The new edition of the first and still most comprehensive guidebook to Paraguay in English is engagingly written by a long-term resident. Paraguay is an emerging tourist destination, rapidly improving its facilities but still mercifully free from tourist tat. You can explore savannahs dotted with palm trees, red-earth roads, empty river-beaches, damp Atlantic forests, or the wild Chaco’s ‘green desert’, all without running into another foreigner. You can swing in a hammock chugging slowly upriver, and enjoy some of the best bird-watching in the world. Folk dance, harp playing and handicraft – particularly in sewing – are vibrant, living traditions. This is still a bilingual nation, with Guaraní spoken alongside Spanish – its character shaped by the legendary Jesuit missions with their romantic ruins and fine sculptures of saints, where the indigenous remained protected from European exploitation for a century and a half.
Margaret Hebblethwaite moved to Paraguay in 2000, where she has since established, and continues to run the Santa Maria Education Fund.