Situated in Paraguay and bordering both Brazil and Argentina, Ciudad del Este is the place to go in South America for cheap electronics and bargain shopping. It is also an excellent base for those travellers wishing to visit Iguazu Falls, with a range of well-priced hostels available.
From upmarket shopping malls to the chaotic street markets, this city has it all, and it is hard to find a quiet place away from the hawkers when visiting the downtown area. You can expect to find people selling cameras, televisions, stereo equipment, clothes, perfume, and other general items of everyday use at very low prices. As the city is popular amongst Brazilians, Argentinians, and Paraguayans alike, most shops and vendors will accept the Guarani, Peso, and Real, making it much easier to spend your money.
However, it is not all about the shopping. Inside the new mall complex, Shopping Paris, you will also find a 3D museum and Snow Park, complete with ice rink and sleds. Neither are priced towards the budget traveller; however, the mall itself is quite pleasant to wander in.
Outside of the city and sharing a border with Brazil, travellers can also visit Itaipu Dam, voted one of the seven wonders of the modern world in 1994. The dam provides 75% of Paraguay’s electricity and offers free tours of the facility. A small, but very well presented, museum is close by and is also free to visit.
Another seventh wonder, this one of the natural world, can also be found just across the river in both Brazil and Argentina and is another popular place for people visiting Ciudad del Este. The Brazilian side can be reached by crossing ‘Friendship’ Bridge, with local buses running frequently. The Argentinian side requires travellers to take a ferry. Hostels are also available across the river if you wish to explore there a little longer before returning.
If you want to see waterfalls but not leave Paraguay, then just a few kilometers away you will also find the Monday Falls. While considerably smaller than Iguazu, they are just as beautiful and make for a nice break from the city.
In regard to sleeping, there are a range of hotels and hostels available depending on your budget. Popular choices can be found around the centre, close to the border, or within a few kilometers, if you prefer somewhere a little more quiet and relaxed.
With its humid days and warm nights, Ciudad del Este is a shopaholics paradise! Also, you have the opportunity to tick a few items off the bucket list!
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