Travel Diaries

Travel to Paraguay: Visa, Transportation and Hotels

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How to Get to Paraguay

There are no direct flights from Russian cities to Paraguay. However, you will need to make a connection. You will inevitably have to choose between duration and price of the flight. The cheapest fares are offered by “Air Europe” with the only connection in Madrid (starting from 800 US dollars each way); however you will spend about 28 hours on the way.

Another way is to fly with Russian airlines to Madrid, Paris, or Frankfurt and change to Paraguayan Airlines, Argentine Airlines, or Brazilian Airlines. You may need a second connection in Lima, Caracas, or São Paulo. The travel time is at least a day. So if you are going on a sightseeing tour, keep this in mind. There is a fee of 10 to 25 USD on departure from Paraguay, depending on the airport, but it is often included in the airfare.

Visa and Customs

Russian citizens do not need a visa to visit Paraguay. You may stay in Paraguay for up to 90 days. You must obtain travel insurance for the entire duration of the trip in advance.

Cash can be imported and exported without limit, but amounts in excess of 10 thousand USD must be declared. Duty-free travelers can bring 1 liter of spirits or 2 liters of wine, 400 cigarettes, perfume for personal use.

It is forbidden to bring weapons, narcotics, and pornography, as well as skins of wild animals and valuable minerals. Tree seedlings, jewelry, and coins may be exported with documents confirming the legality of the purchase.

Transportation

The most popular mode of transport in Paraguay – intercity buses of different levels, from modern cars with air conditioning and comfortable seats to the dinosaur species of automobile industry with a minimum of comfort. All cities have bus terminals. Paraguay’s bus network is extensive, and fares are very low, even for a trip in a comfortable bus. In most of the country, the landscape is almost flat, and the journey, even between remote towns, is no more than 7 hours. Intercity buses are of two types: regular “communes” and express “rapido” buses that run only between major cities. For example, the trip from Asunción to Encarnación takes 5 hours on the Rapido for 75,000 PYG or 7 hours on the Commune for 50,000 PYG. Within 40-60 kilometers, a trip will cost 5000-8000 PYG. The journey between Asuncion and Ciudad takes 5 to 7 hours, the ticket costs 40,000-90,000 PYG.

It was in Paraguay that the first railroad in South America was built, but little remains of it during the war, and there is no rail service now.

Public transportation in the cities

Urban residents use buses, collectivo minibusses, and cabs.• Municipal buses, although they have designated stops, can drop off passengers wherever they ask. Despite the availability of routes, the bus route is often unpredictable;• “Kollektivo” operates on the principle of regular minibusses, picking up and dropping off passengers along the way. The fare in them costs a penny, but you can’t even dream of comfort;• Cabs are metered only in large cities. In all other places, you have to negotiate a price in advance with the cab driver. A trip within Asuncion or Ciudad will not cost more than 35,000 PYG.

Car Rental

Renting a car in Paraguay makes sense if you are planning to drive around the country “to the outskirts”. For those who plan to limit their travels to the major cities, bus service will be quite sufficient.

The cost of renting starts at 80 USD per day. Requires an international driving license, driving experience of at least a year, and a deposit, the amount of which each rental agency determines its own. Most roads are paved, major cities are connected by highways with a quality surface. Of the disadvantages – the presence of only one lane in each direction and the need to overtake trucks in a dense stream. A cost-effective solution is to rent a car with a driver, which costs about 100 USD.

You can also rent a four-wheel-drive Jeep in the Chakosregion for about 150 USD.

Communications and Wi-Fi

Paraguay has worldwide cell phone standards. Roaming is expensive, so if you plan to call Russia often, it makes sense to buy a local SIM card. Wi-Fi is available:• in large and popular cafes,• restaurants,• hotels in the capital and large cities.

In the rest of the country, you won’t find it. You can use the services of Internet cafes. Speeds are reasonable, an hour of web surfing will cost 3000-5000 PYG. A one-minute call to Russia from a payphone will cost about 2 USD.

Hotels in Paraguay

Accommodation in Paraguay is not expensive, but there are no luxury hotels – the choice is between more or less comfortable options. Prices start from 10 USD for a double room – prepare yourself for a night in a budget hotel with a basic set of options. For 20-30 USD you can stay in a comfortable boarding house or mini-hotel, and for 50-70 USD you can stay in a comfortable hotel with an almost European set of options.

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