Its true in most crowded markets and the same holds true here. The streets are narrow and lots of traffic ...its a pickpocket haven . I have to say we roamed around freely though and had no problems at all.
Wasting a journey in Ciudad del Este is not for any person because it is stressing and tiring, from this reason it is not advisable to carry small children in the trip. The movement is really intense, many times it is almost impossible to walk because of bags, packages and pulled baskets that flood the streets, as well as taxis, vans, ambulant merchants and motorcycles that cover all the places. Still more, in summer there is a suffocating hot temperature.
do not assume that people will give way to you at a junction. they won't. i would reccomend not driving, but ifd you must... be extremely careful. and try not to get too offended by people driving recklessly, as it seems to be accepted out there. CHILL.
Paraguyan taxis are not the best of the world.
Once I took one in the capital and the drivers first ask me for moneu to get petrol for the ride. Thereafter he had to downshift gears 3 times to come across a 30 meter hill.
Just keep your pace. At the end you will reach your destination.
Potholes can be a real trouble. A stretch of the Trans-Chaco road has a bad surface and the heavy cattle trucks cause more and more holes.
Also in the capital Asuncion big holes are created by tropical rainfall when the sewer system cannot cope the amount of water and the base of the road is swept away underneath the surface.
Paraguay is one of the poorer countries in South America. Like a lot of Latin America the spread between the rich and the poor is great. Parguay is no more dangerous than any other develping country, however if you do not use common sense and flash expensive equipment or money people will target you......Just like anywhere else!
Don't even look at your watch when you're in Paraguay. They don't use a clock. We waited for a bus for about half an hour and then they told us we were even lucky, it showed up.
People take their time. Can't mannage today, we'll see again tomorrow. No need to rush or anything.
Make SURE that you get a proper visa stamp. Some of the 'packer kids were getting rousted for imprompu 'fines' when they tried to leave because they didn't have proper visas. This is mostly a problem for overlanders. The airport visas are usually correct. It is a special problem for 'packers coming in from Brazil.
You can find panhandling kids on every major traffic light or people who will offer you to keep an eye on your car or even wash it while it's parked. It's a little confusing for the tourist but relax. Just give a few coins maybe 200-500 guaranies (about $0.05-0.10) and the kids will be more than happy. It's unlikely any refused 'park attendant' will actually try to damage or enter your car. My rule? If you plan to leave your car for a while, accept the offer. If you give him 1000-2000 Gs (less than half a dollar) he will be more than pleased.
If you want to visit Iguazu falls from Asuncion and you can afford it, try to fly there. The problem is crossing the border. Ciudad del Este, a town that boomed with the construction of Itaipu dam and smuggling, have the only bridge connecting Brazil and Paraguay. The problem is the bridge traffic collapses with thousands of pedestrians who take the bridge slowing traffic to a point of desperation. We arrived aroun 9.30 AM and took us almost 4 hours to advance our car the last mile or so. When we returned back to Paraguay in the evening, the bridge was virtually empty. The reason: Shopping hours were over.
Your only options to avoid this is either plan this as a two day trip (Leave Asuncion in the afternoon, cross the border in the evening and stay overnight in Brazil) or leave during the night and cross to the other side very early in the morning (beware of cattle, carts and other dangers on the road, it's pitch black outside and just a 2-way highway!!)
In more rural area's cows will walk the roads; also at night! In the villages stray dogs will walk the roads (and drunken men at fridaynight when they get there weekly pay).
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
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