My second stop in Paraguay, at which I arrived by car after my 24 hour I-think-I’m-gonna-die-from-an-exotic-disease sickness, was Ayolas. Fortunately, the main highways are pretty good in Paraguay, so the trip wasn’t too bad. A town with a small population near a rather large hydroelectric dam, we traveled to Ayolas on my husband’s insistence. In the mid-90s my father-in-law worked for the Yacyretá hydroelectric dam, which sits on the border between Paraguay and Argentina, and so he and my husband, who was 14 at the time, lived in Ayolas for one year.
On my visit to Ayolas, we stayed in a nice, little hotel, Hotel Nacional de Turismo, for about $6 per night (breakfast included). The staff of two was great. I was really sick vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and more, and they brought me bottles of water and tea, crackers, and anything else I needed. Don’t drink tap water in Paraguay…it was the culprit of my disease! I know, I know…I actually knew not to drink the water, but when a family friend brings you a glass of water, you don’t question where it came from…I thought she would know…I’m a Yankee (the Paraguayan term for Americans) and I can’t drink the water from the tap like they can! I’ll never make that mistake again.
Anyway, wandering around the small Ayolas is about the only thing to do, beyond visiting people. After a nice, traditional breakfast of juice, bread, ham, and cheese (although, I wasn’t up to eating yet), we went to visit a friend who "grows" fish and checked out his fish farm. We also went to the main street of Ayolas and met up with another friend, Emilio, at a cell phone store where he works. Honestly, there was not much to see in "downtown" Ayolas, so we went to the city museum, but it was closed for construction (probably back open by now). Soon we went to Yacyretá to check out the dam and that was much more interesting.
Since Ayolas is located on the Parana River, there is great fishing, which is great around lunchtime! Our short trip to Ayolas was mostly spent revisiting old stomping grounds and meeting up with old friends, and then we headed on to Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay.