Hunderburton Adventures


A record of wanderings through Latin America


February 20th, 2012 at 8:44

Paraguay. The great South American nation known for soccer and… no, actually just soccer. The very few tourists who choose to visit Paraguay will understand why Paraguay has this virtually non-existent reputation: there’s not a lot there… it has none of the token attractions of South America; no beaches, mountains or jungle, no big crazy cities, and is not particularly cheap despite being the poorest south American country according to some measures. What it does have, however, is an enormous grassy area called the ‘Chaco’ covering more than half of the nations land, densely populated by jaguars, cougars, and many other animals tourists usually flock to see. Unlike its more enterprising neighbors, however, Paraguay has built no infrastructure to accommodate tourists in this region, and apparently the only places tourists can stay in the area, are extremely basic, and there is not a single place to buy food. The flip side of Paraguay’s being so unappealing to tourists is that no one goes, so if you choose to visit, you will probably not meet another tourist. This may sound like an exaggeration, but we decided to visit The Lonely Planet’s #1 recommended tourist attraction in Paraguay, and for the first half hour we were there we didn´t see a single other person.


This No 1 tourist attraction of Paraguay, if you were wondering, is the ruined Jesuit town of Trinidad. The Jesuits were a brand of Catholic missionaries who moved to South America during the 17th and 18th centuries in an attempt to instill good Catholic values on barbarous locals. Apparently this failed and they were driven from the region, but, fortunately for Paraguay’s struggling tourist industry, they left behind very intact ruins.

Alot of intricate stone carvings were intact

Considering we were only in Paraguay to save on transport costs, the ruins made for a pretty interesting little side trip. There were underground crypt areas which we could walk around in, and medieval style turrets which we climbed to the top of. The most appealing aspect of visiting the ruins, though, was the ghostly silent atmosphere of the place – a refreshing change from other ruins like Machu Pichu which are swarming with tourists and buzzing with camera clicks. Its pretty ironic really that the main appeal of the ruins as a tourist attraction is the absence of other tourists.

One other great quality of Paraguay for those thinking of visiting, is an unusually low level of violent crime considering its proximity to Bolivia and Brazil, and relative poverty. According to one article I read, a past dictator of the country had absolutely no tolerance for crime, such that petty criminals would disappear, and their corpses would be found floating in rivers weeks later. The strange consequence of this is that the locals are so terrified of committing crimes that its no longer a problem, but also that these severe punishments for tourists relied on a public perception that crime was a serious problem. So now, years on, this fear is still alive in the local population, and high walls are common and there are several private security guards on every block.

Next stop Iguazu Falls! More on that soon.

One Response to “Paraguay”

  1. Ellis Says:


    also is it just me or does that doorway (2 photos up) look on the verge of collapse?

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