The town of San Bernardino was founded by German immigrants in the late 1800’s and named after then President General Bernardino Caballero. This tranquil lakeside community soon became popular as a summer getaway for Asuncion’s elite. Throughout the high season (December to February as well as Easter week) the cobblestone streets of San Ber (as it is often nicknamed) are crowded with people.
Because this town is considered seasonal many bars, restaurants and nightclubs are only open during the summer months. However, there are still some famous spots that remain open year round. Bollos (jelly donuts) from the Confiteria Alemana and afruti cream (part frozen juice part ice cream) from La Casita del Helado are a must-try no matter what time of year it is. During summer weekends, young crowds (some vacationing in San Ber, others driving in from Asuncion) hit the nightclubs till the wee hours of the morning.
Recuerdos del Ypacarai
Recuerdos de Ypacarai is perhaps the most famous song to come out of Paraguay. Throughout the song a lovelorn man reminisces about a beautiful Guarani woman he fell in love with at the lake’s edge. Written by Demetrio Ortiz and Maria Teresa Marquez the song has been covered by international stars like Julio Iglesias and Caetano Veloso. This song is particularly beautiful when played on the harp and guitar and is always a good choice to request of Paraguayan musicians.
Even when it’s crowded San Bernardino is a very pleasant town to walk around in thanks to its old manors, tree lined cobblestone streets, and, of course, the lake. The lake’s highly questionable water quality does not stop people of all ages from taking a dip, jet skiing, and paddle boating around.
Playa la Rotonda
Extending between Mariscal Lopez and Defensores del Chaco this grassy beach is quite popular. There are all types of vendors selling chipa, bollos and even handicrafts. Two person paddle boats are available for Gs. 20,000 for half an hour and there are also flat bottomed boats that will do a twenty-minute excursion on the lake for Gs. 50,000 per group.
Closer to the entrance to town is the Playa Ciclova. From here it is a pleasant walk to the Plaza Defensores del Chaco where a crafts fair takes place during the summer.
Museum/Centro Cultural Hotel del Lago
See Hotel del Lago in the following Lodging section.
San Bernardino Map Paraguay Photo Gallery
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