We’ll be frank. Asunción doesn’t have a whole host of must-see attractions, at least compared to other regional capitals such as Buenos Aires or Rio. Nevertheless, this charming capital is a pleasant place for intrepid travelers keen to get off the beaten track, not least for its attractive array of leafy parks and plazas. Here are the best in town.
Plaza de la Democracia
As Paraguay’s most important plaza, La Democracia has been the focal point of protests and uprisings throughout the country’s turbulent history. Numerous grand colonial buildings flank each side, while many more
can be found just a brisk walk away.
A mammoth 2013 renovation reinvigorated Asunción’s decaying Costanera, transforming it into a picturesque waterfront boulevard where locals can enjoy the sunset over the winding Rio Paraguay. Despite not strictly being a park or plaza, it’s by far the best place in town to rollerblade or cycle on a warm summer’s afternoon.
Plaza Infante Rivarola
Occupying an enviable position in the heart of the city’s most upmarket neighborhood, this leafy Villa Mora plaza is a popular spot for locals to relax in between visiting nearby shopping malls
and restaurants. Don’t be surprised to stumble across a buzzing artisan fair or perhaps even an impromptu outdoor theatre performance.
Parque Carlos Antonio Lopez
Despite being built over the top of a wartime cemetery, Carlos Antonio Lopez Park is the best place in the city center for outdoor recreation. Facilities include a football pitch, woodland hiking trails, and bike paths, although plenty of locals come here just to unwind and socialize with friends. Best give it a wide birth at night though, because it’s lacking adequate security and lighting.
A favorite with local fitness fanatics, the shady Parque Seminario is packed full of walkers and joggers almost every day of the week. An adjacent Catholic church receives plenty of worship, while large ticketed concerts are often held here at night during the summer.
Jardin Botanico y Zoologico
To the north of the center lies the Botanical Gardens and Zoo, the biggest open green space in the city. These massive grounds hold multiple different zones including a small zoo, some lush gardens with lengthy well-maintained hiking trails, a worthwhile national history museum, and even an 18-hole golf course.
Plaza de Armas
Newcomers to the city might be surprised to see its Plaza de Armas so far down the list. After all, this is the city’s main square and the theoretical epicenter of its social scene. Sadly, in Asunción, this just isn’t the case, as its Plaza de Armas can best be described as a decrepit, rubbish-strewn ghetto overrun by destitute addicts. As much as we hate to say it, in Asunción it’s best to give the main plaza a miss.