Where To Stay In Encarnacion, Paraguay | The A-Z Guide
Curious where to stay in Encarnacion, Paraguay these days? Then you've come to the perfect place.
In this detailed guide, you’ll find what you need to succeed regarding the best neighborhoods, nightlife, and walkable areas in this water-side city.
Plus, we’ll take a look at the best hotels in Encarnacion.
For those looking to visit this small city in the dirty south of ole' South America, the info inside this guide will make your trip so much better.
Ya tu sabes.
But before we dive too deep into the Encarnacion breakdown, here’s something if you’re looking to find the perfect neighborhood and grab a hotel or hostel tan rapido:
Best Hotel in Encarnacion, Paraguay: Click Here!
Best Hostel in Encarnacion, Paraguay: Click Here!
That hotel right there is in the best location throughout Encarnacion, Paraguay. Just a quick walk from bars, clubs, and the waterfront.
Highly, highly recommended. If this is your first time in Encarnacion, I wouldn’t stay anywhere else if that hotel is in your budget.
But if you’re looking for a more in-depth look into things here, then keep on reading this bad boy. Below you'll find information like:
Where to Stay in Encarnacion, Paraguay | Best Locations + Hotels
If you yearn to experience an authentic slice of laid back Paraguayan life, then get your ass to Encarnacion. Despite being one of the country's main attractions, very few gringos make it here — ensuring it feels far from touristy and interaction with the locals is all but guaranteed.
Encarnacion is a popular summer hangout for domestic tourists who flock here to beat the unrelenting heat. During the high season of December-February, Paraguayans — most of whom come from Asuncion or Ciudad del Este — descend on Encarnacion in droves to bathe in the refreshing waters of the Paraná River.
Its attractive golden sand beaches pack out with equally attractive locals who come to hang out and chill, cool down with a swim, or work on their tans.
On the whole, Paraguayans are outwardly friendly and eager to meet pasty-assed gringos. Join in a game of pick-up soccer at the beach or strike up a conversation at the bar to snag yourself a few new Paraguayan friends.
I'll be frank, though. I love Paraguay and Encarnacion, but there isn't much in terms of touristy stuff to do here and you'll definitely have to stay in a central neighborhood here to make things work.
Which means you can't go past zona central, which boasts easy access to the beach, the bars, and the city sites.
Specifically, aim for a place within a four-block radius of the Plaza de Armas, as you can see here, preferably on the western side closer to the river and the beach.
You'll want to stay around this area. Te lo juro.
Near the Plaza de Armas and the La Catedral and Zona Alta neighborhoods.
Closer to Playa San Jose the better, although right around the Plaza de Armas works too.
Best Neighborhoods in Encarnacion, Paraguay | Top 3
Nestled on the banks of the mighty Paraná opposite Argentina, life in Encarnacion revolves around the river.
La Zona Central, A.K.A., centro, lies on a small peninsula just south of a minor distributary channel, a strategic location that affords river views on the west, north, and east side.
As the busiest part of town, which isn't very busy at all, centro is as close as Encarnacion gets to a city vibe. Here you'll find no shortage of unpretentious hotels and eateries within an easily walkable radius.
To the west, you've got the more upmarket Costanera zone, where holiday resort-style hotels and glitzy restaurants line the shorefront. Head north and you'll find La Zona Norte, a very local affair whose major drawcard is the sandy Playa Mboi Ka'ê.
#1. Centro – The Most Walkable And Attractive Neighborhood With Some Nightlife
Peppered with colonial-era edifices, a leafy central plaza, and cosy spots to drink and eat, centro is my top pick for Encarnacion.
If you're familiar with my city guides, you'll know I like easily walkable barrios with a lively dining and entertainment scene–and centro ticks all the boxes.
A few blocks to the east is the city casino should you fancy a cheeky punt. Head west, on the other hand, and you'll quickly arrive at La Costanera and Playa San Jose.
This isn't a big city, 120,000 people, so basing yourself in centro gives you easy access to the very best of Encarnacion.
Best Hotel in Centro: Hotel Puesta del Sol
Located right on the border between centro and La Costanera, Hotel Puesta del Sol is the perfect spot to experience the best of both barrios. Of course, it doesn't hurt that this is also Encarnacion's number one chic boutique hotel.
Each of the tasteful rooms and suites come kitted out with cutting edge contemporary design, while a palm tree-fringed swimming pool plus waterfall adds a funky tropical vibe. Although it's a little pricier than other Encarnacion digs, this puppy is totally worth the splurge.
#2. La Costanera – The Best River Views and Beach Action
When I speak of the Costanera neighborhood, I'm referring to everything west of Av Dr Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia. My rough and very unofficial definition includes Avenida Costanera, the entire pedestrian boulevard, Playa San Jose, and the selection of upmarket riverfront hotels and watering holes that lie between.
So why would you consider La Costanera? Because it beats centro for the avid beach bum hands down.
Landlocked Paraguay doesn't have a real coastline, so the closest they can get to a beach holiday are the golden sands of Playa San Jose. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, because the sexy spot is on par with many of South America's coastal playas–except those of Brazil and Colombia, of course.
As you'd expect, Playa San Jose is the epicenter of it all, from which an array of lively restaurants and bars gravitate outwards. A leafy riverfront boulevard extends north and south — the perfect spot to jog or cycle. You've also got the Sambadome to the north, which goes off during Carnival or other boozy parades.
Best Hotel in La Costanera: De La Costa Hotel
As Paraguay's premier, and only, beach resort, De La Costa Hotel is the perfect spot to stay when your primary objective is soaking up some rays.
Many rooms of this unpretentious mid-range hotel overlook the Parana River, while the popular Playa San Jose is just a few minute walk away. Expect to share the space with sun-seeking Paraguayans during the summer months.
#3. La Zona Norte – Best Off The Beaten Track Area
If you want a super authentic Paraguayan experience without another gringo in sight, then just head north of the channel. La Zona Norte is where the locals live, and boasts a number of stunning riverfront areas that aren't plagued by the same summertime crowds.
Sleepy Playa Mboi Ka'ê comes alive in the late afternoon as the locals come to play volleyball or chatter among themselves. Other riverfront regions offer sweeping views, but no beach action.
Best Hotel in La Zona Norte: Awa Resort Hotel
Awa Resort Hotel is a hit with local holidaymakers as it offers one of the few upscale resort-style lodgings in the country. Tucked away in the northern edge of La Zona Norte, it boasts ample tranquillity, stunning river views, an awesome outdoor pool, and a sumptuous in-house spa. Sound excessive? Rooms start at a very reasonable US$50…Paraguay is cheap as chips!
Top 3 Budget Hotels in Encarnacion, Paraguay
Looking for something a little more budget-friendly?
These clean and comfortable locally-run options come in at around about $10-20 bucks per night…
Talk about a bargain!
- Hotel Germano
Located just south of the city center, Hotel Germano feels like it's been decorated by a lovable Paraguayan abuela. Elegant old-school furnishings, cosy traditional bedrooms, a beautiful grand piano, and embroidered white tablecloths add to that homely grandma vibe.
- La Casa de Pedro Hostel
One for the solo budget travelers and backpackers among us, this highly-rated no-frills haunt has squeaky clean dorms with uber-powerful air-con–a blessing when the mercury tips over 100 degrees. The friendly lady who runs the shop speaks good English, and its central location is on point. Don't forget to grab some quality local beef to grill on the parillada with your newfound backpacking chums.
- Hostal SV
Located in the un-touristy Zona Norte, this no-nonsense cheapy has a selection of totally livable doubles, suites, and family rooms. Although not exactly flash, it's clean as a whistle and run by exceptionally attentive hosts. The free breakfast is badass and there's an onsite kitchen to prep your own meals.
Apartments in Encarnacion, Paraguay
If you're after a little more space, then snapping up a sleek apartment is ideal. And the Del Rio Apart Hotel is the cream of the crop in Encarnacion.
Located smack bang in the middle of my favorite barrio, this modern and comfortable apartment hotel made my time in Encarnacion a pleasure. Each two-bedroom apartment comes tastefully decorated in a cool contemporary style, while the downstairs plunge pool is perfect for enjoying a little outdoor time.
More keen on hitting the beach? Playa San Jose is just a short hop away.
Quick Trip vs. Living Full-Time?
Quaint little Encarnacion doesn't attract many gringo expats, if any at all. Nevertheless, if you've got business reasons to be out here or you've shacked up with a lovely local, then living in Encarnacion won't be so bad.
I'd aim to stay around el centro or La Costanera if you're here long term.
However, if you want a quiet semi-rural escape, then you could try La Zona Norte or even further afield.
Top 4 Things to Do in Encarnacion, Paraguay
Encarnacion–and Paraguay in general–has a bit of an unfair reputation for being boring. Granted, there aren't many sites to reel in the tourist throngs, but it's a pleasant enough town for a taster sample of the local life.
Be sure to check these out while in town:
The Jesuit Ruins
The UNESCO-listed Jesús de Tavarangüe and Trinidad Ruins are the major regional drawcards, and worth a look even if colonial history ain't your thang. These 17th-century sites were once home to a deeply devout Jesuit, a Catholic religious order, community who unlike the mainstream Catholics, succeeded in integrating with the indigenous Guarani people.
Museo del Arbol
Unique little eco-tourism attraction just outside Encarnacion. If you're in the area and enjoy stunning views, nature, hiking, and adventure — then make sure you check this out.
Probably my favorite thing to do while in Encarnacion, Paraguay.
Carnival in Encarnacion
If you happen to be here during carnival, then the Sambadrome is the best place to be.
Vibrantly dressed locals strut their stuff down the boisterous strip, where free-flowing beer and ecstatic marching bands result in a fun-loving party vibe.
Paraguay's answer to Copacabana Beach doesn't hold a candle to its famed Brazilian counterpart, but it's a fun spot to soak up some sun nonetheless. Hang out along the boulevard as the sun sinks over the river or enjoy a dip in the Parana to stave off the insufferable summer heat.
Where to Stay in Encarnacion, Paraguay| Verdict
Off-the-beaten track travelers adore Paraguay for its un-touristy vibes, and Encarnacion is among the best spots to mingle with the local crowd. Come during the summer to relish in the seasonal festive atmosphere where everyone heads to the river to beat the oppressive heat.
Book yourself into one of my recommended places to stay and you'll be well-versed to make the most of this laid back Paraguayan gem.
Que te vaya bien,