San Bernardino, Paraguay - Polarsteps

San Bernardino, AKA San Ber, Paraguay, population: about 12,000 people (although Wikipedia claims double that). The source their pages typically refer to is, and I also use that page, but for this town, San Ber, their data came from a different site. San Ber was founded in August 1881, so it is not very old. The town was founded by German/Swiss immigrants. The name of the founder was Santiago Schaerer. The story says he sent a letter to the president of Paraguay, President Caballero, asking about immigrants from Germany relocating to Paraguay. The Paraguayan government sent a letter to Mr. Schaerer telling him that any family of 2 or 3 or more would receive land, a team of oxen, seeds to plant, a free trip from Buenos Aires to Asunción, and money for six months. A few months later, President Caballero died and the new President, President Bareiro, agreed to maintain the previous agreements. Until that is, it was discovered that the land they had in mind was quite expensive, so the government reneged on their agreement. But, by then some of the immigrants were already here and had founded a club in 1889. It eventually became the San Bernardino Nautical Club. It was around the end of the 19th century that the new town was becoming known as the Summer City of San Bernardino. And to this day, San Ber is loaded with weekend homes/vacation homes of the rich and well-to-do of the Asunción area. In my walking through some of the neighborhood streets just about every house I saw was big and beautiful. Some 85% of the population of San Ber is white and of German, Swiss, or Spanish descent. So, my impressions: It's a very pretty, very small town. They have a couple of gas stations, three grocery stores, and most other types of stores you might need, but no big hardware or building supplies stores. The park alongside the lake is quite nice, the town is clean and well-kept. Many of the roads, like in other towns in Paraguay, are cobblestone, and only a few main roads are paved. On the day I was here, it was a holiday, and pretty much everything was closed except a couple of restaurants, and they were the expensive ones, and the few grocery stores/convenience stores.
  1. ChipW
  2. My South America Journey
  3. San Bernardino