Paraguay or officially the Republic of Paraguay is a country in South America. It is sometimes called the Heart of America because of its central location. Paraguay does not have any access to the sea. It shares its borders with Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. The capital city is Asunción.
The weather varies in different parts of the country. On the east, the climate is humid tropical and on the north-west the climate is dry tropical. The summer in Paraguay is the same as winter in Europe. The annual average temperature is +18°C - +26°C. The holidays in Paraguay will be comfortable all the year round.
Almost 95% of the Paraguay population are mestizo (mixed Spanish and Guarani). The official languages are Spanish and Guarani. The population are the proponents of Christianity but the majority of the people in Paraguay are the Catholics.
Paraguay is known for its colonial architecture and the Indians. Not far from the capital city Asunción, there is the settlement of the Indian tribe Mac'a. The local Indians are willing to talk with the tourists who came to this amazing country. For additional fee, they can even put on feathers or beads for you to take a picture. In everyday life, they wear usual European clothes.
Paraguay is an ideal place for country holidays, you can visit national parks and reserves and participate in safari. The city of Itapua is a must-visit place in Paraguay because there is a center of religious pilgrimage Caacupé. Near Itapua, there are popular tourist destinations such as lake resorts Aregua and San Bernadino. In the Zoo of Asunción, the travelers can learn more about the fauna and flora of Paraguay.
Ciudad del Este is a good place for shopping. This is the second largest city in Paraguay known for its markets and shops. Ciudad del Este is the center of shopping in this country because it is situated in the duty-free zone.
Although there are no direct flights to Paraguay from CIS countries, the plane remains the most convenient way to travel to this country.
We recommend flying to Paraguay with a stop in London Heathrow. There are everyday flights to London from Moscow airports Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo and also from the airports in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Minsk. From London you can get to São Paulo, Brazil and then fly to the capital city of Paraguay, Asunción.
The everyday train runs between Paraguay and Brazil and Argentina.
Everyday international buses run between Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil and the large cities of Paraguay.
If the travelers are not going to stay in Paraguay for more than 90 days, they do not need to obtain a visa beforehand. The passports are stamped on arrival at the airport
If your travel to Paraguay is going to be longer than 90 days, you must obtain a visa in ant Paraguay embassy. Usually, it takes about three days to process the documents for a visa.
On border control, the tourists must show the return ticket, international passport and documents confirming a hotel booking.
The tourists can import and export foreign and national currency in any amount. If the sum is over 110.000 US dollars, it must be declared.
The travelers can import in Paraguay duty-free tobacco, alcohol and perfume; personal belongings and sports equipment.
It is not allowed to export from Paraguay exotic goods (animals' skins, diamonds, gold, tropical plants and their cuttings) without a special permit. It is also prohibited to export coins, jewelry and food without obtaining a special permit.
A travel to Paraguay is a paradise for the lovers of exotic food. The national cuisine of this country is based on the cooking traditions of the Indians combined with recipes the Europeans brought to Paraguay. Due to different climates, cuisine varies in different parts of the country. For example, in the Paraguayan Chaco, the weather is hot and the here you will find, mainly, national dishes from meat, beans and grains. On the south-east of the country, you will feel the European influence. Here, people eat a lot of greens, meat and dairy products, and vegetables. But all the Paraguayans like and make the Indian bread Chipa. This is a flatbread made of corn grains or manioc. In Paraguay, they also make a flatbread Sopa. The locals like grilled meat.
In Paraguay, you will be offered the national dish Mbaipi-soi or maize pudding with meat. For the first course, you will be served noodle and rice soup Soio-sopi. The local chefs are good at cooking Surubi, a fish which is found in the rivers of Paraguay. Milanesa is one of the favorite appetizers in Paraguay.
At the end of the meal, try such desserts as candied fruits, cookies, sweet maize pastry and Mbaipi-khee.
The most popular tea among the Paraguayans is mate. The tourists will also enjoy a tonic beverage Mosto made of sugar cane. Sugar can is also an ingredient for a famous Paraguay moonshine Kacha, beer, rum and liqueurs.
Guarani (PYG) is the official currency of Paraguay.
The authorities do not control exchange operations so you can exchange currency everywhere from banks to street money changers. We recommend you against the services of street changers as they often give false money to the tourists. You can pay with US dollars, Argentine pesos and Brazil reals. It is difficult to exchange and to pay with other currency. It is strongly recommended to exchange money at banks or in exchange offices. In offices Cambio dolares, the tourists can exchange US dollars at the best rate but only in the daytime. At night, the exchange rate is higher and then it is better to exchange the money at banks.
National currency can be used only in Paraguay, so leaving the country do not forget to exchange guaranis for dollars or other foreign currency.
Credit cards are accepted only in the supermarkets and the hotels of Asunción and in some places you will need to show your passport. In other cities of Paraguay, only cash is accepted.
ATMs in Paraguay accept only local cards. You can find ATMs accepting international cards at large banks.
To cash traveler's checks in Asunción, you will need to have a statement from the bank which issued the check. It is better to have checks in US dollars. The commission can be as high as 5 dollars.
Details of interest
Smoking in Paraguay is allowed only in special places. If you violate this rule, you will be fined and the fine is really high.
Going to the market, do not take much cash with you because pickpocketing is a widespread problem in Paraguay.
Sightseeing in Paraguay
The ruins of the centers of the religious orders of Jesuits still lie in Paraguay. The Jesuits converted the local Indians into the Christian belief. The mission of the Jesuits of Santisima Trinidad de Parana and Jesus de Tavarangue. These historical sites are under UNESCO protection.
The capital city of Paraguay, Asunción is built on the shore of the river Rio Paraguay. In the city, there are some buildings of the Colonial period and many houses are built in the eclectic style. You will not walk past the wonderful palace Palacio de Gobierno and the oldest building in the capital Casa de la Independencia. The travelers will be amazed by the beauty of the Cathedral built in the 19th century Casa de Cultura Paraguaya.
The unbelievably beautiful nature in the area of Iguazu Falls attracts the lovers of extreme sports. Not far from the capital is the city of Itapúa where the travelers can buy authentic wicker products made by the locals. Women in Itapúa make wonderful lace Ñandutí which is a good souvenir from Paraguay. Near Itapúa , there is Ibiki national Park.
The major sight of Paraguay is the Bridge of Friendship which connects Brazil and Paraguayan city Ciudad del Este. This city reminds of a large market.
A real treasure of excursion tourism is a three day boat trip along the river Rio Paraguay through Pantanal. Boat trips usually start in the city of Concepción and include the stops in small towns and national parks. The travelers will be offered to go fishing and hiking.
The largest hydroelectric installation in Itaipu is one of the recognized Wonders of the modern world and will surely impress you a lot. In the water storage basin, there is a unique ecological system which became a habitat for wild animals and birds. The tourists can go fishing and hiking in these places.
The main tea plantations in Paraguay are located in the southern part of the country. Start your tea trip from the city of Bellavista to the largest plantations Selecta and Pajarito.
The Mbatovi Eco Reserve, which is a couple of minutes drive from Asunción, is the best place for extreme tourism. In this place with wild nature, the travelers can get an adrenaline rush from bungee jumping and rope swinging.
Choosing a traditional souvenir in Paraguay, think about Aho Poi T-shirts or silver vessels Yerba mate. A nice gift from Paraguay is silver jewelry with stones, wooden crafts and leather goods.