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Gran Chaco, Paraguay - Bus Travel Is Easy To See Animals & Wildlife

Paraguay travel blog by Mark Berman - June 2012   » View Photoset (77 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
Traveling on the Trans-Chaco Highway is one of Paraguay's highlights for me, the road extends from Asuncion all the way up to Bolivia, it also
Paraguay Photo - Small rural property and wooden house beside the water near Mondelindo, Gran Chaco.
Small rural property and wooden house beside the water near Mondelindo, Gran Chaco.
goes by a couple of other less-cool sounding names - Highway 9 and Carlos Antonio Lopez Road. The Trans-Chaco Highway intersects 5hrs north of Asuncion with Highway 5 which leads east to Concepcion. Pozo Colorado is the name of the place at the intersection, it's like a central point, all buses heading to and from Bolivia and Filadelfia and some buses to and from Concepcion pass through Pozo Colorado. Most buses stop here to drop off and pick up passengers for all of these destinations. It is simply not true that you have to return to Asuncion from Filadelfia or Concepcion in order to get a bus up to Santa Cruz in Bolivia. The people at the bus terminal in Asuncion will say and the Lonely Planet book does say - that you must return to Asuncion from the Gran Chaco in order to get to Bolivia, this is absolutely not correct. I found bus travel around the Gran Chaco quite easy, especially in the day.

Bus Travel in the Gran Chaco

My bus travels in the Gran Chaco include these journeys: Asuncion to Filadelfia 8hrs 30mins,
Paraguay Photo - Fan-shaped palm tree and small river, Gran Chaco.
Fan-shaped palm tree and small river, Gran Chaco.
Filadelfia back to Pozo Colorado 3hrs 30mins, Pozo Colorado south to Mondelindo 50mins, Pozo Colorado east to Concepcion 3hrs 30mins and Pozo Colorado north / west to Santa Cruz Bolivia 18hrs.

Asuncion to Filadelfia

My first journey from Asuncion to Filadelfia was a long one, but there is lots to see along the way, simple things like farms and ranches, trucks, animals - cows, horses, goats, chickens, fields, crops, palm trees, sheds, barns, shanty shacks and villages, wetland areas and ponds, wooden huts and fences, clothes drying on fences, hay bales, windmills, tractors and farm equipment, powerlines, water towers, birds in trees, dirt roads and green plains.

I Spotted 100's of Jabiru Storks

From the bus window 50mins south of Pozo Colorado around Mondelindo I saw 100's of Jabiru Storks out on the right. I took a couple of quick photos as we went by and made a plan to return and have a better look. We
Paraguay Photo - Family and dog outside their farm in the Gran Chaco.
Family and dog outside their farm in the Gran Chaco.
arrived in Pozo Colorado and stopped for about 10mins before continuing north, sometimes we would stop in the middle of nowhere to pick up indigenous locals. To make the most of this journey it is best to keep your eyes open and take it all in. I arrived in Filadelfia where I spent the night.

Get Back to Montelindo

At 11am the next morning I left on the only daily bus out of Filadelfia back south to Pozo Colorado. I wanted to see if there was a way to get a little south to the Mondelindo area to see the Jabiru Storks. Luckily a bus was heading south to Asuncion and was about to leave. The place I had seen the day before was not exactly at Mondelindo, the bus driver was patient in waiting for me to see the birds and tell him
Paraguay Photo - Church Virgen del Rosario in the Gran Chaco.
Church Virgen del Rosario in the Gran Chaco.
to let me out there. I spent the next 70mins walking barefoot around a swampy wetland area through reeds and grass to get close and photograph these amazing big birds. I did get close several times but they would spot me and take off. I did get some good shots and some video also, it was quite a crazy thing to do I guess. I didn't think until later that there could have been alligators in that area. I headed back on to the Trans-Chaco Highway and waited only about 10mins for a bus heading north up to Pozo Colorado.

Pozo Colorado to Concepcion and Bolivia

Once in Pozo Colorado, it was only about another 10mins before a bus to Concepcion came through which is where I spent the next few days. From Concepcion I wanted to get to Santa Cruz Bolivia. I
Paraguay Photo - Entrance to a nice looking ranch in the Gran Chaco.
Entrance to a nice looking ranch in the Gran Chaco.
headed west back to Pozo Colorado, the bus took an hour less than it had done on the way there, only 2hr 30mins. After arriving in Pozo Colorado at around 6:30pm, which is about the time many buses leave Asuncion for Santa Cruz - I had to basically wait for these buses to get up to Pozo Colorado, which takes around 5hrs. So I waited until around 11pm for one of these buses to come through. A man had phoned the bus for me, to tell them I was waiting. In Pozo Colorado the people were friendly, they gave me a seat and I sat outside and enjoyed some food and beer for a few hours. I think this place never sleeps, it has a couple of 24hr gas stations and like I mentioned, is on the main bus highway. The next 18hrs was spent heading through the night up to the border of Bolivia where we crossed early in the morning, around 5-6am, then all day traveling up to Santa Cruz, arriving after 4pm. The border control was quite simple without any problems. What a journey that was!

     

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Distances & times (if available) from Gran Chaco (Paraguay) to:


Map location: Gran Chaco, Paraguay. Traveling on the Trans-Chaco Highway is one of Paraguay's highlights for me, the road extends from Asuncion all the way up to Bolivia! There is stunning scenery, look out for wildlife!
 A : Concepcion - Paraguay 136 kms 136 kms straight distance | 1hr 53mins 1hr 53mins by car (149 kms) | 2hrs 15mins 2hrs 15mins by bus (149 kms) (149 kms)
 B : Filadelfia - Paraguay 181 kms 181 kms straight distance | 2hrs 42mins 2hrs 42mins by car (193 kms) | 3hrs 14mins 3hrs 14mins by bus (193 kms) (193 kms)
 C : Aregua & Itaugua - Paraguay 243 kms 243 kms straight distance | 3hrs 36mins 3hrs 36mins by car (271 kms) | 4hrs 19mins 4hrs 19mins by bus (271 kms) (271 kms)
 D : Asuncion - Paraguay 230 kms 230 kms straight distance | 3hrs 43mins 3hrs 43mins by car (275 kms) | 4hrs 27mins 4hrs 27mins by bus (275 kms) (275 kms)
 E : San Bernardino & Caacupe - Paraguay 259 kms 259 kms straight distance | 4hrs 2mins 4hrs 2mins by car (304 kms) | 4hrs 50mins 4hrs 50mins by bus (304 kms) (304 kms)
 F : Paraguari - Paraguay 311 kms 311 kms straight distance | 5hrs 21mins 5hrs 21mins by car (371 kms) | 6hrs 25mins 6hrs 25mins by bus (371 kms) (371 kms)
 G : Ybycui & Ybycui National Park - Paraguay 332 kms 332 kms straight distance | 5hrs 32mins 5hrs 32mins by car (386 kms) | 6hrs 38mins 6hrs 38mins by bus (386 kms) (386 kms)
 H : Oviedo to Villarrica - Paraguay 334 kms 334 kms straight distance | 5hrs 39mins 5hrs 39mins by car (403 kms) | 6hrs 46mins 6hrs 46mins by bus (403 kms) (403 kms)
 I : Villarrica - Paraguay 343 kms 343 kms straight distance | 5hrs 59mins 5hrs 59mins by car (411 kms) | 7hrs 10mins 7hrs 10mins by bus (411 kms) (411 kms)
 J : Ciudad del Este to Ybycui - Paraguay 353 kms 353 kms straight distance | 6hrs 3mins 6hrs 3mins by car (430 kms) | 7hrs 15mins 7hrs 15mins by bus (430 kms) (430 kms)
 K : Encarnacion to Paraguari - Paraguay 389 kms 389 kms straight distance | 6hrs 35mins 6hrs 35mins by car (466 kms) | 7hrs 54mins 7hrs 54mins by bus (466 kms) (466 kms)
 L : Campo Grande to Foz - Brazil 430 kms 430 kms straight distance | 5hrs 38mins 5hrs 38mins by car (474 kms) | 6hrs 45mins 6hrs 45mins by bus (474 kms) (474 kms)
 M : Ciudad del Este - Paraguay 460 kms 460 kms straight distance | 7hrs 49mins 7hrs 49mins by car (560 kms) | 9hrs 22mins 9hrs 22mins by bus (560 kms) (560 kms)
 N : Resistencia - Argentina 441 kms 441 kms straight distance | 6hrs 49mins 6hrs 49mins by car (564 kms) | 8hrs 10mins 8hrs 10mins by bus (564 kms) (564 kms)
 O : Foz do Iguaçu - Brazil 479 kms 479 kms straight distance | 8hrs 9mins 8hrs 9mins by car (580 kms) | 9hrs 46mins 9hrs 46mins by bus (580 kms) (580 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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Gran Chaco, Paraguay - Bus Travel Is Easy To See Animals & Wildlife. Traveling on the Trans-Chaco Highway is one of Paraguay's highlights for me, the road extends from Asuncion all the way up to Bolivia! There is stunning scenery, look out for wildlife!

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