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Asunción is the capital and economic centre of Paraguay.
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Points of Interest in Asuncion
Asunción may not have many conventional tourist attractions, but if you are willing to be your own tour guide, Asunción can be an interesting place to visit.
Every July there is a trade fair with exhibition booths, food, music and liquor. This is a good way to learn about what goes on in the country, the exhibitors range from agricultural suppliers to liquor manufacturers. Keep an eye out for the many free samples of food, soap, drinks, etc.
- The National Congress. One of the more impressive new buildings in the city. It was built in 2002 with $20 million from the Republic of China (Taiwan) government. Paraguay is one of the few countries and also the only country in South America that recognizes Republic of China (Taiwan) as opposed to mainland China (People's Republic of China). Most striking is its mirrored façade, which reflects the nearby slums along the bank of the river. You can ask for a tour in English - and maybe get one. Be sure arrive there by 1PM you will be able to visit a small museum inside.
- Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Asunción. The national cathedral. Across the broad and picturesque plaza with fountains, but it is frequently closed, especially at midday siesta.
- Municipal Museum. *The Municipal Museum is modest, but has some tidbits about the old tram line from the 1880s and other civic history. Nearby is the Visual Arts Museum with temporary exhibits from national artists.
- Panteón de los Heroes. Houses the tomb of the unknown soldier along with other "heroes" from Paraguay's disaterous wars, as well as plaques for the heroes of the Chaco war. Changing of the guard occurs every other day.
- Cabildo. Cultural center in the old colonial legislative building near the bay area.
- Casa de la Independencia. Landmark of the Paraguayan Independence. This is where national heroes gathered to plot against Spanish colonialists in 1811. They marched from here to the Cathedral on Independence Day.
- Palacio de López. House the Paraguayan government. Very well lit at night.
- Estación Central del Ferrocarril. Paraguay was the first country in South America to have a vapor train. It now houses a museum, but more impressive is the building itself and old wagons. You may be lucky to catch a ride on Sundays to neighbor city of Aregua. This is a tourist ride, the train no longer operates regularly.
- Teatro Municipal. Recently renovated, check for regular shows. Nice cafe inside, you can eat there even if you don't catch a performance.
- Manzana de la Rivera. Cultural center in an old colonial house. Has a nice outdoor cafe overlooking the Palacio de López.
- Iglesia de la Encarnación. Church with a big pipe organ (the only one in Paraguay). Currently in very poor conditions. Served as a hospital during the Chaco War (1932-35).
- Mburuvicha Roga. The "chief's house" in Guarani, where the presidential family lives.
- Centro Cultural de Artes Visuales Museo del Barro. Paraguayan art, dating from pre colonial ceramics and textiles until very avant garde contemporary art.
- Capellania del Migrante- Seminario Metropolitano de Asunción. Very beautiful brick church within a huge lively park where you can see Paraguayans play soccer, tennis and jog.
- Backyard birds. Backyard birds in the city are interesting. There is the Great Kiskadee, Saffron Finch and Hornero. Kiskadee is like a yellow blue jay—aggressive and large. Saffron finch is similar to a yellow house finch, Hornero is much like American Robin without the red breast. It builds a unique nest about the size and shape of a football completely out of mud and resembles a Paraguayan oven or horno. Thus the name: "baker".
- Sunday flea market, along calle Palma. From early morning until noon aproximately.. Several old men set up their tables selling trinkets, photographs and books.
Popular events in Asuncion in the near future
Asunción is just south of the Tropic of Capricorn so the weather is tropical. That means hot weather especially in the South American summer (winter in the Northern Hemisphere). Between December and March the temperature can consistently climb over 38 C / 100 F and the humidity can be high and uncomfortable. However the weather changes frequently. When the sun shines you bake and it can be very dry when the rains hold off for just a few days. Rains are heavy and make the temperature drop precipitously. Then the clouds build and it becomes cold.
- Running, Parque Ñu Guazú. Lots of elite Asunceños work off the stresses of their days at Parque Ñu Guazú, located just outside Asunción in the city of Luque, on the way to the airport. There's a great paved 9K loop for jogging or walking.
- Ñu Guazu. Spend the day or enjoy a picnic at Ñu Guazu, Asunción's biggest park. Full of ponds, and people playing sports.
- Jardín Botánico. Visit the botanical garden - it's a very peaceful place filled with trees and nice paths. Find a nice shady spot and enjoy a picnic lunch. Inside the park you can visit Madame Lynchs house, very beautiful example of Paraguayan colonial architecture.
- Soccer. Watch a soccer match at one of Asunción's stadiums. The classic rivals are Cerro Porteno and Olimpia.
At lunch time there is no shortage of cheap restaurants to dine in or take away - you can't miss them. The places where you help yourself and pay by weight are usually very cheap and a decent option besides the slightly more expensive restaurants with their daily menu. At dinner time only very few eating places are still open and finding a good deal - especially if you are budget-conscious - is a lot harder.
Most shopping malls have decent food courts with a variety of restaurants, however, they are located away from the centre. Bigger supermarkets often have a cheap self-service restaurant inside.
Eat a streetside “lomito”- these vendors are located throughout the city, with high concentrations near Casa Rica and the Ñu Guazu. It is a sandwich, with mayo, veggies, cheese and a fried egg. You can choose between beef or chicken. Some also offer lomito arabe (shawarma), hamburgers and chorizo. It is a popular hang out place at nights and after a night of heavy drinking.
Don Vito is Paraguayan fast food at its best. Home of the Paraguayan empanada, they have been in business for over 30 years. The original spot is just behind the Iglesia de san Jose, and if you are lucky enough to be in Paraguay around May–June, you can order a pastel mandi'o, which is make of mandioca and beef. Best enjoyed with a cold pulp, a Paraguayan soft drink made with natural fruit juice.
- Burger King, Palma between 14 de Mayo and 15 de Agosto. If you fancy something you know. Also open in the evening.
- Supermercado El Pais, Antequera and 25 de Mayo (on the east side of Plaza Uruguaya). open until 21:30, Sunday only until noon. Upstairs is the buffet, with various meats, pastas and salads available. Pay by weight, ½kg around 15,000Gs. It is not recommended to dine in the evening, shortly before they close.
- Restaurant Internacional, Fernando de la Mora (opposite the bus terminal). A good and not too expensive place. Sometimes with live music. Popular also with locals to hang out for a beer. Open in the evening.
- La Vida Verde, Palma 634. 9:00-14:00. Good Chinese-vegetarian food. Self-service. Very popular at noon. No more than US$5 per person.
- Na Eustaqia, 421 Palma, past Lido's and the hall of martyrs, near Burger King. Lower prices than Lido's, and quality food. Very busy for lunch, you may need to wait for a table. Main lunches cost 15,000 - 25,000 Gs. Great juice bar there too.
- Seoul, Chile, near the intersection with Oliva (Plaza de los Heroes) and opposite an Esso petrol station. Open for lunch and dinner (19:30). Wonderful Korean buffet, with lots of vegetarian options where you fill your plate and pay per kilo (40,000 Gs)
- Confiteria/Snack Bar/Restaurant Bolsi (corner Estrella and Alberdi). M-Su, also open in the evening. It has been there for decades, serving some more and some less traditional food to a mixed crowd of people.
- Lido Bar (Av. Palma, opposite Panteón del los Heroes). open daily till late. Established 1954 in the style of a contemporary American cafe-bar, Lido Bar has hardly changed since. All the usual Paraguayan foods, plus a wide selection of desserts. Very popular during peak times, particularly dinner. The Fish Soup (sopa pescado) is famous and recommended.
- Hacienda Las Palomas, Senador Long 1481 (corner Senador Long and Guido Spano), ☎ 605-111. Really good Mexican food (not "chips & salsa Tex-Mex"). The margaritas are particularly good, but the food is even better.
- Shangri-La, Aviadores del Chaco c/ San Martín (corner Aviadores del Chaco and San Martín), ☎ 661-618. Good Chinese food.
- Bar San Roque (Corner of 25 de Mayo and Tacuary. Green building.). Open all evening, earlier than many other places until late. A mix of traditional and fine cuisine. Excellent food and service in a very traditional feeling atmosphere. Really fantastic beer on tap, served in their chilled Oktoberfest steins.
For a traditional Paraguayan meal, visit "La Paraguayita." Don't miss a Brazilian steak house called a "churrasqueria."
- Acuarela, Mcal. López 4049 (near San Martin), ☎ +595 21 609 217.
Unlike in most of the rest of Paraguay, tap water in Asunción is potable.
There are several locations of Café Havanna , a Starbucks-like Argentine coffee chain. One is just off the corner of Avenida Mcal. López and Avenida Rca. Argentina.
Bars and clubs
- Britannia Pub, Cerro Corá 851. Tu-F from 19:30, Sa-Su from 20:00. The number 1 hangout for English speaking foreigners, still outnumbered by locals however. Try their microbrewed Britannia Beer and the chicken platter.
- 904, Cerro Corá 904. Mon-Thu from 18:00,Fri from 17:00, Saturday from 19:00. A lot like Britallina: similar food, similar drinks, similar prices. Has a pool table, and occasionally puts on live-music shows.
- The Jack, Cerro Cora. Recently opened bar opposite Britannia. Was previously called 'Older'.
- Coyote, Sucre 1655 (corner San Martin Avenue). Dance club, fashionable but loud
- Hollywood Dance, Independencia Nacional and Teniente Fariña (One block away from Mall Excelsior). Fri and Sat from around midnight. Dance venue for mostly gay people. 20.000 Gs.
- Glam, Av. San Martin 1155 and Agustin Barrios (Next to Salemma Carmelitas Supermarket). Thu Fri Sat from midnight. One of the finest dance clubs in Asuncion
- Kandi, Av. Aviadores del Chaco (Two or three blocks from Sheraton Hotel and Shopping del Sol).
- Planta Alta, first floor, Caballero 294 (corner Mariscal Estigarribia). W-F 17:00 - 01:00, Sat 21:00 - 03:00. A lounge-style hangout for artistic types, often playing live jazz. Reasonably cheap drinks. 10,000 Gs.
- Paseo Carmelitas, ☎ (595) (21) 608226. from morning till late. A gallery with lots of stores to do shopping during the day and an excellent selection of bars and restaurants to go during the night, probably the most popular place in Asuncion during the night. Selection of bars include the "Kilkenny Irish Pub" "Cover Singing Bar" "Kamastro Resto Arte & Bar" in between others.
- La Taberna Cafe or La Tabernita, CHILE 1179 between YGATIMI y JEJUI, ☎ (595) (21) 453620, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 07:00-15:00 and 1830-late. Is a Cafe Bar with good atmosphere, good music, drinks and very friendly staff. If you like the 70's, 80's, 90's Rock & Pop.
- Casa Clari, Ayolas c/Benjamin Constantin (inside Manzana de la Riviera). Really nice views of the López Palace. Good food/drink menu, but slightly pricier than other bars in the centre.
The cost of buying goods and services is cheap. This is only partly because Paraguay is a piracy and smuggling haven. Be aware that some goods may be cheaply made.
- Indigenous crafts and artisan work are available such as tooled leather, carved wood, pottery and a particularly Paraguayan lace based on a spider's web called "Ñanduti". Check out the artisan shops in Plaza de los Heroes. Most goods are in fact locally made.
- Shopping malls There are two main malls in Asuncion: Shopping del Sol on Aviadores del Chaco and Shopping Mariscal López on Avenida Mariscal Lopez, exist in the suburbs of Villa Mora and Carmelitas. Take buses 28 or 30 to reach them. Mall Excelsior on Chile, and the more basic Asuncion Supercentro on the western end of Oliva are both in the centre. These "Shoppings" are useful as places to eat on Sunday evenings, when many more central places are closed.
- Palma Street, Calle Palma. The main shopping street. Pretty much everything you can buy here, you can get cheaper in one of the parallel streets.
- Mercado 4, along Avenida Sivio Pettirossi. A chaotic market where you can buy just about anything very cheaply, it is particularly good for counterfeit clothing and pirated CDs and DVDs (of varying quality). Most Paraguayans still shop at local produce markets, but you can buy everything at great prices. Good street food and some foreign, mostly Chinese, restaurants.
Typical souvenirs from Asunción would include guampas/bombillas, t-shirts, traditional lace, or leather goods.
- American Express Traveller Cheques can be changed at Banco de la Nacion Argentina (at Plaza de los Heroes). Above average exchange rate, 3 US$ commission. It will take a while though - time to experience the place which could be a sight in itself. BBVN supposedly does as well. Casa de Cambios don't. All banks close by 1:30PM. Also can be changed at Maxicambios  which are located in all main shopping-malls.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Asunción on Wikivoyage.