The small town of Piribebuy lies amongst scenic hills approximately 80km from the capital Asunción.
The town itself is quite small but is surrounded by a large area of green unspoilt countryside which extends over many square miles of green rolling land.
Piribebuy has long been a place where wealthy Paraguayans build themselves weekend and holiday homes. To locals, expats arriving and building their dream homes are not much different and they are warmly welcomed into the local community.
Piribebuy is a very pleasant place to live: glorious scenery and a relaxed atmosphere. Being a distance from larger towns pollution is not an issue. The air is clean and clear and at night the lack of light pollution allows the stars to shine brightly.
What is Piribebuy like?
Piribebuy is at heart a small country town. The town and the districts that surround it are largely agricultural. Locally the two principal crops are sugar cane and the small nuts from the palm trees that grow in abundance.
This has kept the local countryside green, open and undeveloped and the town itself quiet and relaxed.
The fresh upland air and the proximity to Asunción have made Piribebuy a popular resort town. The country parks in the area, of which there are many, are crowded places on a summer weekend.
These parks are generally placed to take advantage of both the upland scenery and the many highland streams that run through them. In the heat of summer, there is nothing more refreshing than bathing in a cool stream.
Many private properties in the countryside also have their own personal stretch of water.
The actual town of Piribebuy is a small compact grid of streets that fits discreetly into this landscape.
The atmosphere in town is always relaxed, unhurried and uncrowded. It is the sort of place where shopkeepers are dozing on chairs in front of their stores waiting for the next customer to come wandering by.
It is also a historic town with a fine old church sitting in its central plaza and numerous colonial-era buildings still standing in various states of preservation.
A very pleasant town in many ways with a good reputation throughout Paraguay.
Where to shop and meet friends
Piribebuy is at heart a small country town and its retail options reflect that. It is home to a whole selection of little family-owned stores as well as a modern supermarket and a couple of national chains.
The town is well stocked with hardware stores, greengrocers, mobile phone shops and chemists. Many of these are old fashioned businesses with the owner standing over the counter behind which the goods are stored.
Piribebuy is a pleasant town around which to stroll but not somewhere that gives itself to an afternoon browsing through its stores.
The two biggest stores in town are a large, modern and spacious supermarket and an outlet of one of the national chains of electrical and home furnishings retailers.
Most of the necessities of life can be found around town and for anything more, the county town of Caacupe is just 20km away and Asunción only a further 60km. All along good, paved roads.
The cafés and restaurants around town are ideal places in which to meet up with friends.
There are a couple of good quality European owned restaurants in town that cater mainly to the largely German local expat community. A good meal will cost about £5 or a little more if there is something special on the menu.
As well as serving good food both of these restaurants make ideal places to sit and relax with friends or meet other expats.
Town cafes often have a table or two out on the pavement and make ideal places to sit, talk and watch the world go by.
Such cafes and bars generally specialise in Paraguayan snack foods such as Chipa, Empanada and Sopa. Here you should expect to pay around 30p per item and twice that for an accompanying drink.
What is the area around Piribebuy like?
The draw of Piribebuy is not so much the town itself as the countryside that surrounds it.
Something that has not gone unnoticed by well-to-do Paraguayans, a number of whom have built holiday or weekend homes in the area.
All across the nearby districts are valleys separated from one another by steep-sided hills. Everything is covered by a blanket of green trees and grass.
Water running off the hills gathers together into the numerous streams that cross the landscape dropping over waterfalls as they do.
These country districts are where most arrivals from overseas choose to make their homes. Close to nature and far from the noise and pollution of modern cities.
Crime is also low in the area. As such with sensible precautions even the remotest corners of the district make good homes.
Amongst the best-known districts are Pirareta, Chololo and Naranjo. These all have ample attractions for summer visitors and sufficiently more to make them suitable for homemaking.
As it’s a rural district, outside the town only the main roads are paved. Once off these roads everything is dirt.
These dirt roads are used by all manner of local vehicles and so can with suitable caution all be passed with any vehicle. However, something with good ground clearance is advisable if the dirt roads are to be used regularly.
The picturesque nature of the scenery around Piribebuy has long made the district a popular resort area. The same open country, fresh air and closeness to nature is what has drawn expats to the area to seek a quiet life in beautiful surroundings.
Where to live in Piribebuy
The real draw of Piribebuy is the surrounding countryside rather than the town itself.
So anyone considering living in the area would be well advised to explore the rural options around Piribebuy.
All the country districts are safe, welcoming and within easy access of the town centre. It is geography that has made some more appealing than others rather than the quality of living they can offer.
Some of the best areas in terms of scenery are Ita Moroti and Naranjo which are spread along a valley looking down upon an upland stream and up to sheer-sided cliffs that follow the length of the valley.
Additionally, there is the district of Pirareta which is well known for its waterfalls.
Living in the town should not be totally discounted. The Central district is within walking distance of all the town's shops and its largest plazas. Also, the neighbouring districts of Maria Auxilliadora and San Blas contain some good quality housing.
Where not to live in Piribebuy
There are no rough, run-down districts in or around Piribebuy. Most areas do have patches of poor quality housing but there is more good than bad to be found along every road.
The factor that makes some areas less desirable is noise rather than any actual danger.
In the town itself, the Central district is most prone to noise. Firstly with comings and goings to the various stores all day long and then secondly a night when parading round and round the plazas on motorbikes and investigating who has the loudest car stereo are habits of the youngsters.
Then outside the town centre the closer a house is to the paved road the louder the traffic is. The road from Piribebuy to Paraguari joins two of the nation's freeways and so receives a steady stream of heavy trucks.
For a relaxed country life, a dirt road is always more peaceful than a paved one.
Piribebuy has a sizable expat community but no formal expat groups as such. It is though a small enough town for everyone to know everyone and members of the community do meet up fairly regularly.
The best places in town to encounter other expats for their advice or company are a couple of European owned restaurants in town. As well as serving some of the best food in Piribebuy they do cater almost exclusively to the overseas residents.
Is Piribebuy expensive?
Being a resort town the prices in Piribebuy are a little higher than they might otherwise have been. It is still very good value and noticeably cheaper than Asunción.
Monthly rental costs in town and the surrounding countryside start from $200 and a good house is priced at $150,000 minimum. A mansion with grounds, a stream and views will cost considerably more.
Monthly utility bills total approximately $50 with a further $30 for a good quality internet connection.
The supermarket is also on average slightly more expensive than the small family-run stores. It does though have everything under one roof. You may consider the extra couple of dollars a basket of provisions costs in the supermarkets a better value than spending the whole morning going from store to store to find everything.
As with Paraguay as a whole, it should be remembered that overall the cost of living is far lower than in many other countries.
Is Piribebuy good for families?
This area is not a bad one at all to raise children, but there are a couple of major drawbacks.
The fresh country air and open spaces are perfect for children to run and explore. Pollution is not an issue and on the whole, the streets are traffic-free.
The vast green spaces are a natural playground and what child does not enjoy splashing around in a cool mountain stream under a small waterfall on a hot summer day?
The positives are all in the environment and anyone seeking to raise their children to appreciate nature may consider Piribebuy.
On the downside, unless private tuition can be obtained education will be a problem.
There are a couple of good schools in the town centre such as the National College and Santo Domingo but these are very much part of the Paraguayan education system with a Paraguayan syllabus and teaching in Spanish.
Many of the outlying districts only have small schools which are poorly provisioned and do not always teach to the highest of standards.
Healthcare is also a potential problem. There is a small public hospital and a number of health centres but you would be better advised to seek out one of the private clinics. They are only small so anything major would require at least a 20 mile trip to Caacupe or quite possibly on to Asunción and a hospital there.
Living in Piribebuy – summary
Piribebuy is a very pleasant place to live. It is known nationally for its quality of life and scenery.
There is a thriving expat community in town. The majority of the expats live in the countryside districts.
As those same districts contain so much unspoiled scenery and clean unpolluted air they offer a quality of life that could not be found within the confines of the town centre.
For anyone seeking a gentle country life surrounded by nature and yet still within easy reach of all the necessities of modern life, Piribebuy would make an ideal home.