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Paraguay Driving Guide

Paraguay is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-08-02 · 15. min

Paraguay is known for its passion for soccer and fascinating natural wonders. This landlocked country boasts one of the largest hydroelectric plants globally, where the country receives 80% of its electricity from. Famous countries like Brazil and Argentina bound Paraguay; however, it has not received the same reception when it comes to tourism as other neighboring countries.

Nevertheless, it is still one of the most exciting countries one must visit because of its culture and drive-worthy places. Paraguay is one of the countries in the world where people are bilingual. People here speak Spanish, and the majority is also speaking the indigenous Guaraní language of its population.

How Can This Guide Help You

As they say, traveling and driving in Paraguay can be tricky, adventurous, and challenging all at once. In this guide are the things you need to prepare and remember before traveling to Paraguay. You also need to consider some things if you want to stay longer than is expected from a tourist. This will also serve as your guide on the driving rules and etiquette, road conditions, and ways to rent a car in Paraguay.

General Information

Paraguay is a South American country, with Asunción being its capital. Paraguay has preserved some of the country’s traditions where tourists can experience through colorful festivals, local cuisine, and historical destinations with its storied history and rich culture. They even preserved their centuries-old Guaraní language.

Geographic Location

Paraguay is the second landlocked country in South America, with Bolivia being the other one. Brazil bounds it to the east and northeast, Bolivia to the northwest, and Argentina to the south and southwest. Being landlocked, one would expect Paraguay not to have any bodies of water, but they do. The country has beaches, coasts, and ports on the Paraguay and Paraná rivers that give way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Other countries might border it, but this South American country owns the landlocked country’s largest navy. It has naval aviation, a coast guard, and a river defense corps, all part of its force. Paraguay has a country with long traditions, given the different settlements and civilizations in its history.

Languages Spoken

There are two official languages in Paraguay - Spanish and Guaraní. Spanish is used by 87% of Paraguay’s population, mostly in schools, government, business sector, and media. Meanwhile, the Guaraní language came from the indigenous Guaraní culture, used by almost 90% of its population. Only a few people in the country speak the English language, so it is best to have some Spanish phrases prepared before visiting Paraguay.

Land Area

The 406, 752 square kilometers of Paraguay’s land area includes grassy plains and low wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay and low marshy plains on the river’s west side of the Chaco region. Some regions of Paraguay farther from the river are landscapes dominated by forests, jungles, and scrubs. Eastern Paraguay features a higher elevation, where most of the country’s population is.

History

Early settlers in Paraguay were the Guaranís in 1537 under the Spanish regime. During the 17th century, Jesuits made Paraguay the center of their mission and converted Guaraní people to Christians, and introduced European culture. Paraguay proclaimed independence from Spain in the 19th century; however, a series of authoritarian governments ruled them.

The country ended the Paraguayan War period in 1864-1870, in which the country lost 25-33% of its territory to Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay and half of its population. Paraguay was again involved in another international conflict called the Chaco War in 1932-1935 against Bolivia; this time, the Paraguayans prevailed. They experienced military dictatorships until 1989 after Alfredo Stroessner’s 35-year rule ended through an internal military coup.

Government

Paraguay practices a representative democratic republic form of government. The president works as the head of state, and government and legislative power are given to the National Congress’s two chambers. Meanwhile, the judiciary handles tribunals and Courts of the Civil Law and the nine-member Supreme Court of Justice.

Tourism

Despite being landlocked by larger and much popular countries in South America, Paraguay accommodated more than 1.18 million tourists in 2018. Paraguay is gearing towards much higher tourist arrival with its rich culture, colorful traditions, and festivals. Not only its interesting culture and tradition, but Paraguay’s natural beauty also reflects from the wilderness to crashing waterfalls.

Tourists can explore different natural reserves, local food, ancient cave paintings, and more in this South American country. If you love to put some thrill on your road trip, then you can witness motorsports events and go on nature hiking in the mountain of Paraguay.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

An international driver’s permit translates your local license to rent and drive a foreign country. An IDP is essential to ensure your safety and avoid getting in trouble with authorities while driving in Paraguay. Discover what an IDP is and how it works from reading through the next chapters.

What Countries Accept International Driver’s Permit?

An IDP issued by the International Driver’s Association is valid in 150 countries worldwide, so getting one is not a waste of your money. For South American countries driving in Paraguay, IDP is not necessarily needed. Still, it pays to secure one, just to be sure if authorities will ask for it, especially on border checkpoints. When driving in Paraguay, requirements such as your IDP and driver’s license are needed to avoid getting into any trouble.

Driving in Paraguay with your license is allowed, given that you are a citizen from countries in South America. Those outside South America must have an international driving permit to rent and drive a vehicle in the country. To ensure that everything will go smoothly, from renting a car to exploring Paraguay, it is best to get an IDP.

What is the Purpose of Securing an International Driver’s Permit?

Don’t confuse your local driver’s license with your international driver’s permit. The IDP translates your local license to 12 UN-recognized languages, so authorities can verify your driver’s license if it’s valid or not. However, you cannot rent a car and drive in foreign countries using your IDP alone. When driving in Paraguay, a driver’s license and IDP must go together.

An IPD issued by the International Driver’s Association is valid for one up to three years. It depends on how long you want it to be valid. If you think a one-year validity is too short for you when driving in Paraguay, update the validity to two or three years; the longer the validity, the higher it costs. Once it expires after driving in Paraguay, update your IDP by following the same steps as the first time you applied.

Who Can Apply for an IDP?

Anyone who is 18 years old and has a valid driver’s license can apply for an IDP. Securing an IDP is hassle-free since you can do it online. To fully secure an IDP for driving in Paraguay, requirements like a valid driver’s license and a passport-sized image of yourself are needed.

You use the form provided on the International Driver’s Association website to start your application. To apply for your IDP before driving in Paraguay, your zip code, address, name, and email address should be on the application form. After the approval, you will receive an email with a digital copy of your IDP within two hours. When getting an IDP replacement to continue driving in Paraguay, the zip code should be included in your current address.

Renting a Car in Paraguay

Nothing beats the comfort and freedom you have with owning your time while exploring foreign countries. While you are in Paraguay, it is best to rent a car as some destinations are not accessible by public transport. Read through below to find out car rental providers that you can tap for your driving needs in the country and the necessary documents you will need to rent a car.

Car Rental Companies

There are several car rental companies in Paraguay. If you want to choose a more accessible car rental provider near your area, you can choose Localiza. It has ten physical store locations across the country, and one of them is at the country’s capital Asunción. Localiza is also considered by most travelers one of the cheapest car rental agencies in the country.

The most popular car rental agency amongst tourists in Paraguay is Sixt. They categorized its popularity in terms of its customer service and high-quality rental cars. Sixt is the second car rental agency with the most number of locations in the country, mostly in Asunción. They offer a broad selection of rental cars, from the economy, luxury, sports cars, and SUVs, to name a few. Below are other car rental providers in Paraguay that you might consider.

  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Europcar
  • Hertz
  • Enterprise

Documents Required

The important documents you need to present to rent a car is your valid local driver’s license and our government-issued document such as your passport for proper identification. It is important to get your international driver’s permit since car rental companies will possibly ask for it, especially if your license is not in the language used in Paraguay. It can always come in handy to complement your local driver’s license.

Vehicle Types

It depends on your preference and travel needs when you plan to drive in Paraguay. Economical cars are the most rented car type because of their efficiency and boost pretty good fuel economies. However, if you plan to drive through destinations far from the city, it is advised to rent an SUV or 4x4 cars. Most roads leading to the provinces and districts are unpaved, making it hard for small cars to pass through.

Car Rental Cost

Introductory rental rates vary from one company to another. However, most car rental packages include unlimited mileage, local taxes, third-party liability insurance, and add-ons if you wish to. Localiza offers a $19/day package. Rental companies usually charge extra for add-ons like child seats, GPS, pick-up and drop-off services, and underage driver fee. Before driving in Paraguay, quotes of basic rates are needed from different car rental companies to compare them.

Be mindful as well of extra charges not declared. There could be a possibility that by the time you visit the store to pick up your car to start driving in Paraguay, the agency quotes a different rate from what was agreed prior. Most car rental companies will ask you to pay for another 24 hours if you fail to return the vehicle on the agreed date. After driving in Paraguay, if today is the scheduled date to return your rented car, make sure to meet the deadline.

Age Requirements

For locals, one must be at least 18 years old to rent a car. Most car rental companies require a tourist to be at least 25 years old; however, there are exemptions to those aged 21 years old. The only difference is that for those under 25 years old, there is an added underage on top of your chosen basic rental rate.

Car Insurance Cost

Most car rental companies require the renter to have insurance to rent and drive a car in Paraguay. Your agreement upon renting a vehicle includes the third party liability insurance charge. The rental agency will pay for any claims from other parties in case of an accident.

Car rental insurance costs $50/day typically. Companies may differ with the extent of the coverage. See to it to check the terms and conditions of the agency before choosing one. You can opt to add another coverage for your trip, but it will cost you more since on top of the basic rate.

Car Insurance Policy

In Paraguay, car rental companies will require you to have insurance to rent a car. You usually find different kinds of insurance once you book your car rental. Some of them are the following:

  • Loss-damage waiver. This is also known as a collision damage waiver covering you for liability if a car is damaged. This type of insurance waives your financial responsibility for any loss or damage incurred to the rental vehicle. You can check with car rental companies, as the price varies and depends on the state you are in and the car you are renting.
  • Liability Coverage. This covers damage to any property and medical expenses for passengers in another vehicle if involved in any collision. If you have your insurance, check how much liability coverage it provides specifically for rentals.
  • Personal Accident Insurance. This insurance will be responsible for medical costs for the driver and the passengers in case of an accident. If you think your existing health insurance is not enough for medical expenses in the event of an accident, then you can consider this insurance.
  • Personal Effects. It’s an insurance policy that provides a policy in the event of theft inside the car. Your car insurance will not cover any loss of your valuables inside the vehicle you rented.

These types of insurance will indeed be discussed with you upon pick up of your rented car. It is also proper to ask for each coverage extent since car rentals differ from what’s allowed and not in their policies. Remember that additional insurance for your drive in Paraguay means an additional fee for every policy you choose.

Ciudad Del Este Photo by Raphael Lovaski

Road Rules in Paraguay

Now that you have your car rental booked and your itinerary at hand, it’s time to familiarize the country with its rules and regulations on the road. Driving in Paraguay is quite a challenge for tourists who are not familiar with driving on unpaved roads. Below are some road rules you need to follow when driving in Paraguay, either in the city or on the rural roads.

Important Regulations While Driving in Paraguay

There are no exemptions given to tourists when driving in Paraguay. Locals and tourists alike must follow the road rules. A driver in Paraguay must be at least 18 years old to drive legally in the country. At all times, you must bring with you the necessary documents such as your driver’s license, IDP, passport, and visa. Read through the next chapters for other essential rules that you need to remember.

If you need to respond to an important call, you need to use your phone through the hands-free system. Navigating through your mobile phone while driving is not allowed as it will divide your focus from driving. In case of urgent concerns that you need to use your phone, you can park somewhere safe and do so.

Drunk Driving

Paraguay’s blood alcohol limit is 80 mg per 100ml of blood. This means that you must not go over the imposed guideline, or else you will pay a fine. Remember that authorities in the country conduct random breath tests and also in checkpoints. And even if Paraguay allows one to drink alcohol, it is still not recommended driving with the smallest influence in your body since it will not only cause you fines but also lead to accidents.

Turning Signals at an Intersection

It is a sign of respect to other drivers to give signals when you are changing directions or coming out from intersections. Always remember to signal other drivers, may it be on roads in the countryside or in the city. This way you can avoid accidents while exploring Paraguay. Also, there are traffic lights to help guide you to junctions and intersections, but it pays to be doubly ready when driving on foreign roads.

Parking

Some vacant spaces in Paraguay are parking areas. You can choose where to park as business establishments mount parking areas with parking meters and tickets. Parking on the side of the road is considerable but make sure not to block the driveway, roads, and entrance of emergency establishments such as hospitals.

Ensure you and your vehicle are in good condition before driving.

It is important to inspect the car you are renting before heading out from the car rental company. This ensures that the vehicle is in good condition, from the engine to the windows, car doors, wipers and tires. You must not forget a few pieces of equipment: a first aid kit, visibility vests, beam deflectors, and warning triangles. These are essential in case you might get involved in an accident. Also, to guide you with driving in Paraguay, a map can come in handy.

If you happen to spot some scratches or bumps on the car, inform the car rental agent right away. When it comes to car transmission types, you have the freedom to choose from automatic or manual. If you are looking at better fuel efficiency, the manual transmission usually gets more kilometers out of the fuel you pump. However, it still depends on how comfortable you are in driving with certain transmission types, considering you are in a foreign country.

General Standards of Driving in Paraguay

Apart from specific rules implemented while driving in Paraguay, there are some general guidelines you have to consider. These guidelines are not only applicable in Paraguay, but you can use them while traveling to another country. Here are some driving reminders to take note of when you are in Paraguay.

Speed Limits

Paraguay implements varied speed limits on specific locations. Drivers must maintain a maximum speed limit of 80 KPH in cities and other urban areas; meanwhile, 50 KPH are the allowed maximum speed in rural areas and 110 KPH on highways. There may not be many fixed speed cameras mounted in Paraguay areas, but police always carry mobile speed cameras and use them where the speed limit is unclear or where the limit changes.

Driving Directions

Roads in Asunción and key cities are mostly paved and in good condition; however, they can be prone to flooding after a heavy downpour. When driving in Paraguay, the city has paved roads; however, as you drive to rural areas, roads can get rough and bumpy. National roads in rural areas like the Trans Chaco highway are likely to have some potholes, so you need to be careful. Avoid using your mobile phones, and be extra cautious while you are on the road.

Most countries and Paraguay included a drive on the right side of the road. It is a basic rule that a driver must not forget. Drivers have to abide by the rules but don’t be intimidated by some who do not follow them. Just ensure that you and your car have all the equipment to address unfortunate circumstances. Roads paved when driving in Paraguay now; however, potholed on the next few days. Some roads on the outskirts of the country tend to deteriorate due to heavy rains.

Seatbelt Laws

Though not religiously followed by some local drivers, anyone who rides a vehicle should use a seat belt for the entire trip. Children should sit at the rear side of the car. Paraguay does not have a specific law on child seats; it is advisable to use one for toddlers for safety. You can ask your rental provider for a car seat as an add-on to your rental package.

Road Signs

When driving in Paraguay, aside from map and road familiarization, it is essential to keep track and pay attention to traffic signs. Some signs might be familiar to you already as these are also used in many countries. Nevertheless, it will not hurt you to refresh your memory on these signs and be familiar with some of those that are new to you. There may not be any visible traffic signs as you drive in Paraguay, but the following road can come in handy as a reference.

Warning road signs let you know of road changes ahead of your drive. Some of them are temporary road hazards or obstacles.

  • “Pare” - Stop Sign Ahead
  • Two-way traffic ahead
  • Junction with a side road ahead
  • Road narrows ahead
  • Narrow bridge ahead
  • Dangerous crosswinds
  • Uneven surface
  • Bump ahead
  • Slippery road surface
  • Roundabout ahead
  • Two-way traffic ahead
  • Level crossing (multiple tracks)
  • Crossroads ahead
  • Road narrows ahead
  • Steep grade upwards
  • Loose road surface

Mandatory road signs tell the driver what to do on a specific area or specific roads. These are signs used to set the obligations of the cars plying on particular routes.

  • Straight ahead
  • Turn right ahead
  • Keep right
  • Pass on either side
  • Shared use path
  • Transit only
  • Bicycles only
  • Roundabout
  • Proceed straight
  • Proceed straight or right
  • Pass on either side
  • Overtaking permitted
  • Shared use path
  • Transit only
  • Bicycles only

Priority road signs indicate the order in which vehicles must pass intersections first. These signs establish who has the right to go early to avoid conflicts on the road.

  • Yield/Give Way
  • No entry
  • Road closed
  • Yield to oncoming traffic
  • Maximum speed limit
  • Maximum height
  • Maximum weight
  • No pedestrians

Right of Way

You can use traffic signs and traffic lights as your guide to determine the right of way when driving in Paraguay. However, it could be different in some rural areas where few lights and signs are available. Whoever arrives at the intersection first gets to go first. Remember to yield to cars that are already at the corner.

And when in doubt, you must yield to the car on your right. In case of one or two-lane intersections on a larger road or highway, drivers on the smaller road must yield to those cars on the larger road. Larger roads usually have greater speed limits, so you must be aware of this fact as well.

Like most countries, you need to be at least 18 years old to drive in Paraguay. Some rental companies require you to be at least 21 years old to rent a car. Regardless, you still need to have the necessary documents like your driver’s license and your IDP.

Law About Overtaking

Overtaking, in most cases in Paraguay, is risky. This is why you must be extra careful when overtaking cars ahead of you. You must overtake on the left side of the road. In Paraguay, most public transportation and local drivers tend to overtake recklessly. Before you overtake, you need to signal the driver behind you and ensure that no other vehicle is overtaking except you. Avoid overtaking on narrow roads to prevent any collision or accidents.

Driving Side

In Paraguay, driving on the right side of the road must be followed at all costs. This may not be a problem for most tourists since about 163 countries worldwide implement the same rule. However, it will take time to adjust to this rule if you come from a country that drives on the road’s left side. Still, you will get used to it as you drive along the road in Paraguay.

Driving Etiquette in Paraguay

Unfortunate circumstances can happen on the road anytime. From minor to major car problems and accidents, they can happen. Without really knowing the etiquette of one’s country can get you into trouble. Awareness of what to do in specific situations is vital when you are in a foreign country.

Car Breakdown

If your car accidentally breaks down while driving in Paraguay, you need to steer clear of your vehicle as far as you can from the travel lane. If this is not possible, gather your early warning devices. Place the warning triangle at the back of your vehicle and use your beam deflectors when this happens during the night for additional visibility. This will warn other cars of a broken down car ahead.

911 is the hotline number for police and other emergency services. Notify your car rental provider of the mechanical problem you experienced; most emergency contact numbers of car rentals are available on or near the widescreen. You can use the following phrases if you wish to speak to locals or you might want to ask for help.

  • “¿hablas español” - Do you speak Spanish?
  • “¿Hablas guaraní?” - Do you speak Guaraní?
  • no hablo español” - I don’t speak Spanish.
  • “Llame a la policía” - Call the police
  • “¿Puedo pedir ayuda” - Can I ask for help?
  • “Dónde está la estación de policía” - Where is the police station?

Police Stops

You may notice while driving, traffic suddenly tries to stop you. It could be that you violated some traffic law; in this situation, never speed away. Instead, you have to slow down and pull over to a safe part of the road, not blocking the other vehicles from passing through. You need to ask the police the reason for stopping you and if you have violated any rules, verify the severity of the violation.

Authorities usually ask for your driver’s license, passport, visa, and even your IDP for proper identification. That is why it is essential to have them readily available at all times. Never settle your penalties on the spot; make sure to get the police ticket with the details of the offense and the fine payable. The on-the-spot fine in Paraguay is illegal. You need to settle your fine at the police station or in a bank within 14 days after being issued.

Asking Directions

Only a few locals understand and can speak the English language in Paraguay. Either you can learn a thing or two on some Guarani and Spanish phrases or rely on your map, it’s up to you. However, Paraguayans are warm and hospitable, so getting to know them will not be as hard as you imagined. Most locals usually rely on visible reference points such as gas stations, signposts, and water towers instead of street names or cardinal points.

You can always ask for a second opinion if you think the directions given were not clear. Authorities like the police and taxi drivers can be good sources of directions as well. Here are some Spanish phrases you might need when asking for directions.

  • “¿Dónde está el parque?” - Where is the park?
  • “¿Puedo pedir direcciones?” - Can I ask for directions?
  • “¿cómo estás?” - How are you?
  • “¿Dónde comer?” - Where to eat?
  • “¿dónde está la gasolinera?” - Where is the gas station?

If you are in an area where most locals speak Guarani, you can also use the following phrases:

  • “Ere jeý péa” - Please say that again.
  • “Reñe'êkuaápa guaraníme?” - Do you speak Guarani?
  • “Añe’êkuaamichimi mante guaraníme” - Yes, a little.
  • “Ndaikuaái la ereséva” - I don’t understand.
  • “Ehaí chéve péa” - Please write it down.
  • “Hêe” - Yes.
  • “Nahániri” - No.

Checkpoints

Those who drive around the country should know that there are military and police checkpoints in operation. However, this will not concern you if you are following Paraguay’s rules and regulations. During checkpoints, authorities might ask for your documents to verify that you are visiting the country legally. Documents like your passport, visa, valid driver’s license, and your IDP, which is a translation of your native license, will be asked from you.

Other Tips

You also have to be ready in case you encounter unfortunate circumstances while on the road. Below are some tips and contact numbers you need to take note of when involved in accidents.

What to do in case of Accidents?

There are unfortunate circumstances when on the road that can be settled by both parties involved. However, if there are damages to the involved vehicles, don’t leave the scene and call the police (911). Most rental companies would ask for a police report as a requirement for damage claims. You can only leave the scene if you need to go to the hospital for additional treatment in case of injuries.

Driving Conditions in Paraguay

It is no secret that driving in Paraguay can be a challenge for foreigners. Some locals fail to follow traffic rules, unpaved roads in most rural areas, and traffic congestion in key cities. That is why it pays to be familiar and be accustomed to these circumstances when driving in Paraguay now rather than do it last minute.

Accident Statistics

Road accidents ranked 6th as the leading causes of death in Paraguay. In 2018, World Health Organization’s data showed Paraguay has 1 777 deaths from road traffic accidents. Paraguay’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare showed 53.6% of road injuries were from motorcycle accidents, followed by car accidents with 24.2%. Driving in Paraguay today and moving forward, foreigners must consider this information and follow all road rules.

Common Vehicles

Close to half of the vehicle count in Paraguay are motorcycles. In 2019, the Paraguayan motorcycles industry ranked 26th in the world with 171 580 market sales. You can expect many motorcycles going around the cities and provinces of Paraguay. And while you are navigating through Paraguayan roads, be on the look-out for rushing motorcycles on each side.

In 2018, 35.9% of all the households in Paraguay owned a car. Common vehicles you will see on Paraguayan roads are those compact, subcompact cars and pickup trucks. Pickup vehicles can be an advantage in areas where roads are unpaved and not in good condition.

Toll Roads

Paraguay has 14 tollgates on its national road. Twelve of them are managed by the country’s public works and communications ministry, while a private sector regulates the other two. Toll roads are usually indicated on traffic not far from tollgates. The amount of toll fee depends on the vehicle type, weight, and the number of axles. These can be found in several areas in Paraguay as you travel through the country’s destinations.

  • Trinidad tollgate is near the Encarnacion city on the National Road Route No. 6 going to Ciudad del Este and vice versa.
  • The Iruña tollgate sits at the Alto Paraná and Itapúa departmental boundary.
  • Ypacarai tollgate lies between the cities of Asunción and Caacupé. If you are driving in Paraguay from the airport, follow Luque in the direction of Areguá, then continue to Ypacarai.
  • Coronel Oviedo is located a few meters away from the entrance to the town of Nueva Londres. The town is approximately 137 kilometers far from Asunción.

Toll gates found in Coronel Bogado, Tacuara, will most likely experience heavy traffic from December to January, together with the one in Ypacarai. Those tollgates located in Villa Florida, Ciudad del Este, Encarnacion, and Coronel Oviedo have heavy traffic during April and May. Remanso and Ybyraró tollgates can be flocked by vehicles all year round as they are in the Asunción metropolitan area.

Road Situations

Roads in Paraguay cities can be jammed with cars during rush hour, like any other country. So you have to plan your trip well. Paraguay has approximately 15,000 kilometers of paved roads found on core networks that connect Asunción, Encarnacion, and Ciudad del Este. The Trans-Chaco highway is partially finished, where the paved part ending at Mariscal Estigarribia.

Most roads in Asunción and other large cities in Paraguay are paved and covered with asphalt. However, driving gets challenging heading to the country’s rural areas with potholes and cobblestones. Take note of impassable roads during November to April as rains are frequent in these months that can cause flooding to some areas.

Driving Culture

Apart from fair conditions of rural roads, foreigners driving in Paraguay must be mindful of the locals driving. Paraguayan drivers tend to ignore traffic rules, especially if they are in a hurry. So when you are in Paraguay, it is best to drive defensively. Some of them do not use vehicle lights during the night, making it hard for them to be visible to other motorists.

Other Tips

When in foreign roads, you need to remember that you are not familiar with all the highways and roads in the country. Read below to know more about driving conditions in Paraguay at night.

Is it safe to Drive at Night?

As much as possible, avoid driving in Paraguay during the night. Several motorcycles ply the roads with no crash helmets, and some vehicles have no lights. Traveling at night on highways in the countryside is tricky as some streets are unpaved, making it hard to drive, especially for foreigners.

Things To Do in Paraguay

Paraguay is a country yet to be explored by most tourists. With its diverse destinations and storied culture, one will be enticed to discover and immerse with the locals in this South American country. You may be interested, while driving in Paraguay, for jobs in different industries of the country. Read through the next chapters and find out opportunities you might try to reside and work in Paraguay.

Drive as a Tourist

Having your transportation is one of the things recommended for tourists exploring in Paraguay. This is because some destinations are not accessible by public transport, and self-driving will also give you the freedom to manage your time. Tourists are allowed to drive in the country. Just make sure that when driving in Paraguay, your visa, driver’s license, passport, and international driver’s permit are available to avoid any troubles on the road.

Work as a Driver

Paraguay’s agriculture industry constitutes 20% of the country’s yearly gross domestic product, which is responsible for the employment of 45% of its labor force. The country is one of the world's top producers of agricultural products like soybeans, stevia, tung-oil, corn, beef, wheat, and many other crops. With the constant export of agri-products to other countries like Brazil, one can apply for jobs like trucks to transport goods.

A truck driver earns about 1 230 000 PYG to 4 140 000 PYG a month. But first, you need to exchange your native driver’s license for the one issued in Paraguay by submitting a copy of your local license, blood test, eye vision test, and in some cases, proof of residency. For sure, when you are driving in Paraguay, you have a visa already. With this, you can apply for a working permit in the country and provide the following requirements.

  • Passport
  • Clean police record
  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate showing marriage or divorce
  • Medical certificate issued in Paraguay
  • Certificate of their life and residence permit from Paraguay
  • Affidavit issued in Paraguay
  • Document from the National Police of Paraguay

Work as a Travel Guide

If you want to find work opportunities after driving in Paraguay, jobs in the tourism industry can be one of your choices. Paraguay boasts various tourism activities, from an interesting history to unique folk art. Locals and foreigners love to go on a vacation to the countryside ranches and engage in boating, horseback riding, swimming, and hiking. They are thus opening job vacancies to those looking for one.

While being knowledgeable in the English language is a plus for someone who wants to work as a travel guide in Paraguay, one must also study Spanish and Guarani. This way, you can efficiently communicate with every traveler in the country. Keep in mind that you still need to have a working permit to work in Paraguay’s tourism industry.

Apply for Residency

If you plan to reside and work in Paraguay, you can apply for a permanent residence permit. The process of securing this permit takes about 70-90 days from submission of application. The applicant must personally hand in the documents required and process the Paraguayan ID card. After the application has been granted, your ID card will be valid for ten years. The requirements for a permanent residence permit application is the same as applying for a working permit.

There is a separate requirement and process if you wish to be a citizen of Paraguay. You have to live in Paraguay for three years, spend 183+ days per year, pay local tax, social security, learn Spanish and practice your profession. You also have to undergo an exam as one of the requirements.

Top Destinations in Paraguay

Diverse is one word to describe this South American country. If you want to spend time with nature, visit its exotic natural parks. How about an adventure in its jaw-dropping waterfalls or a culture trip in Jesuit ruins and colonial cities? And before leaving Paraguay, try some tea. It is the country’s national drink.

Asunción

Asunción is the capital of Paraguay and is known as the Mother of cities. Established in 1537 during the Spanish regime, the capital is considered the oldest city in South America. Driving in Paraguay right now, Asunción has become a modern city that houses several 17th century-old buildings. And if you are into football (soccer), the city is home to some traditional teams in Paraguay like Olimpia, Club Libertad, and Club Guaraní, to name a few.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, head south on Rampa de Acceso al Aeropuerto Internacional Silvio Pettirossi toward Autopista Silvio Pettirossi.
  2. Take Autopista Silvio Pettirossi to Av Santísima Trinidad in Asunción.
  3. Continúe con la Av Santísima Trinidad. Drive to Martín Goicoche Menendez.
  4. Turn right at Tuichaite Bebidas 9 onto Av Santísima Trinidad.
  5. Make a left onto San Pedro.
  6. Turn left at DUNKEL S.R.L. onto Teniente Primero Nemesio Quiñonez.
  7. Lastly, right turn onto Martín Goicoche Menendez.

Things To Do

There is so much to explore in Asunción. Before making your way to some adventure in the rural areas, get to know more about Paraguay through its capital. You can check out the things you can do in the city below.

  1. Tour the Museo del Barro

    The exhibits in this museum on Asunción’s outskirts trace more than 400 years of indigenous culture and colonial invasion. You can join a Spanish-speaking workshop or a guided tour and experience Paraguay in one place. It is full of historic art, including wood carvings, ceramics, religious sculptures, and masks.
  2. Witness the sunset at La Costanera

    If you want to experience city life and be with nature, stroll down La Costanera and enjoy the city skyline, sandy beaches, and many waterfowl that call the bay home. Craving for some thrill? You can rent a bike or rollerblades from vendors on the roadside. Enjoy some tereré (cold-brewed Yerba maté) and bask in the beauty of the sunset in the afternoon.
  3. Shop at Mercado Cuatro

    Take your pick of the busiest and liveliest trading lot in the capital. Taste local food from street food stalls and if you think you need more, check out some stands selling indigenous crafts and some fresh local produce. You can even score some great scarves you can use as you visit different attractions in Paraguay.
  4. Experience authentic Paraguay in Loma San Jeronimo

    On weekends, locals are out on the streets to entertain tourists with cultural songs and dances. This barrio is one of the oldest cities, with traditional houses decorated in many colors that surround the sidewalks and hilly landscape. Try some authentic local barbecue and fish dishes in the restaurants around the barrio.
  5. Visit the Casa de la Independencia

    Behind the cottage walls, the independence from the Spanish regime was planned silently. This is where Paraguayans stood their ground and declared the country’s independence in 1811. This is now considered a national monument that houses essential documents signed by Paraguayan patriots. Don’t miss the historical alley where a group of Paraguayans walked through to begin the independence in Paraguay.

Encarnacion

Driving in Paraguay from the airport of Asunción to Encarnacion might take long hours, but who would not want to explore the prettiest city in Paraguay? Encarnacion houses the well-preserved ancient wonders like the Jesuit ruins. Score some great bargains in the shopping centers as the city is one of the world’s cheapest shopping destinations. Immerse into Paraguay’s colorful traditions in the country’s Carnival.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Guaraní International Airport, continue to Dr. José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia/Route 2.
  2. Follow Route 6 to San Juan del Paraná.
  3. Turn right onto Dr. José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia/Route 2.
  4. Make a left at Agencia NSA Nuestra señora de la Asunción Y EXPRESO GUARANI MINGA GUAZÚ KM 30 onto Dr. Juan León Mallorquín/Route 6.
  5. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Avenida Bernardino Caballero/Route 6.
  6. Turn right at Hotel EUROPA onto Padre Bolik.
  7. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Route 1.
  8. Drive to your destination.

Things To Do

Some destinations in Encarnacion are far from each other. You can explore the city in an hour. Refer to the list below for things you should not miss in Encarnacion.

  1. Explore the Jesuit Ruins

    The scope of the Jesuits’ mission to gather the indigenous Guaraní to their religion is reflected in these two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Encarnacion. La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná and Ruinas Jesuíticas de Jesús de Tavarangué, built by the missionaries in the 17th century, served as a self-sufficient community for Christians to practice their faith in isolation. You can also witness a nighttime light show in Trinidad.
  2. Go sunbathing in Playa San Jose

    Who would expect a body of water from a landlocked country? Playa San Jose will prove that though bordered by other countries in South America, tourists can still enjoy Paraguay’s water activities. Get a nice tan with the charming golden beach sand overlooking the Paraná River. Wait for the sun to set. It will be awesome.
  3. Enjoy the festivities in the Carnival

    If you visit Paraguay between January and February, you will most likely get to see colorful and festive presentations on the streets of Encarnacion. Flocked by thousands of people yearly, the carnival features a parade with moving carriages, dancers, and musicians for an hour. The Carnival has united the city for more than a century now, bringing the best presentations on five weekends.
  4. Spend some family time at the Parque Acuatico Y Ecologico El Dorado

    Need for something to beat the heat and get adventurous at the same time? You can do both in this child-friendly park in Encarnacion. Parque Acuatico Y Ecologico El Dorado has various water attractions, with giant slides and natural water pools for children and adults. Swimming pools here have fountains and water jets ready to serve some comfort from the scorching heat during the summer in Paraguay.
  5. Relax at Plaza de Armas

    The plaza is as old as Encarnacion who became the heart of the Jesuit mission founded by priest Roque González de Santa Cruz. Over the decades, the plaza has evolved, and by driving in Paraguay right now, you will see the abundance of flowers and trees, monuments, trails, ponds, and all kinds of native vegetation. It is a space for rest and recreation for tourists and locals alike from the whole day of exploring the city.

Parque Nacional Ybycui

A combination of nature and history is what this national park in Ybycui offers to those exploring the natural reserve. While you are enjoying the park’s biodiversity, you also know more about Paraguay why some areas inside the reserve were declared a national monument. Though not as grand as those in South America, there are many waterfalls here that you can enjoy.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, Continue to Route 1.
  2. Take Ruta Pirayu - Paraguari and Ruta Ypacaraí - Pirayú to Mariscal José Félix Estigarribia/Route 2 in Ypacaraí.
  3. Turn left at Petrobras Ypacarai onto Mariscal José Félix Estigarribia/Route 2.
  4. Pass by MAKARIO coiffure unisex (on the right).
  5. Take Ruta Areguá Ypacaraí, Ruta Aregua Patiño, Av. Las Residentas and Autopista Silvio Pettirossi to Rampa de Acceso al Aeropuerto Internacional Silvio Pettirossi in Luke.

Things To Do

Visiting the national park in Ybycui involves making the most out of what nature has to offer. Here is the list of all things you can do inside the natural reserve.

  1. Swim at the pool near the waterfalls

    It is unusual for a natural reserve to swim near the area because of the animals’ presence and the risk of going into the wild. However, swimming near the waterfalls is one of the most rewarding feelings after exploring the national park. There are more than ten waterfalls around the 5,000-hectare park.
  2. Hike and trek inside the natural reserve

    Most of the trails inside the reserve are well-groomed, making it friendly for tourists not so into hiking but who want to experience nature inside the place. There can be hilly parts as well along the trail, testing your cardio and stamina. Appreciate the different ecosystems and natural vegetation in the duration of your hike.
  3. Pitch up a tent at camping sites

    Since you are already inside the national park, why not stay overnight and feel the cold breeze during the night and listen to more than 300 species of birds chirping. Campgrounds are very spacious and grassy. The place has bathrooms, and if you want to have a barbecue at night, they have grill pits and picnic tables.
  4. Get a glimpse of colorful butterflies

    Whether you are swimming in pools near the waterfalls or hiking the trails inside the natural reserve, you will always be greeted with different kinds and colors of butterflies. Be delighted with some rare species of butterflies only found in tropical areas of South America, such as the Blue Morpho butterflies. Flora and fauna inside Ybycui National Park are for your eyes only and avoid touching them.
  5. Visit the La Rosada Museum

    This old iron foundry was built in 1854, where military tools were made, apart from the navy ship components of the Paraguayan navy that the Paraguayan government needed to open up to international trading. However, La Rosada was bombed during the Triple Alliance’s War, leaving the iron factory’s partial objects behind. Now the museum holds the tools used at the time and guns manufactured there.

The Chaco

The Chaco has about 647,500 square kilometers divided among the countries of Bolivia on the east, Paraguay on the west, Argentina on the north side, and a portion of the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. The indigenous people Guaycuru were the early inhabitants of The Chaco who resisted Spanish control from the 16th to early 20th centuries. Visitors visiting here will be in awe by the hundreds and thousands of flora and fauna.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Dr. Luis María Argaña International Airport in Boquerón Department head north.
  2. Turn right.
  3. At Cajero Itau, continue onto PY-09.
  4. Slight right onto RutaTranschaco.
  5. Pass by USF Santa Teresita (on the right).

Things To Do

With its vast land area, tourists can do various activities here. From exploring the wildlife to getting a glimpse of the Chaco War history, get to know the Gran Chaco by participating in some activities below.

  1. Visit the Fortín Boquerón

    This site witnesses the Chaco War’s decisive battles, where Paraguay prevailed over Bolivia from 1932 to 1935. It is one of the most important sites in history, and now it houses large museums, various monuments constructed from the original defenses and trenches, and soldiers’ cemetery. For Paraguayans, this is an important landmark as it treasures the most important values of bravery, courage, and dedication.
  2. Watch the wildlife at Defensores del Chaco National Park

    The park is the largest national park in Paraguay, where vegetation includes Palo, Santo, low forests, thorn bushes, and different cactus species. The national park is home to amazing fauna like the jaguar, puma, jaguarundi, tirika (Geoffroy’s cat), monkey, Chacoan peccary, and South American tapir. While you are inside the park, take a peek at Cerro León, which has a large rocky mass made up of dozens of hills.
  3. Spot some birds at Río Negro National Park

    Twenty species of migratory birds use this site as a stopover place; most of them are Nearctic migrants. These kinds of migrants typically breed in temperate North America and migrate southward. The park is designed to protect the ecosystems of the Pantanal and Humid Chaco. Aside from birds, spot some wild parrots, deer, jaguars, giant otters, and yacares.
  4. Get to know the people in the Mennonite Colonies

    Paraguay received refugees from many religious and political differences during the 1920s and 30s but had to stay in the most inhospitable territory, including the Chaco. Hence the settlement of the Mennonites who fled their obligation to do military service in their countries. The people here speak Plattdeutsch (similar to German) and English. They are expert breeders of beef cattle and serve as their primary source of income.
  5. Experience the thrilling form of the Transchaco Rally

    Since you already drove for hours to get to the Chaco region, you might as well join the fun at the Transchaco Rally. This motorsport’s competition is a three-day event and said to be the toughest in the world. The Transchaco rally usually happens every September of every year. If you are into cars and motorsports then, you sure would not want to miss this.

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