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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 10yrs!

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 - Blue church with trees around it in Caacupe.
Blue church with trees around it in Caacupe.
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 - Jetty on Lake Ypacarai at San Bernardino, distant bush-land.
Jetty on Lake Ypacarai at San Bernardino, distant bush-land.
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 - Thick bush-land and hills on the other side of the lake from San Bernardino.
Thick bush-land and hills on the other side of the lake from San Bernardino.
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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Distances & times (if available) from San Bernardino & Caacupe (Paraguay) to:


Map location: San Bernardino & Caacupe, Paraguay. 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.
 A : Aregua & Itaugua - Paraguay 18 kms 18 kms straight distance | 36mins 36mins by car (28 kms) | 43mins 43mins by bus (28 kms) (28 kms)
 B : Asuncion - Paraguay 40 kms 40 kms straight distance | 1hr 34mins 1hr 34mins by car (48 kms) | 1hr 52mins 1hr 52mins by bus (48 kms) (48 kms)
 C : Paraguari - Paraguay 53 kms 53 kms straight distance | 1hr 35mins 1hr 35mins by car (86 kms) | 1hr 54mins 1hr 54mins by bus (86 kms) (86 kms)
 D : Ybycui & Ybycui National Park - Paraguay 75 kms 75 kms straight distance | 1hr 46mins 1hr 46mins by car (102 kms) | 2hrs 7mins 2hrs 7mins by bus (102 kms) (102 kms)
 E : Oviedo to Villarrica - Paraguay 86 kms 86 kms straight distance | 1hr 41mins 1hr 41mins by car (112 kms) | 2hrs 1min 2hrs 1min by bus (112 kms) (112 kms)
 F : Villarrica - Paraguay 88 kms 88 kms straight distance | 2hrs 5mins 2hrs 5mins by car (123 kms) | 2hrs 30mins 2hrs 30mins by bus (123 kms) (123 kms)
 G : Ciudad del Este to Ybycui - Paraguay 122 kms 122 kms straight distance | 2hrs 5mins 2hrs 5mins by car (138 kms) | 2hrs 30mins 2hrs 30mins by bus (138 kms) (138 kms)
 H : Encarnacion to Paraguari - Paraguay 144 kms 144 kms straight distance | 2hrs 49mins 2hrs 49mins by car (181 kms) | 3hrs 22mins 3hrs 22mins by bus (181 kms) (181 kms)
 I : Ciudad del Este - Paraguay 247 kms 247 kms straight distance | 3hrs 51mins 3hrs 51mins by car (269 kms) | 4hrs 37mins 4hrs 37mins by bus (269 kms) (269 kms)
 J : Foz do Iguaçu - Brazil 266 kms 266 kms straight distance | 4hrs 11mins 4hrs 11mins by car (289 kms) | 5hrs 1min 5hrs 1min by bus (289 kms) (289 kms)
 K : Gran Chaco - Paraguay 259 kms 259 kms straight distance | 4hrs 4mins 4hrs 4mins by car (303 kms) | 4hrs 52mins 4hrs 52mins by bus (303 kms) (303 kms)
 L : Iguazu Falls - Argentina 269 kms 269 kms straight distance | 4hrs 55mins 4hrs 55mins by car (308 kms) | 5hrs 54mins 5hrs 54mins by bus (308 kms) (308 kms)
 M : Encarnacion & the Jesuit Ruins - Paraguay 246 kms 246 kms straight distance | 4hrs 58mins 4hrs 58mins by car (341 kms) | 5hrs 57mins 5hrs 57mins by bus (341 kms) (341 kms)
 N : Posadas - Argentina 258 kms 258 kms straight distance | 5hrs 23mins 5hrs 23mins by car (397 kms) | 6hrs 27mins 6hrs 27mins by bus (397 kms) (397 kms)
 O : Concepcion - Paraguay 217 kms 217 kms straight distance | 5hrs 54mins 5hrs 54mins by car (451 kms) | 7hrs 4mins 7hrs 4mins by bus (451 kms) (451 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 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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