Loma San Jerónimo – The Most Charming Neighborhood in Asunción

Escalinata San Jeronimo

photography by: Omri Westmark

One of South America's least visited capitals, Asunción is home to dozens of hidden gems, desperately waiting to be discovered by the few intrepid tourists who do come. Among the city's most iconic places is Loma San Jerónimo, a hilltop neighborhood whose narrow alleys and eateries recently became a magnet for curious wanderers and foodies alike.

Info and History

Perching atop a small hill next to Avenida Republica, Loma San Jerónimo stands out as the only neighborhood in downtown Asunción where the city’s 19th century urban grid is absent. Instead, this tiny district features narrow and convoluted alleys across its hilly terrain. That in turn gave rise to multiple theories as to how and when this neighborhood was founded.

 

Story has it that following the Spanish conquest of Paraguay in 1537, hermit monks of the Order of Saint Jerome (San Jerónimo) arrived to the newly established capital as comptrollers. Due to its relative isolation, the friars settled across the hilly area facing the Paraguay River, hence its modern-day name, Loma San Jerónimo. Other sources deem the neighborhood as the actual place where the Paraguayan capital was established, claiming that the Spaniards constructed a watchtower on its top to control the movement of ships in the nearby river.

 

In the last century or so, Loma San Jerónimo was vastly overshadowed by Asunción’s rapid development that encompassed much of its surrounding quarters. That is, until its thorough restoration and beautification in 2013, transforming the small district into a hidden gem. Nowadays, the neighborhood is home to a growing number of bars and restaurants as well as a few historic buildings, most notably the San Jerónimo Oratory.

A sign greets visitors on their way to the neighborhood

photography by: Omri Westmark


A couple of murals in the district's downhill parts

photography by: Omri Westmark


Pasaje Escalinata, one of Loma San Jerónimo's narrow alleyways

photography by: Omri Westmark


A narrow alley along the San Jerónimo Oratory

photography by: Omri Westmark


Two of the neighborhood's narrowest streets

photography by: Omri Westmark


Loma San Jerónimo's main street

photography by: Omri Westmark


The San Jerónimo Oratory

photography by: Omri Westmark


Escalinata San Jeronimo

Linking the hilly neighborhood with the downhill Avenida Republica, Escalinata San Jeronimo is Asunción’s version of Escadaria Selarón in Rio de Janeiro. While the 45-step staircase is a far cry from its Brazilian counterpart, the lack of any tourist throngs makes it a far more pleasant place to explore.

 

The colorful staircase is decorated with intricate mosaics, made of hundreds of individual tiles. Designed by Claudia Godí, Escalinata San Jeroni features four main parts, collectively depicting the city of Asunción, including its blueish sky, colorful houses, rocky hills and the mighty Paraguay River. As you climb the iconic staircase, you’ll also come across several murals, dominated by national motifs.

Escalinata San Jeronimo, consisting of 45 steps

photography by: Omri Westmark


The staircase is usually empty, making it an ideal location to explore and take photos

photography by: Omri Westmark


A closer look reveals the hundreds of single tiles, coalescing into a quaint mosaic of Asunción

photography by: Omri Westmark


The staircase is located in Agustín Barboza Street

photography by: Omri Westmark


Ko'ape Bar Mirador

Loma San Jerónimo experienced a gastronomic boom in the last couple of years, with new restaurants and bars opening across the district. While each of the newly inaugurated eateries offers a wide assortment of scrumptious eats, it is Ko’ape Bar Mirador which sticks out as the neighborhood’s most trendy dining option, frequented even by some Hollywood stars.

 

Bestowed with a breathtaking 360° panoramic vista of Asunción and the Paraguay River, Ko’ape Bar spans across two decks on top of one of Loma San Jerónimo’s tallest buildings. If you wish to accompany your visit with something to eat or drink, the bar serves a medley of cocktails crafted from Caña (Paraguay’s national alcohol) as well as traditional Paraguayan dishes, including Mbeju, a cake made of cassava starch and cheese.

The bar alongside the looming skyline of Asunción


Asunción Downtown as seen from Ko'ape Bar Mirador

photography by: Omri Westmark


The adjacent governmental complex

photography by: Omri Westmark


A locally crafted cocktail with Asunción's skyline in the background

photography by: Omri Westmark