Le bus s arrete au milieu de nulpart.
Il fait deja chaud.... pas loin des 30degres si pas deja au dessus.
Une vingtaine de camions en file dans la poussiere ; touts les chauffeurs dehors.
La piste est coupee en 2, une grande mare de boue de quelques dizaines de metres empeche tout passage.
Au milieu un camion en mauvaise posture... impossible pour lui d avancer ou reculer...
Ce sont tous des camions contenant du propane et autre butane.... pas interret d avoir des gaz, ca risque de peter a tout momment.
Dimanche 26 decembre 2004,
nous partons d Asuncion (la capitale) pour 26h theoriques de route en direction de la Bolivie.
Il est 20h, nous montons dans le bus, pensant faire un trajet de plus, comme tout les autres.
Il s agit de la route de l est, style autoroute internationale, mais version paraguayenne, c est une pise de terre.
Le decor : Nous sommes dans le CHACO, province quasie impeuplee, et pourtant la moitie du Paraguay. C est tropical mais sec, le bus souleve une quantite incroyable de poussiere, l atmosphere est irrespirable. Heureusement nous partons il fait nuit, la temperature baisse.
Route sans trop d encombre, nous nous endormons bien que la piste soit quelque peu chaotique.
As you're driving around in your rental car, you must visit this iglesia in Cacacupa. It's about an hour and a half outside Asuncion on your way towards the Brazilian border. The drive is wonderful too, with large flowering trees spouting white, yellow, and pink flowers that landscape the roadside.
Enjoy...and don't be afraid to pass cars on this 2 lane road!! Otherwise you might take 3 hours to get there!
One of the most unique things in Paraguay is the Cheepa vendors. Cheepas, (for all you non-South Americans) are basically bagels made from cheese bread. When fresh and still warm they are quite good, when they are a little old they tend to be as hard as hockey pucks. They seem to be eaten by Paraguayans no matter what condition. Finding cheepas in Paraguay is not too difficult, in fact like almost anything else...they will find you. There are many "cheepa people" who walk with a basket of Cheepas on their head persuading you to buy from them while yelling "Cheepa, Cheepa Cheepa!!! They seem to be everywhere and also seem to have formed a agreement to allow them to quickly jump on buses and sell cheepas between stops. There are also motorized Cheepa people who have taken grasp of technology and have mounted a loud speaker on there car for a musical message. Although this was not always the first thing I liked to hear at 8am on a Sunday morning. It is definately something I will always remember about Paraguay.
The Chaco is the North Western section of the country. It contains about 60% of the land but is sparsely populated with 3% of the population. The Chaco is very empty region filled with many unique birds, thorny trees and the odd menonite colony. In the summer it is a region of extreme heat with the mercury often above 40C!
Parque National Ibycui is a well preserved section of Brazilian rainforest. From the Salto Guarani waterfall there is a trail about 400m that leads to this waterfall. The trail is in good shape, but be aware for giant spider webs (and spiders) at eye level and poisonous snakes at your feet!
Jesuit Ruins at Trinidad, The Iguazu Falls and Carnival in Encarnacion.
1. The Jesuit Ruins in Trinidad. These ruins are the largest and are in the best condition of all the Jesuit ruins in the Southern Cone. Tours can be undertaken (only in Spanish) explaining the history of the Jesuits in Paraguay (which is fascinating - the creation of the missions, their protection of the Guarani from the bandits from Brazil, and their ultimate expulsion from Paraguay). These ruins are also the most picturesque. They are situated on the top of a green, lush hill in the middle of nowhere. The red stone of the cathedral and living quarters is a stunning contrast to the vivid green of the landscape.
2. Iguazu Falls. I know I am not the first to say it but they are a must see. The falls are actually on the border between Brazil and Argentina but both are close to the border with Paraguay. The falls are breathtaking. You can hear them before you see them. They are huge!
3. The Carnival in Encarnacion
Everyone has heard about the Rio Carnival but few know of the Carnival held in Encarnacion at the same time. It is smaller than the one in Rio but it is just as much fun. For four days before Lent Encarnacion is a town alive with children pelting water at people in the street and throwing water bombs from cars and balconies at passing strangers (which I found out very quickly included me). Then comes the carnival at night with a street parade, girls in feathered costumes and marching bands and dancing in the street. Finally, at about midnight, you head off to one of the after parties at El Club Social or one of the nightclubs and dance until dawn to the latest Brazilian carnival hits.
Iguazu are the second largest waterfalls in the world, following Niagara Falls. The waterfalls in Foz de Iguazu. You can feel God and all its power there. The water falls are so enormous and have so much power that walking nearby makes you know that God exists in so much beauty. Its spectacular!
Walk around the rails, it passes near the waterfalls, its quite windy, so you can get some sparkles of water and get wet. Thats the fun of it!
As I mentioned before it is this dam only that I visited in Paraguay. It is however a must-see and most tourists going to the Iguacu Falls take a trip to this dam as well.
The Itaipu took 17 years to build. Construction was carried out jointly by Brazilians and Paraguayans. The project itself is vast and the result is amazing. If you go to Itaipu you see the largest hydroelectric plant of the whole world. The plant has 18 turbines (4 more are being constructed) which produce electricty sufficient to power entire Paraguay and cover a quarter of Brazil's electricity needs.
Cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are powered from here - strangely the neighbouring town of Foz do Iguacu gets electricity from different sources.
The Itaipu Dam is a great accomplishment but has evoked several disputes. It caused a severe change in the flora&fauna of the area and contributed largely to Brazil's foreign debt build-up. The share of the two countries is also controversial as Brazilians invested more and therefore claim greater share instead of the 50-50 division that is in effect today.
Jesuit priests set up missions, called reduciónes,
southeast of Asunción, to educate and convert the native Indian population.
The first Jesuit settlement was in Yaguarón. From there the priests developed San Ignacio de Miní, Santa Maria, Santa Roza, and San Cosmé y Damian which once had a world-renowned astronomy center.
The ruins of La Santisima Trinidad de Parana, the best preserved redución, and Jesús de Tavarangue are close to Encarnación, across the Parana from Posadas,
All the way at the Western extreme of Paraguay is Asuncion, the major capital city of the country. We did not go there, but here's a picture of the city taken from an Internet travel site.
Paraguay is a landlocked Nation with no seaport. This is why there are so many trucks going across the bridge across the Parana River. Their principal trading partner is Brazil.
Paraguay's principal industry is derived from Itaipu Dam, see the Travelogue on the Dam.
Visiting in Ciudad del Este is easy on your pocketbook. It is a Duty Free zone and there is a constant stream of buses going across the bridge. Endless rivers of people coming all the way around from Argentina and, of course, the many residents of Foz de Iguacu, a fair sized city in Brazil.
Not too many tourists venture over here, they have been given to believe that it is just a dirty, unkempt city of grimy souls who will snatch your purse, pick your pocket and the usual warnings so often made.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, it is mindful of how Tijuana used to be, but the people, they are just folks like you and me, trying their best to make a living the only way they know how or have an opportunity for, what's wrong with that?
The three frontier aspects give this area unique quality as does the Duty Free Zone which draws so much business away from Brazil's Foz de Iguacu. Then again, it is so terribly crowded that I wonder if the savings is worth the trouble.
Catedral Metropolitana, Asunción's main cathedral, was built in the nineteenth century. Admssion is free.
On nous avait dit: "le Chaco c est tres sec, et appart de la poussiere il n y a rien."
La prochaine fois que l on y remetra les pieds, on viendra avec un canoe....
On va quand meme pas le laisser comme ca....
toujours les meme qui se jetent a l eau pour les autres :-)
We found it difficult to find budget or cheap accommodation in Asuncion. There didn't seem to be any...more
11 de Setiembre y Luis Ma. Argana, Ciudad Del Este, 7000, Paraguay
Good for: Solo
Ruta 1 Kilometre 361, Barrio Quiteria , Encarnacion, 6000, Paraguay
Good for: Families
More Regions in Paraguay