Often overlooked by long-distance travellers, Paraguay may represent the ultimate South American destination for the adventurous traveller seeking out alternatives to Brazil and Argentina which, together with Bolivia, neighbour this landlocked country in the midst of the continent.
Paraguay has a unique place in South America and a unique culture. It largely resisted the devastation wrought by the Spanish conquistadors, and it still retains its native pre-Colombian culture among its Guarani people.
On arrival in the capital city of Asuncion you will find a large, relaxed city full of contemporary Latin American culture and historical interest. Amongst the venerable attractions such as the Godoi Museum, the National Pantheon of the Heroes and the Palacio de los López, there are plenty of modern marvels such as the beautiful Lirico Theatre, as well as lively nightspots, first-class shopping malls, excellent hotels and restaurants.
Rivers are the lifeblood of Paraguay and you can enjoy a scenic trip from Asuncion to Concepcion, a town around 130 miles (210km) north of the capital, by cruising along the lazy flow of the river Paraguay.
Further afield, an expedition to the western Chaco region will bring you into contact with the fascinating cultures of Paraguay’s German Mennonite communities and the indigenous Guarani people, living just as they have for many centuries. Here you will also find hundreds of species of flora and fauna that can be discovered among the marshes.
Paraguay remains a travel book waiting to be written – a country full of treasures yet to be showcased, and a chance for the intrepid traveller to claim a unique South American experience.
Situated on the Tropic of Capricorn, Paraguay enjoys a hot subtropical climate.
The average summer temperature in Asuncion during the warmest months of December-February is 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), which only falls to 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit) in the coolest months of June and July. The east of the country is typically more humid and wet than the western Chaco region, which is semi-arid.
Both Spanish and indigenous Guarani are official languages, both spoken by around 90 per cent of the population. English is rarely heard or understood. In fact, those heading for business meetings in Paraguay would be well advised to hire an interpreter or have a working knowledge of Spanish.
A passport valid for the duration of stay is required to enter Paraguay. A visa will also be required by the nationals of many countries (for example, the US, Canada and Australia), whilst EU citizens are amongst those exempt for stays of up to 90 days. Please check the rules around visa requirements before you travel, as they may change regularly.
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is needed if you are entering Paraguay within six days of leaving or transiting infected areas.
Most visits to Paraguay are trouble-free, but visitors should take all the usual precautions.
Visitors intending to travel around the country should be aware that there are frequent military and police document check points in operation.
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