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Paraguay

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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Paraguay due to the high level of crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible new security risks.
  • Violent crime is increasing. Be particularly alert in tourist locations and downtown areas in Asunción, Ciudad del Este and Pedro Juan Caballero. Avoid walking in these areas after dark. See Safety and security
  • The rainy season is from December to March. Flooding can affect travel, particularly by public transport. See Natural disasters.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Asunción, headed by an Honorary Consul, which can provide limited consular assistance. Full consular services are available from the Australian Embassy in Argentina. See Where to get help.  

Entry and exit

Visas

You need a visa to visit Paraguay.

Australian passport holders can get a 90-day multiple-entry visa on arrival at the Silvio Pettirossi Asunción International Airport for a fee (payable in cash only). The Asunción International Airport is the only port of entry into Paraguay where visas on arrival can be granted.

If you're entering the country from a land or water border crossing, or another airport, you must get a visa before you arrive. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Paraguay for further information on how to apply for a visa before you travel.

Ensure your passport is stamped by an immigration official if entering Paraguay overland or you will be subject to a fine when departing the country.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Paraguay for up-to-date information.

Other formalities

Children (under 18 years of age) travelling alone or with one parent need to present a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent(s) to the Paraguayan authorities. Confirm requirements with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Paraguay. More information: Travelling with children

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists Paraguay as a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Check the yellow fever entry requirements for Paraguay and all countries you intend to enter or transit through by contacting their foreign missions in Australia. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of Paraguay.

More information:

If you're travelling to or from Paraguay via the United States, you must meet US entry/transit requirements. Check your visa needs well in advance of travel with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the United States.

More information:

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia. Carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The currency of Paraguay is the Guarani (PYG).

Only use registered banks or bureaux de change to exchange money. Avoid changing money with people offering attractive rates on the streets, as false banknotes are common.

You may be asked to provide identification if you're paying for items with a credit or debit card.

Travellers cheques aren't widely accepted.

Safety and security

Crime

Incidents of violent crime are increasing in Paraguay, particularly armed assault, car theft and kidnapping including in popular tourist destinations (such as San Pedro and Concepción). The risk of violent crime increases after dark. 

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, occurs regularly in major cities, particularly on public transport and in crowded areas frequented by foreigners. Thieves on motorcycles sometimes snatch belongings from pedestrians or threaten them with weapons.

Drug trafficking is a serious issue in some areas, particularly in the region of Amambay and Ciudad del Este.

Protect yourself.

  • Be particularly alert in tourist locations, crowded public places and downtown areas in Asunción, Ciudad del Este and Pedro Juan Caballero. Avoid walking in these areas after dark. Seek advice from your hotel regarding areas to avoid downtown.
  • Don't leave food or drinks unattended as drink and food spiking may occur.
  • Avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras.
  • Ensure your belongings are secure at all times.
  • Don't use unregistered taxis, as there are reports of robbery of passengers.
  • If you're attacked or robbed, don't resist. Thieves are often armed.

Civil unrest and political tension

Protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings occur frequently and can turn violent. They're usually in the downtown area, where government offices are located. In the past, protests and demonstrations have led to roadblocks and road closures which have caused severe traffic congestion.

  • Avoid protests and demonstrations.
  • Don't cross roadblocks, even if the road closure is unattended.
  • Monitor the media for developments.
  • Follow the advice of local authorities.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

A small guerrilla-style group that calls itself the Ejercito del Pueblo Paraguayo (Army of the Paraguayan People) (EEP) operates in the northern part of the Department of San Pedro and the southern part of the Department of Concepción. High-profile kidnappings have occurred in the interior of the country, including in these departments. Wealthy locals, as well as police and landowners, are targeted. Be alert if you travel to these areas. Kidnappers can be violent.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Take care if you travel to the north-eastern provinces of Concepción, San Pedro, Amambay and Canindeyú, as illegal cross-border activities are common and occasionally become violent.

If hiking in remote areas, register your details with park authorities. Research local natural hazards and conditions before you go.

Iguazu Falls

If you plan to visit Iguazu Falls, read the travel advice for Brazil and Argentina, and be aware of the visa requirements for these countries. Apply for your visa to Brazil or Argentina well in advance of planned travel, as these processes can be time consuming. The Australian Government is unable to assist with the visa application process of other countries.

More information: Embassy or Consulate of Brazil or Argentina

Road travel

Driving standards in Paraguay are poor and traffic regulations are often ignored. Many cars are poorly maintained. The network of surfaced roads in Paraguay is limited and can be of variable condition. Outside of major urban centres, other than major intercity highways, most roads are unsurfaced and often become impassable during heavy rain.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you are almost four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Paraguay than in Australia.

Take care and use common sense when travelling by motor vehicle. Avoid driving at night in rural areas due to the risk of stray animals on the road and vehicles being driven without headlights.

More information: Road safety and driving

Taxis

Most taxis are in poor condition and don't have functioning seatbelts.

Some taxis may appear to be official but aren't registered with local authorities. There are reports of robbery of passengers in unregistered taxis.

  • Use only registered taxi companies.
  • After dark, book registered taxis by phone or at major hotels.

Air safety

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network for information on aviation safety in Paraguay.

More information: Air travel

Laws

Local laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

More information: Arrested or in prison

LGBTI travellers

Homosexuality isn't illegal in Paraguay, however Paraguayan society remains very conservative. Paraguayan law has no legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Same-sex marriages aren't recognised in Paraguay. Consider avoiding public displays of affection.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Drug laws

Penalties for the possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs in Paraguay are severe and include mandatory prison sentences and heavy fines.

More information:

Other laws

The following activities are also illegal:

  • importing or exporting certain items including firearms, medications, toys resembling weapons and protected species
  • hunting animals
  • removing certain plant species from nature reserves
  • taking photos of airports, military establishments, police stations or government buildings.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Paraguay doesn't recognise dual nationality.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel Insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
  • that you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.

Remember to extend your insurance if you extend your trip.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.

Before you leave Australia, check your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Mosquito-borne illnesses

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists Paraguay as a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It is preventable by vaccination.

Outbreaks of other mosquito-borne diseases (including malaria, dengue fever, zika virus and chikungunya) occur from time to time, with thousands of confirmed or suspected cases in recent years. The worst outbreaks have occurred in Asunción, Concepción and Ciudad del Este.

Zika virus is prevalent across Paraguay. Risk of contracting the disease exists throughout the country. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. The Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas.

More information:

Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses by:

  • ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • taking measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • getting vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Paraguay.

Consult your doctor about prophylaxis against malaria.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a significant risk. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

More information: World Health Organization

Other diseases and health issues

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis A and rabies) are common.

  • Boil drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.
  • Avoid bathing in fresh water sources such as lakes and rivers.
  • Consult your doctor or travel clinic about pre-departure vaccinations for typhoid, hepatitis A and rabies.

Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Medical care is adequate in Asunción, but may be limited or unavailable in rural areas.

Hospitals often require upfront payment or confirmation of medical insurance prior to commencing treatment, including for emergency care.  

Natural disasters

The rainy season (December to March) can affect the accessibility and reliability of public transport.

  • Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan your travel accordingly.
  • If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

More information: Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS)

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer, or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 911
  • Medical emergencies: 911
  • Police: 441-111

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia has a Consulate in Asunción headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular services. Passport services aren't available from this consulate. Appointments are required for all visits, as this office operates on a part-time basis.

Australian Consulate, Asunción

Australian Consulate, Asunción
Prócer Arguello 208 e/Mariscal
López y Boggiani
 1209 Asunción, Paraguay
Telephone (59 521) 608 740
Facsimile (59 521) 608 740

For full consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires

Villanueva 1400,
(C1426BMJ)
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
Telephone: (54 11) 4779 3500
Facsimile: (54 11) 4779 3581
Website: argentina.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay
Twitter: @EmbAustraliaBA

More information on opening hours and temporary closures: argentina.embassy.gov.au

If you're unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources