This little-known landlocked country in the heart of South America is a veritable treasure for an adventure holiday.
Leaving the capital Asuncion you will head into the Chaco. This vast arid area is the least populated of the country and a fascinating introduction to Paraguay.
A harsh history, wildlife and tales of survival characterise this part of the country. From the Chaco you will head east to the city of Concepcion and get a feel for colonial Paraguay.
Heading south, the landscape changes into fertile plains. Where Paraguay meets Brazil and Argentina the mighty Iguazu Falls are found. Read our blog for more as well as our guide on when to go to Iguazu Falls.
Crossing the borders you visit both the Brazilian and Argentine sides of the Falls.
Back in Paraguay you travel to the Misiones district where huge Jesuit Reductions had been set up to evangelise the local Guarani population in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The majestic ruins to this day still convey an aura of grandeur and impress with their scale.
Before heading back to Asuncion you will also have time to relax on a local working Estancia.
Visit Chaco and learn its fascinating history alongside fabulous wildlife.
Take in the Pantanal, full of birds, animals, rivers and spectacular scenery.
See all three sides of the Iguazu Falls: from Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.
City tours of Asuncion and Concepcion, plus Jesuit ruins.
Arrival to Asunción airport. You will be met at the airport and have a private transfer with English speaking guide to your hotel.
The rest of the day is free for you to explore. Asuncion is the capital of Paraguay and is a city of over half a million people.
Today you have a full day exploring Asuncion.
You start with a boat trip on the River Paraguay around the bay of Asunción. Stops will be made at some of the colourful fish stalls dotted around the bay which is a great opportunity to see what varieties of fish are being caught in the river on that day.
After the boat tour you board a vehicle and head south to Cerro Lambaré – the highest hill in the area of Asunción – and from where a great panorama of the city can be viewed. This is followed by a city tour where you get a feel for the history of the Paraguayan capital from the times of the Spanish colonisation.
Visits include the former train station, now a railway museum and the Pettrossi Market where you can try a Paraguayan speciality – Empanadas.
Early morning transfer to Filadelfia, the Capital of the Chaco region.
You cross the Remanso bridge over the River Paraguay and enter the Chaco Boreal. This then stretches westwards to the border with Bolivia. The land is flat and is marked by deciduous scrub woodlands.
Heading west you find forests of spiny, thorny deciduous trees and brush, interrupted by patches of tall, coarse savanna grass. En route, stops to take in the flora and fauna as well as a visit to an indigenous village and “Laguna Capitán” salt lake where flamingoes can be found in winter.
In the evening, arrival to Filadelfia. Filadelfia is the capital of the Boqueron Distict and was founded by Mennonites fleeing the former Soviet Union in 1930.
After breakfast a guided Filadelfia city tour including the Jakob Unger museum which depicts the history of the Mennonite colonies of Filadelfia, Loma Plata, Neuland and Menno. Filadelfia with a population of around 10,000 inhabitants was founded in 1930 by Mennonites fleeing Russia.
This visit will be followed by a tour to Neuland, another Mennonite colony which was founded in 1947 and has a population of around 3,500.
The day finishes with a visit to Fortin Boqueron, an important site of the Chaco war. Return to Filadelfia.
Pick up and transfer to at typical estancia.
The Estancia is 19km from Filadlfia. Visit to the “Campo Maria ” eco reserve. This is a private reserve of 4,500 hectares with a large salt lake and there is the opportunity to spot some of the chaco wildlife and birds.
The wildlife can include the chacoan peccary, tapir and amongst the bird species are the phalropus tricolor and white rumped sandpipers.
Back at the ranch you can take a swim in a clear freshwater lake and also watch the Gauchos working with the cattle.
In the afternoon drive back to the hotel in Filadelfia.
After breakfast, transfer to the town of Concepción in North Central Paraguay. The journey time is approximately 6 hours.
Arrival to Concepción and transfer to your hotel.
Concepcion lies on the shore of the River Paraguay and was an important transportation hub for the whole of the Chaco region.
It is a sleepy town unused to tourism so it is a great place to get an authentic insight into life in Paraguay and notably to see how Guarani culture has been assimilated.
In the morning guided city tour of Concepcion.
This is followed by a 21km drive to the town of Belen. This is the oldest town of the region (over 250 years old) and nearby is the last Jesuit reduction to be built, Purutue Ka’I cue.
Return to Concepcion.
(Optional boat excursion on the Rio Paraguay – not included).
Transfer heading South to the town of Villarrica on the shores of the River Parana. Journey time approx. 8 hours.
Founded in 1879 Villarrica, is the capital of the state Guaria. Villarrica is also known for its “Carumbés”, taxis in the form of horse-drawn carriages.
Many Paraguayan poets and musicians were from this area, so their legacy can be seen in many small museums.
Tour to Colonia Independencia, a town founded by German immigrants in 1919.
The descendants of the first German immigrants still hold on to their German traditions.
After the tour, a 5km walk to the 50m high Salto Suizo waterfall.
Finish the tour with a visit to a traditional wine cellar which includes wine and regional cheese tasting.
Return to Villarrica.
Today we leave Villarrica and drive eastwards to Ciudad del Este on the border with Brazil.
Drive accross the Friendship Bridge over the River Parana into Foz de Iguazu, Brazil, where your hotel is found.
After you check, in visit to the Brazilian Iguazu falls.
The Iguazu falls cover an edge of approximately 1.7 miles with around 150 to 300 falls (depending on water levels) varying in height from 60-80 m.
The Brazilian falls cover 20% of the area but give great panoramic views of the Argentine falls.
From the park entrance you travel by bus which takes you to the paths and walkways where you can get up and close to the falls.
Pick up at the hotel and cross the border into Argentina for a guided tour to the Argentine falls.
From the visitor centre there are many walkways which will take you to the falls, the most impressive of which is the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s throat).
Here three ring-shaped balconies permit a special view of the colossal “throat”, the culmination of the journey: a giant horseshoe-shaped waterfall 150 metres / 492 feet long, and 80 metres / 262 feet high.
Here the water falls with such potency that it creates dense clouds of vapour as it pours into the river below.
In the afternoon return to the hotel in Foz de Iguazu.
Depart Iguazu and drive back into Paraguay heading south to Bellavista.
Visit to the ruins of the Jesuit Missions of Trinidad and Jesus Tavarangue, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
These large reductions were built in 17th Century by the Guarani Indians, under the guidance of Spanish Jesuit missionaries.
The Santissima Trinidad was one of the largest with over 4,000 inhabitants. Time permitting we will also witness a sound to light show.
In the evening return to the hotel.
In the morning visit to a maté tea factory, Paraguay’s national beverage.
Continue with a visit to the town of Ecarnacion, on the shore of the River Parana opposite the Argentine city of Posadas.
From here continue to the Estancia Tacuaty.
Afternoon at leisure on the Estancia.
Day to enjoy the estancia.
This ranch offers many activities including horse riding, forest trails and a swimming pool.
In the morning depart the ranch heading for Asunción. En route visit historic colonial towns such as San Ignacio Guazú, Santa Rosa and Villa Florida.
Before reaching Asunción, visit a baroque wooden church in Yaguarón, built by the Guarani Indians under the supervision of the Franciscan missionaries in the 18th Century, which is considered the oldest church in Paraguay.
Arrival in Asunción and transfer to your hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight, end of services.
Prices From $4,880 / £4,138 per person
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Private tour with English speaking guide, based on 2 participants, 12 nights in good tourist class hotels with breakfast, 3 nights at estancias with full board, transfers as described, trips and excursions as mentioned including entrance fees.
Flights, services not mentioned in the itinerary, extras, tips, insurance, personal items, alcoholic or soft drinks, meals not listed
We use 2-3* hotels with private, ensuite bathrooms. The Estancia has private rooms with private bathrooms.
Upgrades (where available) at extra cost.
We employ local, bilingual guides as you move around the country, each with in-depth knowledge of their area.
We can cater for almost all dietary requirements – please enquire for more information.
Breakfasts at hotels will feature hot drinks, teas, coffees etc as well as juices, plus cereals, yoghurts, eggs etc.
Most of the time you are free to choose where to eat lunch and dinner. In major town and cities you will find a variety of local eateries with either Paraguayan options, and some with international options.
Main meals may feature thick soups as a starter and almost all meals come with yuca. Fish soups, meat and pies can also feature. Puddings include jam and bread, rice puddings and fruit.
The Estancia stay is full board and the food served will be typical of farm life – meats, eggs, milk, cheese and fruits and vegetables.
This is a gentle trip with a focus on getting to know Paraguay. One day will involve a 5km hike to a waterfall and the other days will be gentle walking.
Most starts will be after breakfast whether for a transfer or a tour. Transfers and tours are in a private vehicle with your own English speaking guide.
Paraguay is a landlocked hidden gem of a destination unspoilt by mass tourism.
The country is bordered by Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina and split into East and West by the mighty Paraguay River.
The capital Asuncion, lying on the banks of the Paraguay River, is the gateway to the country and the two main tourism regions.
In the arid West one will find the great Chaco. This is the largest and most sparsely populated territory of the country with extensive and valuable ecological and biological reserves.
Here you will find Amerindian communities and colonies of Mennonites who settled here to escape religious persecution and where they still maintain their unique way of life. You will also bear witness to the tragic history of the Chaco wars and its catastrophic consequences.
In the fertile East you will find rolling hills, green countryside bordered by mountain foothills, shady valleys dotted by streams and lakes, dense forests, along with the majority of the country’s cities and towns.
One of the main attractions of this region are the ruins of the Jesuit Missions the story of which Hollywood dramatised in Roland Joffe’s film “The Mission”.
The mighty Iguazu Falls are also just across the border from Ciudad del Este at the “tri-border” where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet.
Due to its central location in South America, Paraguay is sometimes referred to as the “Corazón de América,” or the Heart of America.
Paraguay is divided into two areas separated by the Paraguay River.
1) The Western Region, officially called Western Paraguay (Paraguay Occidental) and also known as the Chaco, which is
sparsely populated and occupies about 60 percent of the land area.
The savanna of the Dry Chaco is part of the second largest ecosystem of South America. This vast plain is a region of semi
desert climate and, in spite of that, has a great cattle, milk and agriculture production as well as other industries.
Just three of the percent of the country’s total population lives in the Chaco yet it presents a great diversity. Some 12 different native populations, 3 large Mennonite colonies and small villages of Paraguayans coexist there.
2) The Eastern Region occupies about 40% of the national territory. The remaining 97% of the Paraguayans live in it, with a demographic density of 31 inhabitants / km2.
It is fertile and well irrigated, making it ideal agricultural territory. Most of the industries and businesses are concentrated in this region.
Paraguay has tropical and subtropical areas, and the country is divided into two areas separated by the River Paraguay.
The western region is made up of the hot, dry Chaco and the eastern region has a tropical to subtropical climate with forests and marshy grounds.
The subtropical climate can be extreme in the different seasons: The months of summer (January to March) are very warm and humid, especially in Asunción, with the weather ranging from 25-45 ºC.
In autumn (March to June) and spring, the days are moderately warm; at night the temperatures are from 15-25ºC.
The winter (July to September) is short and gentle, with temperatures of between 0-14°C.
The average annual rainfall in the Eastern Region is of 1,552 millimetres, per annum while in the Chaco it barely reaches 815 millimetres.
The heaviest rains fall generally from December to March.
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
The sun is very strong throughout the country, so good sun cream, a hat and sunglasses are vital.
During the day it will be generally sunny and hot so bring tshirts and shorts or light trousers.
In the evenings it may be cooler so bring a light jacket or fleece as well as something to protect you from the rain.
Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.
Below is a more detailed guide.
Detailed kit list
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If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
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The Alto Parana region is to the east of Paraguay and its main city is Ciudad del Este on the shore of the Parana River.
Across the Parana River is where you will find Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil and the Iguaçu Falls.
The Itaipu dam – one of the largest of the world – can be visited and just South of Ciudad del Este the Monday falls are worth a visit.
The Tati Yupi Biological reserve offers the outdoors enthusiast interpretative trails of the wildlife and fauna as well as bike trails for the more energetic.
Asuncion is the capital of landlocked Paraguay and sits on the shore of the Paraguay River.
Asuncion is one of the oldest cities in South America and its character reflects the harsh and varied history of the region.
It also represents the diverse nature of Paraguay where Spanish and Guiarani – the indigenous language – are the official languages.
Places to visit include the National Pantheon of Heroes and the Independence House Museum.
A guided tour is recommended, to help you get the most out of your visit.
The Paraguayan Chaco is a semi-arid, sparsely populated area in Northern Paraguay, and is a rich ecosystem.
The local fauna includes jaguar, ocelot, tapir and giant armadillo and many more species of animals and birds.
Apart from the indigenous peoples, this area has various Mennonite settlements.
Among them is Filadelfia, founded in the early 20th Century and whose inhabitants still live their lives according to their beliefs, and are run by large cooperatives.
Chaco make for a fascinating visit.
Southern Paraguay is dotted with the ruins of Jesuit reductions from the 17th Century, offering a fascinating glimpse to that period of history.
The ruins at Santisima Trinidad del Parana are some of the best preserved of the region, built around a Plaza Mayor.
The ruins at San Cosme and Damian are also of interest as in the early 1770 they started astronomical studies.
The observatory can be visited to this day, making this trip well worth the travel.
2022 guide price, per person, shared room basis
Price reduces as more join
Single supplement applies
Longer/shorter stays possible
Upgrades available at extra cost
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Dates: November 2017
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