Ciudad del Este

Quintessential border town Ciudad del Este mixes a bit of sleaze with a lot of shopping (and, reputedly, an equal amount of smuggling). Expect little in the way of history here—the city dates only from 1957. The draw for tax-weary Argentines and Brazilians is block after block of stores offering goods less expensive than in their own countries. For North Americans and Europeans, prices are no lower than those of a large discount store, however, and the warning "Buyer beware" comes to mind when evaluating merchandise quality here. Ciudad del Este makes a convenient gateway from the west to the Iguazú Falls, straddling the Argentine-Brazilian border. Rising crime in the city itself means we recommend not basing yourself here, but enjoying the falls from Brazil, 26 km (16 mi), or Argentina, 23 km (14 mi), away. A couple of attractions here on the Paraguayan side can be enjoyed hassle-free, most conveniently as day trips from the other two countries.

As a border city, Ciudad del Este sees its share of crime. The tri-border region with Brazil and Argentina has also become a haven for extremist groups in recent years. You'll be fine with day visits to the attractions we list, but we recommend not staying the night here.

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