Paraguay Facts: 40 Interesting Facts About Paraguay

Last updated on February 15th, 2020

Funny Facts Paraguay

21. Climbing on and off the national buses, “Chipa ladies” dress in blue miniskirts, train conductor caps and fishnet stockings to sell Chipa to passengers.

22. Paraguay’s name may have come from a parrot befriended by the country’s earliest Jesuit priests. Named Frank, he eventually became dinner for those priests. Whether true or not, the country was actually labeled on 16th-century maps as “Parrot”.

23. Paraguay is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s largest barbecue, which was attended by approximately 30,000 people.

24. Homes have no doorbells. To announce your arrival, clap your hands. With windows always open in the hot climate, claps are clearly heard inside.

25. Dueling is legal here, but only between participants who are registered blood donors.

26. One of Paraguay’s hidden secrets is Fermina Benitezs, the lady of 100,000 chickens. Now 70, she began making her black clay folk-art chickens when she was 17.

Map of Paraguay

Paraguay History

27. The Triple Alliance War (1864-1870) with Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay was South America’s bloodiest war. Paraguay’s population was cut in half, and only 28,000 men survived.

28. Before the war, Paraguay was prosperous with substantial gold assets. None are known to have been recovered.

29. American president Rutherford B. Hayes was the binding arbitrator of the peace terms after the War of the Triple Alliance. Because Hayes awarded the Gran Chaco to Asuncion, Paraguay instead of Buenos Aires, he became a national hero. The town and county of Villa Hayes were named for him.

30. Paraguay didn’t grant women the right to vote until 1961, the last Latin American nation to do so. Constitutional reforms in 1992 finally gave women equal rights within their marriages.

Paraguay Economy

31. Ciudad del Este’s crowded street bazaars attract many Brazilians across the river for bargains. Many Brazilians are moving to Paraguay because its homDes are less expensive.

32. With the world’s second-largest hydroelectric plant co-owned with Brazil, Paraguay is the world’s fourth-largest electricity exporter.

33. The western Paraguay region of Chaco has 60 percent of the country’s land, but only 2 percent of the people live there. The remainder of the population lives within 100 miles of the capital Asuncion in eastern Paraguay. It is estimated that half of the population lives below the poverty level.

34. Paraguay is the world’s sixth-largest soybean producer, the second-largest tung oil producer, the second-largest stevia producer, sixth-largest corn exporter, seventh-largest beef exporter and fourteenth-largest wheat exporter. Over half of Paraguayans work in agriculture and forestry.

Paraguay Tourism

35. The people of Paraguay are known for their gentle and friendly behavior toward tourists. Do be aware, however, that cheap inns and hotels in Paraguay usually serve as local brothels, as well. European and North American tourists are somewhat of a novelty, and they are treated with respect.

36. The well-preserved Jesuit ruins in Paraguay dating back to 1706 have been named UNESCO World Heritage sites, though they are some of the most seldom visited in South America. The Robert De Niro film, ‘The Mission,’ was filmed at some of these historic sites.

37. Paraguay has 42 protected wildlife areas and 10 national parks. There are comfortable accommodations and tours available in the Mbaracayu tropical forests, as well as 89 mammal species and 410 bird species. Ybycui features metallic blue butterflies, waterfalls and howler monkeys.

38. Paraguay’s colorful festivals also attract tourists. The Festival de San Juan in June features fire walking in hot coals and embers, great food and the ritual burning of an effigy of Judas Iscariot. February’s San Blas Fiestas are Carnival celebrations. Bus service is safe and inexpensive.

Fire walking during the festival de San Juan, Paraguay. Image credit

39. There are old, established Australian, German and Japanese communities in Paraguay where visitors can say ‘g’day,’ dine on sushi, rice and fresh vegetables and enjoy fresh schnitzels. In fact, the New Germany colony was established by Friedrich Nietzsche’s sister in the 1880s.

40. The native Ache peoples gave up cannibalism more than 20 years ago. Today, they still live simply (primitively), but are friendly and are known to welcome visitors in their rain forest homes.

Paraguay – country at a glance

Independence14 May 1811 (from Spain)
Table last updatedMay 30, 2019
Capital CityAsunción
25°16′S 57°40′W
Largest CityAsunción
25°16′S 57°40′W
Total area406,752 sq km
Population7,025,763 (July 2018 est.)
Literacy ratetotal population: 94.7%
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory until the age of 75
Official LanguageSpanish
Government typepresidential republic
PresidentMario Abdo Benítez
Vice-PresidentHugo Velázquez
BordersBrazil, Argentina, Bolivia
CurrencyGuaraní (PYG)
ReligionRoman Catholics
National anthem"Paraguayos, Republica o muerte!" (Paraguayans, The Republic or Death!)
Life expectancy at birth77.6 years (2018)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climatesubtropical to temperate; substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, becoming semiarid in the far west
Terraingrassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere
Mean elevation178 m
Lowest pointjunction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m
Highest pointCerro Pero 842 m
Natural resourceshydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone
Agricultural land53.8%
Industriessugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products, steel, base metals, electric power
Exports$11.73 billion (2017 est.)
soybeans, livestock feed, cotton, meat, edible oils, wood, leather
Imports$11.35 billion (2017 est.)
road vehicles, consumer goods, tobacco, petroleum products, electrical machinery, tractors, chemicals, vehicle parts
GDP - per capita (PPP)$12,800 (2017 est.)
Birth rate16.6 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate4.8 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Sex ratio1.01 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Internet country
Time ZonePYT (UTC–4)
Summer (DST) PYST (UTC–3)
Calling Code+595
Drives on theRight
Data sources1. Central Intelligence Agency