5 Things You Must Do in Asuncion, Paraguay
Asuncion, the capital city of Paraguay, is one of the oldest cities in South America, founded in 1537. As you wander around, you can see the remaining hints of the city that was once the colonial capital of the southern area of South America.
Home to roughly one million people, which sometimes feels like more with the crowded streets and constant traffic, Asuncion is an interesting blend of rich and poor, city and rural, and old and new. You will see old 19th-century buildings whose first floors have been sold to open up a McDonalds.
This city may not have the predictable tourist attractions you are used to, but if you are willing to stroll around — maybe get a little lost — it is an interesting place to visit. Here are five must-do things when going to Asuncion:
1. Rent Tereré Equipment in the Plaza de la Independencia
Tereré could be considered the national beverage of Paraguay. It is an infusion of yerba mate with cold water. It is drunken from a shared cup called a guampa with a metal straw or bombilla. For the equivalent of two U.S. dollars you can rent all the necessary equipment, ice and cold water and enjoy a truly Paraguayan experience and a leisurely afternoon of people watching.
2. Take a Stroll down the Costanera
The Costanera de Asuncion is a recently finished boardwalk project behind the Presidential Palace along the Paraguay River. On the weekends, you will find hundreds of couples, families, and people of all ages taking walks. You can rent bikes, fly a kite, or grab a bag of popcorn or dulce de leche churro as a nice snack.
3. Visit the Neighborhood, Loma San Jeronimo
Loma San Jeronimo is a project between the Tourism Ministry of Paraguay and the local residents to promote and bring visitors to the neighborhood. The houses have been painted in bright and friendly colors and there are numerous recycled art projects lining the streets. It’s worth a visit on any day, but especially on the weekend when there is live music as well asstreet markets.
4. Get a Bite to Eat at Lido Bar
Lido Bar is famous for its traditional Paraguayan food. Even Anthony Bourdain ate there when he visited Asuncion. For incredibly inexpensive prices, you can get empanadas the size of your hand, traditional chipa guazu (a cheesy, almost soufflé like cornbread) or its most well-known dish, the fish soup, and you can wash it all down with one of their wide varieties of freshly made juices.
5. Visit Palacio Mariscal Lopez at Night
The Palacio Mariscal Lopez used to be the Presidential Residence. Now it’s home to his offices. At night, along with a few other buildings in the city center, the palace is lit up with bright beautiful lights and is definitely a site to be seen. Can’t get enough of the palace at night? Head over to the cultural center, Manzana de la Rivera that also has a restaurant where you can sit outside and get drinks overlooking the palace.
Have you traveled to Asuncion, Paraguay? We’d love to read your tips. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Asuncion, Paraguay top photo by Photo by Unsplash