The slow and steady flooding of the Zona Baja combined with the construction of a boardwalk (costanera) along the river has made displacement a constant issue among Encarnacion’s marginal population for the past twenty years. A large portion of Encarnacion’s population made their living working in the Zona Baja’s market and few were happy with the prospect of relocating. In addition, distribution of relocation allowances was notoriously uneven – the well connected received large sums early on while the poorer inhabitants of the Zona Baja were not as lucky. Many of the people relocated to neighborhoods created by the EBY (Entidad Binacional Yacyreta) now find themselves stranded in poorly constructed houses far from town in areas serviced infrequently by public transportation. To many, rich and poor, the relocation allowances or indemnizaciones represented the opportunity for free money. Property owners would often negotiate for payouts from the EBY while at the same time making arrangements for family members or even strangers to move in once they were gone. The new inhabitants could then request their own payouts, providing the former inhabitants with a cut. This scam took place on a large scale as well with ringleaders organizing groups of people to move in from all over Paraguay.
A Revitalized Waterfront
Encarnacion is fast becoming one of Paraguay’s hottest summer vacation spots thanks to the Costanera project, inaugurated in 2011. Using funds from the Yacyreta hydroelectric dam the city has created eight kilometers of riverside roads and boardwalks, three kilometers of which are sandy beaches. Currently there are three beaches (Playa San Jose, the most popular, San Isidro and Mboi Ka’e) but the Costanera is projected to be twenty seven kilometers long, so hopefully there will soon be even more places for tourists to enjoy.
Carnaval celebrations take place over four consecutive weekends between the end of January and beginning of March (dates vary each year depending on when Easter falls). Tickets are available from the Secretaria de la Comision de Carnaval (Carnaval Commission) in the ground floor of Encarnacion’s municipal office as well as in Supermercado Espana and Stock supermarkets in Asuncion. Last minute attendees can also get scalped tickets just outside the Sambodromo. Tel: 071 200 928, Mariscal Estigarribia and Padre Kreusser, www. carnaval. com.py, Gs. 5,000 – 60,000
Encarnacion is located 370 kilometers from Asuncion at the southern end of Ruta 1. From the Asuncion bus terminal the Encarnacena and Nuestra Senora de Asuncion (NSA) are the nicest and fastest options with tickets costing approximately Gs. 65,000. They stop less frequently and are therefore harder to pick up along the way on Route 1 but do tend to stop at Carapegua and Villa Florida.
Encarnacion’s bus terminal is very small and crowded – all bus company offices face outwards and there is only a small interior corridor. Most prefer to wait for their buses on the benches surrounding the terminal or in the small restaurants along General Cabanas. Several of the stands across from the terminal offer mate and terere services. In the morning hours there is often a small group of women with large baskets full of yuyos (medicinal herbs) for mate and terere directly behind the stands in the parking lot of the gas station on the corner of Carlos Antonio Lopez and General Cabanas.
Encarnacion is small city easily manageable on foot. Taxi services are available or you can take a ride in a traditional karumbe horse drawn cart – Encarnacion is one of the few cities in Paraguay that keeps up this tradition. These are available at both the bus terminal and the Plaza de Armas (14 de Mayo and Carlos Antonio Lopez). Alternatively, you can rent a car from Localiza.
Localiza Tel 071 204 097, 071 203 025, Corner of Avenida Irrazabal (Rt 6) and Petronilio Zayas, www.localiza.com.py, Mon-Fri 7am-6:30pm, Sat 8am-12pm
Senatur Tourism Information Office Tel: 0985 794 595, Mariscal Estigarribia between Curupayty and Monsenor Wiessen as well as the Customs building at the border crossing, Daily 7am-5pm
Koad Turismo Based out of Bella Vista, Koati Turismo offers tours of the Jesuit ruins, trips to the area’s yerba mate factories, San Rafael and, Iguazu Falls. Tel: 0767 240 696, 0985 725 530, Corner of Avenida Samaniego and 12 de Octubre as well as a small office in Hotel Papillon, on Facebook, email@example.com
Fauna Paraguay Based out of Encarnacion, Paul Smith specializes in wildlife and birding tours throughout the country. As the author of several travel guides he has in-depth knowledge of Paraguay’s fauna, flora and culture. Tours all over the country with a special emphasis on nature observation. Tel: 071 207 043, 0985 746 866 but it is better to contact him via email at faunaparaguay@yahoo. com. ar, www.faunaparaguay. com/tours. html,
There are several lodging options in Encarnacion, most cater to traveling salesmen who come to Encarnacion to do business – as a result most are pretty basic. As a general rule of thumb it is best to avoid hotels close to the university as the streets become cruise spots at night with cars and motorcycles driving noisily back and forth. There are nicer, more scenic options along Route 6 heading north to Ciudad del Este (see Lodging Along Route 6). Their natural surroundings, combined with the proximity to the Jesuit Ruins of Jesus and Trinidad make them more appealing options to those who don’t feel like spending much time in Encarnacion itself. Note all area hotels fill up quickly during Carnaval season and some may raise their rates.
Hotel Germano This family owned hotel directly across from the bus terminal is the best bet for those on a budget – rooms are very basic but clean. Breakfast is not included. Cheaper options have shared bathrooms and do not include heat or A/C. Tel: 071 203 346, General Cabanas 488 almost at Carlos Antonio Lopez just across from the bus terminal. Gs. 40,000-60,000 per person.
Encarnacion Map Paraguay Photo Gallery
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