Mirador Ex Puerto de Balsas, Encarnación’s Scenic Lookout

Mirador Ex Puerto de Balsas Viewpoint in Encarnación

photography by: Omri Westmark

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In a country whose international borders are mostly defined by rivers, a large riverside city of a foreign country is a rather common sight. Stretching along the Paraná River, Encarnación is Paraguay’s third most populous city. As the country’s border with Argentina runs along the river, the city is abundant with sweeping views of its Argentinian counterpart, Posadas. Perhaps one of the most placid locations to catch a glimpse of Paraguay’s larger neighbor is Mirador Ex Puerto de Balsas, a secluded scenic point next to the road-rail bridge that links the two countries.

It is utterly difficult to overstate the importance of rivers to the landlocked nation of Paraguay, not least because they provide the country with incessant supply of drinking water and cheap electricity. As most of Paraguay’s international borders are determined by the course of its rivers, the country literally owes its very existence to its mighty waterways.


Since historically, cities’ most preferred location is either along a coastline or a river, the country’s largest population centers are all concentrated along rivers, making them also border towns. Ranked as the third largest city in the country, Encarnación is located by the Paraná River, aka the Paraguayan-Argentinian border. With Argentina on its doorstep, the well-kept riverfront offers a glut of vistas over Encarnación’s Argentinian sidekick, the city of Posadas.


There are several beaches, esplanades and parks across the city’s shoreline, but if you wish to stay off the crowds, a well-hidden lookout south of the downtown area rewards visitors with breathtaking views of Posadas, the Paraná River and perhaps most strikingly, the massive bridge that connects Paraguay with Argentina.


Named after the area’s former raft port, Mirador Ex Puerto de Balsas is a paved sliver of land, built in 2017, along with the nearby ferry terminal, from where passengers take a boat ride to the other side of the river. While its unassuming red-tiles are nothing to awe at, the surrounding scenery on the other hand is incredible.


Somewhat surprisingly, the distant views of Posadas’ skyline are accompanied by the faint sounds of hubbub from three kilometers away. Nevertheless, the panorama’s single most dominant element is the massive San Roque González de Santa Cruz Bridge. Inaugurated in 1990, the 2.5-kilometer-long bridge astride the river provides an easy access for the trains and vehicles that make their way in or out of Encarnación every day.