Paraguay for Kids

 

Paraguay is typically a place that attracts visitors long after they have explored the rest of South America and are looking for somewhere a bit different.  Seeing less international visitors than other nearby countries, Paraguay offers less by way of family friendly activities and things to do for kids.  A landlocked country, there is no opportunity to spend days relaxing at the coast and playing in the sea with kids.  Nonetheless, with a bit of planning, there are things to be found that will surely keep children amused and entertained.  The best time to visit, with children or otherwise, is during the months of September, October, November and December.  The months of June to August can be quite cold, so not suitable for many activities.

Animals and Wildlife

The capital city of Asuncian has a zoo where children can enjoy looking at all the different animals.  There are over 70 different species of mammals, birds and reptiles, including monkeys, elephants, deer, jaguars, giant anteaters, chimpanzees, hippopotami, eagles, macaws, geese, peacocks, parakeets, toucans, vultures, ostriches, owls, turtles, anacondas, and iguanas.   Also, there is an attached botanical garden.  The large sprawling complex is set in natural forest area and includes a stretch alongside the Parana River.  There is a natural history museum within the old presidential house, which may be of interest to older kids. 

In Puerto Igazo there is a large bird park, with over 500 different bird species to be admired.  The bird park is set in lush forest and birds fly around freely.  In essence a huge aviary, visitors walk on walkways between the trees to see all the different birds flying around them.  There are delightful waterfalls, quaint bridges crossing trickling steams, and pools where different birds can be seen bathing.  Beautiful bright butterflies join the birds in the air, and pythons, anacondas, alligators and marmosets can be seen below.

In Ybycui National Park there are numerous pools, streams and waterfalls nestled in the hills and wooded areas. Some of these pools and creeks are ideal for children to enjoy a cooling swim and fun splash about in the water. There are chances to spot wild creatures in the subtropical rainforest, ad a trip to the Ybycui National Park can be a great day for all the family.

There are 11 national parks and protected areas in Paraguay, where kids can enjoy nature spotting and walking in the outdoors.

Italpu Dam is also home to a good variety of wildlife.

The magical Iguazu Falls can keep youngsters spellbound for a while.

Horse riding adventures can be tremendous fun for young and old alike.  Whilst children may not be as interested in the striking scenery, they will certainly love the experience of riding a friendly and placid horse.

Sports

Football is very much the national sport, and boys especially may like to go and watch a local game.  

Another popular sport in Paraguay is fishing, which can also be a great activity for older children, in particular boys. There are many lakes and rivers with different types of fish to be found.  All the fish can be eaten, so kids may enjoy catching fish then preparing their own dinner on an open fire.  For kids, these back to the wild experiences are so far removed from normal life activities that they can be tremendous fun and keep children captivated and enthralled for hours.

At Italpu Dam, older kids can try a range of water sports as well as sailing. 

Beaches

Although not a coastal beach with a sea, there is a holiday resort on the shores of Lake Ypacarai in San Bernadino. Mainly visited by locals, there are some small but pretty beaches around the lake and the water is good for swimming. A few days can easily be spent there with families, relaxing, swimming and enjoying the views.

River Crusies

The novelty of being on a boat can be enough to excite many children, and they will certainly delight at trying to spot as many different plants, flowers and creatures as they can, whilst they sail along one of the lovely rivers of Paraguay. Trips are easy to arrange. A popular section of river cruising is on the fast flowing waters between Asuncion and Concepcion on the country’s namesake river, the Paraguay River.   

Eating

Eating abroad with children can sometimes be a challenge, but Paraguay’s simple and not spicy meals mean that it is easy for everyone to enjoy. Get kids to try different local dishes, and encourage them to be adventurous in their choices. Perhaps get kids to create a list to see how many different Paraguay foods they can eat throughout the trip. Try a variety of different restaurants to make sure that children do not become bored and tired of always eating in the same places.