If you know anything about South America’s geography, you may be scratching your head at the title of this article; Beaches in Paraguay? But Paraguay is landlocked and does not touch the ocean! This is true, but what’s also true is that Paraguay has both lakes and rivers and numerous beautiful beaches to accompany them. Whether you prefer an urban atmosphere or one that is submersed in nature, the beaches of Paraguay are very diverse and cater to a wide range of tourists. No matter where you go, the only Spanish you really need to know is “¿Dónde está la playa?” – Where’s the beach?.
To help you decide where you will most enjoy spending your vacation, here are some of the best beaches in this beautiful country in the heart of South America:
San Jose Beach
The growing popularity of San Jose beach has helped the city of Encarnación maintain its informal title of “Perla del Sur” or Pearl of the South, and this is all thanks to the city’s fairly recent “Costanera” project. In this ongoing development, the city has so far created (as of July 2013) roads, boardwalks and walkways along eight kilometers of its waterfront in order to make the area more accessible to locals and tourists.
Helping form the newly renovated waterfront of Encarnación (which is the capital of the Paraguayan department of Itapúa) is playa San Jose, which you’ll see is part of a wide strip of beaches and boardwalks along the southern side of the Paraná River. These attractions register more than 300,000 visitors each summer, but there’s usually always room for you to set up a beach chair, kick back, and enjoy the beautiful sand, clean water and urban landscape. Oh, and if you visit during Carnaval season, you’ll find plenty of celebrations both on and off the beach.
San Isidro and Mboi ka’e
These somewhat lesser known beaches can be found further down from San Jose, though they still are part of the Costanera project and are also very accessible. They are slightly less commercial and currently do not offer as much entertainment as their more popular neighbor, but they are beautiful and peaceful nonetheless, despite still having an urban vibe.
If you’re looking for something more calm and rustic, consider heading to the department San Pedro. When Paraguay does advertise its beaches, images of the beautiful Laguna Blanca (also called “Rancho Laguna Blanca”) are almost always at the forefront. With calm white sand and mild greenery, clear waters and tall thatched umbrellas for bathers to rest under, it’s hard to beat this peaceful lakeside beach. For those who want to go beyond just relaxing and swimming, kayaks and rowboats are also available. It’s also a great spot for camping.
Before making a beeline for this place, however, you should know that only 100 people are allowed on the beach at a time. This makes for fantastic serenity once you are there, but it does mean that reservations made in advance are necessary. More information about booking a spot can be found at www.lagunablanca.com.py.
“Playa Dorada” is even more secluded than Laguna Blanca, believe it or not. Nevertheless, many adventurous tourists find it to be well worth the trip. Located in the department of Concepción, Dorada beach is near where the Paraguay River and the Apa River meet (in the northeastern part of the country). It is widely considered one of the most isolated beaches in Paraguay, but also one of the best.
La Rotonda Beach
Located in the historic section of the city of San Bernardino (in the department la Cordillera, right on Ypacaraí Lake), La Rotonda is one fun beach. There is a lot to do here for people of all ages, including a ferris wheel, water bicycles (called “pedalitos”), boat and canoe rentals, among much more. La Rotonda also offers some of the best scenery of any of Paraguay’s urban beaches, as it is flanked by green, tree-lined hills topped with eloquently designed buildings.
Since the area it is in has so much else to offer and is one of the country’s biggest tourism centers, the broad, white sand “Playa Paraíso” on the Tebicuary River is great for a day trip or simply a way to wind down after another activity. The nearby town of Villa Florida (in the department of Misiones) has a lot of offer in terms of eco tourism, and it is just up the river from Paradise beach. Directly across from the town (there is a bridge; use route 1), is another beach, Playa Municipal Caapucú. But don’t confuse this smaller, less sandy beach for the sprawling Paradise beach further down.
You can also find great fishing spots all along Villa Florida’s waterfront, as well as places to rent boats for the day.