Coronel Oviedo, Paraguay, population: 72,000, but the metropolitan area/district is about 170,000 people. Oviedo is located midway between Asunción and Ciudad del Este (the two largest cities in Paraguay), and pretty much dead center in the southern half of the country. Therefore, its location makes it an important crossroads for anyone traveling east-west or north-south.
The city has a philharmonic orchestra (more than 40 members) and the Coronel Oviedo Cultural Society. The Cultural Society is mostly young people who dedicate time and energy to the audiovisual arts. Because of the work they have done, Oviedo is considered one of the main cities in Paraguay dedicated to cinema. The Cultural Society is also the organizer of the country's longest-running short film festival, the "National Short Film Competition", which has been running since 2005.
The city was founded in 1758, with the name "Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Ajos". The town's economy was based on agriculture and exporting of black tobacco to Spain. In 1931, the then President of Paraguay changed the name of the town to Coronel Oviedo in honor of one of the great heroes of the War of the Triple Alliance. The Triple Alliance was Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina at war with Paraguay between 1864-1869.
The city's economy is supported by local services, distribution centers, agriculture (in particular - oranges and strawberries), livestock, and tourism. I've noticed something interesting here that does not exist anywhere else I've ever been - orange trees along the sidewalks. Like in Barranquilla, Colombia, where they have mango trees along the sidewalks, here it's oranges. Not just in Oviedo but throughout this part of Paraguay. I also noticed that the oranges have pretty much been picked out of all the low-hanging branches leaving only the oranges that are out of reach.
Oviedo has a warm and temperate climate. The average daytime high of 28° C (82° F), and the nightly average low of 18° C (65° F). The city's elevation averages 170 meters (558 feet). The yearly average rainfall amounts to 1,671 mm (65.8 in).
So, my impressions: Oviedo is not particularly beautiful, and there's no central plaza, but there are two plazas a few blocks apart. One has the main church on one side, and the other is a memorial to fallen military personnel. The city has paved over most of its cobblestone roads, the remaining cobbled roads are in the suburbs. The central business district is longer than it is wide, I walked all of it, and it took a while to walk the length of it. The one thing I didn't like was the heavy truck traffic. Being a central hub city in the country, there is a lot of tractor-trailer traffic through this town. The town is mostly an agricultural town. There are a few tourist areas outside of the city, but nothing for tourists in the city. While I like the climate, I won't be putting Oviedo on my top 10 list.
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 seven 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 have ten towns on my Top 10 list (I may have to change it to a top 15 list):
- Tingo Maria, Peru
- Moyobamba, Peru
- La Merced, Peru
- Catamayo, Ecuador
- Puyo, Ecuador
- Formosa, Argentina
- Caacupé, Paraguay
- Itá, Paraguay
- Itauguá, Paraguay
- Areguá, Paraguay
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 nine cities in Paraguay.
Next up: Villarica, Paraguay.