Paraguay is a hitherto little-known nation that is currently undergoing noticeable economic growth–the highest rate in South America, in fact. Full of surprises, it is a landlocked country and home to an overall population of 6.5 million, including some isolated Mennonite populations. Groups can still take advantage of low-cost, high-quality Paraguay event venues–at least until word gets out.
Asuncion, Paraguay's capital, is the main entry city in the country. The airport there, Silvio Pettirossi International (ASU), is in the suburb of Luque, 12 miles east of downtown Asuncion.
Chief among Paraguay event venues in the Conmebol Convention Center, connected to the 165-room Bourbon Conmebol Convention Center Hotel, which opened in late 2011. The center has 35,000 square feet of meeting space that can cater to up to 3,000 persons. Other venues in Asuncion worthy of meetings include the 116-room Hotel Excelsior, which has 35,000 square feet of function space for up to 3,700 persons; the 100-room Sheraton Asuncion, which has meeting space for 1,000 persons and the 74-room Crowne Plaza Asuncion, which also has space for 1,000. A wonderful, hacienda-style choice is the 70-room Gran Hotel del Paraguay, which is a national landmark with an orchid garden, guest rooms and function and dining space for up to 60 persons, while nine miles south of Asuncion is the 128-room Resort Yacht & Golf Club Paraguayo, which is on the Paraguay River (so there is a beach, and there are yachts) and has space for 300 attendees.
There are a number of venues able to host functions in Asuncion. The American University has lobby space and meeting and seminar rooms, while more traditional choices include two museums administered by the state, the Museo del Barro, an arts and antiquities museum with gallery and lobby space, and Museo Paraguayo de Arte Contemporaneo, which specializes in murals, and the Casa de la Independencia (Paraguay celebrated its 200th birthday in 2011), where tours are conducted and the cool patio might be used for small functions.
One choice outside the city is the Topachi Ranch in the village of Piribebuy, 40 miles southeast of the capital, which has guest rooms, a pool, horse stables, several restaurants and lots of lawns and outdoor areas for events and pig roasts.
Fare in Paraguay is a mix of local and international flavors, with German cuisine an important part. Restaurants in Asuncion able to host groups include the Restaurante San Miguel, famed for its steaks; El Cafe de Aca, with a quaint patio; the restaurant at the midrange Santo Domingo Hotel (40 rooms), which has two spaces for groups of 140 and 200 persons, respectively, and Stilo Campo, which is off the beaten path but serves up excellent local fare with international influences. Outside the capital is Restaurante Alex in San Bernardino, beside Lake Ypacarai, 30 miles east of Asuncion.
Photo by Flickr user: queulat00