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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Paraguay Route 9

Known as the Ruta Transchaco or Transchaco Route, Route 9 in PARAGUAY is a 760-kilometer highway connecting the heavily forested, semi-arid Gran Chaco region in the northwest to the heavily populated national capital, Asunción, in southern Paraguay. Connecting with the Ruta Chuquisaca-Chaco in southeastern Bolivia, Route 9 is a two-lane highway in rural areas and has at least two lanes going both ways in the northern section of Asunción. This Paraguayan highway features large swaths of untouched rainforests on both sides, but deforestation is eventually visible. The general area surrounding the village of Villa Choferes del Chaco has experienced rapid deforestation, although some freestanding forest patches remain and environment protection activities are underway. Near Fortín Toledo village, the Centro Chaqueño para la Conservación e Investigación (CCCI) — Chaqueño Center for Conservation and Research in English — is primarily dedicated to protecting and knowing more about the Chacoan Peccary (Taguá), a hoofed mammal thought to be once extinct (before the 1970s) by scientists.

Especially in the northwestern part of Paraguay, drivers would pass by tiny villages and towns, including General Eugenio Alejandrino Garay, Nueva Asunción, Fortín Teniente Agripino Enciso, Fortín Teniente Primero Emilio Ochoa, Mariscal José Félix Estigarribia, Fortín Toledo, Filadelfia (population greater than 9,700), Pozo Colorado, and Estancia La Concepción. As you can tell, many Paraguayan towns are named after notable Paraguayan people. Nueva (New) Asunción is a rather small community in size and population; it definitely does not resemble Paraguay's main Asunción! Within 50 kilometers of Asunción, drivers on Route 9 begin to travel through cities with higher populations and more amenities, including Benjamín Aceval (population >16,200), Villa Hayes (named in honor of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes; >57,000), Remansito (>7,500), and Mariano Roque Alonso (>85,000).

Various urban sites of interest can be enjoyed between Mariano Roque Alonso and Asunción — these include Shopping Mariano mall, Paraguay International Trade Fair, Plaza El Portal (Portal Square), Asuncion Golf Club, and Jardín Botánico y Zoológico de Asuncion (Asuncion Botanical Garden and Zoo). A driver wishing to travel the whole route would likely want to bring food, water, a first aid kit, etc. since much of this cross-country road is sparsely populated with few businesses and services. Luckily, the ending (or beginning) stretch travels through urban areas with plenty of amenities. Route 9 is the perfect route for a traveler wanting both tranquility in an isolated area and some urban adventure.

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