paraguay worth visiting! But they may not be accessible to a tourist who only has a day or two to spend here.
Who Should NOT Visit Paraguay
We understand that visiting Paraguay may not fit well into everyone’s itinerary or travel goals.
And that’s OK!
Here are some reasons you might want to skip a visit to Paraguay
- If you’re on a tight travel schedule and only have a day or two to dedicate to Paraguay, you might want to come back when you have more time to explore
- If you’re on a tight travel budget (flights to Paraguay usually are expensive unless you’re coming from a few select cities)
- If your interest lies primarily in colonial architecture and ancient ruins/civilizations, you could probably skip Paraguay (Paraguay does have these things, but other countries boast more of these types of attractions)
- If you struggle with hot temperatures and are in South America during the summertime, you may want to skip Paraguay (temperatures can get up to 42°C (107°F)
Who SHOULD Visit Paraguay
To put it simply, if you have more of an interest in people than sightseeing, Paraguay might be the perfect place to visit.
The people here are some of the friendliest and most welcoming you’ll come across in South America (perhaps even the world!). If you take the time to get to know them, you’ll come away with plenty of friends and more invitations to asados (barbeques) than you can count!
If you can dedicate some time to Paraguay and its people, you won’t come away disappointed. Moreover, if you’re looking to make local friends, there is almost no better place to do so than here.
Additionally, suppose you’re looking to move to another country. In that case, Paraguay’s warm weather, the fact it’s relatively safe, friendly people, and low cost of living make it an ideal option.
If you fall into any of these categories, we’re confident you’ll find a “hidden gem” in the country of Paraguay!
Is Paraguay Worth Visiting? Final Thoughts
So, is Paraguay worth visiting?
Our answer is a resounding yes!
However, you’ll need to dedicate some time to it and be willing to get off the beaten path to see the best of it and its people.
Thanks for listening, and we hope to see you all down here very soon!