Cerro Cora, East Side, Itaipu and Missiones

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Paraguay

Although Paraguay has huge amounts of land and a small population, most of the land is privately owned by few of the richer people. There are still a handful of national parks available to visit. I went and checked out the “famous” Cerro Cora. I was also able to camp there for free, and my understanding is that they even have beds for free if you go in groups.

Inside the park. It’s mainly dry chaco style vegetation, but still nice to walk around… in the 45 degree sunny weather! Bring lots of water!

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I also checked out this other park but I can’t find the name of it. The road to get here is pretty challenging and you have to pay big bucks for EVERYTHING. Even camping was expensive and they didn’t even have a set spot to camp. I ended up camping by the guard’s habitations.

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The commando team getting ready to go out on a 5 day mission in the forest. They go looking for poachers and drug growers.

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Then there was Itaipu. It’s the second largest dam in the world when it comes to size and it stands in the first spot as to the energy generated. It is Paraguay’s pride, although they share the dam with Brazil. There is a lot of controversy around this dam as the GVT says that it produces a certain amount of energy for the Paraguayan people when in reality it seems that most of it is being sold to the other side of the border. Either way, corruption and propaganda aside, it was a really nice sight to see.

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From the dam, I went into Ciudad del Este where they have a tonne of products duty free. The problem is that most of the products are total fakes. I even saw a perfect fake of the iPhone 4. What I was looking for were tires for the bike. Although there were a lot of people selling Pirellis, I couldn’t find the MT21s I was looking for. I spent all day, going through every store, having people call the stores around… etc. I ended up buying the MT60 rear for a decent price. The best place to buy your tires there for the best price is at the Pirelli dealership called Ferrari. Just ask around for Ferrari and people will point you to it really fast. No need to look around as the other guys buy the tires from Ferrari and then resell them at higher prices.

Around Ciudad del Este there are some waterfalls just a few km away. Went and checked those out too. I wanted to go see Iguazu but I only had a one entry visa so no way of crossing the border to Argentina yet.

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Then I headed towards Missiones. The night was falling and I needed a place to crash. In a tire shop where I went to change both my tires, I met a guy in a small town. He said that there were a couple cheap hotels around but that we should go eat first. Sounded good to me. We went to a small restaurant and had a few beers and pizza. Then more people joined. At the end of the night, Carlos invited me to stay at his place where I could set-up my sleeping bag. He is on the right side of the picture. He’s a huge bike enthusiast as well and owns a couple of chopper style bikes. Thanks Carlos for the hospitality!

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And then, missiones. Went and checked out the famous ruins.

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Chairs were set-up in one of the rooms. I asked and was told that there was going to be a rock concert that night. They offered me to set-up camp for free and a free entry to the concert. Sweet deal!

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Turns out that it wasn’t a rock concert but a chorus, classical music along with Opera at the end. It was a unique experience that I surely wasn’t expecting. Totally incredible!

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The next day, I had a choice to make, go back and see everyone in Assumption or cross the border to Argentina. I still had a few Guaranni left but not enough to make it to the city, so I would have had to get some more out at a machine. That wouldn’t have been the problem, but I didn’t wanna have to deal with the corrupt police around Assumption again so I decided to cross to Argentina. The thing is that the police were generally nice to me in most of Paraguay, but around the capital, they become like sharks and a tourist bike filled with stuff looks like gold to them. Either way, I was going to miss Paraguay. Drinking Terere with it’s super chilled out people, adventuring on chaco dirt roads, and of course, my family from the botanical garden.

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Comments
  1. Jay says:

    What a great adventure. You are providing a great play by play. Thanks
    Can’t ride the KLR in Thunder Bay yet!
    What are you doing with your bike once you get to Brazil?

    • pimptrix says:

      Hey Jay! I thought a KLR can be ridden year round, even in snow or ice… just gotta get the right tires. As for the bike, I’m already in Brazil, my ride report is a few months behind. I am looking to sell the bike and if I can’t do it here, I’ll ride it back up to Colombia through the east side and the amazon, then sell it in Colombia or just leave it there.

  2. Alexandra says:

    Are you coming back to Calgary? A and I are moving downtown on Sunday.

    Great posts! They add some sun in my shaddy work life.

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