• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

Culture & Identity of Paraguay


Nearly every story of "conquest" ends with the victor taking over a people and forcing them to accept their newly introduced language, culture, and lifestyle. In Paraguay the story reads a bit differently as the two cultures, that of the Spanish and the Guarani, somehow melted together; the Spanish influence didn't necessarily take over all important cultural aspects of the people and today many people refer to themselves as Guarani, speak that language, and on independence day the people celebrate with pre-colonial foods reflecting their Guarani heritage.

Paraguay was founded as somewhat of a backwater; not having any access to the seas they were reliant on other countries for transportation and trade. This location and setting forced the people to unite as one as they merged various cultures, but it also created the rural lifestyle and culture that continues in Paraguay today; nearly 40% of the people live outside the cities. This means most jobs are still also found in rural areas as farming is a popular occupation as is running a shop, such as one that sells food or provides a service.

All days, including work days, seem to be approached at a leisurely pace. For many people the day generally begins with breakfast then work or school beginning at about 8:30 or 9:00 am. This segment of the work day only lasts until about noon when most people go home for lunch and perhaps a nap. Work generally starts back up at about 3:00 pm and can last until 6:00 pm or later. The work days in Paraguay tend to be shorter than in many other countries, including many South American countries, but for the Paraguayans life is about family, friends, and relaxation. Many occupations are also very seasonal, including farming, which forces long hard hours during the summer months, then shorter hours during their winter months. Few Paraguayans will complain about their lifestyle and few would be willing to change it, despite the fact that their GDP per capita is substantially lower than neighboring countries like Argentina, Chile, and Brazil.

Many young people, from teenagers to young adults, like to get together on nights and weekends to go to a party, see a movie, play sports, or just socialize in any number of settings. However, most free time is spent with family or extended family as opposed to age peers. In fact, seeing a movie or going to a party is a special event for most Paraguayans. More common is a simple barbeque and socializing for hours at someone's home. In other words, the social life in Paraguay is much like the people: the company, conversation, and food always trump the activity as it's rare to see any sort of night life that could be found in neighboring Argentina or Brazil.

The culture of Paraguay may best be summed up with the word modesty. The people are modest, but proud; proud of who they are, proud of their history, proud of their culture, and proud of their present. Yet you won't see this pride outside subtle references. This pride comes in learning the Guarani language, eating Guarani foods, understanding their ethnic roots, and treating everyone like family as personal relations trump all else and treating everyone like a guest is an integral aspect to being Paraguayan or Guarani.


The people of Paraguay often identify as being "Guarani" or "Paraguayan." To be Paraguayan is primarily just a political identity as it means they are a citizen of Paraguay, but many people also believe a culture is tied to this identity. To be Guarani gives great insight into the culture and the people as this identity seems to be a great source of pride for the people and is often times the primary way people in Paraguay identify.

Guarani is tied to the culture of the people and one of the most important aspects of this culture is the Guarani ethnicity and to a lesser extent the Guarani language. Many Paraguayans refer to themselves as Guarani in and out of Paraguay and many South Americans refer to the Paraguayans as Guaranis.

For many of the native Spanish speakers, especially those in Asuncion and other large cities, their primary identity is as a "Paraguayan." Many of these people attach a cultural definition to this identity, which is nearly identical to the cultural definition of being "Guarani," but the Guarani language is often excluded. To these people, being Paraguayan is a source of national pride based on the culture of the people, a culture that is nearly identical to that of the Guarani identity as it combines Spanish religion and other cultural aspects with Guarani culture.

This page was last updated: November, 2013