Settled on the banks of the Rio Paraguay, the city of Concepcion is not just lost to the South American tourist trail, it is completely unheard of by most. If fact, telling other travellers that you’ve been to Concepcion, Paraguay will often have people correcting you thinking you meant Asuncion. Concepcion won’t blow you away with a great variety of attractions and it certainly wont leave your body aching with an adventurous spirit it is worth a couple days. The town is sleepy and quiet, the people are polite and refreshingly real, and the town, like a good rocking chair, looks rough, may rock you to sleep, but when you’re away from it you’ll miss it.
Time Needed: 2-3 Days
Minimum Budget: 20-30US$
Things to do in Concepcion
Concepcion is definitely not set up for tourists. In fact, walking around town people will often give you a strange “what is a tourist doing here” look. That’s all part of the fun. One of the best things to do in Concepcion is to simply pull up a chair on the main drag, sip a beer and watch the people go about their business. If people watching is not your thing there are some other things you may want to check out in town:
- The Museo del Cuartel de la Villa Real is an interesting stop as it is full of war memorabilia and historical information from the country
- The Marketin town is a fun place to wander, and about as real as you’ll find in South America. You will most likely be the only foreigner shopping here.
Where to Eat in Concepcion
For food in town head straight to the main drag. You’ll find a couple restaurants, many of which are all but abandoned during the week. The Asado restaurant serves up very good meat for a decent price. For lunch head to one of the Pollerias and try the rotisserie chicken. At Polleria Bulldog you can get a quarter chicken for about 3US$.
Where to Stay in Concepcion
You’re not going to find a hostel in Concepcion, and the accommodation is far from what you might call top notch. I stayed in Hospedaje Puerta del Sol, which is by far the cheapest accommodation in town (I paid about 5US$ a night for a private room with a fan and bathroom). The rooms are basic, but it is fine for those who don’t mind “rough around the edges.” In the center of town the Hotel Frances is much nicer, and newly renovated but a private room will cost you around 15US$
On the main street of town there are 2 internet cafes. Don’t expect to get super speedy internet but there is definitely worse. If you want to make calls you can do this here as well. The internet cafe’s aren’t set up for wifi, but if you ask they will let you plug in your laptops directly to the system. Expect to pay about 50cents for an hour of internet.
Getting out of Town
The bus terminal is just a short taxi, or horse carriage, ride away. You can walk it but the price of a horse carriage is so cheap it’s not worth sweating it. Destinations are as follows:
- Asuncion: 5-6hrs. Buses leave every couple hours. No need to book in advance except on weekends.
- Filadelfia: 7hrs. The bus to Asuncion will drop you off at a highway gas station where you’ll meet the other bus. Buses up to Filadelfia aren’t that frequent so check in advance about the connection.
- Pedro Juan Caballero: 4-5hrs. There are regular buses, no need to book in advance although sometimes the bus is packed with weekend shoppers heading to duty free on the Brazilian Border.
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