Paraguay Travel Information
Local time is GMT -4
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.
Both Spanish and indigenous Guarani are official languages. English is not widely spoken or understood.
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.
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 checkpoints in operation. Travellers are advised to avoid protests which occasionally become violent.
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.
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.
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.
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.