The town of Piribebuy is located approximately 80 km from Asuncion. It is very well situated in hill country surrounded by open countryside. The town and the surrounding area are both popular with tourists.
In addition to tourism Piribebuy is also a historically significant Paraguayan town. During the late 19th century it was for a few months the capital of Paraguay and one of the last battles of the Triple Alliance War was fought there.
The town itself is quite compact and is well suited to be explored on foot.
A natural starting place for any tour of Piribebuy is in the plaza in front of the town’s principal church.
The plaza is smartly paved right up to the doors of the church. Approaching along this tree lined walkway gives the best view of the church.
It is named “Dulce Nombre de Jesus” and was originally built by the Franciscans in the 18th century. This makes it one of the oldest churches in the area.
A smartly painted building with a single bell tower it is well worth an visit. The interior has been much restored in recent years and is now in very close to the condition the town’s people would have seen it in when it was first completed.
Inside along with the wooden pews and old wooden pulpit there is at the far end beyond the altar a richly painted altar screen. This and the accompanying statues should not be missed by anyone visiting Piribebuy.
Exiting the church by a side door you can now continue across the plaza heading for it’s bottom corner behind the church. Flowers frame the exit and the path lead on to the road which circles the plaza. A one system is in place so crossing presents no difficulties.
From here follow the road down hill and away from the plaza. This after a couple of hundred metres will bring you to the Rio Piribebuy.
There has always been a park along the banks of the river for the townsfolk but over the past few years this has been smartened up considerably. The wet cobbles are replaced by a paved road and the rough river bank by a well laid out park.
Crossing over a small car park and the grass you will reach the banks of the river. The path running along beside it has been paved and lined with trees making it a very pleasant place for a stroll.
The river itself if left to it’s own devises would be little more than a stream. However during the hot months of the year dam gates are closed causing the water to back up.
This floods the entire valley in which it sits creating a large still pool. The pool is a popular bathing spot and is known as the Council Swimming Pool. On a weekend afternoon during the summer it is full with bathers and it’s banks with picnickers.
Following the walkway along the river bank you will come to the Paseo de la Memoria. The monumental walkway leads back up into the town away from the river.
It is one of the newest features of the town. From it’s raised walkway there are fine views offered across the river and up into the hills on the far side of Piribebuy.
The Paseo de la Mermoria is sturdily built and well maintained. To my though it has always had two fairly substantial faults. Firstly although it looks very much like a bridge it does not cross anything ,instead it carried a pathway which previously made it’s way down a steeply hill to the river, and second the wooden slats that form the walkway were not well selected of laid. They are twisted and buckled with gaps between many. This makes it somewhere to watch where you place you feet and presents a problem to many people with mobility issues.
That said, the view for the top is fantastic and the decent of the hill before it’s construction was far more difficult.
The top of the walkway gives way to a wide paved path that emerges back into Piribebuy next to the college Santo Domingo.
Heading straight ahead and crossing the road you are now climbing back into the town proper.
At the end of the first block you will find Piribebuy museum. A small but well set out museum telling the history of Piribebuy focusing mainly on the Battle of Piribebuy and the Chaco War. The museum keeper is highly knowledgeable and is more than willing to answer any questions and take time for a chat with any visitors.
Directly in front of the museum are the council offices. Cross the road and continue past these well kept offices and into the town. A further block on you now come to the commercial centre of Piribebuy.
The town serves a wide area of surrounding countryside and has long contains all the stores and services people coming into town require. The majority of the stores are to be found along to adjoining streets so a tour of what retail offerings there are in Piribebuy is simple.
Standing at the cross roads at the top of the first shopping street there are in font of you a green grocer selling local produce and the town’s longest established clothing store Fabiola. This is the place to buy school uniforms, wedding and baptism clothes along with any other formal attire.
The road here is wide with stores both sides and descends quite steeply. The types of stores along it are hardware stores, clothing stores, a butcher, a stationer and a general store amongst other things. There are a number of hardware stores all around Piribebuy selling anything that may be needed for building or repairing a house.
At the very bottom of the road is the town’s main taxi rank. Here drivers sit all day under shady trees waiting for a fare.
Here turning right after another very welcoming looking green grocer you will find yourself in half way down Piribebuy’s other principal shopping street.
This only though has stores along one side as it runs along the side of the town’s other main plaza. Plaza Mariscal Lopez.
Plaza Mariscal Lopez is tree filled and has at it’s centre a large equestrian statue of Mariscal Lopez. A portion of the plaza also contains a children play area.
The stores along this section of street are on the whole smaller and their fronts covered by a wide awning that runs along most of the street. Here there is welcome shade even during the hottest hours of the day.
Rather than green grocers and general stores the businesses here are off licences and cafes. The prime position the street has sees that it attracts any tourist who is visiting town.
With several to choose from a cafe is the ideal place to end a tour of Piribebuy. For me when I am in town that means the Bar Santa Rosa where I know I will get friendly service and tasty fresh empanadas.