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Located in the heart of South America, Paraguay an intriguing country and still to discover guard jealously matchless wealth and various species on the way to extinction the Paraguayan culture, result of the mixture of two races and civilizations: the Guaraní and the Hispanic, have been known to preserve with its peculiar forms of life and folkloric and artisan manifestations of great cultural and human value. The subtropical climate allows to outdoors enjoy throughout the year activities in an atmosphere without free contamination and of pollution. If you want to travel Paraguay take a moment to brush up on the travel tips that will help you be more prepared for travel anywhere in Paraguay.
Area: 406,752 sq km (157,048 sq miles).
Population: 5,206,101 (official estimate 2002).
Population Density: 12.8 per sq km.
Asunción. Population: 513,399 (2000).
Language: The official languages are Spanish and Guaraní; Guaraní is spoken by most of the rural population. Most Paraguayans are bilingual, but prefer to speak Guaraní outside Asunción.
220 volts AC, 50Hz.
GEOGRAPHY: Paraguay is bordered by Brazil in the east, Argentina to the west and south and Bolivia to the northwest. The country is relatively flat and is made up of subtropical forest and grasslands.
PARAGUAY ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
U.S. citizens need a valid passport and an entry form-tourist card which is provided by your air carrier either at the ticket counter when checking in for your flight to Paraguay or once on-board. Other nationalities should check with the nearest Paraguayan Consulate to determine correct entry requirements. Click here for Visa Informations
Aéreas de Transporte Nacional (LATN) and Transporte Aéros
del Mercosur (TAM), the airforce passenger service, have reasonably cheap
flights to destinations in northern Paraguay and some parts of the Chaco.
Bus services run frequently to most destinations around the country. Paraguay's
antiquated, wood-burning trains are extremely cheap but sluggish, except
for the 28km (17mi) line from Asunción to Areguá, on Lago
Ypacaraí. Driving can be dangerous (especially at night), with
wooden oxcarts and livestock among the more obvious road hazards. There
are also passenger boats from Asunción up the Río Paraguay
to a number of river ports. An extensive bus system and metered taxis
operate in the capital.
Mobile Telephone: GSM 1900 network coverage is limited to main urban areas. The local network providers are Hutchison Telecommunications Paraguay SA (website: www.porthable.com.py), Nucleo SA (website: www.personal.com.py), Telefonica Celular Del Paraguay (website: www.telecel.com.py) and VOX (website: www.vox.com.py).
Fax: Some hotels provide facilities.
Internet: ISPs include Planet (website: www.pla.net.py). Internet cafes are available in main urban areas.
Telegram: Many hotels have facilities. Services are also available at COPACO (Compañía Paraguaya de Comunicaciones).
Post: Airmail to Europe takes five days.
The main newspapers are ABC Color, La Nación, Noticias
and Ultima Hora. American newspapers are available.
PARAGUAY BUSINESS PROFILE
Economy: Paraguay’s agriculture plays an important part in its economy, supplying one-quarter of GNP and almost all the country’s export earnings. Production of Paraguay’s principal cash crops, cotton and soya, expanded rapidly during the late 1980s and continues to grow annually. Other crops such as sugar cane, maize and wheat are also grown on a commercial scale. Paraguay also has large timber reserves which feed the country’s rapidly expanding wood-based industries. Wood and soya oil are the main export products. The main manufacturing industries are textiles, chemicals, and the production of metal goods and machinery. Recently completed hydroelectric projects, undertaken jointly with Brazil and including the world’s largest hydroelectric dam at Itaipu, have made Paraguay self-sufficient in energy. Although since the early 1990s Paraguay has implemented major economic reforms centred on liberalisation and deregulation of the public sector and large private monopolies, as required by its principal external creditors and donors, the economy has performed poorly in recent years. The main reason is persistently low commodity prices, exacerbated by large-scale corruption and structural weaknesses in the banking sector. External factors, notably the economic crises in Argentina and Brazil, have also played an important role. The economy is still in recession; growth is at around 2 per cent, whilst high unemployment (officially at 18.5 per cent but in reality nearer to 40 per cent) has forced much of the workforce into the unregulated ‘black’ parts of the economy. In July 2002, the IMF offered a US$200 million support package: the Government was unable or unwilling to meet the loan conditions and relations with the IMF are now effectively frozen. The new Government elected in August 2003 faces an urgent task to stimulate the economy.
Paraguay is a member of the 11-strong Latin American Integration Association (Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración, ALADI), which seeks to promote free trade and economic development within Latin America, and under which Paraguay, alongside Bolivia, enjoys special tariff concessions. Paraguay is also a founding member to the Mercosur trade bloc of southern Latin American countries. Brazil is Paraguay’s largest trading partner, followed by the USA and Argentina.
English is not widely spoken in even the capital. In business meetings
remember that it will be better that you speak Spanish or have an interpreter.
Business suits are always worn. Appointments are best in the mornings.
Normal caution is recommended on the streets and roads. Office hours:
Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1430-1900, Sat 0800-1200.
PARAGUAY SOCIAL PROFILE
Food & Drink: The closest thing to a national dish is called - "Sopa Paraguaya" which is a rather stiff soufflé composed of mashed corn, eggs, cheese, onions and milk. There is lots of beer available and well as wines and rum. Soft drinks are plentiful Local brands taste like bubble gum with fizz.
Nightlife: In Asunción there are numerous bars, casinos and discos. The parrilladas or open-air restaurants offer by far the best atmosphere, especially in Asunción. There is a casino at the border towns of Ciudad del Este and Encarnación. The most popular traditional music in Paraguay is polcas and guaranías which have slow and romantic rhythms and which are used as serenades.
Events: The following is a selection of special events celebrated
annually in Paraguay; contact the Embassy or Dirección de Turismo
for exact dates (see Contact Addresses section):
Feb San Blas Fiestas. Mar/Apr Semana Santa (Holy Week festival). May Día de la Independencia (Independence day parades and festivities). Jun Verbena de San Juan (traditional fiesta, including walking on hot embers). Jul Expo Feria de la Industria; Nanduti Festival (traditional folk festival with arts and crafts), Itaugua. Aug Día de la Virgen de la Asunción and Aniversario de la Fundación de Asunción (religious and cultural celebrations). Sep Festival de la Alfalfa, Sapucai. Oct Encuentro Internacional de Coros (choir festival), Encarnación. Nov Festival del Poyvi (arts, crafts and music fair), Carapeguá. Dec Apertura de Temporada (opening of the tourism season), San Bernadino.
Social Conventions: Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting. Smoking is not allowed in cinemas and theatres. Dress tends to be informal and sportswear is popular. Photography: Avoid sensitive subjects such as military installations.
Banking: Banks are open from 7:30 am to 11 am daily. There are no weekend hours.
Currency: The Guarani (G/)
Money Exchange: Banks are best for all transactions including travelers checks
cards: Master Card and Visa. American Express and Diners Club
cards are accepted in few places and usually only at hotels and upmarket
shops and restaurants. ATMs should not be relied upon.
Shops open early at 7:30 in the morning and close at 11:30 for lunch reopening at 3 pm and staying open until 7 pm weekdays. Saturdays shops close at noon and do not open on Sundays. Leather goods and basketry are very good items to buy. Do not pass up the opportunity to buy some " Aho-Poy" cloth. This cloth is used in dresses, shirts and other woven clothing. It is quite pretty and endures well.
10% should be left for the waiters. Small change should be given to porters and taxi drivers.
PARAGUAY SECURITY & SERVICES
Paraguayans are traditionally very calm and easy going. Their lifestyle marks one of the largest contrasts with other countries, helping make Paraguay a safe place to visit, a characteristic that all travelers seek.
Paraguayans are known for their kindness and hospitality, making visitors feel welcome in their country and homes. Customized services, with multilingual guides, ensure the satisfaccion of even the most demanding visitor.
Paraguayans are traditional, conservative people who strive for tranquillity (tranquilidad). Paraguay has historically been voluntarily isolated. In the 19th century, the government tried to seal the borders in an attempt to become self-sufficient. More recently, very strict government controls have isolated the people from most outside information. Inflation, foreign debt and high unemployment plague this young democracy. There is a large gap between the rich and poor. A few elite families control nearly all the resources, and economic opportunities are limited to urban dwellers.
PARAGUAY SPORTS & ACTIVITIES
Ecotourism: There are 11 national parks and protected areas, the largest of which are in the Chaco region in the north of the country. Birdlife is particularly abundant, and there is also a wide variety of animals, including the Chacoan peccary, once thought to be extinct. Visitors should take plenty of insect repellent with them when visiting remote areas. A good way to view flora and fauna is from boats which run along some of Paraguay’s rivers. Trips can sometimes be arranged on cargo vessels if there are no passenger services. The trip along the fast-flowing River Paraguay from Asunción via Concepción passes through fascinating landscapes, eventually leading as far as the huge marshlands in the north and over the Brazilian border. For more information on Paraguayan national parks, contact the Dirección de Parques Nacionales y Vida Silvestre, Madame Lynch 3500, casi Primer Presidente, Asunción (tel/fax: (21) 615 812; e-mail: email@example.com).
Fishing: The dorado, found in the Paraguay, Paraná and Tebicuary rivers, can weigh up to 29kg (65Ib). International fishing contests are held near Asunción. There are many other smaller fish that are peculiar to Paraguay such as the surubí, pati, pacu, manguruyus, armados, moncholos and bagres.
The national sport is football. There are tennis facilities at
hotels and in Asunción. The Asunción Golf Club has an 18-hole
golf course. Water-skiing facilities are available in some places. Some
large hotels have swimming pools.
PARAGUAY TIME ZONE
Paraguay operates Daylight-Saving Time when the time is 3 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-3). Summer Time is in effect from the First Sunday in October until the First Sunday in March.
Standard Time is GMT - 4
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