20 Fun Facts About Paraguay That Will Surprise You
Paraguay is an intriguing South American country with a rich history and vibrant culture. Though small, this landlocked nation packs a punch when it comes to unique attractions, traditions and little-known trivia.
Let’s dive into these 20 fascinating and fun facts about Paraguay!
1. Paraguay is the only country where wild jaguars roam free outside of a designated wildlife reserve. These big cats prowl the verdant Atlantic Forest region.
2. With several massive hydroelectric power plants, Paraguay generates so much clean energy that it exports over 90% of it. That makes Paraguay the world’s 4th largest exporter of hydroelectricity.
3. The magnificent Pantanal, planet Earth’s largest tropical wetland, sprawls partly across Paraguay. It’s a sanctuary for rare birds, stunning plants and cheeky capybaras.
4. Landlocked Paraguay is the only mainland country in South America without direct access to the ocean. Despite this, Paraguay still has a navy that patrols its major rivers!
5. Paraguay is home to the planet’s second largest operational hydroelectric dam by energy output – the mighty Itaipú Dam on its border with Brazil.
6. Over 40% of Paraguayan land is blanketed in lush forests teeming with wildlife. It has one of the highest rates of forest cover in all South America.
7. The capybara, world’s largest living rodent species weighing up to 66kg, inhabits rivers and wetlands across Paraguay in great numbers.
8. Paraguay is South America’s only officially bilingual country. Over 87% of the population speaks fluent Guarani as well as Spanish.
9. Built in 1858 to transport troops during Paraguay’s war against Brazil, a 29km railway from Asunción to Trinidad was Latin America’s first railway system.
10. Extensive ruins of Jesuit missions in Paraguay comprise the largest collection of Jesuit architecture of their kind on Earth.
11. Paraguay hosts South America’s only national park spotlighting the Jesuit Missions that brought Christianity and agriculture to indigenous tribal communities.
12. The frothing, naturally carbonated Ybycuí fountain gushes out of the ground at over 11,000 liters per second, making it the largest fountain of its kind on Earth.
13. Paraguay devotes an entire national park to commemorating the brutal 1932-1935 Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia over the arid Gran Chaco region that cost over 100,000 lives.
14. Folk pop band Los Paraguayos who sing in a mix of Spanish and Guarani hold the Guinness Record for best selling music artists in Paraguayan history.
15. Soaring over 200 meters into the clouds, the mammoth sandstone plateau Cerro León near Puerto Pinasco is one of the tallest freestanding natural monoliths on the planet.
16. Paraguay observes a public holiday on December 8th for the Feast of the Virgin of Caacupé honoring its patron saint housed in the Basilica of Caacupé north of Asunción.
17. Founded in 1537, Paraguay’s capital Asunción is considered the oldest permanent settlement in South America by some historians and is nicknamed “Mother of Cities”.
18. Paraguay is home to Latin America’s only national park dedicated to commemorating the Paraguayan War of Independence against Spanish rule and the heroes like José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia who led the struggle.
19. Giant river otters, hyacinth macaws and lowland tapirs are protected in Paraguay’s Pantanal National Park spanning 408,000 acres of wildlife-rich wetland on the Brazil border.
20. Glacial melt from an extinct volcano filled the ancient Ybycuí caldera to form Lake Ypacaraí, Paraguay’s largest natural lake celebrated for its beauty and biodiversity.
From mighty waterfalls and wetlands vibrant with wildlife to ancient ruins and intriguing history, Paraguay offers adventurous travelers no shortage of pleasant surprises.
Which of these fun facts about Paraguay fascinated you the most? Let us know in the comments!