Travel to Paraguay

For those intrigued by the delicate designs, Nanduti, encaje Paraguayo by Annick Sanjurjo is an excellent resource. The book includes interviews with artisans, a history of nanduti and an impressive catalog of dechados including many that are no longer made due to their level of difficulty. www.nandutilace.com is the accompanying website (in English and Spanish).

Museo San Rafael

Run by the town church parish this small museum has a nice collection of antique nanduti pieces as well as an exhibit displaying the process of making nanduti and several examples of dechados. There are displays of religious statues and colonial artifacts but the nanduti is the star. Of particular beauty is a pink and white dress of whisper thin hilo fino. Tel: 0294 220 415, directly behind the Iglesia Nuestra Senora del Rosario, Mon-Fri 7:30am-10:45am, 2pm-5pm, Sat 7:30am-11:30am Casa Nidia

Though this store is further from the center, it is worth a visit due to owner Graciela’s passion for nanduti. Graciela is a nanduti artisan herself and employs several local women to help make traditional nanduti creations. Graciela is happy to share with her visitors, the art of nanduti, from the technique to the obstacles artisans face and the joys of seeing nanduti sell well at overseas handicraft fairs. If you are in Paraguay for an extended period of time Graciela can make custom pieces as well. However, it is important to check in often and expect delays, especially due to inclement weather (it is harder to stitch the thread when there is lots of humidity). Tel: 0981 255 062, km 29 on the right-hand side if coming from Asuncion about 200 meters past the Bahia gas station, the store has a dark green awning. Daily 7am-6pm though it is best to call ahead of time as Graciela may be out selling her products Casa Antonia

Casa Antonia is a nicely organized store with an extremely large selection of nanduti, as well as other handicrafts. Their specialty is crafting custom dresses, and while these may not be practical for the tourist just passing through they make for fun window shopping. Tel: 0294 220 384, 0982 122 592, 0971 102 911, Rt 2 km 29.5 with a large white sign and tall glass showcase on the right-hand side if coming from Asuncion, Mon-Sat 7am-5pm, credit cards accepted Instituto Paraguayo de Artesania – Filial Itagua

The newly constructed branch of the Paraguayan Institute of Handicrafts has a nice selection of nanduti for sale in the main display room Upstairs, local artisans participate in three-month long courses on the art of nanduti. Tourists interested in witnessing nanduti making are encouraged to stop by the nanduti workshops held from 1:00pm to 3pm Monday through Saturdays. There are samples of high-end nanduti table linens as well as kitschy items like Barbies in nanduti dresses and shirts with a nanduti Playboy bunny. Rt 2 (here called Mariscal Estigarribia) almost Palma, the IPA is a multi-story orange, blue and white building on the left-hand side if coming from Asuncion. Mon-Fri 7am-5pm, Sat 7am-3pm Aregua

It’s not every day you can visit a town where the streets are lined with cartoonish ceramic piggy banks and vendors hang out on corners hawking heaping trays of sugar-dusted jelly donuts. An easy day trip from Asuncion, Aregua has managed to maintain its tranquil small town feel infused with a unique quirkiness thanks to its artistically inclined population. Aregua, the capital of the Central department, has long been a haven for Paraguay’s renowned artists. The town has a number of cultural centers where locally made ceramics are on display and frequent cultural events take place. Stroll past the art galleries and old manors lining the town’s cobblestone streets down to the banks of Lake Ypacaraf where canoe rides are available for Gs. 15,000. Or enjoy the landscape from above by heading to the town church whose hilltop location offers one of the best views available of Lake YpacaraL

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