Some of the group opted to leave at midnight on Wednesday, while my group decided to leave bright and early on Thursday. It was about a 6 or 7-hour trip, which was not that bad. The bus was reasonably comfortable and it was nice to see the countryside out the window. The only bad thing was that it broke down on the side of the road when we were only a few minutes outside of Encarnacion. We waited a long time while they tried to fix it, and then they put us all on a city bus for the last leg. But we made it!
We basically checked our bags into our various hostels/hotels and met back at the bus station to get back out to the ruins. So the Jesuits were big in Paraguay back in the day. They arrived in the late 1500s, and were described as anything from Utopia-like societes to regimes of terror. It sounds like they were against enslaving the Guarani Indians, and instead tried to learn their language. They taught the Guarani religion and "western" ways of living. They were booted out of Paraguay in the early 1700s and left behind some pretty amazing structures.
First, we went to the "Trinidad" ruins. We watched an informational video and wandered around a bit while we waited for a 2nd taxi to come pick us up.
So then the taxi came and we continued on to the "Jesus" ruins. It was a really beautiful (if bumpy) ride.
Then we got there. It was purdy.
After it was pretty pitch dark, we get back into our "taxis" (we asked them to wait for us, thank goodness! These ruins are pretty much in the middle of nowhere) to go back to the Trinidad ruins. Why? Night tour! I do not have a good enough camera (or tripod) to take decent night pictures. But it was very cool, they played music, lit up the buildings, and gave us a guided tour through the ruins.