Paraguay travel blog by Mark Berman -
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Villarrica is one of the many small towns in the interior of beautiful Paraguay. It was originally founded because gold was believed to
exist in the area but when none was found the city was moved. In fact Villarrica was moved 7 times between its foundation in 1570 and where
it is now (1682). I came to Villarrica from Caacupe connecting (changing buses) in Coronel Oviedo 40mins north of Villarrica, it takes
1hr to get from Caacupe to Coronel Oviedo. Paraguay is a country where once you get out of the big cities like Asuncion, Ciudad del Este,
Encarnacion etc. you are left with a bunch of small towns and places which mostly have just a few things to see. Add a few of these small towns
and places together and you see a lot, that's my theory!
Arriving by Bus (or Horse 'n' Cart)
The bus terminal in Villarrica is right in the center of town, just a couple of
blocks or so from the main plaza. Outside the bus terminal you will find horse and cart taxis ready to roll, but I wasn't going to fall
for the old horse and cart taxi trick - I walked instead, I like walking! I found a hotel closeby and headed out to have a look around the
Plaza Libertad is the main square and has the Freedom Statue (a woman holding a torch) in the center (Estatua de la Libertad). On
one side of the plaza is the cathedral and there are a few historic buildings on the other side including government buildings and the
social club (Club El Porvenir Guaireño). Nearby is another important plaza in Villarrica - Plaza de los Heroes. This is where the
main government palace is - Municipalidad de Villarrica, it's very prestigious indeed.
The Stone Church Iglesia Ybaroty is the Highlight
However, probably the most important and special
attraction in Villarrica is the spectacular large stone church - Iglesia Ybaroty (1944), inspired by the architecture of medieval Europe,
combining both Romanesque and Gothic styles. The church took around 5yrs to build and really is a true work of art, things like this are
not made twice, know what I mean? It reminded me very much of the stone church in San Rafael
- Venezuela, but on a much larger scale!
Other Sights include Manuel Ortiz Guerrero Park
the rain came down so unfortunately I didn't get to see Manuel Ortiz Guerrero Park (Ycua Pyta) - there is a lagoon there and Capybara (the
worlds largest rodent) roam around freely, it's a popular place with the locals. Villarrica also has a museum housing all kinds of items
from the Chaco War as well as many antique collections and historic artifacts.
Bus to Ciudad del Este
I enjoyed my short stay in Villarrica and look forward to
exploring this part of the country again in the future. From Villarrica I headed north 40mins back to Coronel Oviedo
and again loved
seeing the countryside like I had on the way down. From Oviedo (as the locals call it) I headed east to Ciudad del Este
by bus (3hrs).