Make a weekend trip to the South’s capital Encarnacion, a pleasant relaxed city on the border with Argentina. The main square is a pleasant place to relax and watch the world go by. There are some beaches along the river with a new boardwalk to walk along and a large natural reserve. Allow £50 for a weekend for bus and budget hotel.
Placement at a glance
|Age||18yrs + on arrival|
|Volunteer options||Cultural experience and Spanish immersion is the focus. Volunteers can also set up informal after school English classes with local children.|
|Support||Pre-departure help desk, and 24hr emergency support although mobile signals can be intermittent in rural areas. Internet cafes by bus in nearby towns, 40 mins.|
|Project location||Rural locations within 2 hours of capital Asuncion|
|Accommodation||Volunteers stay with host families|
|Working hours||Variable according to individual volunteer's interests.|
|Language||Basic Spanish will be essential to get the most out of your stay. Host families do not speak English.|
|Getting to project||Flight to Asuncion. Or coach from Buenos Aires in Argentina or Rio in Brazil (approx £70).|
|Minimum stay||1 week. 2 to 3 weeks is recommended.|
|Project operates||15th July to 5th September.|
|When to apply||As early as possible as places are limited|
|Costs||Stay for free up to 4 weeks & £125 (Registration to join OV which provides a year of volunteering without registering again)|
|Airport Pick-up Service||Available for all volunteers. Allow approx. £40|
- 5 minutes
- 10 minutes
- 20 minutes
- Bus nearest stop 10 minutes
- Taxi rank 5 minutes
- Cash machine 20 minutes
- Bank 20 minutes
- Pay Phone 5 minutes
- Internet Access 1 hour
- Laundry- On-site + small fee
Basics, what to take?
- Summer weight sleeping bag
Accommodation is rustic so bring all you can from home. Although most visitors bring only a sleeping bag and pillow it is a good idea to bring some extras just in case you need them or you would prefer to have your own space. It can also be rather chilly between July and August when the sun goes down so here are our recommendations to make sure you are covered: Sleeping bag which goes down to minus 10 Celsius. Blanket
Large warm jumper worn with hoodie and puffy jacket over the top. A small tent with fly sheet. Thermarest camping mat (foam and air combination to keep you off the cold floor – can be warmer than a camp bed). Plastic cup with handle, personal utensil set, tin opener, plastic bowl and plastic plate. All other basics can be borrowed from the family or bought in town. Woolly hat, puffy jacket, gloves, walking boots and trainers. Small kettle and favourite snacks from home. Nescafe can be bought locally but good tea which does not taste of dust is hard to find so bring all you can from home. A plastic airtight food container will come in useful for biscuits and bread. Definitely bring a good dictionary, preferably Latin American Spanish if you can find one, for aiding conversations with the family. A Latin American phrasebook will also be a good idea. Croc sandals with socks (!) have been recommended by some previous visitors as they keep your feet higher out of the dirt than flip flops, are warm when worn with socks but a break from boots and no need to wait for them to dry. And after all of the above on the weather, it can still get quite warm during the day so you will still need some warm weather clothes too; shorts, t-shirts and a swimset for the stream.
Meet the project team
Your Paraguayan host family will provide you with all the support you need during your stay. They are used to hosting visitors and helping to gather the children for an after school class if you would like to teach a small group. Bring a Latin American dictionary and phrasebook to ensure your conversations flow smoothly as there will be many nights spent sitting around the fire chatting.
Images and videos of Paraguay
Many of our returning Paraguay volunteers send us photos and videos of their positive experiences in Americas. Click on the images and films below to get an idea of what to expect volunteering at this project.
Photo album by Sidley Carswell
Accommodation with a local host family is provided for all participating volunteers. An airport pick up from Asuncion airport will be provided straight to your host family. Transfer time is approximately 2.5 hours.
We consider this project ideal if you…
- Want an insight into the unique Paraguayan culture in a tourist-free location off-the-backpacker-trail.
- Are an independent or experienced traveller with a pro-active approach to volunteering.
- Really want to submerse yourself in an unfamiliar back to basics culture
- Are thinking of combining this project with our Argentina project (24 hours by coach, approx. £70), or Peru (flight to Cuzco or 3-4 days overland on the backpacking route via Bolivia)
Only 4 hours away via coach, volunteers can easily take a weekend to visit the mighty Iguassu Falls in Foz. Buy a ticket in advance from the bus terminal in Asuncion. To the south, the most popular place to visit is the Jesuit ruins. It is easy to book a tour here via the local tourist office in Calle Palma in the centre of Asuncion after arrival.
Paraguay specific questions
Do I need any experience? Not at all. Volunteers, or more accurately put, cultural exchange visitors, are needed to simply live with the family, acknowledge their rural way of life and get involved alongside local people whether helping with livestock, mending a fence, collecting firewood or teaching a class to local children after school. Will I be met on arrival? All volunteers are met at the airport in Asuncion on arrival. This is the easiest way to arrive as independent travel on public transport can be lengthy involving two or three changes and the last bus might not be running if you arrive after 9 in the morning. Where will I be staying? Most volunteers stay their host families in basic accommodation between the small provincial towns of Pirebebuy, Caacupe and Paraguari. Are visas required for Paraguay? Visas are not required for UK/European passport holders on short visits. An entry date will simply be stamped in your passport. What are the start dates? There are no start dates but Monday or Tuesday is recommended so you can get over your journey and make friends with your host family before your first weekend when everyday family routines might change. Can I stay with my friend? All volunteers arriving with friends or other volunteers are placed together with the same family. However, we do recommend to get the most out of your stay that you choose a different routine to your friend on a few days of the week to create a personal experience that is unique to you, enables the family to get to you know you better and provides greater opportunity and incentive to improve your Spanish. I am worried about travelling on my own – can I buddy up with someone? On this programme there is a high chance that you may be the only volunteer as places are limited. If you would like to volunteer on a cultural immersion program amongst a larger volunteer community then our Kenya Masai cultural experience might be an ideal alternative. Will I need any jabs? We advise all volunteers to consult a trained travel health nurse a few weeks before travel for up to date advice as you may require some boosters (Taken from the nhs website fitfortravel 17/08/14). Cholera is not required. Do I need to bring anything for the children? Winter coats are always in demand between July and August when the temperature drops. Most children only have jumpers to wear and it can get more than a bit chilly up in the hills, cheap puff jackets and woolly hats would be great for 4 to 11 year olds. Should I bring anything for me? The ground is grassy and can get muddy after rain so walking boots are the best footwear. Socks can take longer to dry in the winter too so bring plenty! Here are some more ideas to make your stay more comfortable: A super warm sleeping bag (that can cope with minus 5 – 10. Days of 17 – 20 Celsius during the day can be followed by nights of zero. A fleece liner/extra blanket. Basic camping gear from plastic bowl, mug, utensils, plastic container for food/snack storage, favourite packet sauces, travel kettle. Warm clothes and layers are essential as it can take some time to get used to outdoor living if you have arrived after warm summer weather at home. Some volunteers have previously taken their own small tents and a thermal thermarest camping mat whilst others have preferred to stay in a spare room or a hut, the voice is yours, although camping equipment can be hard to find in the capital and may be overpriced compared to what you can get at home. How can I keep in touch with home? Signal is quite poor so although always essential to bring an unlocked phone from home and buy a sim card on arrival, you may have to get closer to the town to be able to get messages form home. Internet cafes in all local towns and buses go in at least once a day, usually between 06:30 and 08:00 and often again between 12:00 and 13:30 although if you take a midday bus you will need to get a taxi back as the last bus from most valleys at midday do not make a return journey.
Contact us for specific questions
We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. We pride ourselves in the vast knowledge of our projects and are always willing to share. Pop us an email [email protected] to get the answers you need!
Vero Musitano – Review
I spent 4 weeks in Paraguay living with the family and overall I would say it was a life changing experience. It made me stronger as a person and more able to handle things on my own. The family were wonderfully friendly, far more than I had expected and went out of their way to help me. They even offered me their o...
Jules Bradford – Review
I arrived in Paraguay after two months travelling around Bolivia, Argentina and Peru and staying in hostels. I chose the project because I wanted to stay in one place and soak up the local life. It was also a more affordable option to live with a family than in a hotel and easier to meet local people. During my stay...
Laura Hawes – Review
Why did you want to volunteer? To make a difference in a poor community. Do you feel you made a difference, how? Yes by teaching the children and showing an interest in their lives, many of them had very little and one family still lived on ...Read More
Sam Connelly – Paraguay
Who do you remember? The family were helpful and friendly. They did everything they could within their means to support and help me with everything I needing from washing my clothes to showing me around and where everything was. I could not ever tha...Read More
Lauren Webster – Paraguay
Why did you want to volunteer? To make a difference and learn about another culture. Do you feel you made a difference, how? Yes. I helped plant some peppers and helped the neighbour’s children with their maths homework. What did you do fo...Read More