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photo credit: vito7
Paraguay is the second poorest country in South America right behind Bolivia. While it does not feel as poor with all the Mercedes Benz cars around, this is a rough country that becomes apparent on any bus journey. There is very little reason to come here except for the tasty chipa bread (when they don’t have dirt in them).
The surprise of South America may be that the girls of Paraguay are pretty cute, on par with a country like Peru but with lighter skin. The trend here is hair coloring so many girls are walking around with dirty blonde hair that matches well with their tan complexion. They are much friendlier than their neighbors in Argentina.
Internet per hour: $0.90
Hotel room per night: $16.00
Short taxi ride: $1.50
Postcard stamp: $1.50
Paraguay is not the safest country you’ll go to but it’s not obviously dangerous. Ask locals for areas to avoid and take cabs at night in cities.
South America On A Shoestring Guidebook
This is the guidebook that I used in my six month trip in South America. The maps are excellent, the information is complete and thorough, and the reviews are accurate, which is why it's often called "the bible" by many travelers. The only problem is that everyone else has this book so if you are the type of person that wants to hit the isolated small towns you will be disappointed. My advice is to use this book for its maps and information on getting from city to city, but talk to the locals and other travelers for those isolated gems that Lonely Planet for some reason didn't find worthy to include.
Spanish For Beginners
My copy of this book is so beat up and weathered it's disintegrating before my eyes. I took it with me to South America because I loved how it was organized in a logical way that kept me motivated to keep studying. Lessons start short and easy and increase in complexity as you tackle frustrating readings that help take you to the next level. The only downside of this book is that it was originally published in 1957 so some of the vocabulary is very dated. Still, you'll be hard-pressed to find a modern equivalent of this book whose teachings approach the same quality. Last time I checked you can grab a used copy from Amazon for less than a dollar.