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San Bernardino & Caacupe, Paraguay - Holiday Lake & Religious Festival

Paraguay travel blog by Mark Berman - April 2016   » View Photoset (38 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for over 11yrs!

San Bernardino

San Bernardino lagoon (Lake Ypacarai) is 2hrs by bus east from Asuncion and attracts the well-heeled people of this city to its shores during
Paraguay Photo - Hotel or apartments on the edge of Lake Ypacarai at San Bernardino.
Hotel or apartments on the edge of Lake Ypacarai at San Bernardino.
the summer months of December to mid-February. San Bernardino is a place of luxury hotels but also has budget backpacker accommodation available. I arrived in San Bernardino after spending 4 days in Asuncion. I intended to just have a quick look around for a couple of hours and continue by bus and stay in Caacupe. Being April, it was not peak season which was kind of nice really. I imagine San Bernardino is full of parties and fun in peak season, it could be quite something indeed. Weekends are also popular for short stays throughout the year. Biking, walking, water-sports, relaxing, there's plenty to do in San Bernardino all year round.

Tour of the Lake

I headed down to the lakes edge and was asked by a man with a passenger boat if I wanted to head out for a bit of a tour around the lake. That sounded like a great idea to me, I wouldn't have to continue walking around with my 2 backpacks strapped to my body! Of course it wasn't free - I paid him $20USD after the ride. Seeing the lake
Paraguay Photo - The dome and cross of the Basilica de Caacupe, a sacred site in Paraguay.
The dome and cross of the Basilica de Caacupe, a sacred site in Paraguay.
from above the water may not be such a bad idea as I'm not sure how clean it is for swimming! So off we went for a bit of a cruise around Lake Ypacarai passing around the marina, seeing amazing houses with private jetties on the waters-edge, views of the huge Hotel de Sol and beaches and palm trees with grassy areas and recreational and sports facilities behind. The whole place is surrounded by green hills and thick bush, the land and area looks like it is kept clean and maintained well. After about 30mins we headed back to shore, it was great being on a large-decked boat by myself busy capturing photos as we travelled along. I hadn't thought that I would be doing a boat ride before arriving in town!

Caacupe Annual Religious Festival With 300,000 Visitors

Caacupe, 25 minutes by bus east from San Bernardino, is a small town with a big Burger King and is the center of a huge religious
Paraguay Photo - This scenic river runs through Caacupe beside Plaza Heroes del Chaco.
This scenic river runs through Caacupe beside Plaza Heroes del Chaco.
festival held each year on December 8th. They say that up to 300,000 people converge on Caacupe on this date for a candlelit procession, where they all stay is anyones guess. I bet Burger King make more money on this day than the rest of the year combined! This event is held at the massive church - Basilica de Caacupe beside the large seat-less plaza. Luckily there is another plaza in town called Plaza Farina which does have places to sit, it's named after Jose Maria Farina - a marine and navy hero born in Caacupe in 1836. Also we have Plaza Heroes del Chaco which is more a park than a plaza with grass, trees and a monument to the Chaco War. Beside this plaza is the fountain and a river. I found a small blue church next to a quiet little plaza as I wandered around also. I stayed the night at Caacupe's best central hotel - Katy Maria, see review below. If you are interested in the annual religious festival in Caacupe, take a look at these pages at Sacred Sites and Mary Pages.

Bus to Villarrica

From Caacupe I headed by bus 1hr east to Coronel Oviedo, then another 40mins south to Villarrica.

     

View all photos in the San Bernardino & Caacupe Photoset


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My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for San Bernardino & Caacupe, Paraguay:

Hotel Katy Maria, Caacupe, Paraguay - Large Photo
Hotel Katy Maria, Caacupe, Paraguay (April 2016 - 1 night) - The nicest hotel to stay in the center of town. The rooms are very nice and come with a fridge to keep drinks cold. The rooms each have a balcony which is cool. The lady owner is very nice. Only problem is the weak wifi signal around the higher floors making it difficult to connect. $27USD per night and recommended if you want comfort.

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San Bernardino & Caacupe, Paraguay - Holiday Lake & Religious Festival. San Bernardino lagoon (Lake Ypacarai) is 2hrs by bus east from Asuncion and attracts the well-heeled people of this city to its shores during the summer months of December to mid-February. San Bernardino is a place of luxury hotels but also has budget backpacker accommodation available. Caacupe is a religious center.

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