Paraguay is a land-locked country in central South America, bordered by giants Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia on all sides. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the centre of the country from north to south. It is sometimes referred to as the “Heart of America” or “Corazon de America” due to its positioning in the continent. As of 2009, Paraguay's population peaked at 6.5 million, with most concentrated in the southeast region of the country. The capital city is Asuncion, of which the metropolitan area is filled with nearly 1/3 of the whole population of the country. The population is mostly dominated by Mestizos (95%), with 5% covered by other ethnicity.
Paraguay has long been one of the region's most isolated countries, until the turn of the 21st century when it has experienced rapid economic growth. In 2013, it enjoyed the fourth highest growth in terms of GDP at a rate of 12%.
What to see & do
Asuncion – Standing as the capital of Paraguay, the city of Asuncion has two faces. At one face the city contains splendour and character where beauty can be seen: colonial and beaux arts buildings, international cuisine, shady and airy plazas, and friendly people. On another face, smart suburbs lead, ritzy shopping malls spring forth, and fashionable and pulsing night clubs are novelties. This is Paraguay's centre at its finest – and despite the heavy traffic and diesel fuming the historic city centre, it is one of South America's more lovable capitals.
Encarnacion – Dubbed as “La Perla del Sur”, Paraguay's most attractive city is now ambitiously called by some locals as the new Rio de Janeiro – comparing its beauty to the upbeat city in Brazil. The new costanera or riverside promenade boasts of its fabulous river beach, while the Sambadromo Carnaval is one worthy stop.
Ciudad del Este – Ciudad del Este is called the “Supermarket of South America” for all the right reasons – it is a pleasant and huge shopping mall filled with various items ranging from novelty to clothing, even down to contraband goods. Although the border shared with Brazil (since the city is the City of the East, a hop away from the humongous country) is busy and chaotic, the rest of the place is surprisingly light and interesting. Shop
'til you drop!
How to get around within Paraguay
Paraguay's public transportation choices are abundant. The country's roads are paved although mostly covering one lane each way, so driving cars will be a novelty especially when used to driving on huge four to six-lane roads. Travellers may also opt to discover the country through public transportation such as taxis, air taxis, buses, and boats for transfers to key cities such as Asuncion, Encarnacion, Villeta, and others. Taxis are the most efficient and reliable among all the transport modes; however do be careful when travelling outside the city centres with taxis that do not have meters.
How to get there
The Silvio Pettirossi International Airport is Paraguay's main national and international airport located in Luque, a city of Gran Asuncion. It is named after renowned Paraguayan aviator Silvio Pettirossi, and was formerly known as the Presidente Stroessner International Airport. The airport is served by various airlines such as Aerolineas Argentinas, Amaszonas, American Airlines, Copa, and others. Flights to the airport mainly cover South America and Miami in the United States (North America), so if flying from outside these areas, travellers are advised to fly first to destinations where direct flights to Paraguay are available. For cheap flights going to Paraguay, book with Skyscanner. Skyscanner is an online resource of the cheapest flights from over 600 airlines worldwide.
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