The small town of Piribebuy is located approximately 80 km from Asuncion. It is in one of the few areas of uplands to be found in generally lowland Paraguay.

It is within easy reach of day trippers from the capital and a popular summer destination.

The paved road running through the town links two of Paraguay’s principal long distance routes. To the north it links up with Ruta 2 which runs east from Asuncion across the country to Ciudad del Este and the Brazilian border. Then to the south it joins Ruta 1 at Paraguari. Ruta 1 runs south from the capital to Encarnacion and then Argentina.

Hence with the modern road network Piribebuy is accessible from all directions.

The principal draw of the town is the countryside that surrounds it.

It is in an area of higher ground that rises sharply from the flatlands below. The town itself sits on a plateau sitting at a little more than 200 metres above sea level. All around rise steep sided hills. Few of these are much higher than 300 metres but their sheer sided cliffs dominate the landscape.

The air here is slightly cooler and very much fresher than that found in lower parts. This fresh country air is sought by all visitors.

The country around abouts is largely agricultural. The landscape is a green one of rolling fields and tree covered hills. One of the most abundant trees in the area is the coco palm. From this small nuts are harvested to be turned into soap or vegetable oil.

Another local crop is sugar cane. Vast plantations line the roads and extend back hundreds of metres from it.

It is not though for the agriculture that the visitors come. It is for the scenery.

Many streams cross the landscape. These run off the hills and wind their way through the woods and fields. The water is crystal clear and having only come a short distance from its source, pollution free.

These streams with their refreshing waters are popular bathing spots for locals and visitors alike. In various places country parks have grown up around stretches of water. Elsewhere some properties have their own secluded stream.

On a summers weekend the most popular areas can become packed with bathers. There are though always plenty of less crowded and equally picturesque places, known just to a few.

Another feature of the upland landscape is waterfalls. The streams tumble off the higher ground and fall over a cliff where the rock is too tough to wear away. All around Piribebuy there are waterfalls. Some are just a couple of metres in height, others much more. Very often they are hidden away in woodland waiting to be discovered.

The hills themselves are also worth exploring. Most rise sharply and are surrounded by dense woodland. Although there are few places where real rock climbing can be done there are to be found caves and rock arches.

After climbing to the summit of a hill the view is one of an unbroken sea of green with few signs of human habitation.

The town of Piribebuy is compact and central to the district. It is broken down into five neighbourhoods such as Centro and San Blas.

This is where the centers of commerce are to be found. There are several bars and cafes and numerous small shops in the town center. In summer time these display rubber rings and bathing accessories for the tourists.

The regular influx of tourists make Piribebuy a better equipped town than many other of its size. There are even a couple of good quality European owned restaurants.

Through the town flows the small River Piribebuy. This by the closing of a set of dam gates is turned into a swimming pool in a well laid out town park. Just one block from the town center.

Outside the town a considerable area of countryside is considered as an integral part of the the town. This is broken down into 28 districts. Many of these are to be found along the dirt roads that run off the paved road and though the valleys between rows of hills.

Some of the larger and more developed are those of Ita Moroti, Pirareta and Chololo. All of which have sufficient facilities for the locals and ample scenery for visitors.

The town of Piribebuy has a population of 20,000. Half are to be found in the town and the rest scattered across the surrounding cointryside.

Long before Piribebuy became a tourist attraction it had become a place of historic importance to all Paraguayans.

The town was founded as long ago as 1636. For many years though it just remained a small settlement of scattered homesteads.

The town church was not built for more than a hundred years. It is however one of the oldest in the area being built in 1744.

The church was built by the Franciscans who were the dominant order in this part of Paraguay. Within the church there are some fine wood carvings, many of which have been recently restored.

It was though war rather than religion that really put Piribebuy on the map.

The town was the site of one of the final battles of the War of the Triple Alliance which Paraguay fought against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in the 1860s.

By 1869 Asuncion had been lost and the Paraguayan forces under Mariscal Lopez were making a fighting retreat across the country.

Whilst doing this Piribebuy became for several months the capital of Paraguay.

That came to the end with the arrival of the Brazilian army in early August.

On the 12th they launched and attack upon the town to destroy what remained of the Paraguayan army.

However Mariscal Lopez and his entourage had already slipped out of town.

Behind them they left the towns folk to defend the town. There were a few men of fighting age but the majority were the old, the women and the children.

They fought bravely and heroically for several hours as the Brazilian infantry advanced into town attacking the defenders in and around the church and the central plaza. However 1,600 towns folk were not going to hold back 20,000 battle hardened troops forever and after five hours of fierce fighting the battle was over.

The wounded and many of the survivors took refuge in the town hospital. The Brazilian commander was though in no mood to show mercy. Mariscal Lopez had escaped again and his favourite general had been killed in a skirmish just before the battle.

Accordingly he had the doors of the hospital barricaded and it burnt down with everyone inside.

The battle and the massacre are remembered every year in the town parade on the 12th August. This is the biggest event of the year and one that every school child looks forward to taking part in. For several hours the streets are filled with flags and marching bands as everyone slowly files past.

All of this makes Piribebuy somewhere well worth visiting. For a day trip or for a longer stay.