Are you adventurous? You’ve seen pretty much the countries you were interested in and now you think Paraguay will suit you the best? Or if you just want to know how safe Paraguay is and what are the ups and downs of a trip to this location, you came to the right place!
Paraguay isn’t a common touristic destination, but there are certain aspects that perhaps you weren’t aware of. Any country is beautiful if you discover its real beauty, if you go above and beyond the stereotypes, but you need to be aware of all the risks before making a decision.
Anyhow, I believe you might have some concerns whether it is secure or not, and today I will give you some safety travel tips for Paraguay in order to make your further trip easier.
Possible Risks That You Can Encounter While Visiting Paraguay
Overall Risk in Paraguay: MEDIUM to HIGH
You should be aware at all times of the risks that can occur in this country, because certain illegal issues have increased over the years, such as crime and violence. You shouldn’t walk by yourself at night or go to places that don’t seem safe. According to the Government of Canada, they recommend keeping a low profile – this means that you shouldn’t show any wealth and not to carry large amounts of money or even your passport.
Moreover, certain streets demonstrations might occur, especially in Asunción, the capital. If so, it is recommended trying to stay away from it, because at times it can be very dangerous.
Furthermore, you should be aware of the fact that there are outbreaks of dengue fever pretty regularly – so you should take safety measures not to be bitten by mosquitos. Also, Zika virus is another possible threat because it is widespread in Paraguay.
Theft and Attacks Risks: MEDIUM
Street crime is starting to become predominant in this country, especially in the cities, where there are a lot of foreign people. At all times, you should be aware of your surroundings. In the capital, populated and unpopulated areas can be risky. Chacarita and Costanera are two areas in downtown you should stay away of, because it can get dangerous.
Heavily crowded places should be avoided, because these are the places preferred by pickpocketers. You should be really precautious to your belongings, especially your wallet and passport – you could leave the important ones at home, and only take what you need on a day out. Also, don’t take a big bag with no zippers and try to have one that is always in your sigh. Areas that you should avoid are, as I stated before, downtown Asunción, Ciudad del Este and Pedro Juan Caballero, because these are the places where you can be at high risk of getting robbed.
Kidnapping Risk: MEDIUM
As I mentioned, crime is prone to happen in Paraguay, and kidnapping also. In the past years, there was a reduced number of kidnapping, especially for the tourists, because they usually do not target them.
On the other hand, it really depends on the area, because according to the website gov.uk, there is a group that is called EPP, which stands for Ejercito del Pueblo Paraguayo and operates in the south of Department of Concepción and north of Department of San Pedro. Even though they usually target police or large landowners, they kidnap for ransom, in attacks that can get violent.
There are certain areas that you should avoid at all costs, because not all Paraguay is prone to kidnapping risks, only some regions.
Risks for Women Travelling Alone: LOW to MEDIUM
Yes, Paraguay is safe for solo women travelers, but just like in any other country, they should be precautious. This means that they should try to avoid everything that seems risky to you.
Additionally, you should bear in mind that certain people might stare, because the appearance is different from a woman from Paraguay. Therefore, men can have the tendency to make certain comments, but it is better to avoid conversations at all costs, with the individuals that seem suspicious.
Furthermore, if you go out, only drink from your beverage and do not accept anything from the locals, because there have been reports of putting drugs in girls drinks. Also, only use a taxi that is licensed.
To conclude this topic, Paraguay is not riskie than any other places. If you are cautious and pay attention to the things that are happening around you, nothing bad can really happen. All you have to do is avoid walking alone on the streets, especially in the night, and also avoid poorly illuminated areas.
Risks for Pregnant Women Travelling: HIGH
There is a high risk of tourists getting contaminated by the Zika virus, which is at a high risk in Paraguay. If a woman is pregnant and gets infected by Zika virus, it can cause grave issues for the fetus – such as birth defects called microcephaly and other severe brain defects.
It is important to know that you can get this disease from infected mosquitoes and from sexual intercourse and that there isn’t any vaccine for it, so that is why pregnant women should be really cautious, and avoid travelling to Paraguay.
Terrorist Attacks: LOW
You must be wondering, is Paraguay safe, when it comes to terrorism? In this area, the chances are pretty low, but they exist so you would need to be careful.
Try avoiding large gatherings, where you don’t know what event takes place, because sometimes it can be an ambush for a possible act of terrorism.
As we stated beforehand, the risk is low, because the attacks over the past few years are minor. Over the past 5 years, there has been a record of 60 terrorist attacks, where 20 individuals were injured and 32 murdered. Most affected regions are Conception, with 28 attacks, from which 6 people died and 10 were injured and San Pedro, with 25 attacks, where 21 people died and 8 were injured.
To sum up, comparing this country with other ones, the risk is to be considered insignificant, because there weren’t a lot of attacks. Anyhow, you need to consider them and try to stay safe.
Natural Disaster Risk: MEDIUM
Paraguay is prone to certain natural hazards, especially the floods, specific to the seasonal change and droughts. Additionally, certain regions have been affected from the widespread flooding from the rainfalls. Residents have been evacuated and remained displaced because they could not save their home.
If you’re considering visiting Paraguay, be careful of the weather and news reports and do a little bit of research before travelling. Also, make sure you are aware of the safety procedures you would need to follow in case of flooding or a massive rainfall.
Rape Risk: MEDIUM
Even though a substantial decrease has been recorded, there is still considered a danger. Reports say that in 2015 there were 17.1 cases per 100,000 population.
Another issue is that in Paraguay the Age of Consent is 14 years old, which causes a lot of issues. Also, abortion is banned (the only exception is when it can cause real health issues) and a lot of underaged teenagers subjected to rape and due to the law against abortion most of them die due to their young age and inability to give birth. Recently, a 14 year old girl was raped and died due to these circumstances.
Even though these are isolated occurrences, that are unlikely to happen to travelers and foreigners, it is good to be aware of this and always be careful. I think women should be more cautious if they’re thinking of a trip to Paraguay.
Travel and Transportation
There are issues regarding the transportation in this country. So, how safe is Paraguay for tourists that get transportation here, one might wonder. Well, you must know that it isrelatively easy to obtain a driver’s license and there are a lot of accidents. There have been reports of tourists that were injured and killed in traffic, according to Bureau of Consulate Affairs, US. Also, the traffic laws aren’t usually followed and most drivers don’t have insurance. With all this being stated, you need to pay attention, as a driver or as a pedestrian, since being safe should be a priority.
Regarding the transportation part, buses are the main way of getting from point A to point B, are pretty cheap, but a little risky, because pickpocketing is common and that is why you need to pay attention throughout the entire ride.
Make sure you have medical insurance before leaving to Paraguay, to make sure it will be safe to visit. If you are taking any medicine, make sure to bring them with you and a letter from your doctor which states that you have to takes the given medication.
Another disease that often occurs while travelling to Paraguay is the traveler’s diarrhea that is caused by contaminated food or water. Pay attention to what you eat or drink and try to cook your food as well as possible, or buy it from accredited places.
Make sure to hydrate yourself and try to prevent sunburn as well as possible, by applying sunscreen and staying away from the sun from 12 PM-16PM.
If you need immediate medical service, you can call an ambulance by dialing 141. Keep in mind that if you are taken to a hospital or any other medical service, either you have to contact your insurance, or make sure you have enough money on you, because certain medical facilities expect immediate payment.
Before deciding to make this trip, look over all the medical issues you might have and over your insurance, to make sure that it will be a safe trip for you.
List of Vaccines You Need when Visiting Paraguay
Before your trip we recommend you going to your medic and have a conversation regarding whether you would need vaccines.
Firstly, make sure you are up to date with your vaccines, regardless of the destination. Each country has some rules regarding vaccines, so you should take it into consideration. If you are looking for vaccines to consider, making your trip to Paraguay safer, there are some that prevent possible diseases in the country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a risk of yellow fever in the country so it is recommended to get a vaccine to prevent it – yellow fever it’s a disease that is caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Some other vaccines you could consider are the following: Hepatitis A, because Paraguay has certain issues with infected water and food, and this vaccine would prevent it. Another vaccine is for Hepatitis B, Malaria and Rabies.
In order to make sure your trip will be as you wish, make sure
- to get vaccinated, if your doctor says so,
- to prevent bug bites
- avoid sharing body fluids
- eat safely
Final Conclusions: Is Paraguay safe to visit?
You might be wondering, after all these Paraguay safety tips, if it is really worth the trip. Do we recommend you visiting it? Well, it really depends on many factors, and you are the only one that can decide.
This country can give you a genuine South American experience, but only if you are aware of every risk and opportunity that can be found there.
Yes, there are certain crimes and natural disasters risks, but also it depends on the area. As I said before, places like downtown Asunción are prone to thefts and crimes. Other dangerous areas are Concepción, Canindeyu and Amambay.
Make sure that you are well prepared for everything, stay away from crowded places, and don’t take a lot of money with you, or even your ID and Passport. Make a copy to identify yourself in case you will need to and leave the originals at the hotel, just in case.
To sum up, we can consider Paraguay to be a low to medium risk with regards to travelling. You need to pay attention to your surroundings and belongings, so you may enjoy your time spent there.