Villarrica, Paraguay, has a population: 52,000, and was founded in 1570. When the city was founded the name was Villa Rica del Espíritu Santo (Villa Rica of the Holy Spirit). It has also been known as the "wandering city".
The city was founded by Ruy Díaz de Melgarejo after left the town of Ciudad Real with 40 men and 53 hourses. They headed east to an area where he expected they would find riches of gold and silver. In May 1570, he found an area he liked and founded the town. But, the town was being attacked by other groups of people, so he relocated it, six times! He moved the city in 1592, 1599, 1632, 1642, 1678, 1682. In May 1701, the town was officially settled and founded with the help of Franciscan missionaries.
Villarrica has a humid subtropical climate. The average daytime high of 28° C (82° F), and the nightly average low of 17° C (62° F). The city's elevation averages 180 meters (590 feet). The yearly average rainfall amounts to 1636 mm (64 in).
So, my impressions: Villarrica has a lot of old architecture from the Colonial period, the 1800s. The town has two plazas, a couple of blocks apart, with businesses built around them, then the central business district spreads out around there and then there are the residential neighborhoods around the city center. I like this layout for a town, it makes for a town that is easy to walk through. The town is quite nice, a very pleasant place to visit. There are all the necessary stores and large grocery stores, building supply stores, hardware stores, etc etc, and several hospitals. The town is almost flat as a pancake, and has many cobblestone roads in the residential neighborhoods, so for cyclists (of which I saw none) it probably isn't a very pleasant place for riding. Will I be adding this town to my top-10 list? No. I've decided, after visiting 10 towns now in Paraguay, that I don't like the Fall season, its a cold season, which is followed by winter which will be a bit colder still. I've decided to narrow my top-10 list down to the two towns in Ecuador and the three towns in Peru, so, my top-10 list is a top-5 list and that is where it will stay. I will continue on my journey through the south of Paraguay, a bit of Argentina, then through Uraguay to the Atlantic coast. From there, I'm not sure at this time. I'll decide when I get there.
My goal is to find a new place to live. So to reach that goal, I am traveling most of South America, visiting the countries of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, passing through Argentina, visiting Paraguay, passing through a bit of Brazil, and finally visiting Uruguay. I have a list of towns, about 70 that meet these qualifications: Cities with average day temperatures of 22-28° C (72-83° F) and night temps of 14° C (57° F) and higher; and a population between 28,000-300,000. I analyzed climate and population data of around 700 towns in the countries mentioned above and then pulled out the ones that meet the previously mentioned criteria, which leaves about 70. My preference leans towards towns of less than 100,000 people. And, now that I have visited more than 30 towns/cities, I've decided I will probably want an inland town. I love the beach and walking in the warm water, but getting sunburned is just too easy, even on a cloudy day. At least here in Ecuador. I've also decided that any town with more than 100,000 population will be too big. I've decided that any small town/city (less than around 80,000 population) that meets the temp specifications and has a supermarket and ATM is one worth considering to live in.
My goal is to visit the towns and discover which one calls out to me - "Chip, Chip, make your new home here, this is your new home town". That hasn't happened yet, but the towns listed below are very close to giving me that feeling. At any rate, I am not visiting tourist attractions or archeological sites, etc, those will have to wait for another trip through South America.
At this point in my journey, I had ten towns on my Top 10 list, but I narrowed it down to four:
- Tingo Maria, Peru
- Moyobamba, Peru
- Catamayo, Ecuador
- Puyo, Ecuador
In my travels in Ecuador, I visited 32 towns/cities. In Peru, I visited 26 towns/cities; in Chile, only five towns; and in Argentina, I visited 13 towns. I have now visited eleven cities in Paraguay.
Next up: Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.