November 26, 2015

Overall

Pros

Living in Encarnacion is cheap. I stayed in a hostel for the first three months and then moved in with a friend but living in a hostel is not expensive. The food is also not expensive and beer is cheaper than water. The bus ticket or means to get around the city costs next to nothing. So for all you backpackers on a tight or low budge, this city is ideal, your money will go a long way.

There is a beautiful beach, not too far and not too touristic. It is clean and packed with locals so a great way to strike up a conversation. There is Plaza de Arms in the centre of town, a beautiful park again clean and rather peaceful.

The locals here are super friendly and kind. Whilst I struggled to speak in Spanish, most of them helped or understood what I was saying. They are patient and curious to learn about different cultures. As Encarnacion is not packed with backpackers, the locals are happy to interact with ones that do venture down here.

The weather is good, very hot over the summer period but a great place to tan or soak in the sun. The streets are not packed like Rio or Buenos Aires.

I love the energy of this place, I can’t explain it, it’s something you have to go and feel, sense and experience for yourself. It is in the air and amongst the people. It is something that I never felt before and even now, I struggle to explain it.

Cons

There are no iconic, world wonders here so if you are after a mountain or volcano then this is not the palace. I feel that this is what makes this city so special as it really is a hidden gem.

There are no shopping malls or western outlet stores. I’m fine with this, again this is what makes this city unique but if you are after malls then stay clear of this city.

In conclusion

I loved living in Encarnacion, I had intended to spend three days in the city but spent ten months. The locals combined with the energy, love and warmth of the people made me stay. Both my volunteering experience and employment enabled me to interact with locals everyday. I was able to have a conversation in broken Spanish and be understood. It was hard leaving my students and friends behind. It was even harder leaving my Paraguayan mum behind, who I miss dearly. I was accepted and part of the local culture even though I’m a British, Indian who speaks limited Spanish. The only reason I left when I did was because I was due to meet Seema and Josh in Johannesburg. Had this not been the case, I would have easily stayed longer. I know I will come back to this beautiful city, I just don’t know when.