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Travelling in Paraguay: on the road in a landlocked country - INTI Tours

Visiting an unknown country

Paraguay - what comes to mind? Land speculation? Mennonites?

The landlocked country cannot boast world-famous highlights like its larger neighbours and is therefore rather unnoticed and unknown to tourists. This is precisely why you can experience South American life in its original and unadulterated form in Paraguay.

The Rio Paraguay, after which the state is named, divides the country into two natural areas of almost equal size. The majority of the population lives east of the river and alternates between a wide variety of landscapes such as mountainous areas, swamps and the last stands of rainforest. From here, it is quick and easy to reach the famous Iguazú Waterfalls in the border triangle with Argentina and Brazil. To the west of the Rio Paraguay, the Gran Chaco spreads out. This is a steppe-like vast plain that is still sparsely populated and full of wild adventures. Most interesting are visits to the Mennonite settlements in the Gran Chaco. It is incredible how these people have braved the wilderness for a few generations.

Let yourself be surprised by old Jesuit reductions, world heritage sites, tropical life and wild landscapes on our tours in Paraguay.

Welcome to Paraguay!

Country information Absolutely worth seeing Facts and figures Travel in Paraguay Addresses

Our types of travel in Paraguay

Beispiele für individuelle Wunschreisen in Paraguay

Paraguay individually: From the Chaco to the Iguazú Waterfalls

Experience impressive flora and fauna, historical sites and a touch of adventure in the Gran Chaco. The world famous waterfalls of Iguazú are located in the border triangle of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

15 days Individualreise 1 up to 6 travellers

upon request

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14 days Gruppenreise 8 up to 16 travellers

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Brazil: Bahia and Chapada Diamantina

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8 days Gruppenreise 4 up to 10 travellers

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Bolivia - Chile - Argentina

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Ecuador with Galápagos and Machu Picchu in Peru

Ecuador with Galápagos and Machu Picchu in Peru: Discover the center of the earth with us. Experience snow-capped volcanoes, majestic Andean peaks, fascinating rainforest and a cruise through the paradise of Galápagos.

17 days Gruppenreise 6 up to 12 travellers

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Country information on PARAGUAY: "A land without a beach with all kinds"

Paraguay borders Bolivia in the north, Brazil in the east and shares a border of almost 1700 kilometres with Argentina in the south. The country covers an area of just under 407,000 square kilometres. Apart from Bolivia, Paraguay is the only country in South America that has no access to the sea. Nevertheless, the state of Paraguay is dominated by water. At over 2,549 kilometres, the Rio Paraguay is one of the longest rivers on earth and gave the country its name. Paraguay is a word from the language of the indigenous Guaraní and means something like "river of colourful birds". The Rio Paraguay runs through the country from north to south, dividing it in two, so to speak. To the west of the river, the Gran Chaco spreads out and takes up about 60% of the country's entire area. These are thorn bush savannahs and dry forests, which on the one hand can be completely flooded during the rainy season and on the other hand are desert-like dry during the dry months. Armadillos, foxes, pumas, ocelots and jaguars make their home here. The Gran Chaco is largely uninhabited. And yet the majority of the approximately 30,000 Mennonites of German origin live here in so-called Mennonite settlements, which have found a home in Paraguay for a good 100 years. In the far north, the dry savannah merges into the wetlands of the Pantanál. East of the Rio Paraguay lies the extremely fertile so-called Oriente. It is used for agriculture in many ways and is relatively densely populated with about 97% of the population. The first language of over 85% of the population is Guaraní, but the majority of Paraguayans speak fluent Spanish as a second language.

Capital Asunción: 

Paraguay's capital and also the country's largest city is Asunción and with a population of around 525,000. The complete city name is "La Muy Noble y Leal Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa Maria de la Asunción". In Spanish, Asunción stands for Ascension and Ascension, it is symbolic of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Asunción is one of the oldest Spanish cities in South America. On one of his expeditions to find a connection between the Andean states of Peru and Bolivia and the Rio de la Plata, Juan de Salazar stopped in what is now the city. He founded the Fort Nuestra Senora Santa María de la Asunción on 15 August 1537 and is thus considered the father of the metropolis, of which he was also the first mayor. Although Juan de Salazar was ordered back to Spain in the meantime, he spent the last days of his life on the Rio Paraguay. He died in Asunción in 1560 and is still deeply revered by the inhabitants. Asunción lies on the left bank of the Río Paraguay. Many small streams flow through the city, all of them flowing into the mighty Rio Paraguay. Most of these streams rise in the urban area of Asunción and served as drinking water supplies in earlier centuries. During heavy rains, they can turn into raging waters and flood adjacent streets and properties. Paraguay's capital is growing from the inside out, and every year new districts are created or surrounding settlements are incorporated. If these settlements are added to the city, the population of Greater Asunción is close to 2 million people.

Absolutely worth seeing:

  • Asunción's highest elevation is Cerro Lambaré, which lies twelve kilometres as the crow flies from the city centre on the city limits. From here you have a wonderful view over the city.
  • The city's botanical garden borders the Rio Paraguay and once belonged to the president's summer retreat. Especially on weekends, it is a recreational area for the city's inhabitants. The Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Indigenous People and the Museum of History are also located here, as well as the palaeontological, archaeological and ethnographic collections and the municipal zoo.
  • The city can be discovered on a ride in a historic steam locomotive.
  • Visit of the city centre with the Plaza de los Heroes, the Pantheon de los Heroes, the city cathedral as well as the Casa de la Independéncia from 1772 and thus supposedly the oldest house still preserved in the city.        
  • The Estacion del Ferrocarril is worth a visit. Paraguay was the first country in South America to use the railway as a means of transport. The old, historic railway station, which was built in 1861, tells the story of that time of awakening and technical achievements. The building houses an exhibition about the beginnings of rail transport and also presents atmospheric locomotives. In the historic compartments, visitors can breathe in the dignified charm of the past, and the display boards give them an insight into the complicated realisation of track construction. The centrepiece of the collection is the Sapucai locomotive.  

Gran Chaco:

The Gran Chaco is a large landscape in South America with a total north-south extension of about 2,100 km and an east-west extension of mostly about 600 km. The Gran Chaco slopes slowly from the Andes in the west to the Río Paraguay and Río Paraná in the east. In the south it merges into the so-called pampas, in the north into the wetlands of the Pantanál. Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay have parts of the Gran Chaco. Only about ⅙ of the Gran Chaco belongs to Paraguayan territory, but in Paraguay itself the Gran Chaco occupies about 60 % of the country's area and is home to about 600 different bird species. The name "Chaco" is said to originate from the indigenous Quechua language and can allegedly be traced back to chaku for "drive hunt" or chaqu for "treeless plain". The climate is tropical in the north and subtropical in the south. Almost the entire Paraguayan part of the Chaco has a semi-arid climate. In the so-called Chaco Bajo directly west of the Rio Paraguay, large regions are frequently flooded and are partly swampy. Today, some huge farms are engaged in cattle breeding here. The Chaco Medio takes up most of the Gran Chaco in Paraguay. This region is much drier, with hardwood trees and cacti predominating. This is where the immigrant Mennonites built their settlements, worked hard to cultivate the land and now use it for cattle breeding and growing various crops. Paraguay has only a very small share of the so-called Chaco Alto in the far west. Dense, impenetrable thorny scrub provides a home for pumas, tapirs and wild boars. Paraguay lost part of the Chaco to Argentina after the Triple Alliance War, but regained it a short time later through the mediation of US President Hayes. For this reason, one of the Chaco departamentos is now called "Presidente Hayes". From 1932 to 1935, Paraguay had to defend the Chaco again in a bloody war, this time against Bolivia. North American oil companies suspected that there were large oil deposits here and used this assumption to plunge Bolivia and Paraguay into the war, which Paraguay won. Later test drillings were unsuccessful, however.

Absolutely worth seeing:

  • 480 km away from Asunción in the middle of the Gran Chaco are the Mennonite colonies of Filadelfia, Loma Plata and Neuland. Filadelfia is the capital of the region, where you can visit the Jakob Unger Museum. It shows the history of the Mennonite settlements of Filadelfia, Loma Plata, Neuland and Menno.
  • In the north-west of Paraguay, in the department of Alto Paraguay and close to the Bolivian border, lies the Defensores des Chaco National Park, founded in 1975 and currently covering an area of 780,000 hectares. It is considered Paraguay's largest nature reserve, is very remote and difficult to get to. The fauna and flora of the national park are considered extremely rich in species. There are monkeys, jaguars, pumas, foxes, reptiles, peccaries, tapirs, giant armadillos, pipe herons, crested herons, various species of parrots and much more. The region has vast plains with low forests, thorn bushes and various species of cacti.

Oriente of Paraguay:

The Oriente is the fertile eastern part of Paraguay and includes all areas east of the Río Paraguay. About 90 percent of the population lives here. This region is correspondingly well developed.

Absolutely worth seeing:

  • The small town of San Bernandino is only 50 kilometres away from Asunción, which made it a popular destination for the city's inhabitants early on. German emigrants once founded the town, which is why a black-red-gold flag is hoisted at the town hall. In the summer months, Lake Ypacarai invites you to swim and San Bernandino becomes a Paraguayan party mile. Nearby Areguá is more cosy, with its old town alleys and many quaint handicraft businesses and artists' studios.
  • The Parque Nacional Ybycui is about 50 square kilometres in size and is home to dense evergreen forest and beautiful romantic waterfalls. Very good hiking opportunities.
  • In the Parque Nacional Cerro Corá, founded in 1976, you can go on guided hikes around the Aquidabán River and look for animals. At Cerro Coral, there are prehistoric petroglyphs of the indigenous people that are said to date back to the third millennium BC.
  • La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná is a former Jesuit reduction in the Trinidad district. It was founded in 1706 and had about 4,000 inhabitants in 1728. In 1993, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
  • The Cordillera San Rafael virgin forest reserve is located in the south-east of Paraguay and, with an area of approx. 730 square kilometres, represents one of the last larger pieces of preserved Atlantic rainforest. San Rafael is a habitat for numerous special animal and plant species, but also for communities of the Mbya Indians, the indigenous people of Paraguay, some of whom still live in the traditional way. In 1992, the area was officially protected by the government.
  • Indepedencia used to be a wine-growing area and is now a paradise for escapists. There are hiking trails in the mountains and various waterfalls in the Ybytyruzú Mountains. Hidden in the mountains near Villarrica, for example, is the Salto Cristal, which can be reached by hiking and can also be bathed in.
  • In the northeast, about 40 km from Santa Rosa del Aguaray, is the Laguna Blanca bathing lake. As the name suggests, the beach is white and the water is fantastically transparent.
  • Of course, a trip to the "Paraguay-Brazil-Argentina" triangle with a visit to the famous Iguazú waterfalls is a must. On the way there, you pass through the shopping metropolis of Ciudad del Este. You can take the ferry from there to Puerto Iguazú in Argentina or reach Foz do Iguacú in Brazil via the Friendship Bridge.

Facts and figures of Paraguay:

Land area: 406,752 sq km
Population: Just under 7 million people, almost all of whom live east of the Rio Paraguay in the Oriente. 5-7% of the Paraguayan population are immigrants of German origin.
Capital: Asunción with about 525,000 inhabitants, almost 2 million people live in the metropolitan area.
Highest mountain: Cerro Peró at 842 m.a.s.l.
Form of government: presidential democracy
History: In pre-Columbian times, what is now Paraguay was part of the settlement area of the indigenous Guaraní tribes between the Río de la Plata and the Orinoco Delta, the Atlantic Ocean and the Andes. Today's capital Asunción was founded in 1537. In order to pacify and evangelise the indigenous population, friars of the Franciscans and later the Jesuits founded reductions in which indigenous people were to be protected from the grasp of large landowners, slave hunters and the Spanish crown. Paraguay became independent in 1811, but lost a large part of its population and territory in the Triple Alliance War (1864-1870). In the Chaco War against Bolivia from 1932 to 1935, Paraguay was victorious and thus secured extensive territories in the disputed Chaco region.
Economy: Paraguay was a purely agricultural country until the 1960s. Today, agriculture still plays an important role: 39 percent of the population works in the agricultural sector, which contributes 24.9 percent to GDP. Large landholdings still dominate the ownership structure, with about 66 % of the arable land belonging to 10 % of the population. Since the 1970s, an industrial sector has developed, contributing about 13.9 per cent to GDP in 2006. The service sector contributed the lion's share of 51.4 percent to the GDP of US$ 9.3 billion in the same year.
Currency: Guaraní
Language: Guaraní and Spanish - often used in mixed forms
Festivals: In February there is an "offshoot" of the Brazilian carnival in Encarnacion.
In Atyra, the city's patron saint, Francis of Assisi, is commemorated with huge parades every year on 4 October.

Travelling in Paraguay:

Entry requirement: Travel documents must be valid for the duration of the stay. German nationals do not require a visa for entry and stay up to 90 days as a tourist.
Vaccinations: No compulsory vaccinations are required for direct entry from Germany. For entry from areas endangered by yellow fever, a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for all travellers over the age of one. If you plan to stay in the southern parts of the country, a yellow fever vaccination is also medically advisable.
Climate/travelling season: Basically, the seasons are the opposite of those in Europe. Paraguay is only a few degrees south of the equator. In the north of the country, the climate is tropical; further south and east, it is exclusively subtropical. The coldest month is July, the hottest is December. Then the thermometer in the Gran Chaco climbs to over 40 degrees. The Gran Chaco is arid with very little rainfall. In Oriente, up to 2000 millimetres of precipitation fall per year. The best time to travel in Paraguay is February to May. During this time it is quite warm with little rainfall. In the months of June to September it can get quite fresh, but then it is not at all humid.
Local time: The time difference is minus 5 hours according to Central European Time (CET), during European Summer Time the time difference is minus 6 hours.


Embassy of the Republic of Paraguay
Hardenbergstraße 12 
10623 BERLIN
Tel.: +49 (30) 3199 860 
Fax: +49 (30) 3199 8617


+49 7334 959741