The town of Pedro Juan Caballero bustles with activity as it is more than a border town, but also a shopping center. Situated right on the border with Brazil everyday the shops burst with activity as Brazilians and Paraguayans alike search for deals on everything from electronics to furniture and clothing. Prices for electronics are cheaper here in Pedro Juan Caballero than perhaps anywhere else in South America, but be warned before purchasing that the products sent here are often sent by manufacturers because of defaults in the products.
Other than the crossing into Brazil, the incredible Cerro Cora National Park is really the only reason to come here. The park, in my opinion is a must for any visit to Paraguay so if you’re simply planning on being in transit between the Pantanal of Brazil and Paraguay consider stopping in to Pedro Juan Caballero for one day in order to visit.
Time needed: 2 days 1 night
Things to Do
- Cerro Cora National Park: Leave early in the morning to beat the heat and afternoon showers, and spend the day hiking across this amazing park. There are jaguars and a number of other animals that find home in the park so keep your eyes peeled. To get to the park head to the bus terminal and catch any bus heading in the direction of Concepcion, ask the bus driver to drop you off at entrance to the park. You then need to walk about 1km on the road to the office where you need to sign in with the park ranger. Don’t expect to find many, or any, other tourists here, but its a great morning excursion.
Where to Eat
There are a couple burger joints on Mariscal Lopez including one called Eiruzu where I ate one of my night’s in town. To stock up for the park, or to self cater, there is a very good supermarket on Mariscal Lopez as well.
Where to Stay
After finding out that all the places recommended to me had been renovated and boosted in price I took my taxi driver’s advice and went to a place called Hotel la Negra. The rooms are basic, but they suffice if you’re on a tight budget. I paid about 6US$ for my single room with a fan.
Getting out of Town
Although Pedro Juan Caballero is a border town it definitely lacks security and organization. However, within the apathetic sense in town it is well connected. To get to other Paraguayan destinations check the list below, all buses leave from the main bus terminal. For Brazil check the information at the bottom of this section.
- Concepcion (3-4 hours) is 6US$ and leave nearly every hour, if not quicker.
- Asuncion (8 hours) is 13US$ and leaves about every hour and a half
- You can also catch a daily bus to Campo Grande (4-5 hours) from here, but you must have all your passport details worked out before hand because the bus will not stop at immigration.
Getting to Brazil
There are two ways to do this, and one is much more simple than the other. I did things the hard way.
- Easy way: As there is no official border control go and take care of your passport the night before leaving. Go to Paraguayan immigration (on Mariscal Lopez) and get your exit stamp. Then go to the National Police of Brazil to get your entrance stamp to Brazil. Book your bus ticket from the bus terminal in Pedro Juan Caballero and sleep in town that night and catch the bus from the terminal that morning. Only one bus leaves a day (usually at 8am) directly to Campo Grande.
- The hard way: Do everything in one day, in case you don’t want to get up early. Follow the same procedure as above to get your passport taken care of but then catch a taxi to the bus terminal on the Brazilian side of the border (called Ponta Pora) where buses leave for Campo Grande (4-5 hours) about every hour and a half. Note that this way will cost you more since you are catching a taxi to the Brazilian bus terminal rather than simply walking everywhere. It’s not all too complicated and I did it without an issue, but the other way would have definitely been easier. From the bus terminal in Ponta Pora you can also get to basically all other Brazilian destinations in the region, and beyond.