The town of Aregua is located a little over 20 km from Asuncion. It sits on the shores of the Lake Ypacarai overlooking it’s waters.

Located as it is close to the capital Aregua is easily reached on a day trip from there. This can cause it to be crowded on summer weekends. However on a sunny weekday out of season it is a very pleasent and peaceful place to pass a few hours.

The town was originally founded in 1538. From then and for many years after that it remained a very small settlement. Just a few hundred inhabitants living close to the church.

It was not until the late 19th century that the town began to grow in size. It’s proximity to Asuncion made it a destination for tourists seeking to escape the city. Principal amongst those new arrivals were writers and artists.

They gave the Aregua it’s artistic character. Something it maintains through to the present day.

Of all the sights in the town arguably the most impressive is the lake. This lake, Lake Ypacarai is the largest body of water in Paraguay. It is 24 km in length and covers and area of almost 150 square kilometres.

From Aregua the town of San Bernardino is just visable on the far shore.

During the summer it is a popular place for tourists to go boating, one of the few places that can be done in Paraguay, and for fishing.

Swimming though is not advised in the waters of Lake Ypacarai. It is a place best enjoyed from the surface or from a viewpoint.

In Aregua the lakeside has been turned into a park. There is a small enterance fee, but the park is well kept and clean. Well worth the small access charge.

Down by the waterside a wooden pier has been built out into the lake. This gives excellent views out across the water and back towards the town. A small covered area near it’s terminus allows the view of the lake to be enjoyed even when the sun is at it’s strongest.

From the top of the pier you look forwards across the water to San Bernardino in the distance and back to where the water plants blend seamlessly with the grass covered shore. This is the spot to which every visitor to Aregua heads upon arrival.

As for the rest of the park. That is well laid out with paved walkways and green lawns. All around there a seats and benches on which to rest or take in the view. There are also plenty of wooden tables for picnicing upon.

One path follows the shore for a couple of hundred metres. This passes the small boats waiting to take tourists out into the lake and continues on to another viewpoint. From here the lake si shown from a different angle, looking back across the water towards the pier. A small fountain sits at it’s centre. A quieter viewpoint than the pier.

Behind the park and away from the lake sits the town itself. Sloping downhill it is always looking towards the waterside.

A large part of the town is given over to artists. Many produce the colourful ceramics that are for sale throughout the town. These are made from the local clays and on the town’s market stall are avalible in great numbers.

Following the founding of the artist colony in the late 19th centry the art scene in Aregua has flourished.

Aregua is though not just a town of potters. There are a number of painters who also make the town their home.

A walk around the artists quarter is a fasinating one. Seeing the various artists at work, passing by their studios and workshops.

All this gives the town something of a bohiemien feel. Something that is on display in the many cafes located around the town.

Many have been adorned with the works of local artists and with their exterior seating ideal places to sit and watch the world slowly go by.

The refreshments they offer are of a high quality. Hand made Paraguayan staples and freshly ground coffee or freshly squashed fruit juices.

No one should visit a place like Aregua and not take a little time to sit down and take in the atmosphere.

It is also a good place to appreciate architecture. There are many examples of fine colonial architecture to be seen around the town. Most are smartly painted and immaculatly maintained.

Continuing away from the lake the road rises gently towards a hilltop.

Upon this is the church around which the town was originally sited. Back away from the lake but overlooking it from a high view point.

The church is named Our Lady of Candelaria. The current church was first built in 1862 and then restored between 1912 and 1914.

It is a striking building painted in a brilliant white. From the main building rise five spires across it’s front. A high central one with further spires above the secondary doorways and it’s collonaded sides.

A very distinctive building. It and the forecourt that surrounds it are kept spotlessly clean.

The principal festival in Aregua is that of the Virgen de la Candelaria. That falls on 2nd February.

It is not though just for the sights within the town that Aregua is know throughout Paraguay.

Here also are the be found a large number of farms specializing in growing strawberries.

They are grown in great number and when in season can be purchased in small wicker baskets in town and all across the surrounding countryside.

To celebrate the crop Aregua has every August a strawberry festival. The strawberry has become a symbol of the town.

For anyone living in or visiting Paraguay Aregua is somewhere that needs to be visited.

Away from those busy summer weekends it is a relaxing and pretty little town with ample to see and do for a few pleasant hours.