Located on the banks of the Parana River the Monumento Cientifico Moises Bertoni was formerly owned by Swiss scientist Moises Bertoni who spent over 35 years in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s studying Paraguay’s flora, fauna, and indigenous culture. From this tranquil spot in the Paraguayan wilderness he made several valuable contributions in the realm of the natural sciences. The reserve, known as a scientific monument, is comprised of 199 of the original 10,000 hectares given to Bertoni by the Paraguayan government in 1989 for the formation of an agricultural colony. The land was donated by Bertoni’s descendants in 1955. His large two story former house, situated at a bend in the Parana River, has been turned into a museum with many personal items as well as pieces from his scientific collection (which at one point contained upwards of 40,000 specimens of flora and fauna). From here there is a nice view of the Parana River and you can walk down to the banks of the river. Unfortunately swimming is not permitted due to the strong current. Birds and monkeys can be spotted ducking behind enormous jackfruit (jaka) hanging in the trees along the reserve’s nature trails. The reserve’s natural beauty and lush forest stand in stark contrast to the surrounding soy fields and point to the alarming deforestation suffered in the region. The Monumento Cientifico Moises Bertoni is located in Puerto Bertoni, forty kilometers from Ciudad del Este. It is best to go with a tour or private guide as the access road is unmarked and in poor condition requiring a 4×4 vehicle. Tues-Sun 7:30am-3pm
Dr. Moises Santiago Bertoni (1857 – 1929) is a well known figure in Paraguay. Often refered to as el sabio Moises Bertoni (the wise Moises Bertoni) he is cherished as a foreigner who dedicated much of his life to the study of
Paraguay’s natural environment. This avid environmentalist moved his family from his native Switzerland to Misiones, Argentina in 1884 and in the early 1890’s was given the land that is now Puerto Bertoni by the Paraguayan government to start the Guillermo Tell Colony. He subsequently dedicated the remainder of his life to exhaustive studies of the area’s flora and fauna as well as indigenous inhabitants, making significant contributions to the scientific community. He was called upon by the Paraguayan government to establish the National School of Agriculture and also served as head of the national Department of Agriculture. His extensive study of the Guarani Indians led to the publication of multiple volume work entitled La Civilizacion Guarani (the Guarani Civilization). He disseminated information about his discoveries through aptly named Ex-Sylvis (latin for From the forrest) printing press.
Bertoni is best known for the discovery of ka’a he’e (see Ka’a he’e, Paraguay’s Sweet Spot), the sweet plant used by local indigenous He named the plant Stevia rebaudiana bertoni in honor of his wife, whose maiden name was Rebaud.
Visitors will find Ciudad del Este to be more expensive than the rest of Paraguay, even when compared to Asuncion. There are many lodging options though decent budget hotels are few and far between. If you are uninterested in the commercial sector there is little reason to stay close to the Friendship Bridge (you can always take a quick stroll during the day). Hotels near Avenida Pioneros del Este offer easy access to buses which can take you to nearby sites such as Salto Monday and the Itaipu Hydroelectric plant.
Hotel Austria A favorite among regular visitors to Ciudad del Este. Though rooms are average the hotel is best known for its culinary offerings. The hotel breakfast is extensive by Paraguayan standards and the restaurant specializes in German cuisine. The hotel’s wraparound balcony offers a great view of the river – from up high the area looks quite peaceful. Tel: 061 504 213/4, Calle Emiliano R Fernandez 165 almost at Capitan Emeterio Miranda, www.hotelaustriarestaurante.com, Single Gs. 150,000, Double Gs. 170,000, Triple Gs.
220.000, Wi-Fi, computers with internet, TV, AC, mini-fridge. Restaurant hours Mon-Sat 11am-10pm
Hotel Munich Comparable to Hotel Austria but without the food or views. Tel: 061 500 347, Corner of Emiliano R. Fernandez and Capitan Emeterio Miranda, Single Gs. 150,000, Double Gs. 180,000-190,000, Triple Gs. 220,000, TV, A/C, mini-fridge
Hotel Catedral A bit removed from the commercial sector, Hotel Catedral is one of the cheaper options in Ciudad del Este. Rooms are somewhat depressing though and mattresses can be a little saggy. Tel: 061 502 770, Corner of Pampliega and Avenida Oscar Ortellado, Single Gs.
55,000 -80,000, Double Gs. 80,000, Triple Gs. 100,000, TV, A/C
Hotel Caracol A cheap option around the corner from the more popular and well established hotels Munich and Austria. Rooms are basic but the lobby is nice and has internet access. Tel: 061 504 618, Camilo Recalde 6012 almost at Capitan Miranda, Single Gs. 100,000, Double Gs. 150,000, Triple Gs. 210,000, TV, A/C, mini-fridge
Hotel Mi Abuela Set up in an old house this hotel is cute and has a much more homey feeling than the city’s other hotels. The location, right off Avenida Pioneros del Este is within walking distance of the commercial sector. Rooms are basic but large, many with the building’s original high ceilings. The small interior courtyard includes a few caged monkeys. The cute cafe decorated with old photos serves up affordable daily lunch specials and fast food. Tel: 061 500 333, Avenida Adrian Jara almost at Pioneros del Este (across from Hotel Convair), Single Gs.
120.000, double Gs. 160,000, triple Gs. 200,000, Wi-Fi, TV, AIC
Centro Hotel Despite its location on the outer edges of the commercial sector the ambience in this minimalist and modern hotel is calm. Rooms are on the small side but clean and nicely decorated. Tel: 061 514949, Corner of Avenida Nanawa and Monsenor Rodriguez, www.centrohotel.com.py, Single US$50, double: US$60-70, triple: US$100, Wi-Fi, computers with internet, TV, A/C,
Casablanca Located in the exclusive Parana Country Club (technically in neighboring Hernandarias) this is the most luxurious option around and perhaps the nicest hotel in the whole country. Each room in this large Spanish mission style building is plushly decorated and appointed with high end amenities. The views from the terrace and pool are breathtaking and it is easy to forget you are near one of the largest commercial sectors in the region. Those planning to splurge should remember to include transportation costs to and from Ciudad del Este in their budgets. Tel: 061 572 121, Avenida Botero Norte 69, Parana Country Club, Hernandarias, www.casablancahotel.net, Single US$70 -85, double US$85-100, triple US$100 -115, Wi-Fi, TV, A/C, mini-fridge, pool