Due to its central location on the continent, Paraguay is often referred to as the ‘Heart of America’ (or “Corazón de Sudamérica” in Spanish.) Bordered by Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia, the Republic of Paraguay is a landlocked country in central South America. The total population is estimated at 6.8 million and is spread across an area covering 406,752 square kilometers.
Paraguay has maintained much of its native culture with the traditional language Guaraní recognised as the official language, alongside Spanish. The citizens who make up a majority of the population are a mix of Spanish and Guarani origin. There are also smaller communities of non-nationals including Brazilians, Argentines, Germans, Spanish, Arabs, and a Jewish community, as well as increasing numbers of South East Asians. The capital city, Asunción, in particular has a growing expatriate community who have retained parts of their culture and language.
The country’s landscape can be divided into two main natural regions: the Paraneña and the Chaco. About 95 percent of Paraguay's population resides in the Paraneña region, even though it counts for only 40% of the country's landmass due to its, more predictable climate. The Paraneña region can be generally described as consisting of an area of highlands in the east that slopes toward the River Paraguay and becomes an area of lowlands along the river. The Chaco consists predominantly of lowlands, also inclined toward the River Paraguay, that are alternately flooded and parched.
The cost of living in Paraguay is low, with the capital, Asunción, consistently ranking as one of the most affordable cities in the world.
One of the more surprising facts about Paraguay is that it receives 99.9% of its electricity from hydroelectric plants with 75% of that coming from the Itaipu Dam. The Itaipu Dam is a binational hydroelectric dam run by Brazil and Paraguay on the Paraná River and the world’s second-largest hydroelectric power plant. Built in 1984 it was the largest until the Three Gorges Dam opened in China in 2008.
The Global Peace Index 2017 recognises Paraguay as the 5th safest country in South America and has improved their peace index due to improvements in Safety and Security.
This area of Paraguay enjoys a subtropical climate with only two distinct seasons which, being in the Southern Hemisphere, are opposite compared with North America or Europe. Summer lasts from October to March and winter from May to August. It is usually humid with abundant precipitation throughout the year and only moderate seasonal changes in temperature. Autumn and spring do not really exist.
Moist tropical air keeps the weather warm in the region from October through March. The seasonal average is about 24°C (75°F), with January—the warmest month—averaging 29°C (84.2°F). During the summer, daytime temperatures reaching 38°C (100°F) are fairly common. During the mild winters, July is the coldest month, with a mean temperature of about 18°C (64°F).
The average annual rainfall of 1333mm is fairly evenly distributed between October and May with a dry season lasting between June and September.
There is an average of 2803 hours of sunlight in Paraguay each year meaning 7 hours 40 minutes of sunshine every day. This is approximately 64% of daylight hours!
The longest day of the year is 13 hours 34 minutes long and the shortest day is 10 hours 25 minutes long.