Most buses do not make more than one pit stop, but roadside chiperas get on frequently to sell chipa and cocido to hungry passengers. Often you can tell a chipera has boarded by the jangling of pocket change as passengers prepare to make their purchase.
Car rentals start at US$45 per day plus additional charges per kilometer and US$70 per day for unlimited mileage plans. Four wheel drive vehicles (necessary for off-roading) start at US$115 per
day plus additional charges per kilometer and US$200 per day for unlimited mileage plans. The majority of rental cars have manual transmissions and run on either gasoline (nafta) or diesel, both of which are readily available. Expect to spend roughly US$1.40 per liter for both gasoline and diesel. Localiza (www.localiza.com), National (www.national.com.py), and Avis Rent a Car (www.avis.com.py) have offices in Asuncion, Ciudad del Este, and Encarnacion. Note most rental companies’ contracts forbid you from crossing international borders.
Most towns have taxi services though the quality of the cars themselves can vary greatly. In Asuncion, Ciudad del Este, and Encarnacion, taxis are metered whereas in smaller towns you may have to negotiate a fixed price ahead of time. Taxi stands (parada de taxi) are usually located outside the town bus terminal or by the town’s main or secondary plaza.
Motorcycles can be the cheapest and most efficient way to get around Paraguay. In muddy terrain they can be preferable to 4×4 vehicles. Official rentals are uncommon but if you ask around, sometimes you can find someone willing to loan you their motorcycle. As a common courtesy be sure to return it with a full tank – often this is all owners will accept as form of payment. Motorcycles are relatively inexpensive and resell quickly. New Chinese made, nationally assembled motorcycles run between US$700 to US$1,500.
Expect to encounter police checkpoints on most highways. Complying with all legal requirements will minimize the likelihood of being targeted for a bribe.
By law, foreign drivers in Paraguay must have the following documents handy:
Driver’s license from country of origin.
Additional official ID (i.e. a passport, as in Paraguay, a driver’s license is not an official form of identification.)
Proof of entry (passport or photocopy of stamped page in passport)
Cars from Mercosur countries must have the Cedula Verde paperwork, and non-Mercosur cars must have paperwork issued by Customs.
In addition drivers must:
Keep headlights on when driving outside of urban areas.
Have a fire extinguisher with a valid expiration date.
Have two reflective triangles.
If you feel you are being targeted unfairly by police, make sure to report this to Senatur (Tel: 021 494 110) and your embassy.
The Touring and Automotive Club of Paraguay is a good resource for information about road conditions and maps. The TACPY guidebook (available at Petrobras gas stations and the TACPY headquarters on Cerro Cora and Brazil in downtown Asuncion) is geared specifically to those driving through Paraguay. www.tacpy.com.py
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