Friday, March 26, 2010

Parque Nacional Ybycui

A few weeks ago, we had a three day weekend for Hero's Day in Paraguay. Wanting to explore the country we live in a bit more, we rented a car for the weekend with Danielle and Kagan, and headed to a national park that we had heard good things about from a few people. The drive was surprisingly pleasant, and while we had a little issue with some people who didn't know how to drive on mud and got stuck so we had a picnic while they waited for the tractor to come and get them out of the ditch, we got to the park. We again were surprisingly surprised. Living in Central America for two years I guess our expectations for national parks was pretty low, but this park definitely surpassed them all. While we could set up our tents wherever we wanted, there were quite a few picnic tables and grills around, and there were some pretty nice bathroom facilities as well. And the location isn't too bad either! Jesse and Kagan had a really fun time after we realized that we didn't have chairs to sit on. My size coolers anyone?
It was sprinkling when we first arrived, so we didn't do much that first night. But the second day, we went on a hike. During this hike, we encountered many interesting items. First, we were amazed that a well-groomed trail existed here. Well, it was well-groomed until the first mirador or lookout point.
After this, the trail continues, but the word trail is used lightly. We continued, in 100% humidity, and climbed over boulders, walked into countless spider webs, were attacked by biting ants, and the final straw was a huge patch of burrs that proceeded to attack Danielle's pants to the point where she actually had to strip so that we could pull all the burrs off.
Going down, the trail was nice, and we noticed how many different ecosystems we were passing as we had climbed up one of the only hills in Paraguay.
After the hike, we were all just dripping in sweat, so we changed, and jumped into the river. The park is known around Paraguay for its waterfalls, and is supposed to have over 15 waterfalls. What's really cool is that the campsites are set up right by some natural waterfalls (Salto Mina).
After we enjoyed the cool, fresh water in the river, we took a shorter, much gentler hike to the Salto Guarani (Guarani waterfall). This waterfall was absolutely beautiful and incredibly relaxing.
We returned to the campsite, and noticed that we had some neighbors!
Looking back at the weekend, I felt that we participated in something that many Paraguayans would do (I feel like I can say that based on the amount of people that were at the park that weekend). It was a great weekend and was a fabulous way to see more of Paraguay.

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