Paraguay Basics

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The Basics


Time: Local time is GMT -4

Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.

Money: The currency of Paraguay is the Paraguayan guarani (PYG). United States Dollars are also widely accepted. Visitors are advised to use banks or official Bureaux de Change for exchanging money rather than street exchange kiosks because there are many counterfeit notes in circulation. Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted with larger hotels and restaurants accepting MasterCard, Visa, and, in some cases, American Express. There are numerous ATMs in urban centres, which generally take Cirrus, Maestro, and Visa cards, but visitors who use them are advised to be vigilant due to the risk of crime. Banks are open on weekdays only between about 8.45am and 3pm.

Currency Exchange Rates

PYG100.00 = USD 0.02GBP 0.01CAD 0.02AUD 0.02ZAR 0.23EUR 0.01NZD 0.02
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: Both Spanish and indigenous Guarani are official languages. English is not widely spoken or understood.

Entry requirements for Americans: United States citizens require a valid passport and a visa to enter Paraguay, but visas can be issued on arrival at Asuncion for a max stay of 90 days.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens require a valid passport valid for 6 months from the date of exit, but can enter without a visa for up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians require a valid passport and a visa to enter Paraguay, but visas can be issued on arrival at Asuncion for a max stay of 90 days.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australians require a valid passport and a visa to enter Paraguay, but visas can be issued on arrival at Asuncion for a max stay of 90 days.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens require a valid passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand citizens require a valid passport and a visa to enter Paraguay, but visas can be issued on arrival at Asuncion for a max stay of 90 days.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Citizens of Ireland require a valid passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

Passport/Visa Note: Those requiring visas must apply to the nearest Paraguayan consulate. It is recommended that travellers always have six months' validity on their passports as immigration officials may impose restrictions other than those officially stated. Vaccinations against yellow fever are required for passengers arriving within six days of leaving or transiting infected areas.

Travel Health: All travellers should be vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B, and those planning to travel in rural areas and eat outside of hotels and restaurants should consider a vaccination for typhoid. All travellers arriving from yellow fever risk areas need to carry proof of vaccination to enter Paraguay and the vaccination is also generally recommended for travel in the country. Travellers should also be up to date with vaccinations for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and tetanus-diphtheria. Malaria medication is recommended for travel to the departments of Alto Parana, Caaguazu, and Canendiyu. Tap water should not be drunk unless it has first been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected. Caution should be exercised with street food and any uncooked food. Healthcare facilities are good in Asuncion but may be very limited beyond the capital. Comprehensive travel and health insurance is recommended and all required medication should be carried into the country, along with a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what it is and why it is needed.

Tipping: Some restaurants do add service charges but this will be indicated on the bill. If no service charge has been added, a tip of about 10 percent is appropriate. For porters and other services, small change is acceptable. Taxi drivers appreciate visitors rounding up the fare.

Safety Information: Most visits to Paraguay are trouble-free but visitors should note that incidents of violent crime are on the increase, particularly street crime like pickpocketing and muggings in Asuncion, Ciudad del Este, and Pedro Juan Caballero. Visitors should take sensible precautions such as not carrying large amounts of cash, wearing visible jewellery, or displaying valuables, particularly when walking the streets or using public transport. Those who travel around the country should note that there are frequently military and police roadblocks and checkpoints in operation. Travellers are advised to avoid protests which occasionally become violent.

Local Customs: Visitors should respect the fact that Paraguayans are a conservative people who value old-fashioned courtesies. Homosexuality is legal but public displays of affection are frowned upon. All residents and visitors are required to carry identification at all times. Generally, authorities will accept a photocopy of documents like passports. As with neighbouring countries, locals enjoy a siesta over lunch when they snooze or drink maté (local tea) with friends. Shops and businesses may be closed at this time.

Business: Those heading for business meetings in Paraguay would be well advised to hire an interpreter or have a working knowledge of Spanish; English is not widely spoken, even in the capital. Business appointments are formal and generally occur in the mornings. Dress should be conservative, preferably lightweight business suits for men and the equivalent for women. Business hours are from about 8am to 12pm and 2.30pm to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 12pm on Saturday.

Communications: The international direct dialling code for Paraguay is +595 and area codes are in use. There is mobile GSM 1900 coverage in the main urban areas, with several network providers. There are some internet cafes in Asuncion and some restaurants and hotels also offer internet facilities.

Duty Free: Visitors to Paraguay may bring into the country amounts of tobacco products, alcohol and perfume deemed sufficient for personal use during their stay. The value of goods brought into the country should not exceed USD 300 if arriving by air or water, and USD 150 if arriving by land.