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Final Swing into Paraguay



October 28th, 2019

We left the hostel in San Ignacio and got to the border crossing in Posadas, ARG to Encarnacion, PGY well before lunchtime.  Border crossing was easy and fairly quick.  We got a new visa and a TIP for Tigger for ten days.

We stopped for gas and then groceries and lunch before making our way to a super cheap camp spot with all the amenities we like: power, WiFi, hot showers and beach access on the Rio Paraná.  It’s a fishing/ beach “club” and they charge you 10,000 Guarani per person to use the facilities (less than a buck fifty!) and if you park, down by the marina, there’s no charge to camp!  As the crow flies it was only 17 km / 10 mi away from where we’d camped the last few days ago across the river in Argentina, but in order to get there, you have to head southwest, cross the border and then northeast.

We spent the afternoon sitting in the shade, dipping in the river and reading.  Temperatures soured into the high 30’s and a tad beyond over the next few days so we did a lot of cooling off in the river and running out AC at night.  Life is rough!

There is nothing around this spot but we did manage to try and get our steps every day in the morning before it got too hot.  Where we are parked, there are two travel trailers parked as well but both were locked up.  On Tuesday morning, a Swiss couple with a Paraguayan friend showed up to spend the day in one of them – they live about 15 km away and come here to cool off during the week – they claim it’s far too busy on the weekend so that helps us to make the decision to leave here no later than Friday.

Wednesday was not as sunny but it was hotter; we had a 2 minute sprinkle in the morning and then the sun came back out after which thin clouds appeared.  We continued to sit outside undercover at a “quincho” about 10 m from Tigger and there we have power access and can stay dry and in the shade.  Every so often we’d walk the 100 m to the beach and cool off.  It was very windy today as well – storm a brewing for tomorrow we figure.

the small marina
Rio Parana
Quinchos in front of our spot we used for shade and rain protection
sunset over the river (cell phone photo)
a river barge went by one afternoon

Well we figured right and it  rained a lot on Thursday until mid afternoon.  It cooled off a  great deal which was so welcome – we didn’t even need to run the AC that night.  We are SO happy we are not travelling in a tent or smaller van – we can stay inside nice and dry on days like this.

These little critters visited us each evening:

The weather  was clear by sunset and the next morning it was clear and sunny.  We packed up and left by 9 am.

We drove back southeast and our first stop was  the mission at  Jésus De Tavanrangue.  You purchase a ticket that gives you access to the three UNESCO missions here in Paraguay.  We plan to see this one and one other.

We checked out the small museum and then wandered the ruins.  This mission was on track to have the largest mission church of them all but the Jesuits were expelled from the continent before it was finished.  It measures 70 metres long by 24 metres wide by 12 metres tall (230′ x 79′ x 40′). It too was set up like the ones in Argentina with homes, a church (sometimes two), a cemetery, widow’s cloister, workshops and a school.

We turned back towards the highway and visited the most complete and most visited mission in this country: Trinidad.

Here you watch a short video first and then walk the grounds – the museum at this site is located in the sacristy of the church building.

There were two churches on this site; one small and the main very large one complete with a bell tower (we’ve not seen a bell tower at a mission since Bolivia).


Doug descends to check out the crypt

These two missions, especially the one at Trinidad, were worth the trip back here; they are so much more preserved that the ones in Argentina.  The ones in these three countries are all made of stone unlike the wooden ones we saw in Bolivia (there is one stone one we didn’t visit).

It was now nearly lunchtime and the temperature was rising.  We drove back north about 7 km / 4 mi to a camp spot we’d read about on iOverlander with all the amenities and a pool!  Parque Manantial was quite beautiful; set in the woods, run by a German family and very clean.  There two large pools; one shallow for kids.  The bathrooms were immaculate as were the pools and the internet was strong and fast.

As we were looking for a place to set up, we saw a land cruiser we recognized; it belonged to Claudia, a single German woman whom we’ve met twice before back in Mexico.  We chatted a bit and then got ourselves settled.  Doug went for a walk and Fran got a few things done.  She also met the man in a large Mann rig – Marcus, also German is travelling alone – he’s been on the road 9 years!

We spent the afternoon at the pool keeping cool and reading.  We enjoyed a few cold ones from the little shop at the office and spent a quiet night.

Just before turning in, a white VW van with Brazilian plates arrived.  Fran met Fernando and Lucia on her last trip to the loo.  He is from Spain, she Argentina.

Saturday Doug went for a nice run while Fran exercised here and then did some hand laundry since we didn’t have a lot and it might be the last sunny day for a bit.  We are heading into a more remote area in Argentina soon so we wanted to be caught up on it.

At the pool today we chatted with Fernando, Lucia and Marcus and relaxed.  That night it began raining overnight and it was pouring on and off the next morning.  We decided to check out of here and cross the border back to Argentina today and hang in Posadas for a few days watching the weather before deciding to go to Iberá National Park – Argentina’s “Pantanal”.

We arrived at the border city of Encarnacion that we’d passed through last Monday and did some shopping for non fresh food (Argentina will not allow us to cross with fresh produce and dairy).  We checked out the malecon along the Rio Paraná.  It’s quite well done but not a place to walk in the rain.

After a short total distance of 170 km  / 105 mi we left Paraguay for the last time.  Our first time here we did 964 km / 599 mi.  This is a small country.  We enjoyed our time here and got a number of things done – the highlights were the Dam tour and Salto Monday.   There were a couple of really nice, cheap campsites and we enjoyed lots of pool time in this country which was much needed with the high humidity and temperatures and it’s not even summer yet.