20 Interesting And Fun Facts About Paraguay

Please note that some posts may contain affiliate links. We may earn a commission should you choose to purchase using these links but at absolutely no extra cost to you.

Paraguay is one of many nature-endowed countries in the world. This South American country is known for its Parana River, natural beauty, friendly people, and fascinating culture. There are many fun facts about Paraguay that makes it an interesting destination.

Common Facts About Paraguay

Paraguay is sometimes known as “Corazón de América,” which translates as “the Heart of America.” It sits in the South-central of South America and has an approximate population of 7.3 million.

Despite being landlocked and one of the least visited countries in South America, it actually features some great nature spots. Paraguay has one of the longest rivers in the world, beautiful waterfalls, and rich history. There are several facts about Paraguay that give you an insight into the country.

Historical Facts Of Paraguay

Paraguay Is Over 1000 Years

The Guarani people inhabited the eastern part of Paraguay for at least 1000 years before their Spanish colonials arrived. The Gran Chaco nomads inhabited the western part.

The western and eastern part of the country is known to be divided by the Paraguay River. Those in the eastern part majored in agriculture, while the westerners were more nomadic. The nomads were popular for their warrior traditions, and they only got pacified late in the 19th century.

The first sight of European in the region was in 1516 when Spanish explorers landed in the territory.

In August 1537, Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar de Espinosa established a settlement, “Asuncion,” in the region. That settlement eventually became the center of the Spanish colonial province of Paraguay.

A Befriended Parrot

Here’s an interesting fact about Paraguay. Rumors have it that the country’s name may have originated from a parrot. The country’s ancestral Jesuits priests befriended a parrot they named Frank.

For reasons we may never find out, these priests, at one point, turned to Frank and made dinner out of it. Although one caveat to this story is that in the 16th century, a parrot was Paraguay’s symbol on maps. So whether it is true or not is still up for debate.

One Of The Deadliest Fire In The World

One of the unfortunate incidents and lesser-known facts about Paraguay is the Ycua Bolanos fire tragedy.

In 2004, the Ycua Bolanos supermarket fire in Asuncion resulted in around 1000 casualties. The fire claimed the lives of at least 300 people (with some reports of over 400 deaths), and more than 500 were injured.

Considering the number of fatalities, it is one of the deadliest ever recorded in the history of the world. Some of the victims are still trying to seek reparation.

War Of The Triple Alliance

The triple alliance war is also known as the Paraguayan war. It was a South American war that lasted about 6 years, from 1864 to 1870.

The war was between Paraguay and the triple alliance (an alliance between Argentina, the Empire of Brazil, and Uruguay). This was the deadliest interstate war in the history of Latin America.

Paraguay sustained large casualties; the exact number is still disputed. They lost men during this war which impacted the country’s population ratio.

Ultimately, they were forced to cede disputed territory to Argentina and Brazil. The war started in 1864 due to a conflict between Brazil and Paraguay. The Uruguay war caused the conflict. In 1865, Argentina and Uruguay joined the war against Paraguay, hence the name “War of the Triple Alliance.”

Paraguay’s Rail Road

The intention to have a railway in Paraguay was conceived in 1856. But this only materialized after 5 years as the first train worked on 14 June 1861. The first journey was from the railway station to the port of Asuncion. Paraguay can claim to have the first railway in South America.

Facts About Paraguay For Tourists

Home Of The Biggest Feline In America (No)

South America is sometimes known for jaguars, but not all countries have them. These are after all the third largest feline in the world after the lion and tiger. One fact about Paraguay is that they cherish jaguars. Paraguay has a lot of jaguars. In fact, Asuncion’s Jardin Zoologico (garden zoo) has a refuge designed specifically for jaguars.

Paraguay Jesuit Ruins

Most Latin American nations have different histories attached to the ruins of their colonial masters or ancestors. It’s not so different in Paraguay. Paraguay is popular for its Jesuit heritage.

As such one of the main tourist attractions in Paraguay is the Jesuit missions of the Guaranis. The building of this famous heritage landmark commenced in the 17th century and was completed in the 18th century. These ruins are well preserved and embrace five different missions. These ruins are listed as a world heritage landmark by UNESCO.

Parana River

Paraguay is home to the second-largest river in South America. The river rising from the Mato Grosso region in Brazil flows through Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. It has a total distance covered of 4881 kilometers.

Although it is approximately 1520 kilometers shorter than the longest river in South America (the Amazon river), it is still a sight to behold.

Saltos del Monday

One of Paraguay’s natural wonders resides in Ciudad del Este’s vicinity. Just a few meters outside the city. The Saltos del Monday is a series of waterfalls with amazing heights and widths of 45 and 120 meters, respectively.

Although it’s not particularly easy to get there, this is a great site to visit for tourists. There are spots where you can climb and abseil down the walls if you are an adventurer. But for kneen observers, you can enjoy the river and falls from various viewpoints. No one misses out on the fun. 

Encarnacion Carnival

This beautiful aspect of Paraguay’s culture is a colorful event in an adaptation of the Rio Carnival. It’s an avenue where Paraguayans get to showcase their rich culture and heritage. One cool thing about it is open to everyone.

The Carnival features amazing samba parades, accompanied by many Paraguay dancers and gorgeous costumes. This event takes place for 5 days (typically Saturdays) from January to February every year.

Cultural Facts About Paraguay

A Bilingual Nation

Paraguay, like other South American, have a Spanish heritage. But unlike others, they’re one of the few to maintain their native language. One cool fact about Paraguay is that they have two official languages.

Although Spanish is still their official language, Guarani comes first for Paraguayans. However, Jepara (a mixture of both languages) is more prevalent, as many locals mix the two languages while speaking.

No Door Bells

Here’s a Paraguay fact you probably didn’t know, most of their homes have no doorbells. When people visit, they usually just clap their hands to signal their arrival. Cool right? This system works because the windows are always open due to the hot climate, and claps can be heard from inside.

The National Drink Is Mate

Mate is the traditional drink for the Guarani indigenous people of South America. Considering Paraguay is one of the few countries in South America to retain its Guarani native heritage, it is no surprise the national drink is mate.

Mate is an infused tea made with yerba mate plant and boiling water. It is usually served hot. There is also a cold version of it, called Terere which is more popular in the summer. Yerba mate is a relative plant to common holly and is usually cultivated on plantations.

Drinking mate with friends is very common in Paraguay. Like In Uruguay, sharing a mate is considered a social activity and an important part of the culture.

World’s Largest Water Reserve

One thing that cannot be separated from Paraguay’s culture is water. Paraguay houses the world’s largest water reserve, the “Acuifero Guarani” (Guarani aquifer). This reserve is so large that it extends into parts of Argentina and Brazil from Paraguay. It is one of the two largest aquifer systems in the world.

Pink Trumpet Tree (Lapacho)

Here’s an interesting fact about Paraguay. The lapacho tree, although found in many Central and South American countries, is Paraguay’s national tree.

Paraguay serves as home to at least 3400 species of plants and trees. Quebracho and Lapacho are some of these special trees. Quebracho has served as raw material for many industries as serves as raw material for leather works. But lapacho is the poster boy of the Paraguayan trees.

The pink-leaf tree is revered for its beauty and also its medicinal benefits. It can be used as herbal medicine and tea. There has been a suggestion that the lapacho was the main medicine for the Incas.

A Green Nation

One of the most lucrative sectors of the country’s economy is agriculture. Due to access to more than enough water, agriculture is a staple in Paraguay. The agriculture sector encompasses cash crops, food crops and livestock.

Paraguay is a leading exporter of organic sugar, corn, soybeans, beef, and stevia, to mention a few. Beyond the cash influx of the agricultural sector, it keeps the nation beautiful by keeping it green.

Other Interesting Facts About Paraguay

No Sight Of Mountain

An interesting geographic fact about Paraguay is that it is smaller than the state of California. The land size is about 406,702 kilometers. It is a relatively small country in comparison to some of its neighbors.  

The highest point in Paraguay is about 842 meters. The flat terrain in the country means that you rarely get views of mountains.

Deforestation

One fact about Paraguay is that it houses one of the most biodiverse forests in the world, covering approximately 1.3 million hectares.

Ironically, in all the years building up to 2004, the country had the highest deforestation rate on the continent. In recent times though, they’ve put measures in place to handle the deforestation problem and promote conservation.

Unique National Flag

Here’s a fun fact about Paraguay for kids. Paraguay’s flag is one of the oldest in the world belongs. It has three beautiful colors (red, white and blue).

The flag also has different emblems on either side, making it unique. It has a coat of arms and the national treasury seal on either side of the flag. Accompanying the nation’s treasury seal is the nation’s motto, “Pazy y Justicia” (peace and justice).

The Heart of South America

One important fact about Paraguay is that it is located near the center of South America. As such, it is mostly referred to as the heart of South America.

Argentina surrounds the country to the southwest, Bolivia to the north, and Brazil to the east. This ensures that the country enjoys protection from all sides against foreign intruders.

An Engineering Feat – Itaipu Dam

The Itaipu dam in Paraguay is the world’s second-largest working hydroelectric power plant. It Costs a whopping $196 billion to build and maintain; that’s a lot of money.

One interesting fact about this Paraguay landmark is that the amount of concrete used in constructing it is enough to build at least 210 football stadiums.

This power plant, built in 1971, has been meeting the power production needs of the nation satisfactorily. Interestingly Brazil also uses about 90% of the electricity generated from this plant.

Travel Insurance

Discovering More Fun Facts About Paraguay

Although not the most popular travel destination, Paraguay has its own unique culture and history. From its historic national flag to the world’s largest water reserve, there are many interesting facts about Paraguay that make it an intriguing place.

The Carnival is a colorful event that showcases the best of Paraguayan culture, while the Itaipu Dam is an engineering feat that provides power to much of South America. If you’re looking for an exotic destination, many visitors have a great time exploring what Paraguay has to offer.


PIN THESE FUN FACTS ABOUT PARAGUAY FOR LATER!

PLANNING YOUR TRIP? CHECK THESE RESOURCES!

Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

More Adventures

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

LONG TERM TRAVEL INSURANCE

other stories