Tucked between Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay is a landlocked South American nation that is gradually becoming a tourist hotspot.
Paraguay has much to offer that is yet unexplored, like its heady blend of colonial history and rich indigenous culture. It is a sleepy and relaxing place, far off the beaten path, and a perfect location to unwind after a hectic few months at the office.
The capital, Asunción, is warm and homely and provides an endearing, not-so-touristy atmosphere. Before you leave for Paraguay, be sure to purchase
travel medical insurance or
as a safety net against any unexpected (and potentially expensive) mishaps.
Things to Do for Travelers in Paraguay
It might not have the chutzpah of Brazil or the quiet elegance of Argentina, but Paraguay is charming in its way. The colorful and vibrant heritage is breathtaking. Here are the top things to do while you are in Paraguay, apart from watching soccer–South American style–in a crowded stadium.
Museo del Barro: Located at the edge of Asunción, the Museo del Barro displays thousands of artifacts from Paraguayan history and culture. For many centuries, there have been numerous tribes that have fought to rule over this land. The varied history is presented to outsiders through exhibits of weapons and clothing, as well as dioramas depicting the past. It is a delightful place to spend an afternoon and learn about the local culture. The pottery section deserves special mention with its marvelous pre-Columbian-era ceramic collection.
Palacio de Los López: The most well-known building in Asunción is the palace named after former ruler Francisco Solano Lopez. Palacio de Los Lopez, at present, serves as the presidential residence and also the seat of the Paraguayan government. The magnificent colonnaded exterior is a sight to behold, and though built in the mid-1800s, it is maintained in pristine condition. Tours are only available on certain days when there is no official business, so be sure to inquire in advance.
Ciudad del Este: Ciudad del Este is the second-largest city in Paraguay and located close to the Brazilian border. The markets here are well known for duty-free products. If you are looking for a bargain on electronics or a new camera, you are in luck. Other than gadgets and gizmos, you can also find designer clothing. It is not posh, but what it lacks in glitz, it makes up for in discounts.
Parque Nacional Ybycuí: The national park of Paraguay is located about two hours away from Asunción. A little over 50 square kilometers (almost 20 square miles) in area, it is small but well known for its superb hiking trails. There are quite a few waterfalls and hundreds of species of butterflies creating a mesmerizing scene. A brisk walk through Parque Nacional Ybycuí is a perfect wrap up to your Paraguayan adventure.
Parque Nacional Defensores del Chaco: The largest protected area of Paraguay covers 720 square kilometers (about 275 square miles). Established in 1975, it stretches across a massive plain of the same name. If you are patient, you would be able to observe big cats like jaguars and pumas. Several species of monkeys and armadillos also call the park home.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Paraguay
Travel to a far-off land always has its share of risks, the most prominent being illness. The tourist feels vulnerable because he does not know how the local healthcare system works or its level of efficiency (or lack thereof). Though Paraguay is quite a safe region, travel is not without some risks.
Yellow fever is quite rampant in Paraguay. Besides dengue and malaria, it is another mosquito-borne illness. Always carry mosquito repellent creams and gels, and wear full-sleeved clothing outside the hotel.
Typhoid and hepatitis A are endemic in Paraguay. Drink only bottled water when you are away from your hotel. It is best if you can carry some sort of portable sterilization device.
Do not engage with unknown locals too often.
Never hire a tour guide who is not recommended by the hotel staff. You are most likely to get duped and spend several hours filing a complaint with the law enforcement authorities.
Although there is less petty crime here, be on your guard when you withdraw cash from ATMs. This is a favorite place for snatch-and-run operations. Always stay cautious and put your safety first.
Paraguay Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Paraguay is a beautiful place to visit. But, like many countries in the region, it has a high incidence of vector-borne diseases. Because it is a poor country, there is no public healthcare system that can help you get back on your feet. The only viable option is private medical care and evacuation to Brazil or Argentina.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Paraguay?
There is no mandatory provision for buying travel medical insurance before you arrive in Paraguay. Nevertheless, since private medical clinics are expensive, it is very highly recommended that you have medical insurance coverage for yourself and your loved ones.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Paraguay?
Delightful travel could turn into an endless nightmare within a few hours. You may fall ill with high fever and internal bleeding caused by dengue or similar viral infections. For most of these diseases, the only cure is an extended hospital stay and rest. At a private medical facility, the cost could spiral to a huge amount. It is best to be cautious and buy travel medical insurance to prevent financial catastrophe.
Paraguay Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
It is unfortunate, but trips are cancelled often. Bad weather, death or illness of someone close, could cause you to cancel your trip. It is quite distressing, and beyond that, there is monetary loss.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Paraguay?
By the time you cancel your trip, you have already put down pre-paid, non-refundable expenses for hotels and flights. Trip cancellation is not only a major disappointment but also a tremendous financial loss. Paraguay vacation insurance would compensate adequately if you have to cancel for a reason explicitly listed in the plan’s certificate wording, and you could take the trip after a few months.
What all is covered under trip cancellation insurance for Paraguay?
All the major reasons for trip cancellation are covered under trip cancellation insurance. These include illness of self or loved one, death in the family, bad weather, political unrest, and several more clauses. If you buy travel insurance, there is no worry about emergencies. Be sure to check your plan’s certificate wording to see what is (and isn’t) covered.
Before You Travel to Paraguay - Do This
Enjoy the languid beauty of Paraguay, but always heed the advice we provide below.
Ensure that your essential travel documents, e.g., passport and visa, are in a separate folder that is either with you or tucked away in a secure location.
Do not give in to irrational exuberance and become adventurous. It is best to exercise caution and enjoy without risking one's life and limbs.
Be prepared, and buy adequate travel insurance coverage for you and fellow travelers to enjoy peace of mind during your vacation.