Paraguay

Political and Geographical Profile

Paraguay is a landlocked country that borders with Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. The Tropic of Capricorn passes through the City of Belen, located in the Department of Encarnacion, dividing the country into a tropical area to the North and a temperate one to the South.

The country has a total surface area of 406 square kilometres, divided in two well-differentiated natural regions: the Eastern or Oriental Region and the Western or Chaco Region, each one with their own fauna, flora, and particular characteristics. Although Paraguay is landlocked, the country is watered by numerous rivers, streams, and lakes, which are all part of the La Plata River Basin. The Guarani Aquifer, considered one of the biggest fresh water reserves on the planet, flows underground. The Paraguay and the Parana Rivers, which are the main waterways, are evoked in traditional music and poetry. Asuncion, the Capital City with a population of 600.000, offers the profile of a cosmopolitan city with a warm atmosphere. With wide avenues covered by numerous species of trees that bloom during every season of the year, Asuncion boasts modern hotels, shopping malls, and theatres alongside more traditional and historic architecture. Other important Cities include Encarnacion, Ciudad del Este, and Pedro Juan Caballero, all of them on the borders with Argentina and Brazil, also with well-developed hotel infrastructure, nightlife, and natural beauty.

Book worth reading

At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels Through Paraguay

Historical Profile

Paraguay, formerly called “The Giant Province of the Indies” was born as a result of the encounter of the Spanish conquerors with the native Guarani indigenous groups. The meeting of these two distinct cultures was a process that assumed very particular characteristics here, that differs from all its neighbours in South America, The living manifestation of this “crossing” of civilisations is expressed most notably in the use of two languages, Spanish and Guarani, concurrently throughout the country and legally enshrined by the Constitution.

Paraguay becomes independent from Spain in 1811. A Provisional Government is created and ever since, the country has been through different periods including two wars, dictatorships, democratic transition and finally constitutional regimes.

A pretty waterfall & a pretty big dam

Paraguay – our summary

Jesuit, Misión Trinidad

A land-locked city with a beach

Ummmm. Where are we??

Paraguay at last

The Natural Landscape

Rolling hills of the Sierras, natural reserves of dense subtropical forests, extensive palm tree savannas, and an infinite number of rivers, streams, and lagoons make up the varied Paraguayan landscape, the original territory of the extensive Guarani World. The natural environment presents great contrasts – the grasslands and marshes of Neembucu, the thorny dry-forests of Boquerón, the palm savannas of Presidente Hayes, the beautiful ridges of the hills of the Sierras of Ybytyruzú, and the crystal clear water streams of Concepcion. Paraguay is a country to be discovered with the same passion as that of the early explorers that arrived to these lands of sun and forests.

Green and dense forests, sheer and aggressive hills, impressive falls. lagoons, cascades, rivers, creeks, parks, and natural reserves with rich flora and varied fauna, both with exotic species, make of Paraguay a singular tourist destination.

The landscape in the Western or Chaco Region includes palm savannas, fresh and salt water lagoons, and dense forests. In this backdrop, the local population and immigrants of German descent and twenty native ethnic groups, create a cross-cultural environment of great interest for tourists and academics that visit the country. The “Bajo Chaco” (Lower Chaco), a name given to the Southern part of the Paraguayan Chaco, is an area formed by the intersection of the Paraguay and Pilcomayo Rivers. The main economic activity of this region is cattle ranching. The “Transchaco” Road and its secondary roads cross this region through palm tree savannas and flooded wetlands. This region has a great variety of birds, mammals such as the largest rodent in the world, the capybaras, and large reptiles such as the “Yacares” (South American alligators). The “Chaco Seco” (Dry Chaco) also known as “Chaco Boreal” occupies a great part of the Paraguayan Chaco’s surface and it is composed of semi-arid savannas with low forests. This area is rich in biological diversity, with animals that include the endangered “Tague peccaries, “Yaguarete” (the South American Jaguar) and the Puma also known as the American Lion, as well as innumerable reptiles, birds, and small mammals. Other great attractions include the native fauna and flora with 167 mammals, 701 birds. 100 reptiles, 46 amphibians, 230 fish, 100,000 invertebrate species, 13,000 vascular plants, 298 trees and shrubs distributed in 767 species.

The route we took around Paraguay

Eco Tourism

The extraordinary wealth Paraguay has in its natural reserves, both in private and public national parks, invites visitors to learn about the enormous diversity of the native flora and fauna making it a fantastic nature tourism destination.

The bi-national hydroelectric dams of Itaitu:, and Yacyretá have established special systems for environmental protection. Among the beter known protected areas are the Tati Yupi Biological Refuge, Itabo areas and Limoy Biological Reserves, the Atinguy Fauna Refuge, and the Tati Yabebyry Wildlife Reserve, where guided tours allows the visitors to Atingt experience the fauna and flora in their natural settings.

Adventure Tourism and Sport

Paraguay is a paradise for competitive sports, with professional and internationally renowned golf courses such as that of Carlos Franco, PGA Champion. At the same time, fishing sport allows visitors to disco-ver the Paraguay, Parana, Tebicuary, and other rivers spread throughout the country.

In the last few years, ranchers and farmers from the Paraguayan countryside have discovered the great opportunities that tourism can offer. These ranches and farms offer the possibility of living the charm of the rural lifestyle. With daily activities, such as long horseback rides, rodeos, sheep shearing, trekking paths, visits to indigenous communities, wagon and cart rides, and canoeing along rivers and streams, a fisherman’s delight! All of these establishments are located in places privileged by their beauty.

The Human Landscape

Language

Paraguay is a bilingual country. Guarani, the predominant native language, has cohabited for centuries with Spanish and it is a source of guars inspiration for poetry (oral and written) expressed in musical and lite- inmer rary compositions known worldwide. It is also the language of daily use, nes n-spoken by most of the population. idiom

Multi-Culture

Different cultures were present in Paraguay a long time before the Variac arrival of the Spaniards. They survive to this day and count with support of national and foreign institutions. The cultural manifestations of communities, have contributed their knowledge of botany, zoology and natural medicine to the sciences and Paraguayan customs. At the same time, their traditional arts including ceremonial songs, craftsmanship, music, and dances, enrich the cultural experience of the country.

The cultural mosaic is conformed by five autochthonous linguistic families: Guarani, Zamuco, Maskoy, Mataco, and Guaycuru plus twenty ethnic groups living in both regions of the country. These communities keep their cultural manifestations thanks to national and international beneficiary organisations The presence of Italian, Catalan, Eastern-European, Middle-Eastern, Japanese, and German descendants that originally arrived in successive migrational waves within the last two centuries, contributed to en-rich the first Spanish-Guarani cultural mixture. In the last decades immigration from Asia and other Latin American countries has continued this process.

Culture

Music

Paraguayan Polka and Guaranias are the typical musical rhythms Polkas have a lively rhythm, while the Guaranias are of a more mellow mad and romantic rhythm. Internationally known for its musical tradition, Paraguay is the cradle of great musical composers and interpreters des such as Agustin Barrios and Jose Asuncion Flores.

Food

Traditional meals are made with beef, corn, and the manioc as primary ingredients, and are the basis of the Paraguayan gastronomy “Chipa”and “Mbeyu” are among the typical delights (breads made with starch gasi and fresh cheese), the “Chipa Guaz6” (corn soufflé), the “Payaguá Mascada” (cake made from manioc and beef) and the “Sopa Paraguaya” (made with corn flour, fresh cheese, and onion). 

Celebrations

During the entire year, towns and cities all over the country recreate the traditional popular celebrations and customs. Some with religious background such as that of the Immaculate Conception, in the City of Caacupe; Easter Celebrations in Emboscada, Tanarandy, Piribebuy, las and San Juan as well. The festival of San Pedro and San Pablo in the Sat City of Altos has very special characteristics based on long-standing Sat traditions and folklore. There are also non-religious festivities, such las as those of Santiago and San Miguel where horsemen compete to demonstrate their skills accompanied by the rhythm of folk bands.

Indigenous art

The different indigenous communities produce beautiful works of art. They traditionally use natural fibers, native wood, multi-coloured seeds and other materials. Worthy of admiration is the art with colourful feat-hers, said to be the carrier of the magic of old ceremonies, with all their tradition and powerful symbolism.

Museums

Today it is possible to learn about the rich cultural patrimony of Paraguay through art collections in private as well as public museums and institutions that offer visitors insight into the historical and contemporary artistic manifestations of Paraguayan culture. Cultural centres strategically located in the historical downtown area of the City of Asuncion and in residential areas present the rich artistic production in exhibits.

Amusement

Asuncion by night is full of options: Dance Clubs, Karaoke Bars, Casinos, Cafes, and Restaurants. Places with live music shows that go from the typical Folk music to the acid rock or cool jazz concerts. Shows with musicians and composers presenting their own compositions with excellent approval of the audience are amongst other many possibilities.

Technology

The technological development of Paraguay is closely linked to the presence of two huge hydroelectric power plant dams: Itaipu, considered the second biggest in the world that located in the City of Hernandarias (border with Brazil) and Yacyreta, located in Ayolas (border with Argentina). Electric power production is one of the most outstanding activities in the country, as well as ranching and agriculture.

Events

Due to its privileged geographical location in the heart of South America, as well as for the favorable exchange rate, and the quality of local lodging and hospitality, the Capital of Paraguay is considered an ideal place for events and conventions. Thanks to the recent creation of The Paraguay Convention Bureau important events have been hosted and the demand is growing. The high level of infrastructure and technology permits Asuncion to house anything from small meetings and lectures, up to large conventions, exhibitions and international fairs. Add the friendly treatment of visitors, a characteristic of Paraguayans, to all this to guarantee the success of any event.

Geographical Situation

Departments

Weather

Paraguay, the heart of South America, is a landlocked country located between latitudes 19° 18′ S and 27° 36′ s and longitude 59° 19′ W and 62° 38′ W. It borders on the Northern side with Bolivia and Brazil, on the Eastern side with Brazil and Argentina, on the Southern side with Argentina, and on the Western side with Bolivia and Argentina. The average Summer temperature is between 25°C and 35°C while the average Winter temperatures is between 10°C and 20°C. Alto Paraguay, Alto Parana, Amambay, BoquerOn, Caaguaziii Caazapa, Canindey6,Central, Concepci6n, Guaira, Itaptia, Cordillera, Misiones, Neembucii, Paraguari, Presidente Hayes. San Pedro.

Tropical to Subtropical. Average Temperature: 25°C to 35°C during Summer and 10°C to 20°C during Winter.

Time Zone GMT — 4

Population

6.068.000 inhabitants

Languages Spanish and Guarani

Currency Guarani, US Dollars are also accepted 40 dollars Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm Running water is drinkable. 220 volts and 50 cycles Airport Tax Banking Hours Drinking Water Power Supply

Official Holidays

Religion

January 1, New Year’s Day; march 1, Heroes Day; Holy Thursday and Good Friday; May 1, Labor Day; May 15, Independence Day; June 12, Peace of the Chaco War: August 15, Foundation of Asuncion; December 8, Virgin of Caacupe; December 25, Christmas Day.

Constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom. Predominant Religion: Apostolic Roman Catholic.

Republic. Representative Democracy. The Executive Power Government (Presidential System), the two-chambers Legislature Power (Senators and Deputies) and the Judiciary.

Bryan

  •    Wiltshire, England

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Jody

  •    Wiltshire, England

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