« Paraguay - Five Days Itinerary

Day 3 – Salto Cristal, Encarnación


The plan for today was to drive from the capital city to the southern border city of Encarnación, with a stop to one of the best waterfalls in the country – Salto Cristal. The drive was estimated to be about 5 hours, but with the pit-stop, we calculated to be 7-9 hours. Starting early morning was perfect so after an early breakfast at the hotel in Asuncion, started to drive south!

Having a rental car makes it really easy to drive around the country. While there are public transport options available to go from one town to the other, it can take hours considering the buses stop every other mile to pick-up or drop-off passengers. The bus routes from point A to B may not be direct and with stopovers in main towns, your travel time may be longer that you anticipated!

Driving in Paraguay

With a huge network of highways and paved roads in the country, driving in Paraguay is a breeze. Spectacular highways connect mega cities, networking in to single-lane paved roads leading to small towns and villages. Most speed limits are 80 km, while small roads it’s 35-50 km.

Passing (overtaking) is common on highways with clear markings of go and no-go zones. The traffic across the north-south (Asunción-Encarnación route) was pretty empty with a few trucks passing through because of the access to Argentina on both sides, and very few personal cars.

 
The road is mostly highway once you get out of Asuncion, except for the last 20 kilometers from Valle Pe to the waterfalls entrance, which is a mud road, so having a 4×4 vehicle would be great, but not necessary. Make sure to fill gasoline and check your tire pressure (plus spare tire) before you hit this mud-road at Valle Pe because there are minimal facilities along the way.

Highway leading to Salto Cristal
[Last 20 km of mud road from Valle Pe to Salto Cristal]

Salto Cristal

Located about 180 km south of Asuncion, the waterfalls of Salto Cristal are a marvel to look at. After driving for about 3 hours we reached the entrance of the park, got our tickets that costs 20,000 PYG (approx $2.85) and then hike for about 20 minutes through the trail leading to the waterfalls. Initial part of the hike involves about 220 stairs winding down and then through flat surface filled with rocks and slippery water! In fact, perhaps the most developed part of the falls is a recently added stairway.

Once you reach the waterfalls, you will see this wide, white ribbon spilling over a 45-meter-high cliff in the middle of the Paraguayan jungle. Although swimming is prohibited, you can pay extra 20,000 PYG go have a life-jacket from a lifeguard standing in a corner. The cool water in the deep pool at the base of the falls is a welcome relief in the high heat of summer, especially if you work up a sweat exploring the jungle in the surrounding trails.

It was dry season when we visited so the falls was lacking water, yet it was stunning to marvel at this beauty and imagine its full force during the wet season.

Salto Cristal Entrance
[Salto Cristal Entrance]

Stairs leading to the waterfalls - Salto Cristal
[Stairs leading to the waterfalls – Salto Cristal]

Slippery trail leading to the waterfalls - Salto Cristal
[Slippery trail leading to the waterfalls – Salto Cristal]

Slippery trail leading to the waterfalls - Salto Cristal
[Slippery trail leading to the waterfalls – Salto Cristal]

Salto Cristal, Paraguay
[Salto Cristal, Paraguay]

Salto Cristal, Paraguay
[Salto Cristal, Paraguay]

 

Encarnación

Taking the same mud road back to the highway, it was about 5 hours drive to Encanacion – our destination for the day. It was about 5pm by the time we checked-in to our hotel in Encarnacion. Almost close to sunset, it was time to head to the corniche to see the sunset and grab some dinner.

Encarnación is a small city with not many sights to see, and is mainly a border town with Posadas, Argentina across from Parana river. We were quite drained from all the hiking and driving, so after a quick stop at Iglesia Catedral de Encarnación to visit the local church, we headed straight to the playa! Followed by dinner and drinks at Pizza Cheff Constanera restaurant.

Iglesia Catedral de Encarnación
[Iglesia Catedral de Encarnación]

Iglesia Catedral de Encarnación

Sunset beach of Encarnación, with Posada Argentina in the far
[Sunset beach of Encarnación, with Posada Argentina in the far]

Silo on the beach of Encarnación
[Silo on the beach of Encarnación]

Drinks at sunset at Encanacion
Dinner at sunset at Encanacion

 

Costs

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = PYG 7000 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
 

What Cost Notes
Entrance ticket for Salto Cristal $2.85 PYG 20,000.
Toll $2.42 PYG 17,000. One way to Encarnacion.
Gasoline $28.14 PYG 197,000.
Snacks & water $7.14 PYG 50,000.
Dinner $9.28 PYG 65,000 at Pizza Cheff Constanera restaurant.
Parking at hotel $5.71 PYG 40,000 at Asuncion Hotel.
Total Costs $55.54 Per person
Overall Costs $1,704.92 Per person

 

« PREVIOUS – Day 2

Areguá, Capiatá, Itauguá, Caacupé, Yaguarón

Visiting the churches of nearby towns from Asuncion.

Day 3

Salto Cristal, Encarnación

Driving from Asuncion to Salto Cristal, ending day in Encarnación.

Day 4 – NEXT »

Jesuit Mission Ruins

Visiting the three Jesuit Mission Ruins.

 

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