Essentials A-Z

Electricity

Nominally 220 volts AC, 50 cycles, but power surges and voltage drops are frequent. European 2 round pin plugs are used. Visitors from North America should bring an inexpensive adaptor, as few hotels outside Asunción offer 110-volt service, and three-hole sockets are unheard of.

Festivals and events

Public holidays

1 Jan; 3 Feb (San Blas, patron of Paraguay); 1 Mar (anniversary of the death of former president Francisco Solano López); Maundy Thu, Good Fri; 1 (Labour Day), 15 May (Independence); Corpus Christi, 12 (end of Chaco War), 24 Jun (San Juan Bautista); 15 Aug (founding of Asunción, also Day of the Child, in honour of the boys who died
at the Battle of Acosta Ñu), 25 Aug; 29 Sep (victory of Boquerón, decisive battle in the Chaco War); 12 Oct; 1 Nov; 8 and 25 Dec.

Internet

The average cost of internet in urban areas is US$0.75-1.25 per hour.

Money

The guaraní (plural guaraníes) is the unit of currency, symbolized by the letter G (crossed). There are bank notes for 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 50,000 and 100,000 guaraníes and coins for 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 guaraníes. Get rid of all your guaraníes before leaving Paraguay; there is no market for them elsewhere (except in some cambios in Buenos Aires).

Asunción is a good place for obtaining US$ cash on MasterCard or Visa especially if heading for Brazil. ATMs for Visa and MasterCard are common in Asunción and offer good rates of exchange. Many banks in Asunción give US$ cash, but charge up to 5.5% commission. Rates for all foreign currencies, except bolivianos, are reasonable. Casas de cambio may want to see customers' records of purchase before accepting TCs. Visitors are advised to check on the situation on changing TCs in advance. Visa and
MasterCard cash advances are possible in Asunción, Caacupé, Ciudad del Este and Encarnación, but only for credit (not debit) cards. Street dealers operate from early morning until late at night, even on public holidays.

Safety

Paraguay is generally safe and visitors are treated courteously. There were demonstrations in the capital prior to the 2008 elections, but these have subsided and the country as a whole is very calm. Beware police seeking bribes, especially at Asunción bus station and at border crossings. See
www.policia.gov.py
for all matters related to the police and
www.mspbs.gov.py
for current health risks in Paraguay.

Tax

Airport tax, payable on departure in US$ or guaraníes (cheaper).

Time

Standard time GMT -4 hrs begins first Sun in Mar. Summer time GMT -3 hrs begins second Sun in Oct.

Tipping

Restaurants, 10%. Porters US$0.15 a suitcase. Taxis, 10%. Porters at docks US$0.40 a suitcase. In supermarkets, tip the check-out boys who pack bags; they are not paid.

Visas and immigration

A passport valid for 6 months after the intended length of stay is required to enter Paraguay and tourist visas are issued at the point of entry for a stay of up to 90 days. Visitors are registered on arrival by the immigration authorities and proof of onward travel is required (although not always asked for). Citizens of the following countries do not require visas in advance: EU member states (except Bulgaria and Romania), Israel, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, countries of South America, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama. All others (including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA) must apply for a visa prior to travel, presenting a valid passport and 2 photos (for a
business visa, a supporting letter from one's employer should suffice). Double check at a consulate or www.mre.gov.py before arrival which n
ationalities need a visa and which Paraguayan consulates issue them. Make sure you're stamped in and out of Paraguay to avoid future problems. If you do not get an entrance stamp in your passport you can be turned back at the border, or have to pay a fine when leaving Paraguay.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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