Encarnación is the most southern city of Paraguay and often called The pearl of the South.
Encarnación is a short jaunt on a local bus across the river from Posadas, Argentina. A shopping destination for many Argentines availing themselves of the lower taxes and prices, Encarnación is a pleasant, modern and relaxed city. The nearby Jesuit Missions of La Santisima Trinidad de Parana and Jesus de Tavarangue near Encarnación are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Ciudad del Este stopping at all towns including Trinidad for the Jesuit Mission take about 6 hr and costs GS.60,000.
- Asuncion take about 7 hr. Tickets cost GS.70,000 and the buses pass by San Ignacio Guazú (3 hr).
- Posadas in Argentina Local buses labelled "Internacional", white in colour, depart from several stops in Posadas' centre, all along Calle Entre Rios. They leave regularly, about two per hour. Tickets are AR$6. The bus will drop you off at the Argentinian passport office, and wait for you to re-board. It will cross the bridge, then leave you at the Paraguayan passport office. Unless you are quick, the bus will move on without you, but you can wait and catch the next one (keep your ticket stub!) instead of paying the exorbitant taxi fees. Bus will drop you at the terminal in Encarnación.
- 1 Estación Internacional de Pasajeros (a few hundred meters from the bridge, south of city center). A railway shuttle service connects Encarnación to Posadas, Argentina, across the bridge over the Río Paraná. This service departs every 30 minutes during the day and reduces travel time to just over ten minutes.
Encarnación is fairly compact, in as much as there isn't a lot to see outside the easily walkable centre. Buses are infrequent, each ride costs around GS.2,500. There are several taxi stands near the plaza and the bus station, should you wish to go further afield.
- 1 Casa de la Cultura.
- 2 Plaza de Armas. Greenspace with a Japanese garden (of sorts) and stele and presentation of flags.
- 3 Catedral de Encarnación.
- 4 Orthodox Church (St. Nicolas). Notable for its Cyrillic inscriptions.
- 1 San Jose Beach (Playa San José), End of Curupayty, along the river. The small, artificial beach in Encarnación is surprisingly pleasant. You can stretch out in the sun and soak up the rays, imagining you are at the coast; there is a slight breeze, and the river is wide. You can even go for a dip - apparently it is quite clean and safe. OK for the kids too, as it is not very deep. Yellow buoys separate bathers from jet-skis and boats. Also has a corniche called the Costanera De Encarnación that extends to the north and south ends of the city. If you get hungry, the Hiroshima Grill restaurant has a small outlet on the beach selling snacks and sushi. Free.
- 2 Mboi Kae Beach, ☏ . Another beach along the Parana River.
- 3 Mini Zoo del Juan XXIII, ☏ . A small zoo. Sadly, the animals like the leopard are in pretty small cages.
- 4 , Av. Irrazabal, ☏ . A Paraguayan casino, with a restaurant and hotel.
Unless you're going to Ciudad del Este, the cheapest place to buy just about anything, Encarnación would be a good spot to pick up consumer goods, especially electronics. Lower taxes and consequently lower prices than Argentina.
- Hiroshima Grill, Corner 25 de Mayo and Lomas Valentinas (Enter through the car park), ☏ . Opens 19:00, 20:00 some nights. Great Japanese food. Good value set meals. Sushi is quite cheap. Looks a little spartan, but the food and service are good. Mains GS.20,000-90,000, other mostly around GS.50,000.
- Las Papas Belgas, Avenida Caballero c/ lomas valentina. Authentic Belgian burgers and fries. Excellent service, friendly, English and French-speaking staff and a beer garden. Mains GS.20,000-50,000..
- Habib’s, Av Irrazábal north of Calle Curupayty, ☏ . 16:00-24:00. A mix of Lebanese and Paraguayan, they cook chicken or beef on a shwarma and wrap it in flatbread. Seating outside and also offer curbside service. Quick and tasty. Lomito Arabe GS.18,000.
Cold beers available pretty much anywhere.
- La Casa de Pedro Hostal, Cerro Cora 552 (One block south and half a block east of the plaza de armas.), ☏ . Friendly owners can help you find your way around town and know the area well. Front door may not always be attended so you may have to call number above. dm/s GS.50,000/80,000(without breakfast).
- 1 / Hostel Colonial, ☏ , , email@example.com. Also offers camping opportunities. However, the staff is not very helpful and can be a little cold, watching their smartphone all the day. Dorm: GS.55,000/70,000 without/with breakfast.
- 2 Hotel Parana, Mcal. Estigarribia 1414 (Just beyond the plaza, coming from the bus station side of town), ☏ . A really good option, steps away from the plaza. Supermarket just down the street, ice cream shop across the road, Karumbé restaurant 20 seconds walk, ATMs around the corner. Nice bread, jam and fresh coffee and fruit juice for breakfast - served by a man in a tux! Hotel is clean and in good condition; some rooms could do with painting, but they are by no means dirty. Staff are helpful, and rather sweet - one was amazed to have foreign guests that spoke some Spanish. Rooms have WiFi (router upstairs , cleverly) and TV. GS.100,000 for double with fan; rooms are available with fridges and air con.
- 3 Hotel Cristal, Mcal. Estigarribia 1157 (with Cerro Corá, in the centre), ☏ . It's a hotel that has seen its best days, but it's still not bad. A little overpriced for the quality perhaps, but the lady working there is really lovely. GS.150,000 for a double (TV, incl. breakfast).
- 4 De la Costa Hotel, Avda. Rodriguez de Francia No. 1240, ☏ . Very expensive for Paraguay, but also a very, very up-market hotel. Air-con, WiFi, television, fridge. Nice building, and close to the "beach". Friendly, English speaking staff. GS.174,000 for a single, GS.348,000 for a double.
- 5 De la Trinidad Hotel, Mariscal Estigarribia esquina Jorge Memmel (At edge of downtown, one block from bus terminal), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Double from US$72.
- See the Jesuit Missions
Always buy your ticket in the offices, not from the guys outside. Some of them are genuine, but others will overcharge or sell tickets for non-existent buses.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Brazil – International buses serve these destinations.
- Posadas, Argentina – The local bus costs GS.9,000 (as of May 2018), takes an hour and bus driver will drop you at the passport control from both Paraguayan and Argentine sides. If you are too slow just keep the bus ticket and take the next one.