Villarrica Map Paraguay

Known as the Ciudad Culta (cultured city), Villarrica has been home to many of Paraguay’s artists, from musicians Felix Perez Cardozo to poets Natalicio Talavera, Manuel Ortiz Guerrero, and award winning authors Agusto Roa Bastos and Helio Vera. Villarrica’s cultural streak continues today with the presence of several large universities. The students lend the city a youthful energy which reaches its apex during the Carnavales Guairenos, when costumed performers in glitter and feathers parade down the carnaval circuit to the energetic samba drum beats and applause from visiting crowds.

Thanks to its various plazas and parks, and nearby rural areas Villarrica is one of Paraguay’s most pleasant midsized cities. It has the amenities of an urban area – various restaurants and hotels – as well as the charms of more rural areas – neighborhoods laid out along red dirt roads on the outskirts of town and the proximity of natural attractions such as waterfalls.

Take a walk or ride a traditional horse drawn karumbe around town enjoying the city’s many nicely maintained colonial style houses, as well as the old train station (now defunct) and large sugar factory just where the town gets more rural. Stroll through the town plaza to the museum, one of the best in the countryside, and then head to the charming Ykua Pyta park, whose lagoon is home to a friendly family of capybaras. And stick around as night falls to see the modern and young side of Villarrica as the streets and bars fill with university students. From Villarrica the towns of Yataity and Colonia Independencia, as well as the attractions of the Cordillera de Ybyturuzu (see Cordillera de Ybytyruzu) are easily accessed, both by car and bus. Its status as capital of the department of Guaira and large student population mean Villarrica has several lodging and eating options for every budget, as well as several bars and nightclubs.

The Wandering City

The city of Villarrica (officially Villarrica del Espiritu Santo) was founded in 1570. Due to constant threats from Brazilian slave traders (see Missions Under Attack) the city was forced to move a total of seven times until it came to its present location in 1690. This nomadic history earned Villarrica the nickname “la andariega” (the wanderer), fact which is commemorated by the monument with seven plaques in the city’s Plaza Libertad.

Riding a Karumbe

Villarrica is one of two towns in Paraguay known for its karumbe or horse drawn taxis (the other being Encarnacion). Karumbe’s seat two people comfortably (with a bit of space for backpacks) and taking a ride in a colorful karumbe is a fun way to tour the city. Most of the karumbes are located in front of the bus station. Some will even approach you offering tours – pick someone charismatic you feel you will be able to communicate well with to make the most of your tour. Karumbes run about Gs. 15,000 per hour but you can also agree on a fixed price ahead of time for a tour – make sure it includes the park, old train station and the sugar factory.

Ykua Pyta/Parque Manuel Ortiz Guerrero

One of the highlights of Villarrica is a visit to the Ykua Pyta park. A mere three blocks from the main avenue this park takes up two full blocks. There is a nice walking path that winds around the large artificial lake, home to a family of capybaras (carpinchos in Spanish). These tame and mild mannered creatures are so used to people that they will waddle right up to you (most likely expecting to be fed). Get close and sit still to hear their strange chattering noises. The park has many benches from which to enjoy the view as well as a municipal pool and tennis courts for those who want to be more active. The park is formally named the Parque Manuel Ortiz Guerrero in honor of the guaireno poet and musician. Alongside the lake there is a pretty sculpture and fountain inspired by his poem Panambi Vera (Brilliant Butterfly).

Manuel Ortiz Guerrero

Born in Villarrica on the 16th of July of 1897, poet, musician and playwright Manuel Ortiz Guerrero is one of the city’s most celebrated artists. His name may be unfamiliar to most foreigners but stick around long enough and you are sure to hear his influence on Paraguay’s cultural scene. Guerrero was friends with well-known Paraguayan musician and composer Jose Asuncion Flores who set many of Guerrero’s poems to music. Today the result of their collaboration is several songs which are now part of the canon of Paraguayan folkloric music including India Panambi Vera, and Paraguaype.

AFSA-Azucarera Friedman

Founded in 1910 Azucarera Friedman is one of Paraguay’s oldest sugar factories. As you approach you’ll see large trucks piled high with sugar cane from nearby fields (in smaller outfits the sugar cane is transported by ox-cart). Tours of the factory can be requested at the front office. Though they are not always granted it is worthwhile for people interested in agriculture and manufacturing. Tel: 0541 42305, Corner of General Duarte and Constitution, www.afsa.com.py

Train Station

Historically Villarrica played an important role as a transportation hub for logging and yerba mate industries. The train station was key for transporting goods both east towards Asuncion and south west to Encarnacion. Sadly, there are few remnants of the trains and tracks, most having been pillaged for sale as scrap metal. Although there is no longer much going on at the old train station the scenery is quite nice and the ride out is a reminder that even in Paraguay’s larger towns a people are living a

rural lifestyle only a few blocks from the center of town.

Museo Municipal Maestro Fermin Lopez

The Museo Municipal Maestro Fermin Lopez is one of the country’s nicest museums outside of Asuncion. The museum’s exhibits cover all aspects of Villarrica’s history, with artifacts from the original indigenous inhabitants including a canoe carved from an enormous tree trunk, to those of the city’s founding fathers. As with all Paraguayan museums there are relics from both the Chaco and Triple Alliance War as well. Displays are well-done with lots of explanatory text (unfortunately only in Spanish, but still a rarity amongst most museums). The final room is dedicated to the life of local poet Manuel Ortiz Guerrero (also honored with a sculpture in the Ykua Pyta park). The building dates from 1842 and played a significant role throughout Villarrica’s history as the area’s main school. It is named after Triple Alliance War hero Maestro Fermin Lopez who trained his students to fight as soldiers in the tragic battles of Piribebuy and Acosta Nu (see Los Ninos Martires de Acosta Nu). Tel: 0541 41521, corner of Natalicio Talavera and Juan Pablo II behind the cathedral. Mon-Fri 7am-5pm (guided tours in Spanish till noon), Sat 8am-12pm Iglesia de Ybaroty

Of the two churches in town this is the most interesting due to its unusual red stone fafade construction. Worth peaking in if it’s open but the view from the outside is the most interesting. Anasagasti between Aquidaban and Manuel Ortiz Guerrero, one block from the Plaza Ybaroty towards the entrance to town Ita Letra

Of the Cordillera Ybytyruzu’s attractions this is the closest to Villarrica (see The Cordillera de Ybytyruzu).

Carnaval Guaireno

Villarrica is well known for its traditional Carnaval Guaireno held over the course of several weekends each February and March. While not quite as big as Encarnacion’s carnaval it is still a big production and lots of fun drawing revelers from all over the country. Usually the carnaval route is set up on General Diaz which passes by the church, main plaza and Gobernacion building. The whole city becomes a party but for a good view of the costume clad samba dancers it is worth buying a seat in the stands. Prices vary depending where along the route you want to sit as well as what day you are buying tickets for. There are some general sections (graderia) that are cheaper but seats are on a first come first serve basis. To buy tickets contact the Municipal Office (see Quick Referece for listings).

Curious to see what the Carnaval Guaireno looks like? The website www.gua-i.com.py has several year’s worth of Carnaval Guaireno photos posted.

Festival de la Raza

This yearly music festival draws musicians from all over the country to Villarrica to show off their talents in the packed indoor Estadio Ykua Pyta (next to the Ykua Pyta park). Generally held the second week of October.

Primera Ciudad Digital

In 2010 Villarrica became the first city in Paraguay to offer free 24 hour Wi-Fi service in public spaces. The move to offer Wi-Fi in plazas and boardwalks has been copied by other cities such as Ciudad del Este and Encarnacion. Villarrica’s Wi-Fi hotspots are in the Plaza de los Heroes and the Plaza Libertad.

Tours

Karumbe Xtreme Karumbe Xtreme is an association of guides specialized in the department of Guaira. They are your best option for seeing Guaira’s natural beauty if you don’t have a car or do not want to pay the extra expense to take a tour from Asuncion. The association offers guided tours of Villarrica and trips to the waterfalls of Colonia Independencia, Ita Letra, the peaks of the Cordillera Ybytyruzu. They also specialize in extreme sports and many of these trips can include an element of trekking and rappelling. Though some guides may be available on the spot it is best to try to coordinate with them a day in advance (see Guided Tours, for more advice on hiring independent guides). Tel: 0983 453 821, www.karumbe-xtreme.es.tl,

www. actiweb. es/karumbe-xtreme

Lodging

Hotel Ybytyruzu Villarrica’s oldest and most established hotel the Hotel Ybytyruzu is located in the middle of the action just blocks from the bus terminal, main plaza and Ykua Pyta park. Rooms are clean and neat though a tad small and the hotel’s restaurant has an extensive menu and high quality food. Tel: 0541 42390, 054140844, 0541 41507, corner of Carlos A. Lopez and Dr. Bottrel, www.hotelybytyruzu.com, Single Gs. 120,000, Double Gs. 200,000, Triple Gs.

260,000. Wi-Fi, TV, A/C

Hotel Restaurant Zum Stadtmusikant A little off beat (starting with their quirky logo) this centrally located hotel has a homey feel and a lot of personality. Rooms are cute and spacious and open out onto a nice covered corridor. In lieu of a guestbook they allow you to sign on the wall. Staff is very friendly and the German owners can help organize tours of Villarrica and surrounding areas as well as Iguazu Falls and can even arrange for a transfer by private taxi from the Asuncion airport. The hotel restaurant has lunchtime buffet of German and Paraguayan food from 11:30-3:00, pastries and sweets from 3:00 on and then serves food a la carte from 8pm on. Often have internationally themed weeks such as Indian week or Italian week and there is outdoor seating so you can watch the city buzz by. Tel: 0541 41444, Gregorio Benitez 767 and Mariscal Estigarribia just past the Supermercado Herrero supermarket, www.zum-stadtmusikant.de, Gs. 65,000 per person (does not include breakfast which costs Gs. 15,000), TV, A/C, Wi-Fi, pool. Restaurant Tue-Thu 11am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am-2am, Sun 11am-6pm, Gs.

15,000-30,000

Hotel Rowil A cheap and basic option at the entrance to town, Hotel Rowil caters mostly to students. Rooms are colorful but kind of haphazard looking. In the same 2-story white and blue building as Rowil Music store. Tel: 0541 42852, Pat Anagasti and Jose Asuncion Flores, Single Gs. 50,000 with fan, Gs. 60-70,000 with A/C, Double Gs. 60,000 with fan, Gs. 70,000 with A/C

Villarrica Palace Hotel This surprisingly large hotel is Villarrica’s fanciest lodging option, though lacking a little in the cleanliness and personality departments. Rooms are nice and spacious. Its location on the outskirts of towns means it is not the best option for those without private transportation. Adjoining restaurant Adelia has decent meals. Tel: 0541 43048, 0541 42832, 021 595 541, corner of Route 8 and Rio Apa at the entrance to town, www.sosahoteles.com, Single Gs. 135,000, Double Gs. 220,000-275,000, Triple 330,000. WiFi, TV, A/C, pool

Hotel Paiso A quiet option on the outskirts of town this small German-run hotel has a lot of

character and nice grounds. Rooms are spacious and nicely decorated. The owners offer guided tours as well as car rentals (which, handily, include a cell phone to take along) for those who want to explore on their own. Breakfast does not come included although the restaurant offers a wide variety of options including oatmeal and omelets (a rarity in Paraguay). The extensive menu’s lunch and dinner offerings including burgers, salads and German dishes. Great ambience with every possible surface occupied by what must be the largest collection of functioning cuckoo clocks in Paraguay. Tel: 0541 40262, 0982 797 158, 0981 243 805, Rt 8 km 168 about five kilometers before the entrance to Villarrica if coming from Coronel Oviedo, www.hotel-paraiso.de, Single Gs. 80,000, Double Gs. 120,000, Triple Gs. 160,000, TV, AC, mini-fridge, Wi-Fi, pool. Mon-Thu 12pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-6pm, Gs. 20,000-35,000

Restaurants

La Tranquera A well established restaurant specializing in meats served on personal table top mini-grills. Take a break from chowing down to get your photo taken with the large sculptures of Paraguayan Indians. Nice ambience and good service. Tel: 0541 42185, down Avenida Espana just across the tracks from the old train station, Tue-Sat 7:30pm-12am, Sun 11am-3pm. Gs.

40,000-60,000

Lovati Pizza Even in Paraguay college students go hand in hand with pizzerias. Lovati Pizza has delicious pizzas cooked a la piedra on a pizza stone. The key when ordering is to stick to the thin crust (masa fina) and ask for it to be cooked crocante (otherwise it tends to be undercooked). The menu also includes burgers and fries Tel: 0541 43682, General Diaz almost at Dr. Botrell, daily 7pm-12pm, Gs. 18,000-35,000

DanyKar One of Villarrica’s most popular fast food options, Danykar’s patrons regularly spill out onto the sidewalk across from the Plaza de los Heroes. Villarrica’s top spot for people-watching. If they’re too full head next door to Pizzeria El Mana. Tel: 0541 41648, Coronel Bogado between Mariscal Lopez and Mariscal Estigarribia across from the Plaza de los Heroes, daily 11am-3pm, 6pm-1am, Gs. 10,000-20,000

Supermercado Herrero Your basic supermarket buffet options with the added benefit of a cyber cafe. Tel: 0541 42 587, corner of Gregorio Benitez and Mariscal Estigarribia, Mon-Sat 6:30am-9pm, Sun 6:30am-12pm, Gs. 5,000-20,000

El Cortijo An unassuming restaurant with surprisingly good meals. The menu consists of mostly pastas and meat dishes. After your meal take a stroll around the Plaza de los Comuneros and check out the unique looking Iglesia de Ybaroty just down the street. Tel: 0541 42542, 0981 867 745, corner of Pat Carlos Anasagasti and Aquidaban (underneath the Hotel Asuncion), daily 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm, Gs. 20,000-30,000

Santa Ana This small restaurant near the bustling Villarrica bus terminal has the town’s cheapest good eats. Rotisserie chickens (pollo al espiedo) with rice are a favorite and there are other Paraguayan diner food classics as well. G. Benitez between the bus terminal and Supermercado Herrero, 8am-5pm, Gs. 7,000-12,000

Mercado Villarrica On Friday mornings local farmers set up stands with their produce in front of the Plaza Libertad. Stop by to have some freshly made mbeju and fresh brewed cocido. General Diaz between Juan Pablo II and Alejo Garcia, Fri 5am-12pm

Bars & Clubs

VIP (Villarrica International Pub) This swanky bar’s mint green exterior gives way to all wood interiors filled with the sounds of karaoke and live music. Frequented by both students and older folks alike, Villarrica International Pub has the comfortable feel of an American bar. Sangria pitchers are good if you need a break from Brahma or Pilsen. Tel: 0541 44029, 513 General Diaz almost at Ruiz Diaz De Melgarejo, on Facebook as VIP Pub Karaoke, Wed-Sat 7pm-6am, Gs. 10,000-30,000

Retro Pub Another American-style bar, this one with an emphasis on classic rock (though you may be unfamiliar with some of the classic hits played here). Frequent live music. Mariscal Estigarribia and Coronel Bogado by the Plaza de los Heroes, Tue-Sun 8pm-12am, Gs.

10,000-30,000

Monasterio Disco Pub A fun place to dance the night away to the latest reggaeton hits. As with Asuncion’s night clubs the action doesn’t start till 1am and dress codes are enforced for men (aka: no flip flops or shorts). Tel: 0541 43797, Natalicio Talavera and Curuapty, Thu-Sat 11pm-6am, cover ranges from Gs. 10,000-30,000 depending on the night’s theme and whether there is an open bar

Getting There

Villarrica can be accessed by both Route 1 and Route 2. Via Route 2 you turn south onto Route 8 at Coronel Oviedo and continue approximately forty kilometers. Via Route 1 you turn northeast at the town of Paraguari and take a road that leads past the town of Sapucai along the old train route which meets Route 8 at Villarrica. The latter is a much faster and more pleasant option since the road from Paraguari to Villarrica is almost devoid of any traffic whereas Route 2 is heavily transited.

Both the Guairena (Tel: 0541 42678) and Ybytyruzu (Tel: 0541 41221) bus lines have several daily buses that go to Villarrica from Asuncion by way of Coronel Oviedo for Gs. 28,000. Villarrica’s bus terminal (Tel: 0541 42979) is located smack in the middle of the city’s market which can make for a chaotic but colorful experience as vendors hawk all manner of goods to travelers and taxis, moto-taxis, and karumbes all vie for what street space is not taken up by market stalls. Keep in mind that buses leaving Villarrica for surrounding areas at night tend to be very crowded with commuting students.

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