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Driving Directions Paraguay

PARAGUAY is a small landlocked country in central South America. Bordered by Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina and divided into two distinct regions by the River Paraguay.

Paraguay Occidental is the broader region to the west of the river. It consists of a marshy, alluvial plain, which is also part of the Gran Chaco. Much of this area is water­logged swamp in the south and east, but the land rises gradually and gives way to grassy fields and arid, scrub forest towards the northwestern border. Paraguay Oriental lies to the east of the River Paraguay and consists mainly of an upland plateau called the Parana Plateau.

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Paraguay has a subtropical climate, and much of the Oriental region is covered with thick forests containing numerous plants and animals.

The River Parana itself flows through the plateau and forms the country’s eastern and southern border, joining the River Paraguay at the southwestern corner.

Almost 95 percent of the population lives east of the river. The Parana Plateau’s western edge falls away to form grass-covered hills before flattening down towards the valley of the River Paraguay.

A third large river, the Pilcomayo, flows southwest, forming the border with Argentina. The country’s capital, Asunción, is on this border at the confluence of the Pilcomayo and Paraguay rivers.

The country’s economy is mostly dependent upon agriculture, with cotton, sugar cane, soya beans, cassava, wheat, bananas, oranges, and sweet potatoes among the crops grown. Cattle, pigs, sheep, and horses reared in the grassland areas. Forestry and its products are also crucial to the country’s economy, but Paraguay lacks other South American countries’ mineral wealth.

Paraguay, Parana, and Pilcomayo have many impressive waterfalls with three famous rivers, such as the Guaira Falls. In cooperation with its neighbors, it has developed its potential for hydroelectric power to the full and able to meet all its energy needs.

Developed with Brazil and opened in 1991, the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam (Alto) Parana river is the largest dam in the world. Other hydroelectric schemes include the Yacyreta Dam, developed with Argentina and opened in 1994.

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Flowing south from Brazil, the Paraguay River divides the country into two contrasting regions. Paraguay’s three-fifths north and west of the river is the Chaco, a hot, flat, semiarid plain with little vegetation and few inhabitants. The two-fifths of the country to the south and east is called Eastern Paraguay, sometimes referred to as Paraguay Proper. Its lush and diverse landscape is home to nearly the entire population of the country. The easternmost part of this region forms the western end of the Paraná Plateau, which also extends into Brazil and Argentina. Paraguay is landlocked.

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The prairies and swamps of Paraguay’s Chaco region, while nearly uninhabited by humans, provide a habitat for a diverse array of wildlife, including such unusual species as anteaters, armadillos, tapirs, peccaries, and the capybara, the world’s largest rodent, which can grow to a length of over 1 meter (4 feet).

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