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Ciudad del Este to La Colmena to Ybycui, Paraguay - I Discover How Beautiful This Country Is

Paraguay experiences and stories by a backpacker - May 2009   » View Photoset (36 Photos)

This 5 - 6 hour bus journey through the countryside of Paraguay was definitely one of the highlights for me. I took a lot of photos out of the window of the bus during the day. The local buses are always crammed to the max with people - in the seats and isles and half falling out the doors, it is quite fun really, especially if you have a seat. The countryside is the most amazing thing with beautiful cattle ranches and farms, well kept properties, water towers, wooden fences, dirt roads and ant hills. Trees trees trees and a lot of green grass, it's a bit like the wild west. What I love about it is the many things that are made from wood and the lack of concrete. Wooden barns, houses, carts, fences, bridges, everything is made from wood, it is brilliant. Another very noticeable thing about Paraguay is the motorbike culture, everyone rides on them. It's not uncommon to see whole families on the same bike, dad, mum, child and baby. It is a bit like cowboy country with motorbikes instead of horses. There are ant hills everywhere, huge mounds of dirt popping out of fields, front lawns and on the grass beside the road, some even engulfing the base of trees. The bus stopped many times on the journey to drop off and pick up passengers. People with food, meat on a stick, drinks and kids toys would stand outside the bus selling things up to the passengers through the windows. After travelling half way across the country on a beautiful sunny day and seeing the most amazing scenery I arrived in La Colmena in the late afternoon. La Colmena is a very small place in the mid south. I asked someone where I could find some accommodation and they showed me a place just down the road. Paraguay has a small percentage of Asian and other immigrants. The hotel I stayed at was owned and run by a Japanese family, it was quite basic and cheap. I was the only person staying there, the family invited me to share the nights dinner with them, the same food but at my own table. Lucky me, it happened to be someone in this large Asian family's birthday and an extra special meal would be served! I was brought soup, sushi, fish, chicken and more nice nibbly food, green tea and cake. It's the last thing you would expect in the middle of Paraguay, to be served a 3 course Japanese meal. Of course I was charged for it on the bill but not much. Outside there was a little Japanese style garden with a fish pond and bridge. The next morning after breakfast it was time to try and make my way to Ybycui. I was told that I had to go back to Paraguari and get a bus there. It was again a bus packed full of people down the isles, it's the way it is here, you can't waste space on buses! The journey to Paraguari took about 90 minutes, a bit of a double-back for me but there was no other choice. La Colmena is closer to Ybycui than Paraguari but no buses go there, how strange? To be honest, it was the ticket man at the bus terminal in Ciudad del Este that told me I could get to Ybycui from La Colmena. Through the countryside and a few towns with motorbike cowboys riding around I arrived in Paraguari and began waiting for the bus to Ybycui. On a barbarque spit across the road were 20 chickens cooking. People stopped by on their motorbikes to pick one up. I waited patiently with a few locals for a bus to Ybycui. The bus labeled Ybycui came along, but when I said I was going to Ybycui and was about to get on, it just drove off. So, I waited a while more until the next bus came along, but the same thing happened again. Then one of the locals explained to me that I was standing on the wrong side of the road and I needed to go over to the other side for a bus heading in the other direction. Silly me, OK, now it all made sense. I didn't wait too long until the green and red 'Salto Cristal' bus came along and this time it didn't drive away before I boarded. In another hour and a half or so I arrived in Ybycui.

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My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Ciudad del Este to La Colmena to Ybycui, Paraguay:
Fujimi Hotel, La Colmena, Paraguay - Large Photo
Fujimi Hotel, La Colmena, Paraguay (May 2009 - 1 night) - It was good fortune finding this hostel owned by a Japanese family, they are very nice, they gave us a 5 star Japanese meal with sushi, chicken, soup and more, even cake and tea, it was like we were their special guests. The rooms are very basic but fine for a night. Recommended.

Distances & times (if available) from a point on the journey from Ciudad del Este to La Colmena to Ybycui (Paraguay) to:
 A : Oviedo to Villarrica - Paraguay 43 kms 43 kms straight distance | 51mins 51mins by car (60 kms) | 1hr 1min 1hr 1min by bus (60 kms) (60 kms)
 B : Villarrica - Paraguay 57 kms 57 kms straight distance | 1hr 28mins 1hr 28mins by car (79 kms) | 1hr 45mins 1hr 45mins by bus (79 kms) (79 kms)
 C : Ciudad del Este - Paraguay 124 kms 124 kms straight distance | 1hr 52mins 1hr 52mins by car (132 kms) | 2hrs 14mins 2hrs 14mins by bus (132 kms) (132 kms)
 D : San Bernardino & Caacupe - Paraguay 122 kms 122 kms straight distance | 2hrs 8mins 2hrs 8mins by car (138 kms) | 2hrs 33mins 2hrs 33mins by bus (138 kms) (138 kms)
 E : Foz do Iguaçu - Brazil 144 kms 144 kms straight distance | 2hrs 12mins 2hrs 12mins by car (152 kms) | 2hrs 38mins 2hrs 38mins by bus (152 kms) (152 kms)
 F : Aregua & Itaugua - Paraguay 140 kms 140 kms straight distance | 2hrs 38mins 2hrs 38mins by car (161 kms) | 3hrs 9mins 3hrs 9mins by bus (161 kms) (161 kms)
 G : Paraguari - Paraguay 112 kms 112 kms straight distance | 2hrs 30mins 2hrs 30mins by car (170 kms) | 3hrs 3hrs by bus (170 kms) (170 kms)
 H : Puerto Iguazu & Iguazu Waterfalls - Argentina 146 kms 146 kms straight distance | 2hrs 56mins 2hrs 56mins by car (171 kms) | 3hrs 31mins 3hrs 31mins by bus (171 kms) (171 kms)
 I : Ybycui & Ybycui National Park - Paraguay 116 kms 116 kms straight distance | 2hrs 34mins 2hrs 34mins by car (175 kms) | 3hrs 4mins 3hrs 4mins by bus (175 kms) (175 kms)
 J : Asuncion - Paraguay 163 kms 163 kms straight distance | 3hrs 33mins 3hrs 33mins by car (191 kms) | 4hrs 15mins 4hrs 15mins by bus (191 kms) (191 kms)
 K : Encarnacion to Paraguari - Paraguay 173 kms 173 kms straight distance | 4hrs 4hrs by car (284 kms) | 4hrs 48mins 4hrs 48mins by bus (284 kms) (284 kms)
 L : Encarnacion & the Jesuit Ruins - Paraguay 203 kms 203 kms straight distance | 5hrs 37mins 5hrs 37mins by car (392 kms) | 6hrs 44mins 6hrs 44mins by bus (392 kms) (392 kms)
 M : Posadas - Argentina 214 kms 214 kms straight distance | 5hrs 45mins 5hrs 45mins by car (394 kms) | 6hrs 54mins 6hrs 54mins by bus (394 kms) (394 kms)
 N : Gran Chaco - Paraguay 353 kms 353 kms straight distance | 6hrs 6mins 6hrs 6mins by car (429 kms) | 7hrs 19mins 7hrs 19mins by bus (429 kms) (429 kms)
 O : Concepcion - Paraguay 268 kms 268 kms straight distance | 5hrs 47mins 5hrs 47mins by car (446 kms) | 6hrs 56mins 6hrs 56mins by bus (446 kms) (446 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.
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