Little-visited, little-known Paraguay is a country much misunderstood. Despite its location at the heart of the continent, bordered by Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina, it is all too often passed over by travellers who wrongly assume that a lack of mega-attractions means there's nothing to see... But it's ideal for those keen to get off the gringo trail for a truly authentic South American experience.
Paraguay is a country of remarkable contrasts. It's rustic and sophisticated; it's extremely poor and obscenely wealthy; it boasts exotic natural reserves and massive human-made dams; it is a place where horses and carts pull up alongside Mercedes-Benz vehicles, artisans' workshops abut glitzy shopping centres, and Jesuit ruins in rural villages lie just a few kilometres from sophisticated colonial towns. The subtropical Atlantic Forest of the east is a stark contrast to the dry, spiny wilderness of the Chaco, the location of the isolated Mennonite colonies.
Asuncion, the capital, has few real tourist attractions, but is nonetheless an interesting place to visit, like the Municipal Museum. It is rather small, but showcases collections and items of the country’s history, turning out to be really captivating. Another museum to visit is Museo del Barro, one of Paraguay’s most underestimated attractions, considering that it displays many original indigenous artworks, as well as a contemporary art collection - an example of the famous contrasts of this country.