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Getting There

By Boat -- A ferry operates every 30 minutes from Itá Enramada to the Argentine side at Puerto Pilcomayo. The fare is G/2,375. Otherwise the only river route is to Concepción in the north. The Cacique II operates sailings to Concepción every Wednesday. The journey takes 27 to 30 hours. Another boat, called the Guaraní, sails every Friday morning. Times are flexible. It costs about $2 for first class, but be prepared for anything but first class. (Bring plenty of drinking water and toilet paper.) For something more upscale, try Crucero Paraguay, Edificio Mocipar, Third Floor, Office 302, Presidente Franco 982 (tel. 021/452-328; www.cruceroparaguay.info). They conduct luxury 3-day cruises on the Rio Paraguay. The city port is behind the Customs office at the end of Calle Montevideo.

By Bus -- Terminal, República Argentina y Fernando de La Mora (tel. 021/552-154 or 021/551-737), is Asunción's long-distance bus terminal and is 20 minutes south of the city center. It connects the capital with cities in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Bolivia. Buses take about 18 hours to Buenos Aires and 20 hours to Montevideo and cost $53 and $57 respectively. Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (tel. 021/289-1000; www.nsa.com.py) is one of the main companies operating this route. Another is Chevalier Paraguaya, Mcal Estigarriba 767 (tel. 021/493-375). Beware that local commuter buses crossing the border will not wait for you to go through formalities. You must wait for the next one, which will follow shortly. However, international express buses such as the companies mentioned here will wait. Luma (tel. 021/445-024) operates a service to the Brazilian side of Iguazú (5-7 hr.: $8) and Sao Paolo (20 hr.: $30), as does RYSA, Eligio and Antequera, Asunción (tel. 021/444-244).

Orientation

Asunción is settled on a bluff above the Rio Paraguay, though the river is hardly noticeable as you stroll around the central plazas. The city basically has two centers. One is the busy, polluted downtown with government buildings and grand plazas such as the Plaza de los Heroes. The other is leafy Villa Morra to the east and north, which is easier on the eye but very spread out and not suitable for exploring thoroughly on foot. Here you'll find the relaxing parkland of Jardín Botánico.

Getting Around

The downtown is relatively easy to walk around, though some streets toward the south have a steep incline. You will require patience while crossing at junctions, however, as there are no pedestrian crossings and drivers are oblivious to those on foot. Villa Morra is best explored by taxi, with many congregating around Plaza de Los Heroes. A ride should not cost more than $11, but beware there is a 15% surcharge on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Old, noisy buses crisscross the city and cost G/2,375. They can be slow in rush hour. Numbers 28 and 31 leave for the terminal from Calle Cerro Corá. To get to Villa Mora, catch any bus going east on España.

Visitor Information

Paraguay's Secretaria Nacional de Turismo is on Palma 468 (tel. 021/494-110; www.senatur.gov.py). It is open daily from 7am to 7pm. There's also a branch at the Airport. Itra Travel, Av. Venezuela 663 (tel. 021/200-190; www.itra.com.py), provides good-quality tours of the surrounding area and farther afield to Itaipú and the Jesuit ruins near Encarnación. Another reliable operator is Vips Tour, México 782 (tel. 021/441-199; www.vipstour.com.py).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.