After my Aeroplan booking got messed up when one of my flight segments was cancelled, I quickly went online to see what are my options when it comes to flying out of South America. As you know, travelling during the peak Christmas season is a bad idea in general. A lot of people don’t have a choice including myself. It was the week my girlfriend was allotted vacation days at her workplace. And to make matters worst, booking a flight on points during the peak Christmas season is no easy task. Availability is oftentimes extremely scarce and sometimes non-existent. After looking at my options, there was literally one flight out of South America and that was on Christmas day. Within that option includes a flight to Asunción, Paraguay where I can visit there for a day before continuing on to Central America.
I bit the bullet despite how horrible all the airport layovers looked. And while Karen and I suffered during this whole flight transit, I don’t regret this decision. After all, I discovered a hidden gem in South America that I would have; otherwise, not gotten a chance to visit if I didn’t pull the trigger on this terrible flight path. Paraguay, my country #91, turned out to be a worthwhile visit.
VIDEO – Paraguay | Nothing To Eat On Christmas Day – Country #91 to Visit All Countries
The most horrific flight transit of my life
The flight started in Uruguay aboard Avianca. Karen and I flew on business class thanks to using Aeroplan points. Unfortunately, this Avianca is not as nice as the ones I’ve flown in the past and I think flying in Economy might be more comfortable. We also ate the same Avianca food for several other flights sometime in the future.
To reach Asunción, we had a very long layover in the Bogota airport. We’re talking about an 11+ hour layover. Despite having lounge access in the Bogota airport, the layover was brutal. We had nothing to do and for some reason, the food they serve barely had any protein. By the time we boarded the plane, we were beyond exhausted.
The flight from Bogota to Asunción was a red-eye one. As you can see in the picture, Karen and I were dying during this horribly long transit.
Barely alive when we arrived in Asunción, Paraguay
We arrived in Asunción early in the morning (around 5 am). The immigration process was strict. Thankfully, we had all the necessary paper works and we got through without many problems. We ended up hiring a taxi from the airport to take us to our Airbnb.
Upon arrival, we had trouble getting into the Airbnb. It’s one of those self-check-in Airbnbs and we had no clue where the entrance was to this house. Luckily, the neighbours next door were still awake partying it up during Christmas Eve and pointed out to us where the entrance of the house was.
After doing some detective work, we figured out how to enter the house.
We badly needed sleep at this point. So, after getting in, I took a quick shower with no hot water, then passed out.
Christmas Day with no food Asunción
Our Airbnb host has really good customer service and kept in touch with us via WhatsApp the entire time. She recommended we check out the local places to eat. After getting some badly needed sleep, Karen and I were ready to explore Asunción.
To our shock, nothing was open! We were starving at this point but everything is close on Christmas day in Asunción.
We returned back to our accommodation sweaty, disappointed and hungry.
Super Seis Plaza Madero to the rescue
I got in touch with our Airbnb host again and she recommended we try visiting one of the bigger malls in the area. Karen and I hailed an Uber (which was difficult because I think everyone took the day off) and off we went to the Super Seis Plaza Madero mall.
To our luck, the food court was open! All the shops were closed but at least we can get something to eat. The employees in the mall can speak some English also and we noticed how Americanized this mall is.
After eating some yummy Paraguay food, we explored the mall a bit before deciding to catch another Uber back to our Airbnb.
For dinner, Karen and I decided to walk at this Mcdonald’s we saw earlier while our Uber driver drove us to the mall. Oddly, the Mcdonald’s wasn’t showing up on google maps and we soon learned it’s newly constructed.
It was fun walking by the local neighbourhood. We watched people play basketball or eat a meal in front of their house. Asunción is also boiling hot, probably the hottest South American country I have ever visited. It’s a stark contrast to Vancouver, Canada, where I live where it was freezing cold and snowed in during my adventures abroad.
We soon arrived at McDonald’s and enjoyed our meal while being stared at by the locals. Turns out there are not many tourists in Asunción so we definitely stood out.
The flight out of Asunción
After feeling somewhat recharged by our one-day stay in Asunción, it was time to fly out again. We only stayed in Asunción for a day as part of my goal to visit every single country in the world. Flying out of the country was met with more strict rules at the airport. Some of the rules didn’t make sense like needing a PCR test before exiting the country. This rule was strange because it was never mentioned on the Paraguay website and Panama (our next destination) doesn’t require a PCR test to enter.
Regardless, I had a feeling something like this was going to happen so I had a backup PCR test document ready.
My time in Asunción was eye-opening and I really liked Paraguay. I love visiting countries that are not popular. In the future, I will definitely return to Paraguay and give it a proper long-term exploration.