About Paraguay




Climate
Around Asuncion there's a mild pleasant climate from May to October with just a few really cold days, and very hot the other 6 months. It's rated as subtropical (humid after rains) to temperate. Click here for weather details of Asuncion.
Size
400,000 sqr km. 155,000 sqr miles. 60% of the size of Texas.
Economy
Pretty stable for a 3rd world country although it could be much better if the government officials would do their job. But that's normal for a latino country. Of course the average income here is too low for foreigners to expect to live off of any salary here although some english teachers do. Inflation is around 10%.
Cost of Living
It's fairly inexpensive to live here. As in most all latino countries services (medical, mechanic, house worker, etc) are inexpensive and imported goods are more expensive (than in the USA). In my last house I paid $200/mo rent for a huge 3 bedroom house with an enormous lawn and shaded barbecue area and two servant quarters. And I paid $80/mo for my houseworker who worked 54 hours a week.
Safety
Paraguay is better than many latino countries since only 10 years ago ended the dictatorship of Strousner. During those years everyone was afraid of doing anything wrong since punishment was either torture or death. But still now it's best to take every precaution in order to secure your belongings and to not walk alone at night since there are sufficient numbers of thieves and people desperately poor. Also there are no earthquakes or volcanos and almost never a hurricane (since it has to pass across Brazil first).
Water
The quality is better than in some latino countries but still I wouldn't recommend you drink the water often. Some Peace Corps workers I spoke to said they drink the water but got a mild intestinal infection from it when they first came here. The lakes and rivers are said to have significant levels of either industrial chemicals or coliform bacteria (from fecal waste from cows). Household water purification systems (such as reverse osmosis) can be bought and installed here. Otherwise it's a good idea to just drink and cook with bottled mineral water. After one year of bathing with city water I started to have a skin itch that was relieved (for 3 day) with a medicine called "Dexacort" (which you can buy without a prescription). So now I take the pill twice a week and all is well but I really want to install a household reverse osmosis system.
Air
The quality is very good outside of the main cities and not too bad inside the cities. But I love very clean air and so prefer to live on the outskirts of the city (Asuncion). I have yet to see a big factory smokestack pouring smoke into the atmosphere although in the winter there is often a haze (limiting vision to 1 mile) due to people burning fallen leaves in their yard.
Internet
Internet service here is pretty good on the average although a bit slow. You can chose a phone line connection for $30 a month, or a microwave antenna connection (from CMM) for $100 a month which includes cable TV channels for your TV. The microwave connection is theoretically faster but in reality is only a little faster since all connections share the same satellite uplink.
Telephone
Service to your home is only around $15 a month if you chose to disconnect the ability to call cellular phones and international calls and any other number (love lines, etc) that begins with 0. I recommend you buy a cellular phone and use it to call other cellulars or international numbers.
Electricity
It's 240 volts at 50 hertz. Items that normally run on 60 hertz don't have a problem with this slightly different frequency. For using things that run on 120 volts just buy a 240-to-120 volt transformer from Radio Shack here for about $18. Some houses don't have good grounding which can result in an occassional little shock if you are using something with worn out insulation (such as an old refrigerator).
Other gringos
There aren't many people here from the USA other than the peace corp workers which you can often find at the internet cafes. The most abundant foreigners here are Germans and Asians. But I actually like that because then the local people are more interested to know me since they don't know any other gringos.
Fun stuff
You can go to the San Bernadino beach (on the lake) and babe watch or ride jet skis, or go to any of 3 malls to eat or watch a movie or play video games or babe watch, or go to discos that have a latin music section and an American music section, or go to a recreational center that has a bowling alley and 20 billiard tables. Or go on nature tours.
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Shopping Mall 'Mariscal Lopez'

Pictures of Asuncion, Paraguay
Click here for two postcards, and click here to see more pictures of Asuncion, the capital city of Paraguay. In them you can see the type of architecture of the most notable buildings.
pictures of Paraguay women
Click here so you can see how beautiful many of these Paraguayans are.
Assorted costs related to your journey
Airfare to Paraguay from USA (~$1100), hotel stay (min $30 a day), meals ($25/day), taxis ($5 each trip) or rentalcar ($300/wk).

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Paraguay in South America



Here's the most spectacular tourist spot you could visit. It is bigger than Niagra Falls and is just past the Paraguay border in Brasil.
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Iguazu Falls



Click here and here to go to very comprehensive sites about Paraguay.

Click here to read our questions and answers page about living in Paraguay.


Following is the perspective of a german couple who moved to Paraguay:
"Possibly you now feel the same way as we felt some years ago, when we were still living in Germany. My wife and I were self-employed. We had to work quite hard to get on in the world. As a free-lance workman and workwoman we had great responsibility. It was necessary to labour more than the obligatory eight hours per day. And finally progressing: the revenue office and it's taxes ... . Besides, one starts to think: is this really the meaning of live? Luckily that we got the chance to produce a film about Paraguay in 1982. We became acquainted with that beautiful country, and later we could not let loose of it. In 1985 we emigrated to Paraguay. We are naturalised Paraguayans and feel comfortable. Surely, one has to lower one's sight and take in consideration that Paraguay is still a 3rd world country. On the other hand it offers a lot of advantages, too, and we personally think that these advantages exceed the drawbacks by far. Living here, we have got to know the meaning of freedom. In addition, and very important to us, nature is still intact and there is green all over the place. Every person who is living a stressed life and dies of a heart attack can only put the blame on themself. Those of you staying for the first time in Paraguay will be amazed without end, even the short distance from the Airport to Asunción, the capital. In case you find the time to sit for a while in one of the numerous sidewalk cafes or in an ice-cream parlor, you surely will get overwhelmed by what pours in. This is pure South America with all its scents, its noise, and its colorful scenery. There are newspaper sellers and shoeblacks. Street-vendors are offering oranges, chewing-gum or car accessories and children intend to earn some money trying to clean windshields while cars are waiting at red traffic lights. The Maká-Indians are offering their home-made souvenirs, and there's men with their money exchange service in the street. The scenery in the capital consists of a big quantity of cars, crowds of people waiting for a bus, people balancing through every kind of goods like underwear, sweaters, t-shirts, pocket lamps, warning triangles, imitations of patented watches and sunglasses, which are presented on the sidewalk. Residents take note of all that bustle with an incredible calmness. But not only that typical South American hecticness contributes to that incomparable character of the city. Not for nothing Asunción is called the "Garden City" of South America. A multitude of flowers and plants are blooming in various parks and tropical gardens. The coexistence of the awfully expensive noble villas and ancient mansions next to the simple huts or plain almacéns (corner shops) is impressing and surprising. Very impressive as well are some of the recent shopping centres which size and class are not often seen even in Germany. The city is of contrasts where rich and poor are living next to each other. Where everybody takes some time for a chat. Where exuberant nature seems to handle stinking exhaust fumes of the rush-hour without mentioning difficulties. Contrasts become even bigger when travelling to the inner country. The farther you get away from the capital, the odder and more silent it becomes. Leaving the asphalt it is even possible that the next house, with thatched roof, appears only after miles. It is where the hens, horses and cows are crossing the path calmly, not to be irritated - not even by noisy honking. Withersoever you look are palms, red ground and the saturated and unforgettable green color which seems to have an addictive effect. Nearly everybody who stayed in Paraguay cannot let the country go afterwards. People normally realise that they fell in love with that country only when they are back in Europe, when daily life has begun again. The South American firmament, the exciting bus trips, the hospitality, the laughing people, the easy living, the music and the churrasquerias (the Brazilian restaurants with their famous buffets with every kind of meat) are remembered very well. We are not that far from reality to claim that everything is always nice and easy here. Surely, there are adversities, too. There are, indeed, marvellous colibris (hummingbirds), toucans and parrots, and sparrows like in Germany, friendly cuatis, cowboys sitting by the fire at night, and a lot of sun. But where the sun is shining shadows are cast. First of all there's the big difference between rich and poor. Further, corruption is still flourishing although authorities try to combat it. Well, getting into a police control car while the car is not as it should be, the possibility to settle things right on the spot, for about 10$ (converted), is quite welcome and comfortable. Of course you will not get a receipt for the fine, because that payment disappears in the officer's pocket. It seems that Paraguayan democracy is accompanied by increasing crimes (as compared to the strictness in place during the former dictator years). Nevertheless, hundreds of Germans, Swiss, Austrians and Asiatics are still coming over to settle down every year. Most of them are particular people, small or medium sized enterprises or independent artisans who like to make a new start. Some of them because they are scared of the outbreak of war and some because they are simply unhappy and frustrated. In Paraguay the minimum wage is only 250$ per month. This makes it nearly impossible for an European to subsist when working as an employee unless one gets the rare chance to labour for an international combine, a bank, or tourism institution. They normally pay efficiency bonus. But without exaggerating it can be claimed: "In spite of all contradictions and defects, Paraguay is one of the most preferred emigration countries in the world!"

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