ABOUT A landlocked country, it has a total land area of 157,048 square miles and along the north borders Bolivia and Brazil, Argentina to the south, Brazil to the east and Bolivia and Argentina to the west. Arriving in Paraguay you will fly into Silvio Pettirossi aiport, 10 miles from Asunción, rather than an overland crossing from Argentina, Brazil or Bolivia. Arriviang from Bolivia is particularly difficult due to road conditions and road blocks and is not recommended. Bus service is a good way to get around to most of the country. You can choose a servicio directo stopping only at scheduled stops or the servicio removido which you can flag down as necessary. You might want to schedule plenty of time for a ride on one of the ancient wood-burning trains. These are of great interest to railway buffs and offer a very inexpensive if slow means of travel. The service may be shut down for months at a time so plan accordingly. The exception is the short run from Asunción to Areguá Areguá on Lago Ypacaraí which is higher and cooler and therefore a pleasant resort area. The Guaraní have been living in Paraguay since before the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century The Guarani Indians are a vital force in Paraguayan history and culture and you'll appreciate their spirit when you visit the Jesuit Ruins. Two of the seven Reduction sites are listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by Unesco but all the ruins are tourist attractions.

CLIMATE Located on the Tropic of Capricorn, Paraguay enjoys a climate that varies from temperate to hot during the majority of the year, with an average temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The Eastern Region enjoys a more humid and rainy climate; the Western Region is arid and dry. Summers are long, with temperatures that reach 105 degrees on peak days; winters are mild and short, albeit in the months of July and August, some days the temperature can dip down to 0 degrees centigrade.

BEWARE Armed assaults and pick-pocketing on public transport and in areas frequented by foreigners are increasing. Many foreigners choose to use taxis in preference to public transport for security and convenience. Be particularly alert in downtown Asunción, Ciudad del Este and Pedro Juan Caballero, and avoid walking around in these areas after dark. Although foreigners are not routinely targeted, you should remain vigilant at all times. Instances of serious violent crime, including kidnapping, have increased lately, weapons can easily be obtained in Paraguay and are routinely carried.