Asunción is a Hidden Gem in Paraguay

Asuncion, Paraguay. Photo by Vale Martinez on Unsplash

Asunción is the capital of Paraguay, a very unknown country to many outside of Latin America. But, despite its lack of fame and notoriety, it absolutely deserves your full attention.

The beautiful Paraguay River runs through the city, and there is a wonderful mix of both colonial and modern buildings. This metropolitan city will give you all the luxurious feels of a European city with a Latin flair you can’t get anywhere else. So if you want to have a different South American experience, hit up Asunción!

What to Do

The main square of Asunción is called Panteón Nacional de Los Héroes, which is a memorial to all the fallen soldiers who have ever fought in any of the wars Paraguay has been through. Not only is the grand building a spectacle in and of itself, but every day there is a dramatic changing of the guards which you don’t want to miss!

Whenever you’re in a South American country, it’s always important and fascinating to learn about the indigenous folks who lived there before the Spanish colonized. The best place to do that in Asunción is at the El Cabildo, which is a history museum that specializes in Guarani culture, including art, music, and dance. The Guarani people were the original inhabitants of Paraguay, so it’s only respectful to learn about them while you’re there. Plus, the museum is housed in the former town hall, which is another stunning building.

If you’re in the mood for some shopping in a cool, open-air style market, then Mercado Cuatro is the place for you. Not only can you find super fresh, local produce that has been grown just a couple of miles away, but you can also get the coolest authentic crafts and clothes! There are also food stalls where you can find traditional street foods, so you have to swing by.

For art lovers, Asunción has you covered. Go see Casa Mayor Galería de Arte. This gallery focuses mainly on local artists, but they don’t discriminate against new and upcoming artists. These young artists stand alongside well established Paraguan artists, and the outcome is a series of paintings and sculptures that will simply take your breath away.

What to Eat

When you’re in the center of Asunción, you can’t not go to Lido Bar. This place has been around since the sixties, and they have an array of very affordable food that comes out to be massive portions.

Another classic place you have to go in Asunción is called Bar San Roque. This is a perfect place to get authentic Paraguan food any time of the day, and the best part is that they get a lot of their products from the owner’s farm!

While you’re in Asunción, you have to get a sopa paraguaya because it’s the national dish of Paraguay and because it’s delicious. It’s basically a cornbread with the addition of onions and occasionally cheese. Though it might sound simple, it comes together so beautifully, and you can get it as most cafes and bars.