There's some good news for the start. Paraguay is by far the least densely populated country in South America and still relatively uncharted by tourists so the odds are big you'll manage to take pictures of the National Pantheon of Heroes or Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Dam without hordes barging into the frame. This by no means should give you the impression that Asuncion and Ciudad del Este are low-key or in any way behind times. Obviously, the Paraguayans used to be somehow isolated, even from its neighbors, by both geography and politics, but since a number of steps have been taken to rectify the situation and overcome the unwelcoming image, today the entertainment opportunities in major metropolises are as vibrant and up to the minute as their cityscapes.
Nevertheless, Paraguay is a place where staying downtown (there are crowds), snooping out bargains in the markets and wasting nights away in even the trendiest of cocktail bars would be vital mistakes (although Alexander's Garden and Vera Cruz in Asuncion are pretty recommendable). But to the point. The mighty Paraguay River divides the country into two markedly different parts. The more welcoming Eastern Region teems with lake-sequined fertile valleys, rolling hills, dreamlike waterfalls, steamy forests, subtropical butterflies (just check Parque Nacional Ybycuí) and major urban centers, whose colonial character is best captured in Jesuit-founded Encarnación (which, by the way, is also the Carnival capital of Paraguay). From there, it's just minutes by an old and rickety bus to Trinidad- a UNESCO site with magnificent Jesuit ruins, turning gold against the sun and reminiscent of the settlement's heyday.
Across the river, to the north-west, the land becomes semi-arid. Palm savannas stretch for kilometers, the territory is sparsely populated and the dominant role of cattle ranching is slowly eradicating the unique ecosystem. A four-wheel drive ride across the Gran Chaco is an absolute must. You'll end up a little grubby but incomparably excited. Add to it the new options for tourism at local ranches, and an idea of booking a 3-plus star hotel steps away from a clamorous commercial center is no longer that appealing, is it?