Perched on both the banks of the Paraguay River, which stretches through the center of the country from north to south, Paraguay is a beautiful and picturesque nation in central South America. This landlocked country is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Owing to its central location in South America, its not a surprise that it is occasionally nicknamed as the 'Heart of South America'.
Kick-start the visit by heading out to Asuncion. It is the dynamic capital and economic hub of Paraguay. There are several attractions in Paraguay tourists need to visit. One of them is the National Congress. It is a very impressive building with a mirrored facade. Guided tours are available. When it comes to religious shrines, visiting the National Cathedral is a good option. Head towards the Municipal Museum where one can learn about civic history. Close to it is the Visual Arts Museum with temporary exhibits from national artists.
It would be a shame to visit Paraguay and not explore the crumbling settlements built by Jesuits missionaries in the 16th century, who journeyed through the region converting the indigenous Guarani people to Christianity. The best preserved ruins can be discovered at the Jesus de Tavarangue and Trinidad del Parana, which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you wish to get a taste of the 'western life', then there are numerous estancias around the country where tourists can sample the rural life, ride with the cowboys, take a horse and cart tour or just lounge around in the country sipping terere (a herbal infusion).
Nature lovers ought to trek through Ybycui National Park. Flora and fauna are abundant and it is not for any reason Paraguay's most visited national park. Perched in a mountainous zone, this wildlife paradise is packed with a series of streams and waterfalls. Try to catch glimpses of massive, colourful butterflies as you stroll along the woods, like the metallic blue morpho. Yerba mate tea is one of the most famous tea infusions in Paraguay and South America as a whole. The major plantations are housed in the south of country and one can enlist the services of guided tours from the city of Bellavista, home to two of the country's major Yerba producers (Selecta and Pajarito).
Be sure to take a trip to Iguazu Falls, housed at a point where Argentina and Brazil meet Paraguay. It is one of the most mesmerizing sights on earth. The border town of Ciudad del Este is the ideal crossing point to the falls. The waters of the Iguazu River plunge off the falls and tumble down into the Parana River, South America's second largest river after the Amazon. The energy is harnessed in the Itaipu Dam, a dual nation project between Paraguay and Brazil. The dam is the biggest hydro-electric plan in the globe, supplying 90% of Paraguay's electricity. Head over to the visitor center to learn more or one can even stroll around the top of the dam to examine its opulence and grandeur.
When it comes to shopping, be sure to be look-out for some special items such as nanduti lace - prepared by the women of Itagua, leather goods, wood handicrafts, silver yerba mate cups and native jewellery. As for cuisine, it would be a shame to holiday in Paraguay and not dig into their local delicacies such as Chipa ( maize bread flavoured with egg and cheese) or Soyo (a hearty soup of cornmeal and ground beef garnished with fresh oregano, bay leaves and garlic).
The stay options of Paraguay are abundant with the best luxury hotels, cheap accommodations and rental apartments available for the tourists to decide which kind to opt for depending on their budget and taste.
Paraguay experiences subtropical climate with swift changes in temperature all through the year. The best time to visit would be during the winter season from June to September. The winter season is mild with few cold days.