Paraguay travel advice
Paraguayans are warm and hospitable, ensuring that you will be well received and made welcome across the country.
Getting around landlocked Paraguay is largely unproblematic and most roads in Asunción, as well as the highways leading out of the city, are paved and well signed. The route through the Chaco towards the border with Bolivia in the north of the country, however, is unpaved and can be impassable between October and March when the rains are at their heaviest.
We advise avoiding travel in Paraguay’s hottest summer months (November to February) when temperatures frequently reach 40C (104F) and humidity is high.
Audley in Paraguay
Whilst Paraguay is relatively little visited in comparison to its larger neighbours, our specialists have the same love and intimate knowledge of the country as anywhere else in South America.
Visiting Paraguay is generally done in combination with a trip to Brazil, entering the country close to the immense Iguazú Falls, or with Argentina, crossing from the state of Misiones with its vast wetlands.
Alternatively, there are direct flights to Asunción from São Paulo and Buenos Aires. Paraguay is rarely a destination visited in its own right, although there is enough for the intrepid traveller to fill a week or even two.
Country and climate
The River Paraná divides the country into two regions: Western Paraguay, also known as the Chaco, which is a vast flatland divided into two areas: Alto and Bajo Chaco. Alto Chaco is slightly higher and is typified by its savannas and natural ponds surrounded by forests and thorny scrub vegetation. The Bajo Chaco region is almost at sea level and is covered by endless palm forests.
Eastern Paraguay is characterised by completely different topography. It has tropical and semitropical forests, interspersed with natural grasslands and small hills.
The local climate ranges from subtropical to temperate, with substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, though becoming semi-arid in the far west. Visitors should be prepared for hot and humid weather, especially during the summer in the Chaco.
94% of the population speak Guaraní, while about 75% of all Paraguayans can speak Spanish. Both are official languages, making Paraguay the only country in Latin America whose indigenous language is thus recognised.
English is not widely understood, but is spoken by many in the tourist industry.
Food and drink
In terms of its cuisine, Paraguay has much in common with its carnivorous neighbour Argentina: beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and fish are the most popular ingredients in a Paraguayan asado or barbecue outdoors. Spicy sausages, Sopa Paraguaya (a cornbread pie with cheese and onion), in addition to mandioca (manioc or yucca root) and the ever present mixed salads are the usual dishes accompanying any asado (barbecue).
Other traditional delicacies are soyo, a meat and vegetable soup; bori bori, a soup containing little balls of cornbread and cheese; chipa, bread made from corn flour and Paraguayan cheese; and empanadas, fried or baked pasties filled with all kinds of delicious things.
Money and expenses
The currency is the Guaraní. ATMs are reasonably easy to find, especially in the cities and most machines will take major credit cards, as well as Cirrus and Plus cards. Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted, as are bank debit cards.
If you plan on taking travellers' cheques, they should be in US dollars, and not sterling.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.
When to go to Paraguay
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Paraguay.