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Encarnacion & the Jesuit Ruins, Paraguay - The Highlight Don't Miss It

Paraguay travel blog by Mark Berman - June 2012   » View Photoset (99 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
It was my 2nd time in Paraguay, this time I had come from Posadas in Argentina. In fact I had travelled all night from Tacuarembo in the
Paraguay Photo - Flags fly at Plaza de Armas main square in Encarnacion.
Flags fly at Plaza de Armas main square in Encarnacion.
north of Uruguay, through the corner of Brazil and up to Posadas. Then straight over the bridge by bus to Encarnacion. It had been a long night. Like my 1st time in Paraguay 3yrs earlier I arrived without a visa. This time I asked if I could have 10 days which they granted but it cost me $100USD. That was fine, I was glad to be back in Paraguay, a country that I had really loved on my first visit. Much of my first day in Encarnacion was spent catching up on some sleep. I visited the markets and walked around a bit.

Jesuit Ruins x 2

Next day I went to see the amazing Jesuit ruins nearby in Trinidad, the full name is 'Mision Jesuitica Guarani de la Santisima Trinidad del Parana' and also the ruins at Jesus - 'Mision Jesuitica Guarani de Jesus de Tavarangue'. Both of these sites were declared Unesco World Heritage sites in 1993.

In Trinidad

From Encarnacion bus terminal it is a 30min bus ride to the entrance of the ruins at Trinidad, it's then a 5min walk from the main road up the
Paraguay Photo - Campanario tower and a stone column, Mision Jesuitica Guarani de la Santisima Trinidad del Parana.
Campanario tower and a stone column, Mision Jesuitica Guarani de la Santisima Trinidad del Parana.
cobblestones to the ticket office. There are various brick alters on each side of the cobblestone street on the way there. As at June 2012 the ticket price is $25000 Guaranis ($5.60USD), it's less for Paraguayans. The Trinidad ruins are open 7 days from 7am - 8pm and from Thursdays-Sundays at 8:30pm they have lights and sound. These Jesuit ruins are very well preserved and date from 1706, there are many buildings and areas - the grand square, church, workshops, school, native houses, cemetery and the garden. Walking around the ruins is a wonderful experience, nobody around apart from the odd security guard. Being able to take photos and marvel peacefully without the hustle and bustle of Machu Picchu. Stone archways, patios, blocks, walls and frames, doorways and round windows, alters, shapes, shadows, designs, columns,
Paraguay Photo - An interesting item on display at the museum at Jesus of Tavarangue.
An interesting item on display at the museum at Jesus of Tavarangue.
rock slabs with a backdrop of flat green grass, anthills and palm trees. The fortress tower called the Campanario can be seen from all over the area. A special room containing shelves and shelves of all the delicate sculptured stone designs that have come from the walls and buildings. Shelves full of angels heads which came from the church called Iglesia de Trinidad Piedra. Pieces of statues, all kept under tight security, see video. The most mind-blowing thing has got to be the ruins of the church, it has the original floor and is an amazing construction to walk around. You don't get this close and personal with real-deal ruins often! Intricate and spectacular, so much detail, absolutely
Paraguay Photo - View of columns and walls through an arch at the Jesuit ruins of Jesus.
View of columns and walls through an arch at the Jesuit ruins of Jesus.
fantastic! Time now to find a way to get to the ruins at Jesus.

In Jesus

The office at Trinidad called a mototaxi, it was a pleasant 25min ride through the beautiful Paraguayan countryside to get to Jesus. The ruins of Jesus at Tavarangue are open 7 days from 7am-7pm, there is no extra cost to get in, it's included in the other ticket. Of course you pay the mototaxi. The Jesuit ruins at Jesus date from 1685, the complex is incomplete due to their expulsion, the church would have been one of the largest in the region. In front of the entrance is the plaza, to the sides are the natives houses and the area opposite has the church, cloister, school, workshop and at the very back is the orchard. The
Paraguay Photo - A light-yellow colored bird at Trinidad near Encarnacion.
A light-yellow colored bird at Trinidad near Encarnacion.
church is in perfect condition apart that it is not finished, the tall walls and half-columns are perfectly intact. This place is great, it makes for some interesting photography. Maybe they should get some Jesuits to come and finish it off, that would be fantastic! I mean why not? On the way out I had a look at the museum which has on display things like tools, carved stone, diagrams and pieces of statues and rocks. I took a mototaxi back to the main road and caught a local bus back to Encarnacion.

Up With the Best

Both ruins were great and some of the best I have seen in South America and I have visited a few (Kuelap, Machu Picchu, Chan Chan, Marcahuamachuco, Tiahuanaco).

Around the City

The next day I had a look around the city of Encarnacion itself, there's not that much to see really. I visited Plaza Mariscal Francisco Solano Lopez (1827-1870), he was the 2nd President of Paraguay. I saw the cathedral and visited the Plaza de Armas where there are monuments to the Italian immigrants, to
Paraguay Photo - A small blue house and cows on a farm between Trinidad and Jesus, Encarnacion.
A small blue house and cows on a farm between Trinidad and Jesus, Encarnacion.
Taras Shevchenko, a Ukrainian artist and poet (1814-1861), to the mothers (Monumento a la Madre) and to Emiliano R. Fernandez (1894-1949) who was a Paraguayan poet. The plaza has many trees, a fountain and wooden bridge over a pond area, there's a special tree monument called Curupay and a Japanese garden. I walked down to the river where there's a park, a smoke stack and a colored butterfly artwork in a garden, not that much else, there's a beach towards the right. Walking back into town a passed a temple style church Iglesia Ortodoxa San Nicolas (Russian
Paraguay Photo - Marvel at the great Jesuit ruins without the crowds at Trinidad, Encarnacion.
Marvel at the great Jesuit ruins without the crowds at Trinidad, Encarnacion.
Orthodox Church) with its yellow domes and church Primera Iglesia Bautista de Encarnacion and another Turkish looking church with 3 temple domes and blue shutters, probably Russian. I went to have a look for the former house of dictator Alfredo Stroessner (1912-2006), it's near the bus terminal, he was a military officer and the 46th President of Paraguay - born in Encarnacion. The house is nothing special. I took a photo - I hope it was of the right house.

Bus 5hrs to Paraguari

By mid-morning it was time to leave Encarnacion and head north, I took a 5hr bus up to Paraguari for the night.

     

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Distances & times (if available) from Encarnacion & the Jesuit Ruins (Paraguay) to:


Map location: Encarnacion & the Jesuit Ruins, Paraguay. This is a must-see sight in Paraguay just across the river from Posadas in Argentina! The Jesuit ruins are in great condition and you can walk around and enjoy them without the crowds!
 A : Posadas - Argentina 11 kms 11 kms straight distance | 1hr 15mins 1hr 15mins by car (48 kms) | 1hr 30mins 1hr 30mins by bus (48 kms) (48 kms)
 B : Encarnacion to Paraguari - Paraguay 131 kms 131 kms straight distance | 2hrs 25mins 2hrs 25mins by car (165 kms) | 2hrs 54mins 2hrs 54mins by bus (165 kms) (165 kms)
 C : Ybycui & Ybycui National Park - Paraguay 172 kms 172 kms straight distance | 4hrs 1min 4hrs 1min by car (272 kms) | 4hrs 49mins 4hrs 49mins by bus (272 kms) (272 kms)
 D : Ciudad del Este - Paraguay 234 kms 234 kms straight distance | 4hrs 4hrs by car (282 kms) | 4hrs 48mins 4hrs 48mins by bus (282 kms) (282 kms)
 E : Paraguari - Paraguay 194 kms 194 kms straight distance | 4hrs 5mins 4hrs 5mins by car (297 kms) | 4hrs 54mins 4hrs 54mins by bus (297 kms) (297 kms)
 F : Iguazu Falls - Argentina 235 kms 235 kms straight distance | 4hrs 41mins 4hrs 41mins by car (298 kms) | 5hrs 37mins 5hrs 37mins by bus (298 kms) (298 kms)
 G : Foz do Iguaçu - Brazil 243 kms 243 kms straight distance | 4hrs 20mins 4hrs 20mins by car (302 kms) | 5hrs 12mins 5hrs 12mins by bus (302 kms) (302 kms)
 H : San Bernardino & Caacupe - Paraguay 246 kms 246 kms straight distance | 4hrs 52mins 4hrs 52mins by car (339 kms) | 5hrs 50mins 5hrs 50mins by bus (339 kms) (339 kms)
 I : Aregua & Itaugua - Paraguay 261 kms 261 kms straight distance | 5hrs 11mins 5hrs 11mins by car (351 kms) | 6hrs 13mins 6hrs 13mins by bus (351 kms) (351 kms)
 J : Asuncion - Paraguay 275 kms 275 kms straight distance | 5hrs 42mins 5hrs 42mins by car (366 kms) | 6hrs 50mins 6hrs 50mins by bus (366 kms) (366 kms)
 K : Villarrica - Paraguay 174 kms 174 kms straight distance | 5hrs 12mins 5hrs 12mins by car (374 kms) | 6hrs 14mins 6hrs 14mins by bus (374 kms) (374 kms)
 L : Resistencia - Argentina 299 kms 299 kms straight distance | 5hrs 6mins 5hrs 6mins by car (383 kms) | 6hrs 7mins 6hrs 7mins by bus (383 kms) (383 kms)
 M : Ciudad del Este to Ybycui - Paraguay 203 kms 203 kms straight distance | 5hrs 36mins 5hrs 36mins by car (395 kms) | 6hrs 43mins 6hrs 43mins by bus (395 kms) (395 kms)
 N : Oviedo to Villarrica - Paraguay 190 kms 190 kms straight distance | 5hrs 20mins 5hrs 20mins by car (396 kms) | 6hrs 24mins 6hrs 24mins by bus (396 kms) (396 kms)
 O : Uruguay Border, Livramento to Uriguiana - Brazil 345 kms 345 kms straight distance | 7hrs 47mins 7hrs 47mins by car (522 kms) | 9hrs 20mins 9hrs 20mins by bus (522 kms) (522 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.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Encarnacion & the Jesuit Ruins, Paraguay:

Hotel Germano, Encarnacion, Paraguay - Large Photo
Hotel Germano, Encarnacion, Paraguay (June 2012 - 2 nights) - A hotel across the road from the bus terminal in Encarnacion run by a helpful Japanese woman. The price is good, basic room with tv and shared bathroom. Recommended.

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