Paraguay is only beginning to embrace an internet culture and is one of the least wiredâ countries in Latin America. Personal computers are still rare outside of the upper classes, and home internet connections are not yet widespread. Most people access the internet at work (if they have office jobs) or through cyber cafes. Though many businesses do not have websites, an increasing number do have a presence online via popular social networking sites such as Facebook or Orkut. Though businesses may list an email address, responding to emails in a timely fashion is rarely a priority. For rapid responses, a phone call is always best.
Cyber cafes (ciberâ) are common even in the countryside, though connection speeds can vary from decent to painfully slow. Most computers have Skype installed, and all have MSN messenger. If you plan to communicate via Skype, it is best to bring your own headset. Caution should be taken when using USB pen drives in cyber cafes their anti-virus software is often out of date.
All cell phone companies offer USB internet services whereby users connect to the internet through the cell phone network via a pen drive, which contains a SIM card. Both monthly and pay-as-you-go plans are available. For the latter, credit, or saldo, is loaded onto the chip as if it were a cell phone.
Sidebar: It is becoming increasingly common for main plazas in cities and larger towns to offer free Wi-Fi. As always, however, you should be careful when using fancy devices such as laptops or smart phones in public.
Sidebar: On Spanish language keyboards the @ sign is typed by hitting Alt Gr (on the right-hand side of the space bar) and the number 2 or by hitting Alt and the number 64.
Correo Paraguay (www.correoparaguayo.gov.py), the national mail service, is fairly reliable for sending and receiving letters, but not fast. Packages, unfortunately, are more susceptible to snooping and theft. Post offices are located throughout Paraguay. The weight limit for packages is twenty kilos. Postal workers must first verify the contents of all packages before shipping them Therefore, it’s best to seal the package only after it’s been checked thoroughly at the post office. Unless packaging is completely unmarked, all boxes and trunks must be covered in brown paper (this can be purchased at bookstores or librenas). Bring your own tape as the post office rarely has enough.
Items that are time sensitive or valuable should be shipped via international courier, although you pay a premium for the peace of mind.
DHL Offices in Asuncion, San Lorenzo, Caaguazu, Coronel Oviedo, Villarica, and Ciudad del Este. www. dhl. com.py