Its true the RoadBlocks are ridiculous. Can you imagine the damage they do to their own economy. In Encarnacion when its Carnaval time, the police show up in droves. There is a zero limit on Alcohol and driving meaning one sip and you're done. The ATM's fees are an abuse within themselves, there is a $5 upfront fee and the limit is $300.00. So that $300 transaction will will cost you $305.00 plus the Bank Fee, Itau Bank for instance is another $7.15 and don't forget the US bank fee of $5 plus 3% of the amount. Total Charge $26.15 for those $300.00. Better off wiring the cash to yourself for $7 (Western Union)
Your post is so overwhelmingly negative I wasn't initially going to respond but the more I thought about it the more I thought it unfair to let such a post remain "unchallenged" as others may put more validity to your comments if not rebutted.
While a few of the points you make are valid complaints we all have here, such as overall corruption and police checkpoints for instance, most of the others are totally ridiculous.
For instance as to your claim that Asuncion is "dangerous". Asuncion is less dangerous than any similar sized city in N. America. Maybe if you laid down in the middle of the street in the worst barrio at 2 am naked with $100 bills pasted to your body, you'd be in danger. Otherwise just bit of common sense that god gives any adult will suit you just fine. As a prime example. Look at the streets in most barrio's at the beginning and end of the school day. They are filled with kids walking home alone, many of them even riding the city bus's on their own. I have never seen this in the places I lived int he US (Texas, NM, Alabama, NC, VA and Indiana) since the 1960's.
And where did you ever get the idea that Paraguay is an "offshore" banking destination? Even Paraguayan's don't like to keep their money here. Although banks are much safer than in say Argentina or the US, you'd still be foolish to keep your life savings in one.
While it is getting more expensive as the economy improves and more outsiders come in, it is still cheaper here than in any other expat country in S. America. At least in terms of rent, food, utilities.
While I get the fact your a disgruntled expat not happy that PY hasn't lived up to your somewhat unrealistic expectations, I have some bad news for you. You seem to have missed one major point about Paraguay somewhere along the line of deciding to give it a try and that is that it is the FREAKIN" THIRD WORLD !! If you had kept that in mind before coming here, you probably would of been a little less surprised when encountering third world realities. You ain't in Kansas no more…...
Relating to danger, I was not clear, I meant danger from death from being run over by cars, not criminal danger. I have been almost killed on numerous occasions along with many people I know ending up in hospital or being killed even.
I said the information about offshore banking because this is important to many expat people. I found a lot of false information about Paraguay's taxation and banking which was one of the main reasons I came to Paraguay to begin with. Upon arriving and further exploration I found the information I found on the internet prior to arriving to have been false. I am merely warning people of this.
I posted simple warnings to save people money that they may not have to travel to all the countries they wish to research based on false information that I read on the internet before I came here. If the things I have posted do not bother certain people and they have the money to travel here from Europe or North America they can find other things to enjoy about the place outside of the cities, but now they will be better informed as to what to expect.
OffshoreExodus, you are right on on your post. Its a tough being in Paraguay and living off US based funds. Also the indiscriminate roadblocks do nothing more than harass and intimidate foreigners. Its not a good place to live anymore unless you have steady employment or your own business. But the Bank Fees man, they kill you! In just 3 Months I paid over $400 on Bank fees! Not worth it. Read in another post to open an account in Paraguay, that's a joke, some banks don't even have online access, Besides, then you have to report it on your income taxes, etc. Just wire the money to yourself in Dollars then exchange it! Because of the Argentinian Crisis try to avoid Western Union as they are hogging dollars. Better off with MoneyGram!
His or Her post is right on! Paraguay is a very dangerous place and the danger should not be ignored. People read this post and make decisions based on what is posted. True crime can happen anywhere in Paraguay there is NO JUSTICE. How many people are arrested and charged? NONE! There is No Investigation of anything, the police is a joke!
I still believe strongly that anyone who thinks Paraguay is a "dangerous" country to live in hasn't lived anywhere else but PY, or maybe northwestern Europe or New Zealand. I was in law enforcement in the US and saw more crime in a weekend in a mid size city I worked in than I've seen in nearly a year here in the greater ASU area.
And as for the checkpoints I love 'em. They are designed to get the idiots who don't have drivers licenses, registration or insurance off the road (yeah your right the traffic and the drivers here suck - and the road blocks cuts down on that). And as for the DUI issue, it's simple. If you don't want to get arrested for it, then don't drink and then drive, period. Look at any traffic police building and you'll see literally hundreds of moto's that they've confiscated and dozens of cars from the checkpoints. And that's a good thing. And of course you have to admit that the second thing the road blocks are designed for is to increase the traffic cops pocket change. But then if your not screwing up they can't put the bite on you. Or if they try just call their bluff. But with all the stops we've gone thru, no bribe was solicited or demanded unless they "had us" for breaking the law. In our case the damn "drive with lights on always law". Once we just accepted the ticket (Gs 225,000 in Luque). The other time we bargained the cop down to Gs 100,000. In that case we both left happy! Like I posted earlier, it's the third world, you have to live with these things. Or of course you can always leave and go somewhere your more comfortable with.
You I read your post and I cannot believe what are saying? It just doesn't make sense! First the fact that you saw more crime in whatever midsize City in a weekend does say much. The reason is people in the USA actually call the police. In Paraguay nobody calls unless something major happens, i.e. Murder, etc. So your analogy and comparison is way off! YOU LOVE ROADBLOCKS? Really? Its not the same as in the USA, because in the USA there is accountability. They can only stop you for so long, maybe a couple of seconds and then there is other suspicion, such as no D.L. or a strong odor of Alcoholic beverage then you are free to go. Also a news release is made and there is always some sort of after action reports. But most of all there is high probability that the Officer you come in contact with is educated. If you are wrong then you are ticketed of if you are DUI than you arrested, right? And also they always put up a sign warning you of the roadblock and gives you an avenue of escape. This is the law in the USA! So there is no comparison! In Paraguay the COPS are corrupt, no accountability or education. They are thieves in Uniforms, period. Now the fact that you as an ex-law enforcement take part in bribes! This in itself is very troubling! I thought Police personnel were above reproach! Now the part about drinking and driving you are also way off! It is not and never has been illegal in the USA to drink and drive. It is illegal to have a BAC level of .08 or above, So you could have a beer and drive on the USA as long as normal faculties are not impared. But in ASU, one sip and you are done. And if you happen to use mouthwash you are also done! There is no comparison!
Like I said, you aren't in Kansas anymore %^) ! It seems to me you're trying to judge Paraguay by the standards of where you came from (US I assume) and your shocked and upset it doesn't measure up. What did you expect??? What part of "I'm moving to a poor 3rd world country" didn't you understand?
Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I got it that your a very disenchanted expat. Not sure what terrible thing you've had happen to you but from the way you sound Paraguay is like Iraq. Your so "over the top" in your negativity it's amazing to me. We obviously are having two completely opposite experiences in the same country. I live 30 KM's outside Asuncion proper and drive into the city about once or twice a week. I have family that lives in Asuncion, Luque and Cde del Este. So I don't think I'm living in some kind of protected bubble cut off from normal Paraguay life.
As for being so shocked and irate about the local norms (bribes), well if you want to take the high road and "show these savages the way they're supposed to act - by gawd !" then have it. I'm sure your outrage will have quite the impact. At least to your own blood pressure level.
But as you and I are only two people, and arguing like this is not productive, I would recommend anyone either here or thinking of coming here that wants a much larger population of local expats to check with for first hand experiences, go to the FaceBook page "Expats en Paraguay" and check out how others are managing here. At last count there's over 1200 of us on that site.
In closing I'll just say that most get it that you make trade off's when you move from the 1st world to the 3rd world. And for many of us those tradeoff's are mostly in the positive column. But if they should ever move into the "negative column" than I and many I would think would simply pack up and move on. Because after all, that's how we all got here to begin with… or most of us at least. Cheers!
Sorry, I was not insulting you, no offense intended. I was an expat living in Asuncion and Encarnacion respectfully. True, indeed I did not like Paraguay at all. So I left in February and never looked back! Unfortunately, I try to contact as ,many Americans as possible and warn them not to go! But you have family there so you are in a different boat. Good Luck!
I made a post earlier but it didn't show up. I was saying something like my original post was a simple warning, not telling people not to go to Paraguay ok. I am just trying to save some people some money if the things in my list are some of the most important things to them, if not then there are many other things in Paraguay that are better Then Europe or Asia or North America such as cheap land to live a farming lifestyle and affordable labor to work for you. Learn to speak Spanish before you get here though and be properly prepared for everything on my list. Cheerio.
i noticed much more often, that people keeping in place are way more present on forum that those ( for multiple reasons ) have left the place. That contributes to give a "positive halo" to a destination that in true ( freedom of speach ) is not that appealing at all. For me, it sure helped me a great deal to consider my country - Portugal - as a better place to be !
Makes sense what you say anibalventura as it would be only natural for those who have successfully integrated into a new country to remain engaged on forums like this. And be willing to share their positive experiences. While those who were unsuccessful and left wouldn't normally waste the time focusing on a place that hadn't worked out for them or appealed to them anymore.
But anyone considering a place to go to live should consider both sides of the experience. And more importantly, never base a decision on where to live on simply the basis of "internet advice". Because as this thread shows, different people can have completely opposite views and experiences in any country.
im force to agree with you. The only thing i shoul dhave done and didnt, was to go way inside rural areas to get a better look at "traditional" way of live, and what it could offer to expat prospecters.
You know, there is another place to go which is not Third World or corrupt and much better than Paraguay: It is Chile. See www.EscapeAmericaNow.info
I think the net commentary on Paraguay is correct, although there is always a means to get citizenship if you live there and go through the channels and hoops. Still as bad as it is, Paraguay would be better than most Latin American countries, especially for farmers. The ranking: Chile, (big gap), Panama, Colombia, (big gap), Peru, Paraguay. Forget Ecuador, Costa Rica, México, Belize, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil. All of those places are bad choices.
For anyone choosing one of the LatAm countries to head to, the "best choice(s)" are often very personally specific based on a persons criteria of what they are looking for in their new home. As you really don't list what criteria you used in coming to your list of countries (although I could guess a few of them), I'll list mine that drove me to Paraguay and I think many others who have ended up here: Low cost of living. Stability of economy. Availability of cheap real estate for foreigners. Ease of gaining residency for foreigners. Low/non existent taxes on local or foreign sources of income for residents. Abundant supplies of fresh water, renewable and cheap electrical power and local food supply. Low threat of catastrophic natural disasters like earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, extreme weather. Low threat of violent civil unrest or political turmoil. These are the big positives and of course there are tradeoffs in other areas. But again, you have to just make informed decisions on what criteria are important to you and select the option or country that best meets them.
Paraguay is not for everyone. Expats who move to Paraguay are drawn to the low cost of living, low taxes and stable economy. But, expats living in Paraguay warn newcomers about rampant corruption; hazardous conditions for drivers and pedestrians; and lack of modern amenities.