If you are driving yourself around in Paraguay, here are a couple things to keep in mind both in Asuncion and in the country side. I saw some conflicting tips, but they were all outdated, so please look at the posting dates.
- rental cars can be relatively expensive in Paraguay. It is best to shop around, but most of the internationally recognized rental companies (Hertz, National, etc.) can charge $80US/day for small compact cars. Other agencies like Localiza may be a few dollars cheaper. If you do not have a car already, ask any local friends or business connections you have for cheaper options since they may not be advertised.
- unlike neighboring Argentina or Brazil, Paraguay does not really enforce speeding or most driving infractions. Again unlike its neighbors, Paraguay actually only has one speed radar camera in the country (just east of San Bernadino). But it has been explained to me even it is controversial because it is privately operated and enforced. Additionally the police force does not have the funds to equip the police force with radar, even more to the point, sometimes the policemen themselves have to buy the gasoline.
- Paraguay does have frequent road check points. Depending on whether it is the Federals or the local Police, the purpose can be different. Police will often flag drivers to stop if they are driving on main routes without daytime headlights (they are obligatory). They will also inspect the vehicle`s documents. The Federal Police also gave me a bit of a hassle over what we both thought to be the proper stamps in my passport and why I did not have my disembarkation card with me. (see first photo)
- Roads are of various conditions. Aside from the main highways, speed bumps and pot holes are common. All traffic (particularly motorcycles) do not have headlights, so visibility at night can be restricted.
- Some main highways have toll stops. They typically only charge going in one direction. Be prepared with cash for tolls (5000 Guaranies each). For example from Asuncion to Trinidad, I believe there were three toll stops.
- Many of the locals joke that when it rains the roads turn into rivers. There is some truth to this. Even though it only rained a couple days during my visit, seeing water coming out of the sewers and manhole covers was a common site. Many of the roads in lower sections had deep water. (see second photo)
There are lots of people walking across the bridge from Foz do Iguacu but mostly locals . It would probably be fine in a group . There are border stops at each side and border police but I didn't see anyone being checked.
We arranged before we left Argentina to have a van take us over , wait and take us back . We were the only English speaking ones , the others were from Argentina. I was concerned when we didn't stop at the brazil side to have our exit stamps ...but we had no problems . We just drove right through both sides.
WE booked this through
http://www.ripioturismo.com.ar/eigr.htm .Cost $53.00 each
They arranged our pickup at the airport and the touring on both sides of the falls.
we traveled by Train..from Sao Paolo-Brazil
on our way to Bolivia. we stopped in Campo Grande to change to the Paraguayen Railsystem
one of the oldest Railwaysystem in South America. it was fun, with good compartments, food was served. at the Bordertown of Pedro Juan Cabbalero, the Station looked quite a long way from civilisation.
the old Sapucai is now retired but used servicing the Touristroute from Asuncion to Ypacacray.
we got off the Train and travelled on by Taxi...very cheap those day's and we where 4 people! the local transportation system was a bit too slow for us
The trip from Buenos Aires to Asuncion was about 16 hours and relatively painless, except for having to unload all our luggage and have it checked when going back into Argentina (they apparently dont care on the way into Paraguay). I went by Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion bus company, but there are others...try www.plataforma10.com to find prices and schedules.
Getting over the bridge to Cuidade del Este from Foz do Iguacu, Brazil can be done in a variety of ways. There are loads of city buses (operated by a Paraguay bus line) that cross the border regularly....and taxis will take you from whereever you want to go, of course. Paraguay taxis are in rough shape in comparision to their counterparts in Brazil. Walking across the bridge is almost a better option as there can be lengthy lines crossing the border -- even though security and the checking of documentation is rare.
Silvio Pettirossi Airport (ASU) is located about 15km from Zona Centro (Downtown) area. Depending on traffic that represents between 20 to 45 min by car or taxi. Due to security reasons, non-stop flights from Europe or the US are not available. European or American carriers such as American Airlines or Iberia fly to Asuncion from Sao Paulo or Buenos Aires respectively. Other carriers offering service to Asuncion are TAM Mercosur ( from Miami via Sao Paulo), Pluna (from Montevideo), Varig (from Sao Paulo), Aerolineas Argentinas (from Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires). Lloyd Aereo Boliviano has a flight from Miami to Santa Cruz with conections to Asuncion.
Asuncion Airport despite an atractive look, is in need of significant maintenance and refurbishing. Several basic duty free areas are available once you pass police passport checks. Hertz and other international as well as local car rental agencies are available. On the other side, it may be the only airport in the wrl where live harp music is available to all travelers waiting boaring
The easiest way to get around the city is by taxi. You can hail the on the streets or just go to one of over 80 taxi stands which are about 10 blocks apart and near the major hotels or Zona Centro's main sites. Taxis are inexpensive (a typical Zona Centro ride ranges $2-4) and can range from a modern japanese or european sedan to a beat up VW Beetle. Language may be a problem. Most drives know spanish or gurani but not many of them may know english. Perhaps some of them may know a little german since there is a significant colony of german origin in Paraguay. On any case the majority of drivers are helpful and courteous. On any case, make sure they turn the meter on or you risk being charged a high fare if you are unlucky to get an inescrupulous driver. It can also be difficult to find a taxi at night, so it's perfectly acceptable to ask your hotel or restaurant to call one.
Coaches from neighboring countries are said to be nice and confortable but remember roads often cannot compare to Europe and North America and distances could be overwhelming, despite the best service.
I had the advantage of staying there with a local family and we could go around in a car. Rentals are very expensive and drivers,well...careless/recklesss. You can find plenty of buses in Asuncion but they look (and probably are) 40+ years old. Colorful, cheap and efficient. The buses out of Asuncion are the main way of transportation and range from the very confortable to the very same level described above.
There's a train line to the south, to the town of Encarnacion but I don't know if it's still works. I believe they also have day trips to Lake Ypacarai. They use old steam locomotives from the mid 19th century and the speed tops at 20mph. Nope, no TGV here... Just for big train buffs!!
For the longest distances use air travel if you can afford it.
Asuncion has a central bus station where all long distance departures begin and end. It is approximately a 20 000 Gs cab ride from the city center. Most (if not all) locations in Paraguay are reached from here (Ciudad del este/foz de igaucu 6 hours). There are also services to Florianapolis (Brazil 20 hours) Buenos Aires daily. I am sure there are also frequent buses to other major South American cities, but I do not know what there schedule is...and since it is South America, I am sure that the schedule has changed since I was there!!!
My advice is to always take the more expensive bus, I know this is the opposite of a lot of budget travellers...but the difference of a couple of dollars means shocks on the bus and cushions in your seats.
WE flew into Asuncion with Pluma airlines from Montevideo, Uruguay. Leaving Paraguay was done by bus from Asuncion to Ciudad del Este on the Brasilian border, from there by bus to Iguassu in Argentina
Within Asuncion we did it all by local bus and the odd taxi.
Waiting for the bus from the airport to the city of Asuncion. (Asuncion Intl. airport in the background)
A typical street view in asuncion with old buses. There were a lot of shabby, old buses in the city.
We found it difficult to find budget or cheap accommodation in Asuncion. There didn't seem to be any...more
11 de Setiembre y Luis Ma. Argana, Ciudad Del Este, 7000, Paraguay
Good for: Solo
Ruta 1 Kilometre 361, Barrio Quiteria , Encarnacion, 6000, Paraguay
Good for: Families
More Regions in Paraguay