Traveling Luck for Paraguay. Paraguay, South America

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Paraguay is located in Central South America, northeast of Argentina.

Land in Paraguay is grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere.

Paraguayan land covers an area of 406750 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than California

Paraguay has borders with Argentina for 1880km, Bolivia for 750km and Brazil for 1290km.

Paraguayan flag Paraguayan national flag (Flag of Paraguay)

As for the Paraguayan climate; subtropical to temperate; substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, becoming semiarid in the far west.

Paraguayan(s) speak Spanish (official), Guarani (official).

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Places of note in Paraguay

Paraguayan Map Paraguayan map

Regions of Paraguay

In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70), Paraguay lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. It stagnated economically for the next half century. In the Chaco War of 1932-35, large, economically important areas were won from Bolivia. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER was overthrown in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, relatively free and regular presidential elections have been held since then.

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Country Profile for Paraguay

Landlocked Paraguay has a market economy marked by a large informal sector. This sector features both reexport of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries, as well as the activities of thousands of microenterprises and urban street vendors. Because of the importance of the informal sector, accurate economic measures are difficult to obtain. A large percentage of the population derives its living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis. The formal economy grew by an average of about 3% annually in 1995-97, but averaged near-zero growth in 1998-2001 and contracted by 2.3 percent in 2002, in response to regional contagion and an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease. On a per capita basis, real income has stagnated at 1980 levels. Most observers attribute Paraguay's poor economic performance to political uncertainty, corruption, lack of progress on structural reform, substantial internal and external debt, and deficient infrastructure. Aided by a firmer exchange rate and perhaps a greater confidence in the economic policy of the DUARTE FRUTOS administration, the economy rebounded between 2003 and 2005, posting modest growth each year.

Paraguayan natural resources include hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone

landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in southern part of country

Paraguayan religion is Roman Catholic 90%, Mennonite and other Protestant 10%.

Natural hazards in Paraguay include local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June).

Travel Advice for Paraguay

Paraguay

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary, Local Travel and Health sections.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • The British Embassy in Paraguay closed to the public on Friday 29 April 2005.  Any enquiries should now be directed to the British Embassy in Buenos Aires.  For emergency consular assistance only, please contact the Honorary Consul in Asunción.  Contact details are given below.

  • The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • During December 2006, there have been demonstrations in the downtown area of Asunción.  Protests area likely to continue and could lead to localised violence.  You should avoid large public gatherings.

  • There have been increased reports of dengue fever, including in the capital, Asunción.  You area advised to minimise exposure to mosquito bites by covering up and using repellents.

  • Passports must be stamped on entry.

  • Around 250 British tourists visit Paraguay every year. Most visits are trouble free. Only two British nationals have required consular assistance in Paraguay in 2006. However, you should be aware that violent crime is increasing, so you need to be on your guard and exercise caution at all times, particularly in cities at night.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Terrorism
The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.  Please read the "Security and General Tips" and "Risk of Terrorism when Travelling Overseas" pages on the FCO website for further information and advice.
Crime
Instances of serious violent crime, including kidnapping, have increased.  Recently there have been reports of armed robberies in Asunción and other parts of the country.  Last year there were two cases of armed assault against foreigners in downtown areas of Asunción, near the river.  Weapons can be easily obtained in Paraguay and are routinely carried.  Although foreigners are not specifically targeted, you are advised to remain alert at all times.
You are advised to take precautions e.g.  do not wear expensive jewellery, carry large amounts of cash or carry handbags when out walking or using public transport.  Armed assaults and pickpocketing on public transport and in areas frequented by foreigners are increasing.  Many foreigners choose to use taxis in preference to public transport for security and convenience.
Political Situation
Paraguay’s government, led by President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, assumed office on 15 August 2003.  The government has embarked on an ambitious reform programme but the country continues to experience economic recession and this could give rise to some political instability.
Local Travel
There are military and police checks nationwide, usually to check documents.
During December 2006, there have been demonstrations in the downtown area of Asunción.  Protests area likely to continue and could lead to localised violence.  You should avoid large public gatherings.
You should be aware that illegal cross border activities, and the violence which sometimes accompanies them, are common in the northeastern provinces of Amambay and Canindeyu.  You should be particularly alert in Ciudad del Este and Pedro Juan Caballero, where it is not advisable to be on foot after dark, due to increasing crime.
There are no rail services and no regular passenger services on the river.
Road Safety
Paraguay's network of surfaced main roads is limited and of variable condition.  There is an ongoing programme to upgrade the major routes but minor roads remain unsurfaced and often become impassable during heavy rains.  Large potholes are an additional hazard, particularly in Asunción.  Unlit vehicles and cattle sleeping on the roads make night driving on country roads inadvisable.  It is common to travel within Paraguay by long distance bus services.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

All residents and visitors are required by law to carry an acceptable form of identification with them at all times: foreign residents are issued with identity cards.  You should carry a photocopy of the details page of your passport.  You are advised to leave your passport, other important documents and large amounts of money in a safe place.

There are severe penalties for drug trafficking.  Prison sentences in such cases are mandatory, without bail, and prisons standards are poor.

Paraguay is an isolated, landlocked country that has few of the normal facilities for tourists outside the main towns.  It is also a country that is finding its way after many decades of dictatorship.  You should therefore be realistic about the standards of service and facilities that you can expect to find.

Homosexuality is accepted, but Paraguay is also a conservative society.  You are therefore advised to show respect for local customs.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

If you are staying for less than three months and you have a British Passport, you do not require a visa to enter Paraguay.  You must make sure on arrival that your passport is stamped by an immigration official.  Anybody without an entry stamp in their passport will be fined a large amount of money when they leave the country.  This is particularly important for anyone entering Paraguay at a land border.  Sometimes long distance bus drivers tell non-Mercosur nationals that they can complete immigration formalities in Asunción.  This is not true, and visitors will incur a fine if they do not get their passport stamped at point of entry.

If you are under 18, travelling across borders in the region without one or both parents, it is advisable to have written permission to travel from both parents.  Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that immigration officers often request documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.

If you wish to stay longer than three months as a visitor you must produce a "certificado de buena conducta" (certificate of good conduct) in order to apply for a residence permit.  You should obtain this certificate from your local police station in the UK before travelling, as the Honorary Consul cannot issue one.  This must be issued in the month before you leave the UK and has limited validity of six months.

If you intend to stay in Paraguay for longer than three months (e.g set up a business, work or study) you should contact the Paraguayan Embassy in London: Paraguayan Representation in the UK.

They can provide further assistance before travelling in order to make sure you get the necessary entry clearance documentation.  It can be a lengthy process to regularise your status in country if you arrive in Paraguay without the required documentation.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.
Facilities for good private medical care exist but are limited to the major cities.  Hospitals and GPs will expect immediate payment for medical services.  The availability of certain types of medicines cannot be guaranteed.  If you need a regular prescription you should bring enough with you.

There are occasional reports of outbreaks of malaria and dengue fever. Reports of leishmaniasis (transmitted by insects) have also risen in recent years. More than three-quarters of British travellers who contracted malaria in 2005 did not take preventive measures, such as malaria prevention tablets. However, malaria can occur despite appropriate prevention, and therefore you should promptly seek medical care in the event of a fever or flu-like illness in country or in the first year following your return from travelling to a malaria risk country. Before travelling you should seek medical advice about the malaria risk in Paraguay.  .

You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at www.dh.gov.uk.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see: What We Can Do To Help.

The British Embassy in Asunción closed to the public on Friday 29 April 2005.  The British Embassy in Buenos Aires now has overall responsibility for Paraguay and all enquiries should be directed to them at the contact details given below.  For emergency consular assistance only, please contact the British Honorary Consul in Asunción: Dr Guillermo F Peroni; Address: Eulogio Estigarribia, 4846 C/Monseñor Bogarin, Asunción, Paraguay; Telephone: (595) (21) 210405; Facsimile: (595) (21) 600448; Email:guillermo.peroni@pstbn.com.py /bettina.albertini@pstbn.com.py.

ATMs are widespread, many accepting Cirrus, Maestro &Visa cards.  Credit & Debit cards can be used widely in shops, supermarkets etc, as long as proof of ID is provided i.e. passport.  Travellers cheques are not widely used.  When exchanging money, you should use registered bureaux de change.  We strongly advise that you do not change money with people offering attractive rates on the street or on arrival at the airport, as false banknotes are common.


OTHER

Paraguay Country Profile