Asuncion, Paraguay

By | November 24, 2022

Shopping and stores

Most shops are located on Palma Street in the very center of the city. Prices here, of course, are higher than on neighboring streets, but there is almost everything. The two central shopping centers of the capital are Excelsior on Chile Street and Asuncion Super Centro on Oliva Street.

One of the two largest and most convenient malls is “Shopping Mariscal Lopez” on the street of the same name, where you can buy everything you need – from a toothbrush to food and clothing. The second is “Shopping del Sol”, located halfway from the city to the airport. Among other things, here you can exchange currency and dine at any time during the weekend. Both centers are served by buses number 28 and 30.

For souvenirs, head to the market in Plaza de los Heroes, which sells leather goods, wood carvings, ceramics and the famous Nyanduti lace. A good selection of quality handicrafts is at Folklor near Plaza Uruguaia (prices are high here). Well, the noisy Mercado Cuatro market, littered to the top with all sorts of rubbish, is responsible for the South American flavor.

Cuisine and restaurants

According to wholevehicles, Paraguayans love to eat out with friends, so the choice of catering establishments in the country is truly huge, the portions are impressive, and the prices are quite low.

You can have a snack with panchos sandwiches, hamburgers or empanadas patties for about 5000 PYG. Many eateries serve pizza and pasta. At lunchtime (around noon), there are numerous restaurants with a fixed menu and canteens where you can choose your favorite dishes from the windows and then pay for them at the checkout. A full meal will cost approximately 20,000 PYG.

For a heartier lunch, you can recommend grilled beef asado: the meat is excellent, the steaks are weighty, the prices are ridiculous – 15,000-25,000 PYG. Asado is usually garnished with cassava porridge for free. And as the first hot dish, you should try the traditional vori-vori soup with corn meatballs.

In the evening, most popular restaurants close, as Paraguayans prefer to dine with their families. The only exceptions are a few institutions, “sharpened” for tourists.

Entertainment and attractions

It is worth starting your acquaintance with Asuncion from its historical center. Here you will be greeted by an abundance of colonial mansions in the Beaux-Arts style with lush stucco work, graceful trellises and blooming manicured front gardens.

Architecture

The main attractions of the city are concentrated in the area between the two bends of the Paraguay River, called Manzana de la Riviera. Its heart is a complex of administrative buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries: the Presidential Palace, the House of Culture and the municipal library are examples of colonial pomposity.

The Casa de la Independencia (or House of Independence) is Asunción’s oldest building (built in the late 18th century) and home to the interesting Museum of Colonial History. The Palacio del Lopez is the seat of the Paraguayan government. At dusk, you can admire the artful illumination here. You should definitely visit the city’s oldest hotel, the Grand Hotel del Paraguay, which houses a collection of furniture and paintings from the 19th century. The National Pantheon of Heroes is a memorial to those who died in the numerous wars of Paraguay, which houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and commemorative plates with the names of the fallen. At 12:00 you can watch the changing of the guard.

The most-most of the Asuncion churches are the magnificent Nuestra Señora de Asuncion Cathedral of the 17th-19th centuries, which is part of the Pantheon of Heroes complex and dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and the church in the Recoleta cemetery.

Recoleta is also worth a visit in order to walk among the orderly rows of luxurious tombstones and monuments, through which the noble families of Asuncion are trying to outdo each other from the other world.

Museums

Among the museums, the Museo del Barro (or Visual Arts Center) deserves the most attention. A small private collection of the philanthropist Thissio Escobar has grown into perhaps the largest collection of artifacts of the history, ethnology, culture and art of the peoples of Paraguay.

The Museo del Barro also includes the Museum of Aboriginal Art and the Paraguayan Museum of Modern Art. The pearls of the collection are the national costumes of the Chaco Indians, the treasures of the pre-Columbian era, the carved Franciscan chapel of the 18th century and samples of Nyanduti lace. Museum website (in Spanish).

The restored Casa Viola houses the Museum of the Memory of the City, which tells about the urbanization of Asuncion. And in the building of the railway station you can see an old steam locomotive and other exhibits from the glorious, but, alas, short history of the Paraguayan railways.

Other museums in Asuncion:

  • National Museum of Art,
  • Art Museum,
  • Ethnographical museum,
  • Museum of Folk Crafts of Paraguay.

The luxurious Jardin Botanico botanical garden is the real pride of the capital, the name “mini-Paraguay” has stuck to it.

You can get out of the city for a day on one of the “estancias” – farms open to tourists. Horseback riding, rest on the river bank and walks in the forest will cost about 80 USD per day with accommodation. On Sundays at 10:00 a.m., a tourist train leaves for Aregua from the Botanical Garden station with a return at 5:00 p.m.

Asuncion, Paraguay