Known as la ciudad mas limpia del Paraguay (Paraguay’s cleanest city) Atyra is an attractive hill top town. Wander through the town’s two plazas down to the Indio Jose pedestrian walkway (Peatonal Indio Jose) where you can admire the leather crafts for which the town is known. Artisans use metal stamps to decorate leather purses, shoes, wallets, and, of course, terere thermoses. For a bit of history pop into the town’s church and admire the original carved wooden altarpiece (if the church is not open you can knock on the door of the Casa Parroquial on the left-hand corner from the front of the church). And for the best view from upon high head to the fancy Casa del Monte retreat built into a hillside overlooking town. For a tour of town contact the Municipal office or Gustavo
Villalba at 0981 336 420.
Sidebar: Atyra means meeting place in Guarani and is yet another word in which the y is pronounced as if it were a u.
Every year Atyra’s leatherwork artisans gather in stands around the town plaza to showcase their wares. There are occasional leather work demonstrations as well as performances by local bands and dance groups. The event takes place in the town plaza over several days in late September and coincides with celebrations surrounding the town’s patron saint, St. Francisco de Asis.
Complejo Marianela Atyra
Built by Italian priests this impressive religious complex is mostly used for religious retreats but open to visitors who come to enjoy the serene grounds and intricately decorated buildings. Local artisans worked alongside foreign artists to create the complex’s murals, oil paintings and wood carvings. Lunch is served on Sundays and goods such as honey, Italian olive oil and very high quality terere thermoses are on sale. Tel: 0982 101 933, 0972 289 443, if starting at the town church walk behind the church and then take a left for three and a half blocks (you will pass the town cemetery on your left), 7am-12pm, 1pm-5pm Lodging
Casa del Monte Located on a hilltop overlooking Atyra and Lake Ypacaraf in the distance Casa del Monte offers one of the nicest views around. The hotel’s restaurant and many rooms are built into the side of the hill and connected by stone paths that wind through the trees (not for the weak kneed). The grounds include a large terrace with a pool, volleyball and soccer courts, a cute duck pond, and a small aviary. Though removed from the town it is worth the journey. The restaurant’s service can be hit or miss but the food is generally tasty. Tel: 0520 20069, 0516 250 050, throughout town you will see signs pointing in the direction of Casa del Monte which is about two kilometers away, once at the outskirts of town you will pass the Complejo Marianela on your left and continue uphill – the road is rocky and uneven at times but a 4×4 is not necessary. Follow the signs which will lead you uphill and to your right, if traveling by public transportation the hotel will pick you up in town for a fee or arrange for a taxi, www.casadelmonte.com.py, food Gs. 20,000-40,000, room rates: doubles Gs. 360,000, triples
The turn off to Atyra is located at km 47 of the westbound lane of Route 2, by the Cruz del Peregrino, a large white cement cross which marks the official entrance to Caacupe. If you are coming from Asuncion you will have to overshoot the cross and double back. As the turn off curves right you will pass the Taiwanese Expo Flora on the left. Atyra can also be reached via dirt road from both Tobati and Altos.
Both the Atyra and San Vicente buses leave approximately every half hour from Asuncion’s bus terminal, Gs. 6,800.
Atyra Map Paraguay Photo Gallery
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