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So, you’ve found yourself in Paraguay wondering what kinds of things to do in Ciudad del Este there are. These things can be done over one day in Ciudad del Este, or possibly two or three if you are more relaxed.
Two things that you need to do before traveling to Ciudad del Este are to make sure you don’t need a visa/have the proper visa (Americans need one) and to make sure that your bus driver knows to stop at the border if you are coming from Puerto Iguazu or Foz du Iguacu. Yes, you read that correctly… check my post about my god-awful bus from Puerto Iguazu to Ciudad del Este here. Don’t make the same mistakes as me… please.
Anyway, it’s random enough that you have ended up here like I did (as a solo traveler, who knows how good of an idea this was… but hey, I survived. It really didn’t seem unsafe at all, even walking alone in the day time and with hostel friends at night. It’s just… such a … random place to be!) I ended up here because I figured I would check out Paraguay while I was so close to it, and loop back around to Northern Argentina after visiting Asuncion. It was a successful travel route, although I’m not sure I would specifically recommend it.
Anyway, I digress… here are a couple cool things to do in Ciudad del Este Paraguay – the cheap shopping capital of the area, and home to a couple other cool things as well.
Things to do in Ciudad del Este: Walk Around Town, Shop, Eat, Hunt for Bargains, Avoid Scams
What do you need? Could you possibly need anything? Because you can find it here for sure. Need socks? Nearly every old lady in town is walking around selling them. Need clothes? A cute sweater? A motor scooter? A new DSLR? Sunglasses? Headphones? A knockoff (or real) Go Pro? A nice watch? A kebab?
The center of Ciudad del Este is quite compact, but is completely packed to the brim with little market/shop stalls. Tables and tables of market stalls protected by tarps and plastic bags line every street, often multiple rows of them, stacked to the makeshift ceiling with clothing and goods. Shop owners use sticks to get leather coats or stylish down jackets up from the high rungs of their shop. Before telling you the price, they ask which currency you would like it in, because they function in Guarani (Paraguay), Real (Brazil), Pesos (Argentina), and Dolores (USA).
Walking around Ciudad del Este can be quite overwhelming at first, because everything really is happening all at once. Cars and motorcycles zoom past, temporarily overshadowing multiple reggaeton beats playing in the distance. Shop owners call out to anyone passing by, and street peddlers come up to you asking in Spanish what you are looking for or try to sell you socks or watches from a basket in their arms. You can hear the bubbling oil from a street vendor frying fresh empanadas, and inhale some second-hand smoke from a shop worker taking a small break from their shift in an electronics store. Everyone is haggling prices down, and hopefully not being tricked into believing an imitation brand is a real one.
You’ll find kebabs, empanadas, sandwiches, and more throughout lots of street food stalls. Electronics vendors tend to be more inside buildings. I can guarantee you that if you don’t think you need anything when you begin to explore, you may walk out with a few things you didn’t know you did.
Things to do in Ciudad del Este: Cataratas del Monday Waterfalls
If you have time after your city adventure, it’s quite popular to go to a waterfall just outside town called Monday. If you have just been to Iguazu Falls, clearly nothing can really top that, but this is a lovely little National Park where you can enjoy the nature, walk, and relax.
By anyone else’s standards, these waterfalls would be quite spectacular, but their proximity to the largest waterfall system in the entire world causes them to be overshadowed a bit.
Photo via Flickr
Things to do in Ciudad del Este: Itaipu Dam – The Now Second Largest in the World
Next to the largest waterfall system in the world is actually the (recently) second largest dam in the world (It used to be the largest but apparently China just built a bigger one. Classic China). But surprisingly enough, the Itaipu Dam is actually not even on the same river as Iguazu Falls – the two rivers meet up a few kilometers downstream, where Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil all connect.
Itaipu actually forms the border just between Paraguay and Brazil, and is about 10km north from Iguazu Falls and/or Argentina. You can tour the inside of the dam and check out the massive turbines that produce more electricity than any dam in the world, or you can simply marvel at its impressiveness and size from the outside.
Where to Stay in Ciudad del Este Paraguay
I think I stayed at the only hostel in town, Teko Arte Hostel, and I actually loved it! I met some fellow like-minded travelers to walk around town with and get kebabs at night, got to relax in hammocks near a beautiful yard and pool, and enjoyed the hospitality of the hostel owner and her son.
Enjoy your trip! 🙂