In this Paraguay Travel Guide you will find an overview of practical travel information for a road trip to Paraguay, where we traveled some 60 days.
Index for our Paraguay Travel Guide
01 Border Crossing
02 Money Matters & Our Travel Budget
03 Documentation (Visa & Temporary Import Document)
04 The Land Cruiser
05 Diesel & Gas Stations, Roadmaps & Guidebooks
06 Public Transport
08 Accommodation & Camping
09 Other Expenditures
10 Food & Water
01. Border Crossings
We’ve heard stories about corruption at borders. Well, we didn’t see where those stories came/come from. We’ve entered Paraguay on several occasions, at different border crossings and the officials have only been welcoming to us. No hassles whatsoever.
When entering Paraguay coming from the Pantanal (Brazil), remember that you can’t cross at Bela Vista. There is no immigration or customs office. You have to go to Ponta Pora, which is an easy border crossing on both sides.
When you leave Asunción to drive to Argentina, there is one tollbooth in front of the bridge. At the time they charged us 5000 guaraní. Note that coming from Argentina and going to Asuncíon there is no tollbooth.
In Clorinda all paperwork for both countries is taken care off: for the Argentinian side on the southern side of the bridge, for Paraguay on the northern side of the bridge (which is a different bridge than the toll bridge mentioned above).
02. Money Matters & Our Travel Budget
In Asunción are many ATMs. Unfortunately, a fee of 25,000 guaraní for each transaction is charged.
July 2009: rate 1 euro = 6900 guaraní.
On average we spent 30 euros per day in Paraguay:
You don’t need a Carnet de Passage, at the border you will get a Temporary Import Document.
04. The Land Cruiser
Paraguay is much cheaper than Brazil. In Pedro Juan Caballero we bought two batteries (maintenance free, 90 amp, 64 euros a piece, prices 2009). In PS Caballero we found a good electrician, Keiti.
In Asunción we bought new tires at 70 euros a piece (Pirelli AS 22 tires, 7.50-16 nylon (diagonal) 12 ply, price 2007).
Read More: The Magic Number Car Tires for Overlanding
05. Diesel, Gas Stations, Roadmaps & Guidebooks
July 2009: diesel costs 4200 guarani per liter (around 61 eurocents).
We found gas stations everywhere, but we did make sure that we left Asunción with a full tank before starting out on the Chaco Highway to Filadelfia.
Read More: Why Drive the Pan-American Highway
We found Paraguay easy to travel in – not much traffic and the main roads are all asphalt. Even the infamous Chaco Highway, 700 kilometers from Asunción to the Bolivian border, had perfect asphalt. We could rollerskate on it – this was in 2009 – but later heard that the surface was so thin that the first potholes appeared within a year.
Road Maps & Guidebooks
Reise Knowhow map of Brazil includes Paraguay, and it is good.
Our standard guidebook is Lonely Planet but for Paraguay, there is no separate book. You depend on one chapter in Lonely Planet’s South America on a Shoestring. This is quite limited so I would always try to find a guidebook focused on the country itself (see below, I found one on Amazon when writing this blog post but we haven’t used it).
Although quality can differ quite a bit per country and edition, we generally find that Lonely Planets gives a good overview of the country. We use this book to get a feel for the country and once we’ve crossed the border we will search for local guidebooks and other sources of information.
Other travelers, especially overlanders, are smitten with the South American Handbook as it is more focused on road travel.
I have also enjoyed Lonely Planet’s phrasebooks and find its Healthy Travel booklets useful as well.
06. Public Transport
Nothing of note.
07. Sightseeing in Paraguay
We did our share of sightseeing. Entrance fees were low or absent.
Well-known are the Jesuit Ruins (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), museums in Asunción, and the Itaipú Dam. For 2 weeks we searched and found many incredibly beautiful Franciscan churches with intricately carved altars and sculptures. It was sheer luck that we stumbled upon the Urkupiña Festival, celebrated by Bolivians, in Asunción.
Read More: Sightseeing in Paraguay
08. Paid Accommodation
We made an overview of accommodation, campsites and free camps (with GPS waypoints).
Read More: Accommodation & Camping in Paraguay
09. Other Expenditures
All expenditures mentioned above minus what we totally spent is what we call daily expenditures. This is mostly groceries and going out for lunch/dinner.
10. Food & Drinks
We drank water from the tap.
As in Brazil it’s customary to have a large meal for lunch. And as in Brazil, people love churrasco (BBQ). Supermarkets are good places to enjoy an extensive, yet affordable, kilo-buffet. For a fixed price per kilo you can eat all you want.
In Asunción we found a German Bakery with excellent whole wheat bread (see GPS waypoint below).
Do you have information we should add to this Paraguay Travel Guide? Feel free to share it with us in the comment sections below so other travelers may benefit from it.
Thank you to those who have bought us a couple of liters of diesel to support our journey and/or website.
Would you like to do the same?