To visit the capital of Paraguay you can go by bus or plane (here’s how to move by Paraguay). Asunción is a medium size city, therefore a day or two will be enough to know the main tourist points, although if you have the time, I recommend you to stay a few more days to enjoy the cultural and night offer, Also, to visit some towns around the city.
what to do?
The main cultural and tourist attractions are concentrated in the micro-center. Where are also located most of the city’s hostels. The center is easy to walk and everything is very close. You can visit the Costanera (the Sunset is just beautiful at this place) and the port, the Government Palace (highly recommend it at night), Casa Viola; a cultural space with occasional art exhibitions. It has a charming and antique library inside. The National Pantheon of Heroes, The Museum of the Cabildo, the House of Independence, the old train station and the Plaza Uruguaya, The church “Nuestra Señora de la Asunción”, the Legislative Palace, the Municipal Theatre, and at weekends, you can’t miss the Loma St. Jéronimo and the Solidarity Park, where you will have another look of Asunción river.
In Asunción is relatively easy to get around on buses (2,400 guaranies). Most buses go toward the center. The routes are numbered, and if you ask, anyone can give you useful information.
A little further away from the center there is an area with some bars and shopping malls. People who travel to Asunción for purchases (not my case) recommend the “Shopping del Sol”.
On the other hand, I recommend you to visit the Clay Museum (Museo del barro), which is very close to the Shopping del sol. There you can see representative works of Paraguayan artists and indigenous art. It is worthwhile to make the guided tour. I was fortunate enough to meet the artist Diego Alvarez, who for a great price makes personal guided tours at the Museum. You can contact him by Facebook.
I like to know the local markets of the cities I visit: In Asunción is the “Mercado 4“. It’s a very busy place, super crowded with cars and people, street vending and more. It’s a very picturesque place, worth knowing.
Where to go at night?
There are 3 or 4 bars are known in the central region, which concentrates the nightlife. All of them, with very good energy, tasty food, and nice people. If you find the right person, you’ll have ensured busy and fun nights. I visited the Britannia Pub, the “Rockero Popurrí Night” and “El Cactus“.
There is an event called “El Guarará“, which takes place the first Monday of each month. It’s a collaborative space, with music and regional food. You pay the entry and eat all you want. It’s located besides to the Hostel circus. I highly recommend it! (50,000 Guaranies)
What to eat?
Paraguay has wide a variety of dishes. All very delicious and tasty. Everywhere you will find Chipas, which is kind of cassava flour bread with cheese. Originally they are no big deal, are up to a bit too dry, however, there is a restaurant called Ña Eustaquia, combining the chipas with different ingredients. They are great. I recommend you the Chipa Ryguazú (chicken in Guaraní).
In Asunción there are traditional places to eat, the “Lido Bar” and “El Bolsi“, however if you want to save money, you can find a Kebab anywhere, is very well served and the price is very affordable. You can also eat at a buffet by kilo which is on the corner of May 14 with General Diaz Street, near to the church of San José. You can try typical Paraguayan and good food, for an economic value.
Be sure to try the mbejú. Another typical dish of Paraguay. It is very similar to the Brazilian Tapioca.
The typical drink is the cocido, which is made from the mate herb. I really liked (but with sugar, please!!). It’s perfect to drink with the chipas.
For breakfast, I recommend the bakery “La Palma” in the center. At the corner of Benjamin Constant with street Montevideo.
If you have an extra day, visit Areguá, a small town about an hour by bus from the center of Asunción. It is the capital of strawberry and handicrafts, also, you will have access to the Ypacaraí Lake. A traditional place in Paraguay. When you go to Areguá, enter the church and listen to the birds that make nests on the roof, it’s amazing.
Many people will tell you that it isn’t worth it visiting Asunción; others will tell you that it’s only worthwhile if you are going for shopping, that is a city in decay and stopped in time. That’s what people told me before getting there. I am very happy I didn’t listen. I went to spend two days, met amazing people and ended up staying one week. I’ll never regret it. If you leave it, Asunción will find a place within you, and remaining forever.