Designed by Paul Smith 2006. This website is copyrighted by law.
Material contained herewith may not be used without the prior written permission of FAUNA Paraguay.
Photographs on this page were taken by Paul Smith, Sylvia Qu, Emma Smith and Hugo del Castillo and are used with their permission.
Paraguay, "South America´s Forgotten Corner" is an off the beaten track destination for travellers with a sense of adventure. With a rich and often bizarre history, and an eclectic population with a strong cultural identity, FAUNA Paraguay cultural tours show you a side of the country that has long remained hidden from public view. Mennonite colonies, Jesuit ruins, natural wonders, historical sites and modern cities, plus a close proximity to the magnificent Iguassu Falls, all make for a fascinating and varied experience. Why is Asunción built on a grid square system? Why were the Jesuits expelled from South America? And what on earth led to the Mennonites to settle in the Chaco? Our knowledgeable guides have the answers to all of these questions and any others you may have.
FAUNA Paraguay provide professional cultural tours - the only ones in the country with EXPERT MULTILINGUAL GUIDES! Whether you plan a short visit or are keen to see as much of Paraguay´s cultural wonders as possible, we can design a tour that will meet your needs. Alternatively check through our list of standard tours by clicking on the links below, and of course don´t forget to check out our eco-tour options as well!
In addition to the cultural and historical background we can give you all the information about wildlife we see along the way to provide the client with “the bigger picture”. If you are interested in really getting to know this little-known country, we can come up with a tour that will provide you with unforgettable memories - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So to help you decide here are a few suggestions with recommended durations.
Send us an email for more information and costs:
FAUNA Paraguay Cultural Tours
FAUNA Paraguay tours are recommended by:
Jesuit MissionTour (3 to 5+ days)
Considered one of Paraguay´s most important tourist attractions and recognised for their historical significance by UNESCO, the Jesuit Reducciónes (or Missions) make for a fascinating trip. On this unique tour, starting either from Asunción or Encarnación, we will immerse ourselves entirely in the world of the Jesuits, visiting all of the accessible Jesuit ruins along the way. Of course, though the Jesuits are main theme on this tour we are not completely obsessed! We throw a few other interesting stop-offs in along the way too! Click on the image of the Trinidad ruins to learn more.
Itaipú and Iguassu Tour (4 to 6+ days)
The Itaipú Dam was, until very recently, the biggest hydroelectric dam in the world. An extraordinary feat of human engineering, it has even been voted one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World. We will also be visiting other nearby attractions, including the Flora and Fauna Itaipú Zoo and Museum, the Salto del Monday and the Tati Yupi Nature Reserve, and of course you will have time for souvenir shopping in Ciudad del Este, known as the "Supermarket of South America" for the bargains to be had. The highlight of our trip though will be a visit to the Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the Iguassu Falls - undoubtedly the most breathtaking natural spectacle you ever likely to see.
Central Chaco Short Break (4+ days)
A shortened version of the Chaco Explorer tour this trip combines wildlife watching with some areas of cultural and historic interest with visits to the peccary breeding project at Fortín Toledo, the Chaco War museum at Fortín Boqueron, the Mennonite colonies and one of the most eyecatching sights in Paraguay, the flocks of wintering flamingoes and waterfowl at Campo Maria. Optional night drives to look for mammals. This is a trip for the traveller keen to experience all aspects of the magificent Paraguayan Chaco and the remarkable people and animals that inhabit it.
Encarnación and Esteros de Iberá Tour (4 to 6+ days)
This short break begins with a historical tour of the pretty city Encarnación and visits to its nearby attractions, the Trinidad and Jesús ruins, Tirol and the Sanctuario de Itacúa. Time will also be made available for souvenir shopping - the city is fast rivalling Ciudad del Este for its bargains! From here we will cross the Rio Paraná into northern Argentina en route to the magnificent Esteros de Iberá wetlands, one of the top wildlife watching spots in the country. We will spend 2 days enjoying the incredible natural beauty of this area and the animals that inhabit it, before heading back to Paraguay.
The Central Circuit Tour (2 to 3+ days)
Paraguay´s Central Circuit refers to a series of small satellite towns of Asunción, conveniently located around the shores of the picturesque Lago Ypacaraí. This tour takes us around the circuit visiting each of the towns in turn - Itauguá the home of Ñanduti lace; refreshing Areguá famous for its leafy situation and ceramics; San Bernadino rest spot for the rich and famous; and Caacupé, with its extraordinary Basilica making it the focus of the 8 December pilgrimmage. An extended version of the tour allows us to take in the unique churches at Yaguarón and Paraguarí, and to visit the historically important town of Piribebuy - briefly capital of the nation during the Triple Alliance War.
Whacky Wars Historical Tour
If you know your history, you´ll know that Paraguay has managed to get itself embroiled in two extraordinary wars. Extraordinary for quite different reasons. The War of the Triple Alliance is notable for its folly, and the lasting effect it has had on Paraguayan society. The Chaco War was fought in one of the most inhospitable environments on earth and ultimately ended in a stalemate and the needless loss of countless lives. On this fascinating history tour we will be travelling across the country visiting the major sites in both wars, and learning all about what happened along the way.
Tomb of the Inflatable Pig Tour (8 to 11+ days)
Before considering coming to Paraguay, the chances are you probably picked yourself up a copy of John Gimlette´s best-seller "At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig". If you liked it enough to actually come out here, then join with us in retracing Gimlette´s steps across the country and visit the major places that he mentions in the book for yourself. Does the book really capture the essence of the places? Is Gimlette´s take on things the same as your own? Give this tour a try and find out.
The Full Monty Tour (10 to 14+ days)
If this is likely to be the only time that you ever come to Paraguay then you will probably want to see as much as you can as easily as you can. Getting around the country on your own can be difficult and the main attractions are generally inaccessible on public transport. This is why we put together the Full Monty Tour, complete with an expert guide, so that at the end you can truly say "I´ve done Paraguay!". Visiting the Chaco and a full circuit of the Orient, this is the most complete tour of Paraguay currently available.
Day Trips from Asunción
Asunción Walking Tour (half day or full day)
Decked out in white colonial buildings, Paraguay´s capital Asunción is more laid back than the average South American city making walking a pleasant way to get to know the place. On this tour you will visit the city´s main sights of historical interest, putting the experience into a historical perspective, animated by tales of a remarkable cast of characters who helped mould the country´s history. The half-day option concentrates on the City Centre, upgrade to a full day to include visits to the Ykua Bolaños supermarket shrine and the Jardín Botánico, the former estate of the ruling López dynasty with its museums and zoo.
Ybycui Day Tour
An early start from Asunción so that we arrive in time for the activity at PN Ybycui, the closest Atlantic Forest site to the capital. This is a non-specialised gentle introduction to the forest and its ecosystems for those keen to find out more about how the animal and plant communities of Atlantic Forest fit together to form the spectacular whole. This is an educational day trip where you will learn about the ecology of the forest, man´s changing role in the ecosystem and the imminent threats that it now faces.
Caacupé Basilica Half-Day Tour
Paraguay´s religious capital, Caacupé is located just outside Asunción. Every 8 December, the Día del Virgen, it becomes the centre for a mass pilgrimage, when thousands of faithful make their way to the Basilica to pay their respects to Our Lady. The magnificent domed church here, though somewhat out of place in the peaceful surroundings of this small town, receives upwards of 300,000 visitors on feast days, a remarkable 5% of the country´s entire population! This half day tour includes transport from Asunción and a guided tour of the Basilica.
Asunción Museums Tour (half day)
Asunción has a rich selection of museums that are under-promoted and often inconveniently located. Confounded by the fact that they are scattered across the city, open mornings only and hard to get to by public transport, we came up with this half day tour for "museophiles" who want to visit as many of the city´s fascinating museums as possible with the minimum of fuss. Pick from the list of available museums and we´ll put your route together. Includes pick up and return to hotel, transport and all museum entry fees.
Day Trips from Encarnación
Trinidad and Jesús (half day)
Declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO for their historical importance, the ruins of Trinidad and Jesús are considered to be amongst the finest examples of the Jesuit architecture that survive today. Isolated in their location, the Jesuits constructed a remarkable cultural, social and political system that was unique at the time for its involvement of indigenous populations. This half day guided trip gives a solid introduction to the ruins and the history of the Jesuits reducciónes.
Sanctuario de Itacua (half day)
On 8 December every year, hordes of pilgrims make their way to the religious sanctuary Sanctuario de Itacua. With its tranquil setting on a forested bend in the Rio Paraná, this atmospheric place has an interesting history as well as some fantasic views. Explore the church, see the original chapel and of course visit the virgin herself who stands in a rocky enclave overlooking the river. Your guide will explain the fascinating history of this site which led to it being declared a holy site. This trip also includes a visit to the remarkable Museo Alberto Del Valle.
Tirol Day Tour
Departing from Encarnación this tour to the famous Hotel Tirol and its lush forest provides an excellent introduction to the Atlantic Forest. The morning will be spent appreciating the diversity of birds and other animals on show, the afternoon will put the experience into context, with an explanation of the ecology and threats faced by the Atlantic Forest, man´s role in events (both positive and negative) and the challenges for the future. This day tour is for conservation-minded travellers who want a deeper understanding of the Atlantic forest and the issues it faces. Both options are also available as half-day tours.
Yacyreta Dam and San Cosmé Day Tour
The Yacyreta Dam, a binational agreement between Paraguay and Argentina, has had a significant impact on life in southern Paraguay, both from an ecological and a social perspective. During this day tour we will be visiting the dam itself but also learning a little about the extraordinary knock-on effects it has had. Following a restaurant lunch in Ayolas we will visit the little known Jesuit ruins of San Cosmé in the afternoon, before stopping off briefly for a snack in Coronel Bogado, known as the "Capital of Chipa", where we will sample this traditional food. Coronel Bogado is nationally famous as THE place to try this delicious comida tipica.
Encarnación Walking Tour
Known as the Pearl of the South, pretty Encarnación might not be as famous as Asunción, but it has a rich yet little known history that is every bit as fascinating. Led by local history buff Valeria Fernandez, this walking tour takes you to the more well-known attractions as well as some of the more unusual places of local significance, each with their own quirky historical story - learn about Juán Perotti who sacrificed his life to save the city, visit the house where dictator Alfredo Stroessner was born, sample the holy waters of the Ykua San Blás and round it all off with an optional banquet of comida tipica with a local family or a ride in a karumbé.
These tours are available only at restricted times of year with places limited and advance booking is recommended.
Encarnación Carnival Package
Carnival is the main social event of the year in Paraguay, and Paraguay´s biggest and best Carnival is in the southern city of Encarnación. It may not be as famous as Rio, but the Encarnación Carnival is a big event and MUCH more fun. Here you are not merely a spectator, in Paraguay the Carnival clubs expect you to get involved with the action, singing, dancing and otherwise enjoying yourselves into the early hours of the morning. Flamboyant, spectacular and a unique experience, we´ll get you the best seats in the house. Carnival takes place on weekends during January and February.
Festival Folclorico Package
Paraguay´s rich gaucho heritage is celebrated during the Festival Folclorico typically held in January in Departamento Misiones. Hugely popular, this fantastic festival draws visitors from across the region, who often take the opportunity to show off their colourful traditional dress. Here you can watch fine examples of horsemanship in the rodeo arena, sample typical foods such as the unmissable "asado al estaca", purchase top quality handicrafts and get first hand experience of the creative Paraguayan "bottle dance". All inclusive packages available from Encarnación and Asunción. Click on the image of the gauchos to learn more.
Big Match Package
Like other South American nations Paraguay is football obsessed (or soccer if you prefer to call it that!). A visit to see a match is a must for anybody who is spending any time in Asunción, but it can be difficult to find out all the information that you need in order to get there independently. Let us make the arrangements for you, pick you up at your hotel and take you to the game of your choice, dropping you back safely at your hotel once it is all over. Just let us know which match you want to watch and we´ll do the rest.
El Rural Package
Paraguay is essentially an agricultural country and every year celebrates that heritage with the El Rural show and exhibition. Here you´ll find everything associated with rural life, from typical foods and artesanía, to rodeo-style displays of horesmanship and exhibitions of prize animals a - you are even invited to have a go at shearing a sheep! El Rural is a fascinating experience that will give you a little taste of life on a Paraguayan estancia without having to get your hands dirty.
Trans Chaco Rally Package
Considered one of the most gruelling motor races in the world, the Trans Chaco Rally is a must for those who like their fun fast and loud. This is a tough race, with hardcore drivers, mean machines and some of the most inhospitable conditions on earth. Drawing fans from across the world, don´t miss the opportunity to experience this extraordinary event. Our package covers all your needs. All you need to do is kick back with a cold beer and enjoy the action. Check the race calendar for this years event.