Paraguay – this is a landlocked country between Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia, home to large swaths of swampland, subtropical forest and chaco, wildernesses comprising savanna and scrubland. The capital, Asunción, on the banks of the Paraguay River, is home to the grand Government Palace and the Museo del Barro, displaying pre-Columbian ceramics and ñandutí lacework, the latter available in many shops.
Day 1: Depart Canada for Asuncion
Day 2: Arrive in Asuncion in the afternoon. (B/D)
After making your visas and going through customs you will be transferred to your hotel: Hotel Westfalenhaus. You get a free afternoon to rest from the long trip. At night we will see a traditional show while we are having dinner.
Day 3: Asuncion City Tour. (B/D)
Asuncion is a colourful combination of modern and colonial architecture. After breakfast we will start our city tour at the Promenade and with the view of downtown and the magnificent Paraguay River. First we will walk to the Palacio de Lopez or Palacio de Gobierno (the Presidents office), from there we pass by the new Parliament building (both have very tight security) on our way to the Casa de la Indepencia (where the nation was born in 1811). After learning more from the country’s history, will visit the Panteon de los Heroes (mausoleum where the heroes of the country rest). A little stop at “Lido Bar”, one of the cities iconic restaurants, for a refresh, before we visit the Catedral Metropolitana de Asuncion. After our ride picks us up, we will proceed to one of the busy markets of the city, where you will find the traditional and the modern joining as one. Hotel Westfalenhaus.
Day 4: Asuncion – Encarnacion (B/D)
Today we will have breakfast and leave to the south-eastern part of the country: destination city is Encarnacion. On the way we will stop in Yaguaron to visit the large baroque church build by the Franciscan missionaries. We will stop to admire the local arts and crafts in San Miguel. In Villa Florida, we will stop for lunch at the shores of the Tebicuary River. Once in Encarnacion and after checking in at the Hotel AWA Resort, we will tour the Pearl of the South as this city is called. Tonight we will have Dinner with a view.
Day 5: Encarnacion to Ciudad del Este (B/D)
Today we will have an early start. After breakfast we will visit the Ruinas de Trinidad, a reminder of the Jesuits Christianization of the Rio de la Plata basin in the 17th and 18th centuries. These ruins were declared World Heritage Site in 1993 by UNESCO. From there we will be travelling north to visit Itaipu, one of the biggest hydroelectric power plants in the world. On the way we will stop at the Yerba Pajarito processing factory (by now you will probably have seen lots of people drinking out of strange cups and horns). Overnight at the Asuncion Gran Hotel.
Day 6: Foz do Iguassu – Cataratas (B/D)
Today after breakfast we will leave Paraguay and enter Brazil to visit the Iguassu Falls (Cataratas del Yguazu). The Yguazu (original spelling which means big water) falls have 275 falls (some as high as 90 meters) and stretch over 4 kilometers.
Enjoy the day at this wonder of nature. Before we go back to Paraguay, we will enjoy a traditional Brazilian Rodizio for dinner. Overnight at Asuncion Gran Hotel in Ciudad del Este.
Day 7: Ciudad del Este – Asuncion (B/D)
Today after breakfast we are going back to the capital Asuncion. On the way we will start seeing more of the Canadian influence in this country. Will stop at Lactolanda one of the biggest dairy producers in the country (founded by Canadian Mennonites) and we will visit the Hospital Mennonita KM 81 (also has close ties to Canadian immigrants) which is the referral center for leprosy services in Paraguay. In Asuncion we will overnight at the Hotel Westfalenhaus. Free time after arrival in Asuncion.
Day 8: Asuncion – Loma Plata (Chaco) (B/D)
Early morning departure for the Gran Chaco after breakfast. The biggest part of the country that was feared by the conquistadores, but finally conquered by Canadian immigrants in the late 1920s. You will see how the landscape changes as soon as we cross the Paraguay River. Will take a few stops to enjoy nature before we get to our destination in Loma Plata. Get ready for a 6-hour journey through mostly nature and cattle ranches. Once we get to Loma Plata, a colony founded by Canadian immigrants, we will here and see about the history of the place and the achievements this community has had. Overnight at Loma Plata Inn.
Day 9: Bird and nature watching (B/L/D)
If the weather gives us a hand, we want to really enjoy the nature in the Gran Chaco on this day. Today we will visit places like Laguna Capitan and Campo Maria. On the way you will see more of the cattle ranching and dairy production before we get more immersed in nature. You will be required to do some walking. You will also be able to enjoy lunch out in nature, as the “peones” (ranchers) would do. Overnight at Loma Plata Inn.
Day 10: Yalve Sanga – Boqueron – Neuland – Asuncion
Another early start. Today we will visit Yalve Sanga (an aboriginal settlement administrated mostly by the Mennonite Colonies) to learn more about the interaction between two very different cultures: Mennonites and the Paraguayan native people. From there we will visit Fortin Boqueron, a military fort and place of one of the biggest and most decisive battles of the Bolivia – Paraguay war in the 1930s. In the afternoon will make our long way back to the capital Asuncion. Overnight at Hotel Westfallenhaus.
Day 11: Aregua – Itagua (B/D)
The last full day in Paraguay. You can spend it at leisure by the swimming pool at the hotel or do something on your own if you like. We will offer you a trip to Aregua to look at the amazing local arts and crafts. Overnight at the Hotel Westfallenhaus.
Day 12: Depart Asuncion for Canada
Early morning rise to go to the airport to take your flight back to Canada.