Where to Go Hiking in Paraguay
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Explore Amazing Places to Hike in Paraguay, South America
Full of waterfalls, giant animals, and 700 species of birds, Paraguay offers abundant biodiversity, which can be appreciated on walks. Though known for being flat, hot, and humid, the country has several mountain ranges, some with peaks over 2,000 feet, as well as cooler forest trails like Salto Suizo. Choose one of the routes within the country's 15 national parks, including Cerro Corá National Park, or explore trails on private lands, such as the circular trail at Puerto Olivares Station. Many of these routes have campsites nearby, while others, such as Cerro Verá, offer wild camping. Some trails in the country, especially those in the Chaco, will have little traffic.
Regardless of which trail you choose, always bring sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water. If you are going to visit national parks, consult the SEAM (Secretary of the Environment) in Asunción to obtain the permits you need.
1. Cerro Tres Kandu
Cerro Tres Kandú rises 2,762 feet (842 meters) above the city of General Eugenio A. Garay, attracting those who wish to scale Paraguay's highest peak. Also known as “Cerro Peró,” hikers climb to the top along its 5.4-kilometer round-trip trail. Mostly cut by woods, the trail offers plenty of shade and two lookouts to admire the surrounding fields. It takes about an hour and a half to reach the top, with the first 30 minutes being an easy hike on a hilly road. After that, the road becomes increasingly difficult; in some sections, hikers need to scale rough terrain using installed ropes and walk on wooden ledges.
Although rated as difficult, the trail is a popular activity on the weekends and can be crowded with local hikers. The campground is available near the trailhead (for the equivalent of $ 10 a night) and is recommended if you want to get an early start. Note that there is a small fee to go up the hill, which is charged by an attendant near the trailhead.
2. Salto Suizo
Salto Suizo is a 60-meter high waterfall surrounded by natural pools and the hills of the Ybytyruzú Mountain Range. The national reserve can be reached by walking a 12 km route, which begins in the nearby town of Melgarejo. The route winds through streams and massive rocks, with vines and pencil-thin tacuaras stretching overhead. The dirt road takes about an hour to hike to the base of the waterfall, where a small adventure park offers rappelling. Watch out for the slippery moss sections and continue past the falls for about 800 meters to Cerro de la Cruz for panoramic views. Then, take a dip in the pool below the waterfalls and camp overnight under the waterfall. If you want more luxury, at the top of the stairs near the waterfall, a glamping spot offers stays in giant wine barrels equipped with large beds.
3. Ybycuí National Park
Take the trail at the entrance to Ybycuí National Park to see a rainbow of multicolored butterflies amid waterfalls that tumble into the Atlantic Forest. The 2.9-kilometer round-trip trail also offers opportunities for bird watching, with trogons, tityras, and tanagers perched along the way. You can venture further afield to see all 15 waterfalls, but expect steep slopes and apply plenty of bug spray. You can swim in the natural pools or later have a barbecue, but be sure to bring your own meals, as the options to buy food in the park are limited. Camping inside the park, exploring the old iron foundry, and observing wild coatis are some of the other highlights of Ybycuí.
Located just 77 miles (124 kilometers) south of Asunción, Ybycuí is one of the most accessible and visited national parks in Paraguay. For this reason, it is better to go during the week to avoid crowds.
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