With Paraguay being one of the least visited countries on the South American Continent, it's unlikely to be anywhere near the top of your Bucket List, but it's definitely worth spending a couple of days in the capital.
1. City Tour
In my opinion, a first stop in many capital cities should be a city tour. This gives you a quick overview of the city so you then know which areas to dedicate more time on during your trip. Asuncion isn't too big in size so everything is walkable. I used this useful company that offer free walking tours of the city. The tour lasted around 3 hours and covered all of the major attractions the city has to offer. Depending on how you rate the tour, you tip accordingly. Click here
2. Loma San Jeronimo
Loma San Jeronimo is a cute little neighbourhood that can be easily reached walking from the city centre. Perhaps my expectations were set a little too high on this one, especially after recently visiting La Boca in Buenos Aires, but still definitely check this place out.
There's colourful steps, small craft shops, street art, local restaurants, and a rooftop mojito bar.
3. Day trip to Aregua
If you're the type of traveller who likes to spend a day outside of the capital exploring elsewhere, then Aregua is a worthy option.
Can easily be reached via public bus service (bus line 28 or 30 takes you to Cerro Corá road, get off at Shopping del Sol, then direct buses to Aregua). If the 1.5 hour bus journey doesn't suit, then you can reach Aregua via tax for $30 each way.
You'll see the Spanish Church Iglesia Virgen de la Candelaria, the Cultural Museum, as well as taking a stroll down to Lake Ypacarai.
4. Street Art Tour
One of the things that blew me away the most with Asuncion was the huge dynamic range of street art on display across the entire city. This could easily be a tour by itself. There's some cool side streets around the Presidential Palace area. Street art is by no means frowned upon in South America, with it being encouraged across most countries.
5. Estadio Defensores Del Chaco
Not one of the biggest stadiums in the world by any means, but it's certainly an iconic one that has hosted many Copa America glory nights.
Has a capacity of just over 42,000 and has a good aura around the stadium with Copa America memorabilia displayed. The local Paraguayans are hugely passionate about their football. Note - Don't visit on a public holiday like I did.
6. National Pantheon of the Heroes
Perhaps the most iconic landmark of the entire city and located directly in the centre. A mausoleum that holds the remains of many Paraguayan heroes that includes the first President Carlos Antonio López. In true style, there's a changing of the guards carried out daily.
Note - Make sure you check out both the inside and the outside.
7. Asuncion Cathedral
Located in the historical centre of the capital and dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. A grand cathedral of great architecture that feels more like a place of worship than a tourist attraction. This is the most important religious venue across the whole of Paraguay.
Hotel Guarani ticked the boxes for me! It's a large 170 room 4 star hotel located directly in the centre of the city. Very good value on price and you'll struggle to find a more central location to explore the city. Decent facilities too with a casino, restaurant, bar, nightclub, and outdoor pool.
Lido Bar (located opposite National Pantheon of the Heroes) is the local Paraguayan 'must visit' restaurant. Made even more famous due to the legendary Anthony Bourdain having his dining requirements satisfied here. There's plenty of local food on offer with an entire menu of empanadas, which would definitely be my recommendation. Also famed for its fresh juice, so thought I'd give that a try (pineapple is a winner). Overall, it's great value, an iconic place, and a nice spot to people watch.
Note - the place won't look anything amazing at first glance.