Paraguay is not an expensive country to visit. The cost of many items is noticeably lower than elsewhere.
Asuncion being the capital and the largest city is more expensive than places in the countryside where costs drop off considerably. Even here however prices are not excessive.
However against the cost of living within Paraguay you will need to consider the costs involved in getting there.
The country is far from the well travelled business and pleasure routes. Accordingly the national airport receives just a few flights every day. Most journeys involve a connection somewhere. That ensures that on the whole airfares remain high.
Whilst considering a trip to Asuncion I will not be quoting exact prices. Please do not take them as such. The figures though should give a good general guide to the cost of a visit to Asuncion.
Throughout I will for constancy quote prices in US Dollars.
For most the point of entry in Paraguay is Silvo Pettirossi Airport on the outskirts of Asuncion. It is the country’s main international airport and the arrival point for almost all overseas flights..
The airport itself is small and easily navigated. A gentle introduction to Paraguay.
To get from the airport into the city the best option is to take a taxi. It is possible to prebook transport but there are generally plenty of drivers waiting for passengers in the arrivals hall with their taxis parked outside.
The taxis that serve the airport are all modern well maintained vehicles with drivers who can be relied upon to deliver you directly to your destination.
Prices should be agreed in advance of the journey. Doing so is simplified by the there being a printed sheet quoting the cost of journeys to various destinations. This greatly reduces the chances of someone new to the land having their first experience that of being over charged by an unscrupulous driver.
A taxi from the airport into Asuncion city centre will cost about $20.
After a taxi from the airport your next requirement will be somewhere to stay. As with anywhere in the world is it best to book in advance at least the first night. The hotel booking sites on the internet have a good selection of Asuncion hotels. Some although not all have their own websites where accommodation can be booked directly.
In terms of cost, a comfortable mid range hotel will be in the region of $50 – $60 per night. A hotel in that range will have adequate if possibly small rooms, a good buffet breakfast and may also have it’s own pool.
At a higher price modern hotels with all amenities that would be expected from an international hotel can be found. A night in one of these would be expected to cost from $100 to $150. On the whole they are aimed business rather than tourist market.
Of course though not everyone wants to stay in an expensive hotel and in Asuncion there is no reason why they should. Hotels, often small and privately owned can be found to suit all budgets right down to backpackers wishing not to waste their funds on anything unnecessary.
There are a number of hostels offering accommodation. A night in one will cost between $15 and $25.
Then further to the hotels there are also a large number of properties listed on Airbnb all around the city.
After that the next task will be to see some of the city.
The various districts are all fairly compact and being on a grid system easy to navigate. However distances between districts can be deceptively large and the summer sun is powerful. As such you may find it preferable to walk only when visiting locations that are just a few minutes from each other. Such as the historic buildings in Asuncion Old Town.
Other than walking there are just two options for travelling around Asuncion. Buses and taxis.
The buses rattle along the city streets and can be packed at rush hour. They are the preferred mode of transport for the local population. However it can be a little confusing selecting the right one. They are numbered to show which company they belong to and rather than a route display in their front windows display the names of various landmarks their circular route passes.
That said they are inexpensive and an authentic way to experience the city. Fares are for a single journey rather than between destinations. This saves having to explain to the driver where you wish to get off. In terms of cost there are two types of city bus. Standard costing 40c a trip and air conditioned costing 60c.
One further thing with the buses is that the trips are paid for with a pre paid card which must be obtained first. Many places sell these and charge fresh credit onto them.
If you wish to travel by taxi it should be easy to locate one. The majority are bright yellow and there are taxi ranks on many street corners. These are not always the most modern of cars but should be sufficient to get you to your destination.
Most are metered but if one is not or if the meter appears not to be working be sure to agree a price before setting off. A fare of between $5 and $10 should get you to most destinations in the city.
As a rival to the standard taxis Asuncion now also has cars driving for both Bolt and Uber. These of course are booked through the apps and tend to be modern vehicles. A trip via Bolt or Uber will be cheaper than the same one made with a city taxi.
Eating out is also good value in Asuncion. You should expect to pay between $10 and $15 for a meal. More in a top of the range restaurant and less in a workers cafe.
One popular place to eat is in the food halls found in every shopping mall. Here a wide range of dining options are available and many of the city’s restaurants have outlets.
In addition to meals you should not miss out on a chance to taste the Paraguayan snack foods. Items such as chipa, sopa and empenadas. These are on sale in numerous places. Each will cost between 50c and $1.
Then in terms of drinks, which are vital in the hot Paraguayan climate, soft drinks and water are both a little less than £1 a bottle.
Beer, of which there are a number of good one in Paraguay, costs $2. However in bars aimed solely at the tourist market the price will be inflated to anything up to $5.
There are also a number of good wines to be found. Generally red and imported from Argentina or Chile. For $5 you will be able to purchase a very drinkable one.
Then finally for the site seeing itself. Most museums and the like are fee to visit in Paraguay. You will find however that the few that do charge have differing prices for locals and tourists.
And as you travel around Asuncion you will see a number of shops and stall selling souvenirs. These are very good value and for a few dollars you should be able to make an interesting collection of Paraguayan handicrafts.
As you can see although there are costs involved in getting to Paraguay once here you should be able to get more for your money than you would have been able to elsewhere.
So true! Surprises me that few Americans travel here when it is so inexpensive. Even my roundtrip airfare from Des Moines thru Chicago to Sau Paulo to Asuncion and back was quite reasonable.
When I was there in April-May 2022 the USD was at G6830. The prices of food, hotels, food and more seemed quite reasonable. I really did enjoy the wonderful Hotel Palmaroga in the historic district, within easy walking distance of so much history and historical places, along with a wonderful pool on the top outside and a nice place to eat breakfast in the morning. I spent 6 nights there and so many hours from about 0500-1100 just walking around the city. Walked 14 blocks to the Plaza Italia one morning to see the lights in the dark as the city was about to wake up.
I came to love the Shell station that was just around the corner, across the street from the establishment that sold hard liquor and more. Where else can you get a 950 ml bottle of decent local beer for G6000? I quickly learned to take the empty back for the deposit. Or a good bottle of Fortin rum (white) for G17,500? (The 8 year dark at just G25,000.) Cana even less expensive. And they had diet (sugar-free) PULP! In orange and guarani. Delicious.
Yes I agree that with Paraguay being such good value for money it is surprising that not more people have found it. I am sure being off the well trod tourist trail helps, and that’s not such a bad thing.
Normally when I am in Asuncion I take long walks. Often for an hour or so across the city to go somewhere (and then get the bus back). I don’t think I have ever seen sunrise in Asuncion, apart from the wrong side after a couple of parties, but back at home I can just look out of the window and watch the hills slowly getting lit up.