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Asuncion

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Travel Guide South America Paraguay Asuncion

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Introduction

Palacio do Gobierno

Palacio do Gobierno

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Asuncion is the capital and largest city in Paraguay with about 1,3 million people living in the city and 1,8 million in the metropolitan area. It is located in the south central part of the country, near the border with Argentina and it is one of the oldest cities in South America, with people living here since almost 500 years. The city is located on the banks of the Paraguay River which offers a natural beauty to the city with great urban landscapes. Not only does the city function as the administrative capital, it is also the cultural and economical hart of the country. It is a very charming city for travellers and apart from the sights, the city boasts a good tourist infrastructure with hotels and restaurants.

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Sights and Activities

  • The National Congress - One of the more impressive new buildings in the city. It was built in 2002 with $20 million from the Republic of China (Taiwan) government. Paraguay is one of the few countries and also the only country in South America that recognizes Republic of China (Taiwan) as opposed to mainland China (People's Republic of China). Most striking is its mirrored façade, which reflects the nearby slums along the bank of the river. You can ask for a tour in English - and maybe get one. Be sure arrive there by 1:00pm you will be able to visit a small museum inside.
  • Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Asunción - The national cathedral. Across the broad and picturesque plaza with fountains, but it is frequently closed, especially at midday siesta.
  • Municipal Museum - The Municipal Museum is modest, but has some tidbits about the old tram line from the 1880s and other civic history. Nearby is the Visual Arts Museum with temporary exhibits from national artists.
  • Panteón de los Heroes - Houses the tomb of the unknown soldier along with other "heroes" from Paraguay's disastrous wars, as well as plaques for the heroes of the Chaco war. Changing of the guard occurs every other day.
  • Cabildo - Cultural center in the old colonial legislative building near the bay area.
  • Casa de la Independencia - Landmark of the Paraguayan Independence. This is where national heroes gathered to plot against Spanish colonialists in 1811. They marched from here to the Cathedral on Independence Day.
  • Palacio de López - House the Paraguayan government. Very well lit at night.

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Weather

Asunción has a humid subtropical climate that closely borders on a tropical savanna climate, characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters. Relative humidity is high in the summer, so the heat index is higher than the true air temperature.[citation needed] The average annual temperature is 23 °C. The average annual precipitation is 1,400 millimetres, distributed in over 80 days yearly.

Asunción generally has a very short dry season between May and September, but the coldest months are June and July, which can get frost on average one day a year. The wet season covers the remainder of the year. The climate of Asunción can be described as hot and humid for most of the year.

During the wet season, Asunción is generally hot and humid though towards the end of this season, it becomes noticeably cooler. In contrast, Asunción's dry season is pleasantly mild. Asuncion's annual precipitation values observe a summer maximum, due to severe subtropical summer thunderstorms which travel southward from northern Paraguay, originating in the Gran Chaco region of the northwestern part of the country. The wettest and driest months of the year are April and July respectively. receiving 166 mm and 39 mm of average total monthly precipitation respectively.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max33.5 °C32.6 °C31.6 °C28.4 °C25 °C23.1 °C23.2 °C24.8 °C26.4 °C29.2 °C30.7 °C32.3 °C
Avg Min22.8 °C22.3 °C21.3 °C18.6 °C15.7 °C13.8 °C13.1 °C14.3 °C15.9 °C18.6 °C20.1 °C21.8 °C
Rainfall147.2 mm129.2 mm117.9 mm166 mm113.3 mm82.4 mm39.4 mm72.6 mm87.7 mm130.8 mm164.4 mm150.3 mm
Rain Days877877456888

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Getting There

By Plane

Silvio Pettirossi International Airport (ASU) receives almost every international flight and TAM Mercosur is the main airline. Destinations are mainly to neighbouring countries and include Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Montevideo Santiago de Chile and Cochabamba and Santa Cruz in Bolivia. Aerolíneas Argentinas and Gol fly there to from a few cities in Argentina and Brazil.

There are domestic flights to Ciudad del Este with TAM Airlines and Amaszonas Paraguay, and to Concepción, Vallemí, Fuerte Olimpo and Bahía Negra with Setam (Transporte Aéreo Militar)

A taxi to the city centre should cost about USD 30. Public bus stop is 200 metres. outside the airport terminal. City bus line 30 takes you into the city and the fare is inexpensive (USD 0,50), but beware that local buses are not prepared for carrying big pieces of luggage. Local buses run from 5:00am to 10:00pm.

By Train

There are no trains in Paraguay. A tourist train to Areguá which departed on Sundays from Jardín Botánico station stopped service in 2010. The building next to Plaza Uruguaya once the main train station is now a museum and cultural events venue.

By Car

Driving a car yourself is an excellent way to explore the city sights as some of them are located off the microcentro. It's recommended using a GPS when renting a car since the city streets and avenues lack good signaling and finding your way around can be challenging. Traffic in Asunción can be quite chaotic specially early in the morning, at noon, and from 5PM to 8PM during rush hours. However, it gets much better once outside of the city. Highways to places nearby are in good condition. The car rental companies can also provide drivers.

Parking in the city is abundant and is properly signalized on every block. Streets are wide enough to park next to both sidewalks. Parking in the microcentro streets cost USD 0,50 per hour but only in the mornings, from 8AM to 1PM, and only on weekdays. On Saturdays and Sundays parking is free. A special situation is that when you park your car, poor people (men and women, young and old) will approach you and offer you to "look after" the car when you leave it parked, expecting you give them a small amount of money (no more than USD 2) when you return to your car. This is a common situation throughout the city specially around major sights (including city parks) and restaurants. It could be annoying at first, but locals are accustomed to this situation and it will be better for you to accept the offer and, by doing so, avoid any kind of trouble.

By Bus

The bus terminal (Terminal de Omnibus) is about five km southeast of the city centre, so it is advisable to take a taxi or bus (buses number 8, 38, among many others) into town. The Avenida Fernando de la Mora in front of the bus terminal leads to the centre. All bus companies have ticket offices inside the terminal, and some long distance bus companies maintain offices around Plaza Uruguaya in the microcentro.

There are normally two types of bus services to the largest cities in Paraguay: común and directo. While the first are cheaper, they also stop in every town or bus stop along the way to pick up and drop off passengers and take longer time than the directo which run direct or with fewer or no stops to reach their destination in less time. Directo buses are less frequent having only a couple of services a day generally at midnight or early in the morning or late afternoon.

  • Encarnación, común: 7–8 hours, several daily, 50,000 Gs; also directo: 5 hours, 75.000 Gs
  • Ciudad del Este, several daily, 5–7 hours, 40,000 - 70,000gs
  • Concepción, about 6 hours, several daily, 60'000 Gs
  • Cities in the Chaco: Loma Plata, Filadelfia, Neuland, Mariscal Estigarriba, about 8 hours, 1 to 2 services daily to each destination, 90,000 Gs (NASA, Golondrina).

International buses depart from the bus terminal to several destinations in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile.

  • Buenos Aires, ca. 17h, several daily, 45 US$ (Crucero del Norte, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción/Chevallier)
  • Santa Cruz, $40, 21 hours.

The bus to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, is not recommended: it is extremely slow (the Transchaco Highway is only paved as far as the Bolivian border), buses generally travel only at night - meaning that you miss out on any views of the Chaco, and roadblocks on the Bolivian side of the border are common and can easily cause your journey time to double. Most of the buses making this journey (at least 21 hours) do not have toilets on board. Flights to Santa Cruz are nowadays only marginally more expensive than the bus if booked in advance.

All the other buses are extremely good. It's wise to spend extra to get the better service (the 70,000 Gs. bus to Ciudad del Este takes two to three hours less than the 40,000 Gs. services, for example). Food and drink is often served on the more expensive long-distance services, and almost all will stop en route to let someone on selling chipa and cocido.

By Boat

The port is at the riverside end of Montevideo just after Paraguayo Independiente.

  • "Cacique II" leaves Concepción to Asunción on Sundays between 6-7:00am; 22 hours, 55,000 Gs. Returns to Concepción on Wednesday morning. Bring warm clothes and your own food. A cheap meal might be bought on board but don't count on it.
  • Travelers can occasionally book passage on cargo boats doing the trip to Concepción and even further up the Rio Paraguay.

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxis are also available and reasonably inexpensive. Many of the taxis are old, lumbering diesel Mercedes, which can be a fun throwback. A 30% surcharge is added on late at night (after around 10PM) and on Sundays. Tipping isn't expected. Make sure that drivers use the meter, or arrange a fare beforehand.

From the bus terminal walk up the stairs marked "SALIDA", then down the stairs into the car park. Ignore the taxi touts and catch a taxi from the rank. A taxi into the city centre during the day should cost around 40,000 Gs. From the airport taxis in front of the terminal charge a flat, non-negotiable rate of 100,000 Gs to the centre. It is possible to get a cheaper fare by walking up to the main road and taking a yellow cab from there, though you're unlikely to save any more than about 20,000 Gs.

By Public Transport

Buses are ubiquitous, cheap and an experience in themselves (be careful while exiting, since many only slow down, rather than stop completely for the passengers to get off). They go more or less everywhere in the city - destinations are displayed on boards on the front window, if in doubt just shout your intended destination at the driver when he stops and he'll tell you yes or no. There are sometimes a few different versions of each bus number - 16, 16.1, 16.2 etc. which often have completely different routes from each other, so watch out not to accidentally get on the wrong one. There aren't many official bus stops in Asunción, you can just stick your arm out and flag down a bus pretty much anywhere. You need a knowledge of Spanish to ask your way along. Some useful bus routes:

  • Centre (Oliva) to Shopping del Sol: 28, 30
  • Centre to Shopping Mariscal Lopez/Villa Morra: 18, 26, 28, 30.2 (from Oliva), 56 (from Haedo)
  • Centre (Oliva) to the Botanical Gardens: 1, 13
  • Centre (Oliva) to the Bus Termninal: 8, 36
  • Centre (Haedo) to Mercado 4: 2, 21, 25, 27, 29, 133
  • Centre (Oliva) to the airport: 30A

By Foot

The historic centre of Asunción is small enough to be explored by foot. However, some of the attractions, such as the Jardín Botánico (Botanical Garden) are a bit outside. In addition to the city's historical core - which is essentially between the streets Colón and Antequera - the Carmelitas area has become a hub for retail and entertainment, containing several large shopping centres and North American-style bars and restaurants. East-west street names change at Independencia Nacional, and North-South ones at Avenida Mariscal López.

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Eat

At lunch time there is no shortage of cheap restaurants to dine in or take away - you can't miss them. The places where you help yourself and pay by weight are usually very cheap and a decent option besides the slightly more expensive restaurants with their daily menu. At dinner time only very few eating places are still open and finding a good deal - especially if you are budget-conscious - is a lot harder.

Most shopping malls have decent food courts with a variety of restaurants, however, they are located away from the centre. Bigger supermarkets often have a cheap self-service restaurant inside.

Eat a streetside “lomito”- these vendors are located throughout the city, with high concentrations near Casa Rica and the Ñu Guazu. It is a sandwich, with mayo, veggies, cheese and a fried egg. You can choose between beef or chicken. Some also offer lomito arabe (shawarma), hamburgers and chorizo. It is a popular hang out place at nights and after a night of heavy drinking.

Don Vito is Paraguayan fast food at its best. Home of the Paraguayan empanada, they have been in business for over 30 years. The original spot is just behind the Iglesia de san Jose, and if you are lucky enough to be in Paraguay around May–June, you can order a pastel mandi'o, which is made of mandioca and beef. Best enjoyed with a cold pulp, a Paraguayan soft drink made with natural fruit juice.

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Drink

Unlike in most of the rest of Paraguay, tap water in Asunción is potable.

There are several locations of Café Havanna, a Starbucks-like Argentine coffee chain. One is just off the corner of Avenida Mcal. López and Avenida Rca. Argentina.

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Sleep

While a great many hotels exist in Asunción and finding a bed should never be too difficult, decent places in the budget range are rare. The highest concentration of hotels from budget to splurge can be found in the city centre between the streets Cristobal Colon and Estados Unidos. There is also quite a number of cheap places opposite the bus terminal (in particular on Lapacho a side street of La Mora), though you get normally better value in the city centre. During off-season you may be quoted discounted prices before even asking for it.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Apar-T-otel Porta WestfalicaDr. Camacho Dure 555 Villa AntelcoHotel-
Estancia Santa ClaraKilometro 141, Ruta 1Guesthouse-
Hotel WestfalenhausStgo.1°M Benitez 1577HOTEL-
Internacional Asuncion HotelAyolas 520Hotel-
Black Cat HostelEligio Ayala 129 between Yegros and IndependenciaHostel86
Aspen Apart HotelAyolas 581 esquina Gral. Díaz, MicrocentroHotel-
Palmas del Sol HotelAvenida España 202 c/ TacuaryHotel-
Hotel ChacoCaballero 285, Esquina Mariscal EstigarribiaHotel-
Portal del Sol HotelAvenida Denis Roa 1.455 c/ Santa TeresaHotel-
Asuncion Palace HotelColón 415 esq. EstrellaHotel-
Hotel Royal GardensAgustín Yegros 1203 Las CarmelitasHotel-
Granados Park HotelEstrella esq. 15 de Agosto CentroHotel-
Hotel La EspanolaLuis A. Herrera n 142 c/ YegrosHOTEL-
Cordoba HotelOliva 1275 c/ Don BoscoHotel-
Paraguay Hostel - AsunciónParis 1424HOSTEL-
Asuncion HostelMcal. Estigarribia 988 entre EEUU y TAcuaryHOSTEL-
Hotel Maison SuisseMalutin 482 / Bertoni y Del Maestro Barrio Villa Morra En AsuncionHOTEL-
El Jardin HostalAzara 941 Between Av. EEUU y TacuaryHOSTEL85
El Viajero Asuncion Hostel & SuitesCalle Alberdi 734HOSTEL88
Arandu Hostal15 de Agosto 783 casi HumaitaHOSTEL-
Circo HostelManuel Gondra E/ MCAL. LopezHOSTEL-
El NomadaCalle Iturbe 1156-1158HOSTEL-
Villa de MontfortTte. Rivas/ Esq. Julio Correa 15931728GUESTHOUSE-
Hostel NandepoaManuel Dominguez 489HOSTEL-

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Work

Teaching English is a possibility, but without a visa it can be difficult and wages are low. In a country such as Paraguay with widespread underemployment, obtaining paid work is almost impossible for foreigners. Volunteer work in poorer areas of the city is easy to come by.

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Learn

Learning Guarani language is a great opportunity to get into the Paraguayan culture. IDIPAR institute has good courses.

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -25.300494
  • Longitude: -57.636231

Accommodation in Asuncion

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This is version 13. Last edited at 11:07 on Nov 4, 16 by Utrecht. 17 articles link to this page.

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