Things To Do In Asuncion
Asuncion, more popularly known as the "Mother of Cities in South America" was discovered in 1537, and gained total freedom from Spain in 1811. The charming city is a very picturesque place with lots of houses with colorful facades. In Loma San Jeronimo, some houses function as restaurants and in one of them, there is a beautiful lookout over the Bay of Asuncion. It is located at the left side of Paraguay River which rolls through dense tropical rain forests on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. The river is big enough to carry ships and provides Paraguay with an outlet to the sea.
The Costanera de Asuncion is the place to see and be seen on weekends. And on such days, the entire block is closed to vehicular traffic making everything accessible on foot, cycling, and rollerblading. There are lots of views to admire and things to do, and you can pretty much enjoy a tour of the Cathedrals, museums, palaces, and government buildings, that can all be accomplished in one day. Asuncion enters into the construction boom by incorporating modern infrastructures, enough parking spaces, and promenade parks to maintain their status as one of the best holiday destinations in Paraguay.
When To Go:
Coming from a landlocked nation that stands close to the Tropic of Capricorn, the city of Asuncion consists of an extreme climate, so it is imperative that every traveler must be aware of the latest weather conditions and plan the ideal time to enjoy this beautiful city. The tropical atmosphere is extremely hot during the months of December – March with temperatures ranging up to 50 ° Celsius. This is just aggravated by the humidity that predominates as the year progressed. Then again, the temperature has a tendency to drop strongly when it rains, and in some cases the air can be very dry for a couple of days before a real storm, so prepare and plan ahead for the summer season.
Along with the heat of summer and occasional rains, this is also the high time when mosquitoes are more prevalent especially during night time. The hot summer climate likewise implies that bugs, particularly mosquitoes, run widespread around evening time. Don’t forget to bring an anti-mosquito repellant. Most indoor attractions and malls are equipped with air-conditioning and enough ventilation so the humid weather is not an issue. However, it is not really the ideal time to visit this city and even the locals spend their holidays to the beach or stay in another city just to escape the unbearable heat.
The winter season of May to September is the most preferable time to enjoy Asuncion City. The temperatures range from 10° Celsius to 22° Celsius making it extremely average however there are days that can get exceptionally icy (2 degrees Celsius) so pack in some winter garments. Aside from being cold, it also does not rain much in winter and a it is practically more convenient to go around if the weather is chilly than the humid season.
These are the variety of things to do and places to see in the city of Asuncion, Paraguay:
Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno)
Located along the banks of the Paraguay River, the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) looks very imposing along with its well manicured gardens and impressive façade. The problem is that you can only see it from afar, visitors are not encouraged to go inside or take a tour and if you try to go near the garden area, a guard will already be whistling for you to move away. From a secured perimeter area, you can watch the cool changing of the guard ceremony. It is one of the most beautiful places in Asuncion, a must see especially at night with the lighting that makes it even more stunning. The excellent landscaping and the presence of the all white building only makes it more captivating. The back also has a nice view. The front portion of the palace is very organized with the strict presence of national guards who are in charge of securing the office of the president. Taking pictures is only allowed from outside.
This ancient structure was built in 1860-1892 and patterned after the French Versailles with verandas and sweeping staircases. It was originally intended for Marshal Francisco Solano Lopez. Unfortunately, the marshal was killed during the war with Paraguay Tripartite Alliance of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Now, it serves as a working residence of the President of the Republic. The reason it remain closed to the public is because of security and threats to the past ruler of the country. Locals even say that for a long time, the Palace was not only closed to the public, but even to look at it was forbidden. It was such a rule of the "El Supremo" which allows the protection and keeping it safe from intruders and to shoot on the spot anyone who looks intently at the palace. Today, this is no longer observed. The secured palace actually leaves a good impression, very compact, architecturally remarkable and fits well into the rich landscape of Asuncion City.
Museo del Barro
The Museo del Barro provides a good summary of the art and culture of the indigenous people of Paraguay. You can learn not only about the various languages of these inhabitants but also on the coexistence and relationships within the pre-Hispanic civilization. It has an impressive collection of sacred icons or religious art of the Spaniards all neatly presented in one huge exhibit in this cultural museum. The Museo also holds so much information about local history, religion, arts in general, with lots and lots of information on the influence of the Jesuits. It has several wings about life and crafts of the Indians. It is actually a gathering of three museums highlighting the contemporary art and featuring the avant-garde artists behind every artwork presented here.
The museum is a bit far from downtown, but it is worth the long bus (though not-so-distant) or taxi ride. It is a very representative museum about the Guarani culture. The permanent exhibition is structured, detailed and well lighted. If you have only one museum to see in Asuncion, do not bypass this attraction while you are in the city. It is worth the ride and not far from the Mall del Sol which can also be visited after a tour of the museum.
Parque de la Salud
The Parque de la Salud is a wonderful recreational complex to do some sort of physical activity or just breathe the fresh air and see the beauty of a 19-acre park that is fully covered by different species of trees, six preserved vegetation spots, and inhabits a variety of exotic birds. It's a great park for family outings, for friends to enjoy good times, a good place to hang out, or spend some quiet time alone for complete relaxation. For your security, it is required to present proper identification documents (passport or government ID) at the guard house and to sign at their guest book.
After this process, you are allowed and given a park ID as your access card to see the features of the Parque (there is no admission fee) and pass along the many trees, clean, well attended, flagged, running zones, hiking and cycling trails, with signs and rules along the road that must be obeyed to the letter if you don’t want to be warned by several police officers present. It is a must see and the best place with a wide option of things to do while in Asuncion.
Panteon Nacional de los Heroes
The Panteon Nacional de los Heroes is a historic building located in the street outside Palma and within the perimeters of the city centers. Its monumental architecture that demonstrates the economic strength of Paraguay at a particular time. It is a war memorial for the brave heroes of Paraguay.
It holds significant information about the Paraguayan people during the period of war when they suffered greatly and shows the images at the time when their colonizers almost destroyed the entire population and the city. It is a mandatory attraction that is worth visiting to have a glimpse about the history of Paraguay and South America. It is so interesting and hard to miss because it stands out in the middle of the city center of Asuncion.
Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad
The Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad can be found in the busy neighborhood of Trinidad that stands a little bit far from the city center. The creation of the church dates back before the beginning of the War of the Triple Alliance in 19th century. The facade is beautiful, and you can take pictures outside the church only. It also has very picturesque side corridors. Inside it has beautiful frescoes and altarpieces.
You could combine a visit to this church with a walk through the Asuncion Botanical Garden which is pretty close. It is also a few meters away from the Buddhist Temple of Asunción. Both religious structures are open to the public on Sunday morning. Admission is free but you must observe silence and the strict dress code for both attractions.
Casa de la Independencia
The Casa de la Independencia stands right in the city center and exposes the historical artifacts and cultural past of the country. It is a small and free museum that is mandatory to see when in Asuncion. It's a simple house but it’s worth going for a visit as there are elegant furniture’s derived from the colonial era.
The Casa is highly recommended for everyone, and if you have kids do not hesitate to bring them along and learn a lot from the informative facts exhibited within its halls. It is considered an iconic landmark in the city of Asuncion because it is also one of the oldest and still standing houses that is well preserved and still serves its purpose up to this modern age. Pay attention to the visiting hours, it is closed on Sundays.
Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion
The Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion is located in the historic center of Asuncion City and faces the Plaza de la Independencia. It gives its name to the neighborhood where the government palace is located. The cathedral is also connected to the Catholic University, the first home of the Faculty of Law of the National University. You must schedule a visit because there are operating schedules; it is closed from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
The best way to appreciate its beautiful interiors is to hear the holy mass of obligation every Sunday. The location of the police station right across this church makes it a very safe area to enjoy long walks in the city. Our Lady of the Assumption is quite imposing and also stands next to the Town hall and Paraguay River. It is beautiful inside and outside especially its sacred altar.
Legislative Palace (Palacio Legislativo)
The Legislative Palace (Palacio Legislativo) is a large modern building with a stunning glass facade differentiating itself from the other structures in the vicinity which are built in colonial style architecture. You can tour its interiors and take pictures. It is interesting to walk along the halls and offices where most of the laws in Paraguay are drafted and passed.
It was built with international assistance from the government of Taiwan. It is accessible from the passage to the port if you are walking from the square of democracy. It is not so hard to miss as it stands just right across the Assumption Cathedral.
Parque Nu Guasu
The Parque Nu Guasu is very quiet, lined with trees; well -paved walking paths, full of playgrounds for children and areas for hiking and sports. It lies between Asuncion and Lugo. It has an area for picnics and leisure time with fresh air. On Sundays, lots of families gather and enjoy the place and its nearby beaches. The famous Parque is located near the access road on the way to the airport. It is well organized, structured and kept well maintained. Police and guards provide security in the fenced area.
For athletes there is a jogging and walking trail (6 km), with its varied nature, and a well structured bike path. There are outdoor gym equipment, football and basketball courts provided for the total health and fitness buff. Sanitary facilities are available at several points in the park, as well as drinking water stalls. There are lots of numerous benches, lakes, pavilions and shade trees (some of them also serves as a reforestation site of native species of trees) plus, a selection of relaxed leisure activities. The Ñu Guasu Park is one of the most relaxing facilities of Asunción.
Botanical Garden and Zoo (Jardin Botanico y Zoologico)
Considering that the city does not have many children's attractions, consider a visit to this place because it is reasonable enough to take the kids along for a guided tour of the Botanical Garden and Zoo (Jardin Botanico y Zoologico). You can also visit the Museum of Natural History (Free) located on the same area and offers excellent items that are worth looking. It may be small but it is well diversified. The zoo (paid) has several collections including large wildlife animals. It is located within the neighborhood of Trinidad and prepare to walk a lot because the place is quite extensive.
It is always good to know that Asunción preserves over 245 acres of green in an urban area. The complex is well landscaped, although, it was a little area set aside for two purposes; the zoo and the museum. At the Zoo, there are lots of interesting birds, including owls, reptiles, snakes, ostriches, parrots, alligators, raccoons, toucans and the endangered species of the capybara Chacos (an endemic animal that can only survive in the waters of Paraguay). T he plates of information about the animals and general guidelines are detailed and overall the Zoo and the place is well maintained and supported by the government.
Costanera de Asuncion
It has a beautiful view of the river Paraguay, especially at sunset. It has special spots to walk, ride a bike, or play with the kids. The Costanera de Asuncion is the newest avenue of the city. Within its vicinity stands the Palacio del Gobierno. The starting point of a walking tour of the Costanera begins at the port region of Paraguay River. It is still undergoing renovation in most of its parts but in time it will greatly improve. It will certainly be a place of great visitation for tourists and locals.
Asuncion is a significant and historic city in Paraguay. A visit to the Palacio del Gobierno is quite an experience. You can look but you cannot touch, but, it is still worth visiting this number one attraction. From this heart of the city you can explore other note worthy attractions, old cathedrals, museums with rich cultural presentations and galleries that shows how creative and artistic the people of Asuncion is.
Amidst the row of green parks, restaurants, modern buildings, classic theaters, palaces, presents another side of the city that is always evident wherever you go. The favelas or the slums on this side of South America that provides a striking contrast to the elegant architecture, lavish life on the busy streets from one portion of the town, and the face of poverty on the other.