The small country town of Piribebuy lies approximately 80 km from Asuncion. It is situated in picturesque upland scenery which draws a regular stream of visitors.
The town is these days primarily a tourist and resort town. It does though have a long and interesting history. Thus is somewhere as rich in history as it is in scenery.
Piribebuy is within easy reach of Asuncion. As such has for a long time drawn visitors from the city either as day trippers or as people looking for somewhere to locate a second home.
The principal draw of the town is the countryside that surrounds it. However there is plenty on offer within the town itself for visitors.
It is a place well used to receiving guests. During the summer tourists arrive in numbers every weekend for an escape to the country. Also to make use of the many local country parks and the crystal clear steams they contain.
Throughout the rest of the year Piribebuy remains upon the itinerary of day trips out of Asuncion. Bus loads of tourists pull up in the town center along with their tour guides as they tour the country towns of Paraguay.
Piribebuy is one of the older of those towns. In its central plaza sits one of the oldest churches in the region.
The church was founded by Franciscans in 1640 and still retains many of its original features. Within are to be found some fine examples of Paraguayan religious wood carvings. The focal point of the church, the large altar piece has been restored and repainted in recent years.
A visit to the church solely to view this is worthwhile.
A block away lies the towns second principal plaza. This is full of fine mature trees and at its center stands and equestrian statue of the Paraguayan leader Mariscal Lopez. That plaza also contains a small childrens play ground.
Just outside the center of town runs the Rio Piribebuy. The banks of the river as it runs through the town have been turned into a grassy park. They are clean and well kept and an ideal spot for some relaxing contemplation.
A paved pathway has been laid out at the waters edge to provide a place in the town along which to promenade. This has been added to this year by a raised walkway offering views both along the river and across into the countryside beyond.
For much of the year a small dam across the river is closed. This raises the water level and creates the town swimming pool. A very popular spot for all the towns folk to cool off on a hot summer afternoon. It is most crowded at the weekends and so a weekday visit may be preferable.
Back in the town center there are many fine old buildings to be found. Surrounding the church and in nearby streets these often date from the colonial period. Although they have been renovated over the years most still retain their original facades which help add to the old world charm of the town.
Businesses to still retain their traditional feel. There is a large modern supermarket and a number of electrical and household goods retailers but on the whole the shops in the town center are still small family owned businesses.
Many of these have been run by the same family for decades and although most are now self service rather than counter service they retain the style of years gone by.
Being a popular with tourists Piribebuy has in addition to its shops a large number of bars and restaurants. The majority serve Paraguayan food to cater for their usual visitors. The food and cleanliness are both of a high quality.
Additionally there are also just outside the town a couple of internationally owned restaurants catering to the local expat community.
One further specialty of the town is in the production of one of the best known brands of the local cane spirits. This is produced in the Fortin distillery on the outskirts of town. Occasional tours are made available of the sugar cane plantations and the distillery itself.
On the historic side Piribebuy is well known for the part it played in the late 19th century War of the Tripe Alliance. For a few months Piribebuy became the capital of Paraguay and one of the last major battles of the war was fought here.
The battle ended in a heroic defeat as the towns people fought to hold back the Brazilian army.
Afterwards the survivors took shelter in the towns hospital. This was then burnt down with the defenders inside it by the victorious Brazilians. The towns war memorial now marks the spot where the hospital once stood.
For further insights into the battle and the history of Piribebuy a visit to the towns museum is highly recommended.
To witness the cultural heritage of Piribebuy the best time to visit is during one of its festivals. The two largest of these are the church festival in January and the town parade in mid August.
All this gives the visitor ample to do on a day trip before all that is on offer in the surrounding countryside is even considered.
Any one coming to Piribebuy can be certain of receiving a warm welcome from the inhabitants of this relaxed country town.