Paraguay travel advice
Latest updates: Health – Travel health notice for dengue added.
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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PARAGUAY - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Paraguay due to increasing crime.
Safety and security
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs frequently across the country.
Criminals have been known to observe, follow and then rob victims who have made withdrawals at ATMs.
Crime rates are higher in Asunción and greater Asunción neighborhoods of:
- Fernando de la Mora
- Mariano Roque Alonso
- San Lorenzo
- Villa Elisa
During your trip:
- ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- avoid showing signs of wealth
- avoid carrying large sums of cash or unnecessary valuables
- avoid walking alone after dark
- be extra cautious when withdrawing cash from ATMs
- if you're robbed, hand over cash, electronic devices and valuables without resistance
- don't leave bags, luggage or other valuable items in the car, and never in plain view
- keep your vehicle windows closed and doors locked at all times, especially if stopped
Violent crime is known to occur.
Incidents include, namely:
- armed robberies
- car jacking
Muggings by armed motorcyclists can occur day or night.
Robbers sometimes dress as service people to gain access to homes. Do not let servicepeople in unless you have a confirmed appointment.
Illegal armed groups
Violent crime by illegal armed groups has increased throughout the country in recent years.
Drug and arms trafficking operate along the Tri-border area of:
- Brazil, especially from Pedro Juan Caballero to Ciudad del Este along Paraguay’s eastern border
Drugs and arms smuggling pose security threats in the departments of:
- Altó Paraná
A small armed guerrilla group known as Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo (Paraguayan people’s army - EPP) has kidnapped for a ransom. It operates in:
- the northern part of the department of San Pedro
- the southern part of the department of Concepción
- Canindeyú and Amambay departments in the east
Although the EPP typically targets residents rather than visitors, be extra cautious if you travel to these areas.
Illegal armed groups pose a risk to travellers. Tourists are not usually targeted, but you could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Virtual Kidnappings may occur. An individual or criminal organization contacts you by phone and demands immediate payment for the return of a “kidnapped” family member or friend. No actual kidnapping takes place.
Criminals use various means of gathering information about potential victims, including using social media sites or eavesdropping on conversations.
If you are perceived to be wealthy, you could be at risk.
Spiked food and drinks
Snacks, beverages, gum and cigarettes may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
- Be wary of accepting these items from new acquaintances
- Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers
Demonstrations and road blockades occur occasionally. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- follow the instructions of local authorities
- monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment or verbal abuse.
Interruptions to the water supply occur occasionally, including in Asunción. Water shortages can last for weeks in the region of Chaco and drinking water may be difficult to find.
If you’re in Paraguay:
- keep supplies of bottled water and water purification tablets on hand
- expect limits on the availability of drinkable water
- monitor local media to stay informed of the evolving situation
Food shortages may occur, particularly in Chaco region.
- Plan accordingly
- Keep a supply of food
Power outages may occur even in big cities.
Power outages could impact some essential services, such as:
- public transportation, including flights
- medical services
- the public water supply
- banking transactions
- the purchase of basic necessities
Gas stations are rare in the Chaco region. If you are driving in this area:
- always carry a cell phone, power banks, chargers and a list of emergency numbers handy
- keep a sufficient supply of water, food, medication and fuel on hand for several days
- follow the instructions of local authorities
Mobile telephone services outside urban areas could be limited.
Rivers can be dangerous as many have strong currents. Do not swim in the River Paraguay, which is highly polluted. Toxic dumping in rivers is commonly practiced and poses a health risk to swimmers.
- Never swim alone
- Always maintain a safe distance from boats and restricted areas
- Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
- Don't dive in unfamiliar waters as hidden rocks or shallow water can cause serious injury or death
Because of heavy rainfall and limited infrastructure, you should carefully plan your hiking trips to remote areas.
The Chaco wilderness is a harsh environment where you may encounter dangerous animals.
If you intend on hiking:
- never do so alone
- always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company and make accommodations arrangements in advance
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- ensure that you’re properly equipped and well-informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
- refrain from using facilities or equipment if you have doubts on their safety
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails
Visiting most areas populated by indigenous peoples should present no danger, apart from the northern area of Chaco Paraguayo, where the Ayoreo woodland group lives. Some Ayoreos may perceive outsiders as a threat.
Road safety is poor throughout the country. Road accidents have increased over the past few years, especially with motorcycles. The number of traffic accidents tends to increase during the holiday season from December to January. There is no roadside assistance on most highways.
Driving is also dangerous due to:
- lack of traffic signs
- large potholes
- insufficient lighting or poorly functioning traffic lights
- stray animals
- poorly maintained vehicles, some without proper lights
- drivers not always respecting traffic laws
Avoid driving at night.
Outside of highways, most roads are not paved.
Driving conditions may be hazardous during the rainy season, December to April.
Public transportation is readily available for urban and intercity travel.
Vehicles lack maintenance and safety equipment. Bus accidents are frequent. Buses travel through high-crime areas leaving you at risk of theft.
Taxis are considered safe but often do not have functioning seat belts.
Taxis are available at marked taxi stops.
- Ask for your cab at the front test if you are using hotel services
- Note the driver’s name on his or her photo identification card and license number
Ride-sharing apps are available in Paraguay.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Paraguayan authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave from Paraguay.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
Other entry requirements
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket.
Children and travel
Minors (under 18) born or residing in Paraguay who are travelling alone or with only one parent can only leave Paraguay with the authorization of the non-accompanying parent/s granted before a Paraguayan Judge or before a Paraguayan Embassy abroad. Acceptable proof of parentage may be required for the accompanying parent. For additional information, contact the Paraguayan Embassy in Ottawa.
Learn more about Travelling with children
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are arriving from Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, or Venezuela or have transited through an airport in one of these countries.
- Vaccination is recommended depending on your itinerary.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals).
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
The flu occurs worldwide.
- In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to April.
- In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and October.
- In the tropics, there is flu activity year round.
The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.
The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.
- In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
During your trip:
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.
If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel.
For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
Medical services and facilities
Good health care is available in major cities. Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.
Medical facilities will often expect immediate cash payment for services.
Emergency and ambulance services are very limited outside of major cities.
Medical services are mostly in Spanish.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Some prescription medications may not be available in Paraguay.
If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in the country.
- Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
- Always keep your medication in the original container
- Pack them in your carry-on luggage
- Carry a copy of your prescriptions
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Drugs and alcohol
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
The consumption of alcohol under 20 years of age is illegal.
Paraguay’s law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted and public displays of affection are not socially acceptable.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Paraguay.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Paraguay, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Paraguay.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Paraguay, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Paraguayan court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Paraguay to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Disputes related to property acquisition or other investments are costly and take time to resolve.
If you plan on buying property, or making other investments in Paraguay:
- seek legal advice in Canada and in Paraguay before making commitments
- choose your own lawyer
- avoid hiring a lawyer recommended by a seller
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe.
The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.00%. There are regular police checks to perform breathalyzer tests. If a police officer suspects you of drinking and driving, they could confiscate your driver's licence on the spot. If you’re convicted, you can expect heavy fines.
Police regularly stop cars to check vehicle and driving documents. You should ensure you rent a car from a reputable company and you sign a rental contract that includes car insurance.
You must carry an international driving permit.
Traffic regulation is different from Canada as the legal age to drive is 18.
Local authorities may request to see your ID at any time.
- Carry valid identification or a photocopy of it at all times
- Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place in case it’s lost or seized
- Keep a digital copy of your ID and travel documents
It is illegal to hunt in Paraguay. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
The currency of Paraguay is the guaraní (PYG).
You may be requested to show ID when paying with a credit or debit card.
Paying with credit or with debit card is rarely accepted in the Chaco region.
Canadian currency is not widely accepted. Only new US$ 100 bills can be exchanged. Use registered banks and exchange bureaus as fake bank notes are common.
Natural disasters and climate
The effects of El Niño are expected to begin in November 2023.
Severe weather could occur, such as:
- excessive rains
- severe droughts
- above-average temperatures
The complex weather phenomenon called El Niño happens at irregular intervals of 2 to 7 years. El Niño generally generates heavy rainfalls, occurring at the same time as the rainy season from December to March.
- Keep informed of regional weather forecasts before and during your travels, and plan accordingly.
- Ensure you have adequate insurance to cover the consequences of such events, including the disruption of travel plans.
The rainy season extends from December to March. The eastern part of the country is more at risks to floods.
Seasonal flooding between November and December can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable. Bridges, buildings, and infrastructure may be damaged, particularly in the Chaco region.
- Monitor local media and weather reports for the latest updates, including those on road conditions
- Stay away from flooded areas
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
Bush and forest fires are common between mid-July to December particularly in:
- San Pedro
The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke. In case of a major fire:
- stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- always follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel, including any evacuation order
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
The western region of the country can experience periods of prolonged droughts. Droughts lead to water supply shortages, including in Asunción.
Paraguay experiences extreme dry periods between April and September.
- Stay informed of regional weather forecasts
- Plan accordingly
Dial 911 for emergency assistance.
Asunción - Honorary consul of Canada
Buenos Aires - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Argentina, in Buenos Aires, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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