Asunción developed along the river bank. To the east of the river, fertile land supported the growing population and the city thrived. Buildings from the colonial period attest to the prosperity of the city the Spanish enjoyed as almost a vacation resort.
Since then, the city has gone through a number or changes. Isolated and insulated for a time, Paraguay closed itself off to visitors. Wars, political upheavals and dictatorships made the country, and the capital city, a less desirable tourist destination. In recent decades, however, Asunción is once again drawing visitors to the tropical climate, the friendliness of the Azuceños, and the gateway to the Gran Chaco.
Depending on the length of your stay in the city, you can limit yourself to the city's sights or extend your visits to other areas of the country. See the images in A Sampling of Paraguay.
Much of the historical section, with its charming colonial buildings and plazas is near the river and is easily walkable. You should see:
Excursions from Asunción:
- Itauguá is the place to buy ñandutí, the lacework for which Paraguay is famous.
- San Bernardino, on Lago Ypacaraí, is popular for holidays and weekends and packed druing the summer. It's ideal for water sports or sunbathing on clean, white sand. Across the lake, Areguá is quieter. Handmade clay items and ceramics are good buys.
- Villa Florida is in ranch and agricultural land watered by the Río Tebicuary, known for its beaches and fishing.
- Mission Ruins in southern Paraguay
- Caacupé with the imposing Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Milagros, draws hundreds of thousands of people each December 8 for religious observations.
- Iguazu Falls
- The Pantanal
- The Gran Chaco is South America's Last Frontier
Enjoy your trip to Asunción and Paraguay!