Why travel to Paraguay
A holiday in Paraguay is taking the road less travelled, but that is what makes it such a unique experience. This unknown land has only recently opened up to travellers and is home to untouched wilderness areas just waiting to be discovered. Here, wildlife such as the elusive puma roams free.
Travel to Paraguay to explore charming colonial towns and cities, including its capital, Asuncion. Discover fascinating ancient history revealed in the sacred cave paintings in the Amambay Hills, inscribed between 5000 and 2500BC. Other famous historical tourist attractions are the two incredible, decorative UNESCO World Heritage sites of Jesuit Guaraní ruins that date back to the 17th and early 18th century. These were built and embellished by the Jesuits who wished to convert the indigenous Guaraní to Catholicism.
Why travel to Paraguay
- The people are welcoming and eager to tell their visitors all about their beautiful country.
- It’s home to one of the world’s last great untouched wilderness areas.
- Paraguay’s different indigenous cultures, such as the Mennonites in Chaco, similar to the Amish in the United States, are fascinating.
- You can shop tax-free in Ciudad Del Este.
- Take a step back in time to the 18th and 19th century in rural areas.
When you travel to Paraguay, you’ll embark on a voyage of discovery to a South American country that is largely untouched, incredibly authentic and home to unique cultures and traditions found nowhere else on earth. A Paraguay holiday package offers the opportunity to explore an immense wilderness, where tropical birds in their multitudes live in their natural habitat. This land is full of subtropical forests, wide rivers and unique history, offering an intriguing once-in-a-lifetime experience. Let Thompsons Holidays arrange your Paraguay adventure.
Things to do in Paraguay
Paraguay is genuinely a hidden South American gem. Previously isolated from the rest of the world, it is now opening its doors to travellers who are looking for exciting and unique experiences. Paraguay boasts one of the largest untouched wilderness areas in the world, fascinating history and unique cultures and traditions, making it a delight to explore.
Charming towns and cities offer a glimpse into Paraguay’s absorbing history, culture and cuisine, while further afield are numerous opportunities for adventure including ziplining and rappelling down a sheer cliff. Plus, Paraguay's location, close to the Pantanal and the Iguazu Falls in Brazil, makes it the ideal base from which to explore more of the continent’s breathtaking natural attractions.
Things to do in Paraguay
- Visit a tea plantation where Paraguay’s iconic yerba mate tea is grown.
- Stay on a traditional Paraguayan ranch and go horse riding with gauchos.
- Explore the magnificent UNESCO-listed Jesuit colonies in Encarnación.
- View a variety of monkeys and colourful birds in Parque Nacional Ybycuí.
- Sunbathe on a soft sand beach in San Bernadino, on the shores of Lake Ypacaraí.
- Discover the magic of the Gran Chaco wilderness, home to over 500 birds and wildlife including jaguars.
- Marvel at Paraguay’s gushing waterfalls, Saltos del Monday.
- Explore the caves at Itá Letra to see ancient carvings of pawprints, fertility symbols and stars.
- Taste Paraguay’s legendary tereré tea.
- Visit mysterious Ojo de Mar (‘Eye of the Sea’), a secluded lagoon, home to rare crocodiles.
- Stroll through the magnificent forest in Cerro Cora National Park.
- See undulating sand dunes at San Cosme y Damián.
Home to incredible biodiversity, including 500 bird species, 200 species of reptiles and amphibians, jaguars, crocodiles and pumas, Paraguay is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy communing with nature. Let Thompsons Holidays organise your Paraguay holiday package.
Know before you go...
- Paraguay is a year-round destination with no torrential rains or peak tourist season.
- Best time to visit Paraguay is in spring & early summer, September to early December.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Asunción via Sao Paulo, Brazil: 17 hours & 50 minutes.
- There are no regular flights from South Africa to Paraguay.
- South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter Paraguay for a stay of up to 90 days.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after departure from Panama.
- Paraguay is 5 hours behind South Africa.
- Daylight saving is practiced in Paraguay, so in the winter months, Paraguay is 4 hours behind South Africa.
- The official currency is the Paraguayan Guaraní (PYG).
- The US Dollar (USD) is widely accepted in Paraguay.
- Credit cards are widely accepted & ATMs are prevalent.
- Tipping is customary in Paraguay. Hotel porters & housekeepers: at your discretion.
- Restaurants: It’s customary to add 10-15% tip.
- Taxis – round off the fare to the nearest PYG1,000.
- The official languages in Paraguay are Spanish and Guaraní.
- English is relatively widely spoken, so learn a few local phrases so you can communicate with the locals.
- Roman Catholicism is the main religion in Paraguay, practiced by 90% of the population.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- It is not safe to drink tap water in Paraguay. Bottled water is readily available.
- Smoking is not permitted in public areas such as restaurants, bars and indoor work places as well as on public transport. Airports offer designated smoking rooms.
- Vaccinations – please check with your travel clinic before you go.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer, warm layerable clothing for winter.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Transport within Paraguay includes mainly buses, also trains.
- Towns in outlying areas have less sophisticated transport infrastructure – it depends where you are going.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Instead of using plastic bags, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
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