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Asunción Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT -4

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 - 240 volts, 50 Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.

Language

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

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, 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.

Health care 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, but tipping is not strictly necessary.

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 check points 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.

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