A Travellerspoint blog

Paraguay

Paraguay, what can I say?

sunny 95 °F
View Austral (Southern) Adventure on judgelarry's travel map.

We have finished the first, and probably the most ambitious, (we'll just not count Antarctica for now) part of this trip. We traveled roughly 4000 kilometers, or 2500 miles by SUV. There were many difficult dirt roads, and numerous potholes in some of the paved roads.

Fortunately, we did not encounter much rain during our trip or it might have been much more difficult. We had two great guides in Pedro and James Wright and their stories were the best part of our tour. James is the owner and driver of the SUV which was essential for travel through the Chaco. Moreover, James spent a good part of his youth as a true-to-life cowboy in the Chaco so he has an incredible knowledge of its history and geography.

James has a farm in the central North East a bit south of the Mbaracayu Nature Preserve where Pedro had left his 4W drive minivan in anticipation of completing the second half of our tour on the somewhat more civilized roads of Southern Paraguay. We stopped there for lunch on January 8, on our way to Ciudad del Este and transferred all our luggage to the van. James' wife, Martha prepared a delicious lunch and we departed in Pedro's van but broke down after going only about 20 km. 20190108_145202_resized_1.jpg

The bottom hose had come loose from the radiator and we lost all the coolant. Peter was able to call back to the farm and after a half hour James' son, Guy came with a large container of water. Unfortunately, upon refilling, it became apparent that the engine had more serious issues and would not be able to take us on to our next destination. So Guy returned to the farm and James returned his travel bag to the SUV and came back to our location to tow Pedro's van out to the highway at Minga Pora

. Meanwhile, Pedro arranged for a car transporter to driveup from Ciudad del Este to haul his van to that city, which is where Pedro has his home. The repairs proved to be more difficult and protracted than was first hoped. So after our tour of the Itaipu dam and lunch in Ciudad del Este, James took us on down the road to our next stop at the Hotel Tirol just south of Trinidad.

See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

The following morning, Pedro reluctantly reported that he would not be able to join us on that day either, and since our next day of travel would effectively take us far enough away to make it impractical to give that notion any further consideration. Thus we became James' charges for the remainder of the tour.

We still encountered some difficult dirt roads, especially on the way to Cerro Acati 7fba7840-18cd-11e9-a8c3-053196054be6.jpg and travelling through Ybycui National Park

See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

So Joyce and I were somewhat relieved to still have the high clearance of the SUV. We enjoyed a two day stay at Estancia Tacuaty where we actually spent a whole day without driving anywhere. We were disappointed that wind and weather prevented us from making a boat rip on Lake Yacyreta to a massive sand dune island but we enjoyed many other sites and some not so enjoyable, as in the case of the environmental degradation 20190113_110501_resized.jpgbeing caused by huge and illegal gold mining operations near the german colony at Indepencia.

We had a fantastic tour of a great deal of the country and met many remarkable people, including an Australian couple, Jean and Rob who were also guests at the estancia. We arrived this morning in Santiago after a bumpy, but scenic flight over the Andes. 20190115_074648_resized.jpg20190115_074957_resized.jpg20190115_074834_resized.jpg

Posted by judgelarry 07:59 Archived in Paraguay Comments (0)

Still learning how to manage this thing

81 °F
View Austral (Southern) Adventure on judgelarry's travel map.

I have concluded that i should do some maintenance for this blog nearly every day whether I have WiFi or not. I can at least upload photos and update the travel map. I have discovered that all the descriptions with the photos are not viewable when you read a new blog entry. But if you go to the travel map, you can see each of our stops and photos associated with each stop. They may also be viewed if you visit the public gallery. You can access it by finding the heading Photography on the home page and clicking on "more photos."

We finally took a day today to do nothing but relax. and I did some catching up with uploading photos of our recent stops. The Estancia Tacuaty is a perfect place to relax and recharge. FB_IMG_1547236669937.jpg

I will refer you to the Travel map or the Photo Gallery to see some photo highlights of our stop at the Mbaracayu Nature Preserve and our tour of the Itaipu hydroelectric plant near Ciudad del Este.

Posted by judgelarry 12:30 Archived in Paraguay Comments (0)

We went spelunking

sunny 98 °F
View Austral (Southern) Adventure on judgelarry's travel map.

A bit outside of ValleMi near the confluence of the Apa and the Paraguay Rivers there are some limestone formations with caves. These are not your ordinary walk in, well-lit, tourist caves, but real spelunking adventures with light only from your helmets. So, of course, we had to try it out. NOTE: as usual, most photos have captions with additional information. 00c18a50-113a-11e9-bdae-e3162fab02f4.jpg20190104_085723.jpg20190104_090821.jpg
We were not deterred by the ominous gathering of buzzards above the cave entrance.20190104_085310_resized.jpg

After an initial descent of 15 feet or more, we had a climb back up about 5 feet to a tiny, damp and slippery passage that sloped downhill. We had to crouch and crab-walk through there (it would have been easier to butt-slide, but we were not dressed for that). The temperature outside before we went down the hole was around 95 with high humidity. It only cooled slightly when we got inside, but the humidity went soaring. After about 15 minutes we found the combination of extreme gymnastics, heat, and humidity to be too much and we returned to the surface while we still had clean and dry clothing. We then traveled down to a boat launch on the Paraguay river where we boarded a small aluminum boat and cruised about 1km downstream to a large cavern that is only accessible by water.20190104_100657_resized.jpg20190104_101315_resized.jpg
Anacondas like to visit there too. IMG-20190104-WA0006.jpg But hey, we are tough! 20190104_100954.jpg

We drove on to Concepcion to stay at the Concepcion Palace hotel and a very good rest.

Posted by judgelarry 14:47 Archived in Paraguay Comments (1)

Filadelfia to ValleMi 03, Jan. 2019

sunny 99 °F
View Austral (Southern) Adventure on judgelarry's travel map.

we set out after breakfast for a long drive nearly due east from Filadelfia with an intermediate stop at a beautiful preserve called Laguna Salada and then on to Puerto Casado (La Victoria, on some maps) where we crossed the Paraguay River on a ferry to the small town of Tres Cerritos (three hills). We drove from there about 8 km to the northeast to the river town of ValleMi and spent the night at a local hotel called Posada Isabel.

Laguna Salada is a sanctuary for many species of birds (more than 50 were represented at the time of our visit). From a vantage point on a covered platform some 15 feet above ground DSCN4971.JPG we watched the birds and had a nice picnic lunch (there are captions on most of the photos) DSCN4946.JPGDSCN4947.JPGDSCN4952.JPGDSCN4961.JPGDSCN4965.JPGDSCN4954.JPG

We arrived at the river around 4:30 PM and took a rickety ferry with room for only one vehicle at a time across (actually a few Km downstream)20190103_174856_resized_1.jpg20190103_175830_resized_1.jpg20190103_175507_resized_1.jpg to a little town on the opposite side.

Posted by judgelarry 05:28 Archived in Paraguay Comments (0)

A 4F tour of forts, flora, and fauna around Filadelfia


View Austral (Southern) Adventure on judgelarry's travel map.

on January 2, we visited sites around Filadelfia including some battlefields and fortification remnants from the Chaco War in the 1930s. Driving in a great circle on dirt roads, we also encountered a good deal of wildlife. 20190102_085319.jpg03d77460-105f-11e9-b77c-ff15515a57c5.JPG12c63d30-105f-11e9-98b2-5d7966741d40.JPG58464040-105e-11e9-a454-696f9e062629.JPGDSCN4917.JPG4c6c7fa0-105e-11e9-a454-696f9e062629.JPG4fdbb5c0-105e-11e9-a454-696f9e062629.JPGe9558650-105d-11e9-a454-696f9e062629.jpg

We had lunch at the Boqueron Hotel in Neuland and continued traveling around the countryside spotting bottle trees DSCN4883.JPG and a variety of wildlife, including Peccaries 20190102_131749.jpg, a rare Red Iguana 20190102_094446.jpg20190102_094406.jpg, a flock of Rheas crossing a field, ee898170-105e-11e9-b77c-ff15515a57c5.JPG
a Jabiru stork (third largest wingspan of any bird after the Condor and the Great Albatross) e1ae24c0-105d-11e9-a454-696f9e062629.JPG,
burrowing owls 0881df10-105e-11e9-a454-696f9e062629.JPG
and assorted other birds. 69ff5730-105f-11e9-98b2-5d7966741d40.JPGDSCN4938.JPG

We returned to the Hotel Florida for a refreshing swim and a very good sleep.

Posted by judgelarry 04:42 Archived in Paraguay Tagged and fauna forts flora Comments (0)

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