Paraguay Travel Information
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Local time is GMT -4.
220 volts 50 Hz; plugs in use are round or rectangular and have two round pins.
Both Spanish and indigenous Guarani are official languages. English is rarely heard or understood.
Paraguay has several health risks for visitors, especially those
who intend touring the countryside and having contact with the
local population. Typhoid vaccination is recommended for all except
those who do not plan to eat outside of major restaurants and
hotels, or cruise passengers, as diseases from food and water are
the leading cause of illness in travellers, and the most common
cause of 'traveller's diarrhoea'. Visitors should not drink water
unless it has been purified, and avoid any food that is not freshly
prepared and well cooked. Be cautious of food and beverages from
street vendors. A Yellow fever vaccination is compulsory for anyone
arriving from an infected country, and recommended for all
Malaria is endemic to certain regions of Paraguay, namely the departments of Alto Paraná, Caaguazú, and Canendiyú. A major outbreak of dengue fever occurred in early 2007, with many deaths having been reported, including in the capital, Asuncion. Dengue fever is on the increase. Insect protection measures are essential, and malaria prevention tablets recommended. Hospitals, pharmacies and medical facilities in Asuncion are adequate, but elsewhere in the country are unsanitary and under-equipped. In the event of serious illness, evacuation to a country with better facilities will be necessary, therefore travel health insurance is highly recommended. Doctors and hospitals usually expect payment in cash.
The better restaurants are likely to add service charge or a suggested tip, but if not 10% is advised. For porters and other services small change is acceptable. Taxi drivers should not be tipped, but a price should be agreed upon before travel.
Most visits to Paraguay are trouble-free, but visitors should note that incidents of violent crime are on the increase, particularly armed robbery 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 often military and police document check points in operation, and public gatherings sometimes turn violent and are best avoided.
Visitors should respect the fact that Paraguayans are a conservative people who value old-fashioned courtesies. As with neighbouring countries, locals enjoy a siesta over lunch when they snooze or drink maté (local tea) with friends.
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 preferred in the mornings. Dress should be conservative, preferably lightweight business suits for men and the equivalent for women. Business hours are from 8am to 12pm and 2.30pm to 7pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 12pm on Saturday.
The international direct dialling code for Paraguay is +595, and the outgoing code is 002, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00244 for the United Kingdom). There is mobile GSM 1900 coverage in the main urban areas, with several network providers. The main Internet service provider is Planet, and there are some Internet cafes in Asuncion, Mc Donalds also offers Internet facilities.
Visitors to Paraguay may bring into the country amounts of tobacco products, alcohol and perfume deemed sufficient for personal use during their stay.
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