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Visit the Mennonite colonies

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Visit the pacifist Mennonite agricultural colonies of the remote Chaco.

Mennonites are the people of pacifist Christian communities in Russia, Canada and Europe who fled the obligation to do military service in their countries of origin. Paraguay, which has absorbed refugees of many religious and political complexions, gave them refuge in the 1920s and 30s but they were obliged to establish their colonies in the most inhospitable territory, including the Chaco.

The towns and villages, of which Filafelfia is the most notable, are a mix of the Wild West and modern, Germanic-style efficiency. They have adopted modern dress and practices but jealously guard their autonomy. Each Mennonite colony operates an agricultural co-operative system. The main source of income is beef cattle: they are expert breeders. 

The Mennonites of the Chaco speak Plattdeutsch, a form of German although those of Canadian origin also speak English. They are also passionately Paraguayan. A visit to these unique communities and hearing their stories is a highlight of any visit to Paraguay and essential to an understanding of this complex country. 

Paraguay
The Chaco

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

Meet the team