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Paraguay Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in Paraguay

There are several modern shopping centres in the capital and surrounding towns which aren't particularly Paraguayan, but are air-conditioned – a blessing on hot days. A popular shopping street in Asunción is Calle Palma, where you can haggle with street hawkers. Special purchases include ñandutí lace, made by the women of Itagua, leather goods, wood handicrafts, silver yerba maté cups and native jewellery. There are often stalls in the main plazas in Asunción, especially the Plaza de la Democracia.

For an authentic Paraguayan experience head south of the Asunción city centre to the Mercado 4. Made famous by the film 7 Boxes, the market sells anything from fresh fruit and veg to cheap electronic goods and even Korean fast food. The labyrinth of stalls make it easy to get lost for an hour or two in the hustle and bustle, if you do decided to visit only go during daylight hours and be wary of pickpockets.

The city of Luque, due north of Asunción, is renowned for its jewellery, the main thoroughfare (Av. General Aquino) is dotted with independent jewellers allowing customers to compare prices and look for a particular design. Necklaces and earrings are the local speciality.

Ciudad del Este has a reputation for cheap electronics and other products that somehow find their way from Asia or even neighbouring Brazil. The main shopping strip is awash with different goods – it is advisable to pay a bit extra buying from a shopping centre than on the street to reduce the risk (though not entirely eliminate) of purchasing counterfeit goods.

Shopping hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1500-1900 and Sat 0730-1300.

Nightlife in Paraguay

In Asunción, there are numerous bars, casinos and nightclubs offering a different ambience depending on what you are looking for. The most popular traditional music styles in Paraguay are polcas and guaranías, which have slow and romantic rhythms and which are used as serenades – the polca is often played to signal the end of a party or closing time in a nightclub.

However, a medley of music can be found on an average night out. DJs spin between western pop hits and reggae via Brazilian sertinajo and 80s rock. The best areas in Asunción for bars and clubs are the Villamorra and Carmelitas suburbs, which are about 20 minutes outside the city centre.

For a totally different experience head to Checho's La Mega, San Martin 1115 c/ Augustin Barrios, Asunción (+595 981 928 650) on a Friday night when beers are sold for mere pence (cents). The cheap prices have made this discotheque the biggest single vendor of beer in Latin America.

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