Asuncion Travel Guide
Introduction to Asuncion
Home to just over 500,000 citizens, Asuncion is one of South America’s most low profile capitals. Lacking the panache and style of Buenos Aires, the seaside atmosphere of Montevideo, or the high-energy buzz of Brazilian mega cities like Sao Paulo, Asuncion is a great place to visit if you’re looking to chill out and take it slow for a while.
This city might lack the tourist attractions that other destinations in the region boast, but that’s exactly its appeal: with a low cost of living, friendly locals, and an interesting national cuisine, go ahead and rent an apartment for a week so you can set your backpack down like you always said you would at some point in your trip.
Cultural Attractions in Asuncion
Begin your time in Asuncion by visiting the Pantheon Nacional de los Heroes, which honors unknown soldiers that perished defending the nation of Paraguay.
Throughout the 19th century, Paraguay was involved in a set of wars that ended terribly for this country; one of the conflicts ended with Paraguay losing access to the Atlantic Ocean, an occurrence which is thought to have been one of the causes behind this nation’s current lack of prosperity.
The interior of this monument is a sight to behold, but be sure to rein in the behavior of you and your traveling companions, as this is a place of solemnity and remembrance.
In the early 19th century, Paraguay aimed to cast off the chains of the Spanish Empire and govern its own affairs. On May 14th, 1811, a group of men walked out of what is now the Casa de la Independencia and read a statement declaring the independence of Paraguay from the Spanish crown.
Since that time, this humble colonial era house has been preserved as a National Historic Site, with the furniture inside dating back from that time in history. of particular note is the office, as it contains the crest of Paraguay and the signing table where the fathers of Paraguayan nationhood signed the necessary documents to bring this country into being.
While Asuncion is one of the more humble capital cities in Latin America, patrons of the arts still have a number of venues where they can satisfy their love for the finer things in life. One of the more popular institutions is Museo del Barro, as it is a long-standing private collection of various forms of visual art, ranging from paintings to pottery to indigenous artifacts.
Other Attractions in Asuncion
If it is a particularly beautiful day when you are in Asuncion, then make your way to the Costanera de Asuncion, as this waterfront boulevard is a beloved public place where local citizens come to mix, mingle, and exercise in the outdoors.
While it is often hauntingly empty during the middle of the day, it comes alive at sunset, as it is at this time that the peak heat of the day has dissipated.
A central city park that was named after the Uruguayan government in gratitude in return for returning national treasures raided during the wars of the 19th century and forgiving debts, Plaza Uruguaya is another beloved public gathering place for the residents of Asuncion.
Located near the city center, there are statues that honor the memory of past national patriots and heroes, plenty of paths for joggers and bikers, and bookstores for those who wish to pick up a newspaper or the latest novel (en Espanol of course!).
Hunger won’t be a problem here, as there are plenty of vendors within the boundaries of the park or on its periphery, and with a variety of cultural institutions located close by, it is a great place to incorporate in your sightseeing if the weather is being cooperative during the time of your visit here.
Those that wish to learn more about the plants and animals that inhabit Paraguay ( as well as a few others from outside the region), will want to make time for Jardin Botanico y Zoologico de Asuncion in their schedule.
Located on the grounds of the former estate of Carlos Antonio Lopez, president of Paraguay from 1842 to 1862, This park is filled with tall Shady trees, and animal exhibits that include the coati, a cute mammal that can be found across Latin America from Mexico to Argentina.