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Is San Bernardino in Paraguay Safe?

San Bernardino in Paraguay is generally safe for tourists, though petty crime like pickpocketing is common in crowded areas. Violent crime rates are relatively low, but disputes can escalate quickly. Insect-borne diseases like dengue fever and Zika are risks, so take preventative measures. Road safety is a concern due to poor infrastructure and reckless driving. Respecting local customs and being culturally sensitive is advised.

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Safety & Security

San Bernardino in Paraguay is generally considered safe for travelers, but it's important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, can occur in crowded areas and tourist hotspots. Violent crime, while relatively uncommon, is a possibility, especially in certain neighborhoods.

  • Petty Crime: Remain vigilant in crowded areas, such as markets and public transportation, and keep valuables secure. Avoid displaying expensive items or carrying large amounts of cash.

  • Violent Crime: While rare, incidents of armed robbery and assault have been reported. Avoid isolated areas, especially at night, and exercise caution when withdrawing money from ATMs.

  • Scams: Be wary of common scams targeting tourists, such as overcharging for goods or services, fake tour guides, and taxi scams. Only use licensed taxis or ride-sharing services.

  • Civil Unrest: Monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities in case of any civil disturbances or political tensions, which can sometimes turn violent.

  • Disputes: Avoid confrontations and disputes, as they can escalate quickly. If faced with a difficult situation, remain calm and seek assistance from local authorities or your embassy/consulate.

While San Bernardino is generally safe, it's crucial to stay vigilant, follow common-sense precautions, and be aware of your surroundings to minimize risks and ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Health & Medical

Travelers to San Bernardino in Paraguay should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. While the city has decent medical facilities, it's advisable to get vaccinated against common illnesses like hepatitis A, typhoid, and yellow fever before your trip. Insect-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria are also a concern, so use insect repellent and cover up when outdoors.

  • Vaccinations: Ensure you're up-to-date on routine vaccinations and consider getting shots for hepatitis A, typhoid, and yellow fever.
  • Insect-borne diseases: Dengue fever, malaria, and Zika virus are present in Paraguay. Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves/pants to avoid mosquito bites.
  • Water and food safety: Drink only bottled or purified water and avoid raw or undercooked food to prevent waterborne illnesses.
  • Air pollution: San Bernardino has moderate air pollution levels, which may aggravate respiratory conditions.
  • Medical facilities: The city has decent public and private medical facilities, but quality may vary. Consider travel health insurance for emergencies.

Natural Disasters

San Bernardino in Paraguay experiences a subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and mild, dry winters. While natural disasters are not a major concern, travelers should be aware of the following:

  • Thunderstorms and Heavy Rainfall: The region experiences frequent thunderstorms and heavy rainfall during the summer months (November to March), which can lead to flash floods and disruptions in transportation.

  • Droughts: Occasional droughts can occur during the winter months, leading to water shortages and potential wildfires in rural areas.

  • Heatwaves: Extreme heat waves are common during the summer, with temperatures often exceeding 35°C (95°F). Travelers should take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses.

  • Earthquakes: While not a high-risk area, Paraguay is located in a seismically active region, and minor earthquakes can occur occasionally.

It's advisable for travelers to monitor weather forecasts, stay hydrated, and follow local advisories during their visit to San Bernardino. Additionally, having travel insurance that covers natural disasters is recommended.


Transportation in San Bernardino, Paraguay is generally safe but requires caution. Public transportation options are limited, with buses being the primary mode of travel within the city and to nearby towns. Buses are reasonably reliable but can be crowded during peak hours. Taxis are available but should be booked through reputable companies to avoid scams.

  • Road safety is a concern due to poorly maintained roads, lack of proper signage, and reckless driving habits. Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution when crossing streets.

  • Rental cars are an option for those comfortable with navigating the city's chaotic traffic. However, driving at night is not recommended due to poor lighting and the increased risk of accidents or criminal activity.

  • For longer distances, intercity buses and shared taxis are available but may lack proper safety standards. Conducting thorough research and booking through reputable providers is advisable.

  • Motorcycle taxis, known as "mototaxis," are a popular but risky transportation option, as they often weave through traffic and disregard traffic laws. Using helmets and negotiating fares in advance is recommended if choosing this mode of transport.

Cultural Norms

Respecting the culture in San Bernardino, Paraguay is essential for a smooth and enriching travel experience. This charming city boasts a rich blend of indigenous Guarani and Spanish colonial influences, reflected in its vibrant traditions and customs.

  • Festivals and Events: San Bernardino celebrates various religious and cultural festivals throughout the year, such as the Fiesta Patronal de San Bernardino in August, honoring the city's patron saint. Attending these events offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.

  • Dress Code: While casual attire is generally acceptable, it's advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or attending cultural events. Covering shoulders and knees is recommended to show respect for local customs.

  • Language and Etiquette: Although Spanish is the official language, many locals also speak Guarani. Learning a few basic phrases in both languages can go a long way in building rapport with the friendly locals. Additionally, greeting elders with respect and avoiding public displays of affection are appreciated gestures.

  • Indigenous Culture: San Bernardino has a significant indigenous Guarani population. Respecting their traditions, such as seeking permission before photographing individuals or sacred sites, is crucial. Visiting local artisan markets and engaging with indigenous communities can provide valuable cultural insights.

Embracing the rich cultural tapestry of San Bernardino, Paraguay, with an open mind and respectful demeanor will undoubtedly enhance your travel experience and create lasting memories.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in San Bernardino, Paraguay are limited, especially for foreign travelers. The availability and reliability of emergency services can vary greatly depending on the specific location within the city. In general, the quality of emergency services is not up to the standards of many Western countries.

  • Medical Facilities: There are a few public hospitals and clinics in San Bernardino, but they often lack adequate resources and staff. Private medical facilities are generally better equipped but can be expensive for travelers without proper insurance coverage.

  • Police and Fire Services: The police and fire departments in San Bernardino have limited resources and response times can be slow, especially in remote areas. Language barriers can also pose challenges for foreign travelers when dealing with these services.

  • Tourist-Specific Services: There are no dedicated emergency services specifically for tourists in San Bernardino. Travelers are advised to contact their respective embassies or consulates in case of emergencies or for assistance.

It is recommended that travelers purchase comprehensive travel insurance and familiarize themselves with the emergency contact information provided by their accommodation or tour operators before arriving in San Bernardino.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is San Bernardino safe for tourists?

San Bernardino in Paraguay is generally safe for tourists. However, it's advisable to exercise caution and avoid isolated areas, especially at night. Petty crimes like bag snatching and pickpocketing can occur. Tourists should also be vigilant when using public transportation and in crowded areas.

Is San Bernardino safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers should exercise caution in San Bernardino, Paraguay. While not overly dangerous, it's recommended to avoid walking alone at night and in isolated areas. Dress modestly and be aware of your surroundings. Harassment can occur, so it's best to travel with others when possible.

Is San Bernardino safe for families?

San Bernardino in Paraguay is generally safe for families with children. However, parents should be vigilant and keep a close eye on their children, especially in crowded areas. It's advisable to avoid isolated areas and travel with a guide or in groups. Proper precautions should be taken to ensure a safe and enjoyable family trip.

Is San Bernardino LGBTQ+ friendly?

While same-sex relationships are legal in Paraguay, LGBTQ+ rights are limited. Same-sex marriage is not recognized, and discrimination and social stigma persist. LGBTQ+ travelers should exercise caution and avoid public displays of affection. Research local laws and customs before traveling.

Do you need a visa to go to San Bernardino?

Most visitors from Western countries, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, do not require a visa for stays up to 90 days in Paraguay. However, a valid passport is mandatory, and visitors should ensure their passport has at least six months of validity remaining.

Can you drink tap water in San Bernardino?

It's generally not recommended to drink tap water in San Bernardino, Paraguay, due to potential contamination. Stick to bottled or purified water, especially for drinking and brushing teeth. Avoid consuming tap water, ice cubes, or fresh produce washed with tap water.

What is the currency in San Bernardino?

The official currency in San Bernardino, Paraguay, is the Paraguayan Guaraní (PYG). While credit cards are accepted in some establishments, it's advisable to carry cash, especially in smaller towns and rural areas. US dollars are also widely accepted in tourist areas.

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