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View of the lake from San Bernardino
|Primary outflows||Salado River|
|Max. length||14.9 mi (24.0 km)|
|Max. width||3.7 mi (6.0 km)|
|Surface area||55.9 km2 (21.6 sq mi)|
|Average depth||10 feet (3.0 m)|
|Settlements||San Bernardino, Ypacaraí & Areguá|
Ypacaraí Lake is a major body of water located in Paraguay, about 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of the capital, Asunción. The lake lies in the western part of the Asunción-Sapucai-Villarrica graben, a tectonic depression from the Mesozoic Era, and drains to the northwest through the Salado River into the Paraguay River. The lake is surrounded by three cities: Areguá, Ypacaraí, and San Bernardino, the latter two being located on its shore.
The song “Memories of Ypacaraí”, written by Demetrio Ortiz, caused the lake to become widely known. It is one of Paraguay's two main lakes and the site of many leisure activities. During summer, locals and tourists enjoy its beaches and the landscape.
The area of Ypacaraí Lake is about 90 km2 (35 sq mi). It is 24 km (15 mi) long north–south and 6 km (3.7 mi) long east–west. The average depth of the water is roughly 3 metres (9.8 ft).
The lake flows into the Salado River, which itself enters the Paraguay River and receives water from various bodies, of water such as the Yagua Resau, Yuquyry, Puente Estrella and Pirayu.
The weather at the lake is temperate and sunny days are frequent. Temperatures vary between 20 and 38 °C (68 and 100 °F) during summer and 3 and 25 °C (37 and 77 °F) during winter.
The lake's original name was Tapycua. There are several possible explanations for the name. Ypacaraí means "holy lake" and is linked to the legend of the blessing of the lake by Luis de Bolaños around 1600.
Art and culture
The nearby town of Areguá offers permanent art and crafts exhibitions. The city's structure and antique architecture and are noteworthy. The artisan center of La Cuenca hosts a fair where local artists exhibit their work. Visitors and tourists can obtain information at the cultural center Estacion A; there is also an art center, the Guaggari Center, which is located at the entrance to the city and includes a sculpture exhibition. La Casa de la Cultura is a historical museum where temporary exhibitions are also presented. It opens for an important festival[vague] that takes place in September.
Ypacaraí Festival has been held every year in the city of Ypacaraí since 1971. The popular September gathering encourages folk expression and Paraguayan art, including concerts, dance and theater. According to the City Chamber, the festival “tries to rescue and reinforce the artistic heritage of the Paraguayan culture”. Casa Hassler, a cultural center, is open for the whole year, with permanent and temporary exhibitions. Artists can show their work here for free, and there is also a history museum, a public library, and classes in acting and dance.
As Ypacaraí is a relatively shallow lake, boats and small ships can navigate it easily.[contradictory] The lake is surrounded by cities with facilities necessary for tourists and other visitors. The lake's beaches are open to the public, and they are very popular during summer, especially with people from San Bernardino.
This city is 48 km (30 mi) from Asunción. It has beaches, cultural centers, pubs, and interesting restaurants. San Bernardino is also called the “Summer City” because of its facilities and attractions for visitors during that season.
Areguá is 31 km (19 mi) from Asunción and has a charming, bohemian atmosphere. It is a favorite place for writers and well-known personalities. This city also has a public beach. Areguá holds an artisan fair where locals offer[clarification needed] pottery and clay figures.
The cities surrounding the lake offer a variety of gastronomic styles, including both fast food and traditional dishes. Fruit salads, pastries, chipas, and empanadas are among the dishes available.
The lake is visible when visiting one of the surrounding cities. Buses depart to San Bernardino and Ypacaraí from the Asunción Bus Terminal, and there is a bus to Areguá from Avenida San Martín or Aviadores del Chaco in Asunción.
- La Magia de Nuestra Tierra- Fundación en Alianza, 2003.
- Jaha, Sitios imperdibles del Paraguay. Revista informativa. Senatur, 2008.
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