Political divisions - Departments

The territory of Paraguay is divided into 17 departments:  Concepción, San Pedro, Cordillera, Guairá, Caaguazú, Caazapá, Itapúa, Misiones, Paraguarí, Alto Paraná, Central, Ñeembucú, Amambay, Canindeyú, Presidente Hayes, Alto Paraguay and Boquerón.

Map of departments of Paraguay

Map of departments of Paraguay

The first department, Concepción, borders Brazil to the north, and is separated from it by the Apa River.  Its capital bears the same name, located on the shores of the Paraguay River, and it has only 14.8 inhabitants per square mile.  It is primarily dedicated to cattle and sheep livestock production, as well as agricultural products like soybeans, wheat and sugarcane.

The department of San Pedro shares its name with its capital.  It is the department with the largest land area in the Eastern Region and it is known for its large ranches dedicated to the production of cattle, horse and pig livestock, as well as some agricultural products such as tobacco, soybeans and wheat. 

The department of La Cordillera owes its name to the mountain range that passes through the zone, the de los Altos Range. In its capital, Caacupé, the people revere the Virgin of Conception, one of the largest religious festivities in the country, on the 8th of December.  It is an area that stands out due to the variety and beauty of its tourist spots and its agricultural production, which focuses on cotton, yerba mate and corn.  It has a high population density of 74.38 people per square mile.

The department of Guairá has Villarrica as its capital, located in the center of the Eastern Region.  It is the second smallest department in the country, but has a high population density of 72.1 inhabitants per square mile.  Agriculture, especially sugarcane and yerba mate, is its principal activity. 

The department of Caaguazú, which owes its name to the vast, ancient forests of the region, has Coronel Oviedo as its capital.  It represents one of the wealthiest and active areas of the country, ranking at the top of various types of agricultural production.  It is renowned for its production of cotton, sugarcane, wheat and soybeans.

The department of Caazapá has as its capital the legendary city that bears the same name, identified by fascinating beliefs of its being haunted and enchanted.  Its population density is only 24.6 inhabitants per square mile and its countryside boasts important cotton and tobacco crops, as well as being an important contributor to yerba mate, wheat, and soybean production, as well as sheep and horse breeding.

The department of Itapúa, on the shores of the Paraná River, in the south, is one of the most prosperous in the country.  It has a relatively high population density of 53.6 people per square mile and its population is concentrated mainly in its capital, the city of Encarnación, a center of intense commercial activity, connected to its Argentine neighbor, Posadas, via the San Roque González International Bridge.  Within driving distance of the city is an important attraction, the Jesuit Ruins.  It ranks first in cotton, corn, yerba mate, and pork production, and second in others such as soybeans, wheat and horse livestock. 

The department of Misiones owes its name to the old Jesuit Missions, where important remains are found throughout the region.  It has a low population density of only 15 people per square mile.  Its capital is San Juan Bautista and in its countryside, one can see the dedication that this department has to livestock.  The wool handicrafts of San Miguel also is an attraction and of importance.

The department of Paraguarí has a capital bearing the same name.  It is a region of great natural attractions, its mountain ranges crossed by numerous streams and rivers.  Its population is primarily dedicated to the production of sugarcane, horse, pork and sheep breeding, as well as cotton and soybeans, and various types of handicrafts. 

The department of Alto Paraná is the second most important department in the country in terms of population, with a density of 82.6 people per square mile.  Considered one of the most important centers of development in the country, it is the site of intense production and commercial activity.  Its capital is Ciudad del Este, located on the banks of the Paraná River, a city connected to its Brazilian neighbor Foz de Iguazu, via the Bridge of Friendship.  The vast Itaipú hydroelectric dam is located in its territory, and its production of soybeans, wheat and corn rank at the top of the list in the country.

The Central department is the site of the capital, Asunción, and the center of political, economic and cultural activity in Paraguay.  It has the highest population density in the country, with 925 inhabitants per square mile, with a growing influx of immigrants that has resulted in the rapid urbanization of this zone.  Places such as Lambaré, Fernando de la Mora, Luque, San Lorenzo and Mariano Roque Alonso, close to the capital, are satellite cities, whose goings-on are intimately related to the capital’s.  Asunción is home to important historical places from colonial rule and has an intense social and cultural life.

The department of Ñeembucú, located in the south, near the confluence of the Paraguay and Paraná rivers, has Pilar as its capital and has been an area relatively isolated from the rest of the country, until recent years, when it modernized its main roads. With a density of only 12.4 inhabitants per square mile, its economy is mainly divided between sheep and horse breeding.

 The department of Amambay, located in the north, bordering Brazil, maintains an intense relationship with this country, being separated from it by a mountain range of the same name.  Its capital is the city of Pedro Juan Caballero.  Its people are primarily dedicated to agricultural endeavors, its primary crops being yerba mate, soybeans and wheat. 

The department of Canindeyú is located to the north of Alto Paraná, also bordering Brazil, by which it is heavily influenced.  Its border with Brazil is the Mbaracayú Mountains and its capital is Salto del Guairá, which denotes a distinct angle in its territory.  It has a low population density, of only 15.9 people per square mile and is primarily dedicated to the production of yerba mate. It also produces coffee and other agricultural products like soybeans and corn. 

The department of Presidente Hayes is the first on the list of departments that correspond to the Chaco.  Its capital is Villa Hayes, located on the Paraguay River and close to Asunción, the country’s capital.  It is a department that clearly stands out for its livestock activity, ranking first in the country for cattle production.  It has vast amounts of land covered by forests and pastures, and in regard to population, it has only 1.3 people per square mile.

The department of Alto Paraguay, one of the giants of the Chaco, borders Bolivia and Brazil.  Its capital is Fuerte Olimpo.  Its land below the Paraguay River constitutes one of the most important ecological reserves in the world, with a vast flood plain and quebracho, palo santo and palm tree forests.  The region located above the Paraguay River, closer to Bolivia, is drier and has a rockier terrain.  Its population density is extremely low, with only 0.32 inhabitants per square mile. 

The department of Boquerón is the westernmost of Paraguayan territory, bordering Bolivia and Argentina. Its capital is Mariscal Estibarribia and is the largest department in the country.  It makes an important contribution with dairy products, meat and is home to large colonies of Mennonites.  It has a density of only 0.64 people per square mile.