After all of our time in Argentina, we had yet to travel on one of the famed buses with steak and wine. This was our last chance so we searched high and low at the bus terminal until we found the perfect one. I know Todd thought we were nuts to spend an hour asking around. At one point he says, “Do you guys always shop around this much?” The answer is NO. But, with this being our last long distance bus AND an overnighter, we wanted to get it right.
Funny thing: we were all excited about this 13 hour bus ride. We splurged an extra $25 each to get this “perfect” bus that was going to be extra luxurious. It was supposedly going to even have PlayStation on board! It didn’t. It also didn’t have steak. It wasn’t so bad, though. Highlights included: WIFI, hot AND cold dinner, any drink including wine and beer, full bed, blankets and pillows, tv’s at each seat, breakfast with mate.
The service and the accommodations were luxurious, but not all such things create the perfect bus ride. Some kinks still needed to be worked out such as when the upper cabin was stifling hot for the first 2 hours, or when the motion sensor in the bathroom continued to “BLING!” off and on throughout the night. Oh, and no steak. :( Nevertheless, it WAS the best bus we ventured on in all of South America. When we arrived in Posadas, Argentina, we didn’t waste any time hanging around. We immediately crossed the border to our eighth and final country, Paraguay!
Before we left the States, we were asked many times with strange faces, “Why South America?”. I got this question so often that I started to not give a crap about how I answered. Long winded, logic based answers turned into a smart assed, “Why not?”. Yes, it’s a lame way of handling it, but I tired of trying to convince others as to why this was a great idea. When we decided last month to take our adventure into Paraguay, this smart ass answer made it’s return. Other travelers who had taken much the same route we had through the continent wondered, “Why Paraguay?”. Paraguay is not on the gringo trail and very few travelers venture there. They asked about danger levels, but also wondered whether there was anything worth seeing, often finishing the conversation with, “Well, you’ll have to tell me how that turns out.” After hearing the doubts, our thinking went from “why not?” to “we’re definitely going there!”. Naturally.1
And, the verdict is….PARAGUAY IS AWESOME. We knew it the moment we checked into our hostel and the owner was so accommodating. In fact, most people we have met in Paraguay have been. They’re all so NICE! They are also coming up on their Bicentennial Celebration on May 15, 2011 so they are full of pride. Did you know Paraguay was the first South American country to declare independence? Right now they have flags hanging everywhere…on houses, cars, churches, restaurants, in the parks, off bridges…it’s really cool to see. Too bad we’ll miss the actual day.
As for if there is anything at all to do in Paraguay, there is. Take a bus from Encarnación toward Ciudad Del Este, about 45 minutes (or an hour and a half depending on the number of stops) and hop off at the power lines on the right. Really precise for a treasured monument, eh? Tourism and information needs some help in Paraguay, but perhaps that’s part of the fun. Anyway, the Trinidad Jesuit Ruins are just off Ruta 6. Find your way down the street, pay the entrance and then wander around the site climbing and walking wherever you like. They don’t mind.
Later that night we headed to the most praised restaurant in town, Hiroshima. I know, Japanese food in Encarnación, Paraguay? It had table cloths and all…typically a place Dusty and I would shy away from. Table cloths = expensive. We could see why it was so popular, though…it was delicious. We sampled the sushi, egg rolls and several other platters. Todd was feeling extra appreciative and happy about his journey thus far, so he treated us to dinner. He was excited about doing this for us, as were we, and made a funny remark on the walk home. Something along the lines of “I think it’s so funny that I feel great about treating you guys to a nice dinner, but had we been in the States, the cost would have been the equivalent of treating you to Chipotle!” Shocking reality that soon we’ll be returning home and going back to a Chipotle sized budget.
Rio Uruguay Bus
Buenos Aires to Posadas, Argentina
Cost (full cama): $380 ARS or $93.18 USD
Duration: 13 hours
Trinidad Jesuit Ruins
Getting There: Bus from Encarnación to Ciudad Del Este, hop off at the power lines 28 km out of town
Bus Cost: $5,000 PYG or $1.25 USD each
Ruins Entrance Cost: $25,000 PYG or $6.25 USD each
Location: 25 de Mayo and Lomas Valentinas
Wendy’s Review: pretty darn good for Japanese food in Paraguay!
Dusty’s Review: wishes the sushi was colder, but still quite delicious!
Todd’s Review: a cultural must in Encarnación!
1 If you must know…our flight back to the States was almost $200 less each from Asunción than it was from anywhere else. So, we save some money and get to see another country. Also, when in doubt, a “good traveler” always adopts the phrase….“When are we ever going to be near Paraguay again?” Done deal.