I’m getting a lot of emails from people going to move to Paraguay or going to live there for a while, or retiring there (which I think it’s a very good option) or people that are going to study there o just visiting there for a short time. I thank all of you that keep reading my blog, and hopefully enjoying it =)
When people ask me if they are going to like Paraguay I always answer that there are 2 kind of people, the ones who will love it and the ones that will hate it, and maybe a 3rd category of people, the kind of people that will go to Paraguay to observe, to learn, to catch a mental image, to notice the unnoticeable, to believe the unbelievable, to look for the experience of enjoying the unthinkable and maybe to see beauty where there are just abandonment left.
I came up with some questions and answer about what people that are going to Paraguay need to know, not the why or the
Do I need a visa (not referring to credit card) to enter Paraguay? : If you are US citizen you will need a visa, maybe you want to get one from Brazil too, because while there its a must to visit Brazil, If you are Mercosur or European citizen, you don’t need visa, and for other countries, please contact your nearest consulate.
What is the usual first impression upon arrival in Asuncion? The first impact every time i arrive is the humidity, the air, is so much different, summer time is very hot and humid, in the airport in costumes sometimes they are corrupt and in other words they may ask you for some money to let pass your stuff, always in a nice way, but just give what you think is fair, that obviously gives Paraguay a bad image. The airport size is relatively small, and unfortunately Paraguay doesn’t not own a airline, sadly true.
Where to stay upon arrival: There are so many places to choose, on the utopist, on the way from airport to city there is a Sheraton Hotel ( that is not my choice, but is a nice place to stay, very good located). Please see my hotel list for more info from past posts or click here
Where can i rent a car? Yes, you can rent a car even at the airport, it’s not as cheap as you might think but it’s a good option to get around, please read my post about driving in Paraguay, driving there is a chaos and you will have to get used to it and develop some skills. Some are: National Car Rental, Hertz at the Airport (+595 21 605708), Fast Rent a Car (+595 21 60 54 26), Inter Locadora (+595 21 66 02 17)
Can I get around public transportation? Yes, not very clean but it works for a big part of us, taxi’s are very cheap and is a good way to get around. Radio taxi (+ 595 21 311 080)
Is there a tourism information center in Asuncion: Actually yes, it is in downtown Asuncion, Direction General del Turismo, address: Palma y Alberdi.
Where can I get a cellular phone? is it easy? Yes, buying a cellular phone is very easy they sell you the sim card and you probably can use your own phone or you can buy one mostly everywhere. There are no charges if you receive a call like in the USA only if you make the call. Most people just text massage because is way cheaper and now becoming a cultural thing. Calling from one provider to the other is very expensive because of the connection fee so don’t be surprised if you see people walking around with two, three or even 4 cellular phones from different providers. The main cellular phone providers are: Tigo, Personal, CTI and Vox, i would have a Tigo phone because is the most popular one and that makes it cheaper to call another tigo. A place i would recommend in downtown Asuncion is Alemania Cell
I want to send a text message to a Paraguay cell phone, how should I do that if If i don’t know the persons carrier? I prepared a chart with all the code numbers so you can easily identify
Personal: 0971, 0972, 0973, 0975
Tigo: 0981, 0983, 0985
Cti: 0991, 0993, 0995
Where can I exchange money? In Downtown and in Villa Morra and in the main Malls like shopping del Sol, and Mariscal Lopez shopping you will be able to exchange money.
Do they accept credit cards? Mostly they accept only cash, buy in many malls and big stores you can buy with credit card but they charge you an extra 11% for banking fees.
What’s the minimum wage: Around 230$ a month.
Where can I buy Groceries?: There are a lot of Groceries stores, even in some Malls, like Shopping del Sol, or Shopping Villa Morra, and a nice thing is that in all neighborhoods you can find mini markets if you need something that you forgot to buy from the Grocery Store you will find in those mini markets usually run by Koreans, in Spanish they refer to the mini markets: El koreano de la esquina, which means the Korean of the corner.
Some names I recall are: Supermercado La Negrita, Hiper 6, Gran Union, Avenida, Denis Roa, Stock, Real de Villa Morra, etc
Are people friendly? Is it easy to make friends? Yes, super friendly and helpful, it is easy to make friends.
Do I have to learn Spanish, is it hard? It is very convenient you start learning Spanish before your trip, it is not very difficult but having a lot of conjugations makes it difficult for an English speaker, it is a complex language, Latin root. Unfortunately there are not many people that speak English but they will try to understand you and appreciate the effort.
How are banks there? are they safe? Banks are not stable, I would keep the savings in the bank of your country, but i think ABN Amro bank is a pretty decent bank, and some others are not bad but as I said banks tend to be unstable.
Are they work opportunities available? No, unfortunately not many, maybe very few things, like teaching English or teaching at some institute or American School.
Are there fast food restaurants: Yes, Pizza Hut, Mc. Donald’s, Burger King, and a few others at local malls
How is the medical attention: No complains, very good doctors overall, the main hospitals in Asuncion are: Centro Medico Bautista, San Roque, Hospital Privado del NiÃ±o, Sanatorio Adventista, among others.
A book about Paraguay that I recommend is: At the tomb of the inflatable pig
Why would I want to move to Paraguay: Because it’s an unknown country, small with only 5 million hab, not that polluted as many other South American countries, great nature, warm people, the weather is nice all year long (sometimes too hot), is among the cheapest countries in the world, it is close to Brazil and Argentina, it is peaceful, calm, things and services are very affordable, real estate and renting is cheap, it is specially great for retirement since is way affordable, doctors are very good and health insurance is not bad at all.