As one of the lesser-known countries in South America, Paraguay has managed to stay off the beaten path for many tourists. However, those who do venture to this beautiful country will be pleasantly surprised by what they find. One of the highlights of any trip to Paraguay is the capital city, Asunción. From its rich history to its vibrant culture, there’s plenty to discover in this fascinating city.
History of Asunción
Asunción has a long and storied history that dates back to 1537, when Spanish conquistador Juan de Ayolas founded the city. Over the centuries, Asunción has been an important center of commerce, politics, and culture in South America. In the 19th century, it served as the capital of Paraguay during the devastating War of the Triple Alliance, which saw Paraguay pitted against Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Despite the destruction wrought by the war, Asunción managed to emerge from the conflict as a thriving city. Today, it remains one of the most important cities in the region.
Getting to Asunción
If you’re planning a trip to Asunción, you’ll likely arrive at Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, which is located about 11 miles outside the city center. From there, you can take a taxi or bus into the city. Alternatively, if you’re coming from Argentina or Brazil, there are several land border crossings that will get you into Paraguay.
Where to Stay in Asunción
Asunción has a wide range of accommodation options to suit any budget. If you’re looking for luxury, there are several high-end hotels in the city center, such as the Sheraton Asuncion Hotel and the Hotel Guarani Esplendor. For mid-range options, consider the Hotel Cecilia or the Hotel Excelsior. And if you’re on a budget, there are plenty of hostels and guesthouses in the city, such as El Viajero Asunción Hostel & Suites and Casa Suiza.
Things to See and Do in Asunción
Asunción has plenty to offer visitors in terms of culture and history. Here are just a few of the highlights:
– Parque Ñu Guasú:
This large park in the east of the city is a great place to take a stroll or have a picnic. It’s also home to the National Zoo of Paraguay, which has a wide variety of animals on display.
– Casa de la Independencia:
This museum is located in a historic house that played a key role in Paraguay’s independence from Spain. The exhibits include artifacts from the independence struggle as well as information about the history of the city.
– Palacio de López:
This ornate government building is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Asunción. It was built in the 19th century and now serves as the presidential palace.
– Panteón Nacional de los Héroes:
This impressive mausoleum is dedicated to Paraguay’s national heroes. It’s located in the heart of the city and is open to visitors.
– Mercado 4:
This bustling market is a great place to experience everyday life in Asunción. You’ll find everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts here.
Food and Drink in Asunción
Paraguay has a rich culinary tradition, and Asunción is no exception. Some of the must-try dishes in the city include chipa, a type of bread made from cornmeal and cheese; sopa paraguaya, a savory cornbread; and mbeju, a type of pancake made from cassava flour. You’ll also find plenty of grilled meats and fresh seafood on offer. To wash it all down, try a caña, a type of sugarcane liquor, or a tereré, a traditional Paraguayan drink made from yerba mate.
Asunción may not be as well-known as other South American capitals, but it’s definitely worth a visit. From its rich history to its vibrant culture and delicious cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this fascinating city. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just looking to soak up some sun, Asunción has plenty to offer. So why not add it to your travel bucket list today?
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