Geeking out at Itaipu Dam

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Peter thought I was joking when I suggested booking the special extended tour of Itaipu Dam. The mega-structure, split geographically and politically between Brazil and Paraguay, is one of the world’s largest hydroelectric projects. With 18 massive turbine generators and a reservoir stretching 160km (100mi), Itaipu Dam generates 90 million megawatt hours of energy every year. To put that into context, Brazil would have to burn 536 thousand barrels of oil per day to obtain equivalent energy from thermoelectric plants.

Naturally, I wanted to know more.

A dire day in Areguá, Paraguay

With its lake view, cobbled streets and colonial homes, Areguá, Paraguay, seemed like the perfect place for a day trip. Oh, how wrong we were…

In Paraguay, we found ourselves in a rare predicament: instead of several weeks to explore the country, we had only days. Time and money were running out and we wanted to get to Brazil before heading home. As such, we could only see one town outside Paraguay’s capital of Asunción.

We considered the UNESCO ruins of La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná and Jesús de Tavarangue but at a distance of 400km, they weren’t exactly economic in terms of time. Instead, we decided on Areguá, a small town 28km from the capital.

17 interesting facts about Paraguay

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The most interesting facts about Paraguay we learnt during our visit to the country

American essayist P.J. O’Rourke once quipped that Paraguay was “nowhere and famous for nothing.” He then took a business trip there, fell in love with the country and promptly moved there.

While we can’t say we felt the same striking attraction, we certainly appreciated Paraguay’s history and authenticity. The small and struggling country is a steamy subtropical land of remarkable contrasts with a tragic and torrid history filled with violence and loss.

6 tips for visiting Asunción, Paraguay

Asunción, Paraguay

We explore Asunción, Paraguay and share six useful tips

‘Paraguay – The Heart of South America’ is how this landlocked country sells itself. We assume they mean geographically because it could just as easily be described as ‘The Nowhere of South America’. In fact, it often is.

Nestled between Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil (and by ‘nestled’, we mean ‘languishing’), Paraguay has no single majestic attraction like Bolivia’s salt flats, Argentina’s Perito Moreno or Brazil’s Iguassu Falls. Paraguay is not only one of the poorest countries on the continent with more than a third of its population below the poverty line, but also one of the most corrupt.