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PARAGUAY - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Paraguay due to increasing crime.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Paraguay. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Crime, including violent crime, has increased in recent years. Armed robbery, car theft and burglary occur in both urban and rural areas. Remain vigilant at all times and avoid walking alone after dark. If attacked, do not resist.
Street crime such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging is prevalent in cities, bus terminals and on public buses. Muggings by motorcyclists—usually two men on a motorcycle—can occur day or night. Ensure that your personal belongings and passport and other travel documents are secure at all times. Carry a photocopy of your passport for identification purposes and keep the original in your hotel safe. Do not show signs of affluence, as wealthy looking tourists are more likely to be targeted by criminals. Do not carry large amounts of cash and keep cellular telephones and other valuable items out of sight. Remain aware of your surroundings when exiting currency exchange bureaus and when using automated banking machines (ABMs). Criminals have been known to observe, follow and then rob victims who have made withdrawals. Choose ABMs in controlled areas such as in banks and avoid using them at night.
In Asunción, be cautious in both unpopulated and overcrowded areas. Avoid market or plaza areas and the Chacarita and Costanera areas of downtown Asunción.
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as the items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of assault and robbery.
Checked luggage has been pilfered at airports. Pack valuables in your carry-on luggage or carry them on you.
Be extremely cautious when travelling near border areas due to organized crime and lack of security patrols. Drug trafficking and crime are known to occur in Amambay and Canindeyu departments and along the tri-border area between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.
A small armed guerrilla-style group known as the Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo [Paraguayan people’s army] (EPP) operates in the northern part of the department of San Pedro and southern part of the department of Concepción, as well as in Canindeyu and Amambay departments in the east. This group kidnaps for ransom. Although the EPP typically targets residents rather than visitors, be extra cautious if you travel to these areas.
Occasional demonstrations, roadblocks and strikes occur in the capital and on main highways. Local transportation services may be disrupted and violent incidents may occur. Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities. Do not attempt to cross roadblocks, even if they appear unattended.
Road accidents are frequent. Traffic laws are frequently ignored and road signs are often lacking. There is no roadside assistance on most highways. Roads in rural areas are generally unpaved and may become impassable during rainy periods. When travelling outside Asunción after dark, stray animals and vehicles operating without headlights present hazards. The number of traffic accidents tends to increase during the holiday season. Be particularly cautious during this period.
Keep windows closed and doors locked at all times, even if stopped. Do not leave bags, luggage or other valuable items in the car, and never in plain view. Cars that are parked on the street and left unattended are often broken into.
Police checkpoints are common throughout the country, especially at night. Carry identification and vehicle registration at all times. Local police may not speak English or French.
Taxis can be hailed on the street. After dark, however, they should be ordered by phone. Very few taxi drivers speak English or French. Outside Asunción there are no metered taxis so negotiate the fare in advance.
There is no international train service available to and from Paraguay.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Learn more about foreign domestic airlines.
Because of heavy rainfall and limited infrastructure, hiking trips to remote areas should be carefully planned. Ensure you have proper equipment and sufficient food and water supplies. A travel itinerary should be left with the hotel or with the Consulate of Canada in Asunción. Buy travel health insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation. Never hike alone.
General security information
Tourist facilities are good in the capital but may be limited or unavailable in other areas. Mobile telephone services outside urban areas are sparse and poor. In rural areas of Chaco Paraguayo, there is no cellular phone coverage outside of most Mennonite towns.
Visiting most areas populated by indigenous peoples should present no danger, with the exception of Mennonite colonies in the northern area of Chaco Paraguayo, where the Ayoreo woodland group lives. Some Ayoreos may perceive outsiders as a threat.
You should only undertake visits to the Chaco wilderness with an experienced guide because of the harsh environment and risk of encountering dangerous animals. Staying at an estancia (ranch property) is recommended.
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 foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Paraguay, which must be valid for the duration of their stay in the country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Ensure that your passport is stamped by an immigration official if entering Paraguay overland or you will receive a heavy fine when leaving the country.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians require a valid visa to enter Paraguay.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Canadians arriving by air at the Asunción Silvio Pettirossi International Airport may obtain a visa en arribo (visa upon arrival), valid until the expiration date of their passport, for a fee of US$150 (payable in cash only). If you are planning to enter via other points of entry, you should apply for a visa in advance at the closest Paraguayan embassy or consulate.
An airport tax of US$25 must be paid upon departure from the Asunción airport. This tax is normally included in the price of your airline ticket.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
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 coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is recommended depending on your itinerary.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
About Yellow Fever
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.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- 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 for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), West Nile virus , yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently an outbreak of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
If you have a medical emergency while abroad, officials at the nearest Canadian government office can provide you with a list of licensed health-care providers.
Medical care is adequate in Asunción but limited and of substandard quality in rural areas. A shortage of nurses and doctors often leaves clinics staffed with unqualified personnel. Medical facilities will often expect immediate cash payment for services.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and medical evacuation, if required. There is no air ambulance service from Paraguay to any foreign destination, so purchasing private air medical evacuation insurance before travelling to Paraguay is advisable.
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
Laws & 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.
Possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs may result in jail sentences and heavy fines.
There are strict regulations against the temporary import or export of items such as firearms, medications, toys resembling weapons or protected species.
It is against the law to hunt animals in or remove certain plant species from nature reserves.
Photographing airports, military establishments, police stations and government buildings is prohibited.
Rental vehicles are available. An International Driving Permit is required.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Paraguay.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Paraguay, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
Learn more about travelling as a dual citizen.
The currency is the guaraní (PYG). Canadian currency and traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted. U.S. dollars can be exchanged in every exchange agency (casa de cambio) and at most banks. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy season, which extends from November to March, can affect the accessibility or reliability of intercity transit. During the rainy season, the roads in the northern part of the Chaco region are impassable, except for roads within Mennonite colonies.
Dial 911 for emergency assistance.
Asunción - Consulate of Canada
Buenos Aires - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada 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, express 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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