Paraguay Paraguay-India - Page 37

SPECIAL REPORT 4. Motorsport madness If one’s an adrenaline junkie, stick around for the Trans- Chaco Rally, held across October and November in the north of the country. This three-day motorsports event is considered one of the toughest competitions ns in the industry and it easily draws thousands of spectators. 5. Fabulous festivals As in much of South America, Paraguay’s festivals are vital for its national identity. Every spring, before Lent, a version of carnival explodes onto the streets in Encarnación. 6. Paraguay has America’s biggest feline With luck and patience, one might just see puma, jaguar and tapir prowling on the plains. Paraguay’s jaguars grow up to 1.85m. This handsome beast can be seen in the Atinguý refuge or in Asunción’s Jardín Zoológico (Zoological Garden). Paraguay waiting to mesmerize the Indian tourist – the city of Asunción is the national capital while the busy Ciudad del Este is home to the famous Iguazú Falls. Some other key cities in Paraguay are Aregua, Pillar, Concepción and Villeta (with little violet). C Cabildo is the national cultural centre ho housing the old legislative colonial building. T The country’s historic independence is commemorated by the landmark of Casa de la Independencia, and Panteón de los Héroes y Oratorio de la Virgen Nuestra Señora Santa M María is the Paraguayan national memorial site w where many heroes lie buried. The Palacio de Lóp López, also called Palacio de Gobierno or Palacio Presid Presidencial is the Paraguayan Government House. The renovated Teatro Municipal Ignacio A. Pane hosts regular shows and there is also a nice café where one can enjoy some great food just in case the opera performances are postponed. Here are 15 best tourist spots to visit in Paraguay: 7. Delicious local food Paraguayan food is simple, hearty, tasty, and almost always made from two abundant staples: manioc (or cassava) and corn. This ultimate street food is Latin America’s answer to the Cornish pasty: miniature pastry parcels stuff ed with sweet or savoury fi llings. 8. Pocket-friendly shopping Though not likely considered one of the world’s top shopping destinations, Paraguay has s some incredible bargains to off er. Ciudad del Este, just across the border from Brazil, is Paraguay’s tax-free shopping haven - it’s the best place to go for cut-price electronics, perfume, and designer label items. 9. Traditional markets For authentic souvenirs in Asunción, as well as everything else under the sun, look no further than the famous Mercado Cuatro. At this bustling bazaar, one will fi nd fresh produce and ripped DVDs alongside colourful birds and spices from all over the world. 10. Paraguay has green gold Colonisers expelled Jesuits from Paraguay, believing they’d hidden gold in their missionary towns. But they found only “green gold” – the yerba mate tree, used for tea. The curious tourist must visit the evocative ruins of Trinidad, one of 30 towns destroyed by gold hunters’ greed. Best places to visit in Paraguay There are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1. Asunción – The Capital City A curious metropolis of more than two m million people, it is the beating political, economic and cultural heart of modern Paraguay. The centre clings to the eastern b banks of the Paraguay River, which meanders a around the downtown along the border with Ar Argentina to the west. Here, visitors delve into what is actually one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the Americas. First raised by the conquistadores, Asunción was actually the base from which the Spanish ventured out westwards, to the wilds of Peru and Patagonia. Today, the town is gilded with the great Panteón de los Héroes, with throbbing nightlife along the Paseo Carmelitas. 2. Encarnación The so-called “Pearl of the South” reclines carefree on the banks of the Paraná River, drawing crowds of Asuncenos (people from the capital) during the summer with the promise of pristine riparian beaches and the country’s most up-and- coming boardwalk boulevard. Water sports are popular too, with jet skis buzzing around the meanders of Parana, below the shimmering high-rises of the city’s all-new residential neighbourhoods across the bay. And when the relaxation is done and dusted, one must be sure to get a culture hit at the UNESCO-attested Jesuit ruins on the edge of the town. 3. Cerro Cora National Park This pint-sized natural reserve is unquestionably one of the most dramatic and breath-taking sections of backcountry PARAGUAY 2019 • 37