Asunción, the capital of Paraguay with a population of 500,000 is constantly ranking as one of the most affordable cities in the world. If you are retired and have your pension to live on you can probably stretch your savings a lot further than in any other part of the world.
When moving to Asuncion you should be aware that it can get extremely hot and humid and you will most certainly need air conditioning while living here. And when looking for a house you should pay special attention to a pool. A house with a pool goes a long way during the hot summer months and you will make lots of new friends when inviting people over for a pool party.
In order to find the ideal place to move to you will probably do some walking in order to get a feeling for the city. You will have to decide what is important for you, being close to parks, shopping, public transportation or a taxi stands? Do you want a quiet, sleepy neighbourhood or do you crave the hussle and bussle of the city?
There are various types of neighbourhood that will fit different lifestyles and budgets. If you wish you can import your lifestyle from USA or Europe and spend a similar amount of money, even living in gated communities if you so wish or live more simply, but still very comfortably, in a professional, middle class neighbourhood and pay around US$ 800.00 per month including rent, food, utility and internet bills.
Once you know the area you like you can ask around for houses that are on the market. Word of mouth is a very effective way to help you find what you are looking for because you can be sure that your taxi driver or the waitress at your favorite restaurant just knows somebody who wants to rent a property just in the area you like. Other ways is to check with the expat communities or read the online classifieds.
For foreigners renting in Paraguay, it is important to know that you will most likely be asked to present a cedula, the national ID card. Theoretically you have to be a resident of Paraguay to be able to rent long-term or find a local person to be your guarantor. But Paraguayans are flexible and there are landlords who ask for up to six months of rent in advance if you can’t provide your cedula or the guarantor.
Money changing is big business in Paraguay. Most banks will have a light board outside of their branches displaying their current exchange rates. Keeping an eye on them during your day-to-day dealings will become a fun and interesting exercise in currency exchange and when you are a renter you’ll have fun watching your costs fluctuate. One month your rent could be $800, then two months later it could be $700.
When you come from Europe, the US or Canada the uniformed armed guards (both police and private security) that you’ll see around Asunción or elsewhere in the country may be an upsetting sight. Uniforms are required so you know that these people are actually authorized to
carry the machine guns. The guards are a common sight in front of banks, change houses and upscale shopping malls. Due to the economic differences, there is a need to protect establishments (and patrons) where large amounts of cash are present, just like in the States.
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