Packing list for Paraguay
From Peace Corps Wiki
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Paraguay and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that every experience is unique. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have a 23 kilo, or 50 pound, weight restriction per bag, and a 2 bag limit. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Paraguay. There are modern shopping malls in Asunción. Most small appliances, such as blow dryers and CD players/radio, are available. Clothes can be purchased or made for a modest price, and thrift stores offer used American clothing.
The standard for work attire in Paraguay is neat and professional, but not fancy. This “business casual” applies during pre-service training as well as Volunteer service. Volunteers working in different professional capacities will need different sets of clothing although, in general, Volunteers should be prepared to have a couple of good business casual type outfits. For example, municipal services development, rural economic development, and Volunteers working within the school system will need more clothes for an office setting than will a Volunteer placed in a rural setting. Think in terms of comfort, versatility, and, most important, durability. Since there are extremes in weather, separates that coordinate well and that can be layered on or off as needed are useful.
Remember that it gets really hot in the summer and, although it does not freeze in the winter, homes in Paraguay are not insulated and are drafty-imagine going camping in 40°F weather. It is a very good idea to bring a mummy-type sleeping bag for the cold (comes with a stuff sack, is lightweight, and easy to pack). Thick-soled shoes are best purchased in the United States because of price and quality, and men’s sizes over 10.5 and women’s sizes over 9 are difficult to find in Paraguay.
It is also important to consider the color of your clothing. Volunteers generally recommend darker colors because they are less likely to show dirt. However, Volunteers working in beekeeping will need light-colored work clothes, and early elementary education Volunteers working with teachers should bring navy blue pants or skirts and white shirts or blouses. Red and royal blue are the colors of the main political parties. Wearing these colors inside a municipality may have political implications. Business casual is recommended for municipal services development Volunteers. For both men and women, simple, nonflashy clothing will open more doors and minds. Everything on the general clothing list applies to both women and men. Also, Paraguayans wear a shirt called Ao’poi for formal occasions as well as business casual which is very popular with Volunteers in Paragauy. Most Volunteers buy at least one of these shirts during training.
Do not pack anything precious or expensive that you could not reasonably part from. This includes laptop computers. While they may be a great tool, laptops increase the threat of theft and are susceptible to the exteme conditions in-country(humidity, dust, bugs etc.). The incidence of theft is on the rise, and Paraguay’s high humidity and dust can damage expensive equipment.
- Two or four pairs of durable, dark-colored pants or jeans
- Long underwear for the winter
- Six or more T-shirts
- One or two long-sleeved shirts or flannel shirts for layering with sweaters and sweatshirts
- Two winter sweaters/sweatshirts/fleece shirts
- One medium jacket (fleece generally works great, but other windbreaker types of jackets will work as well)
- Hooded raincoat
- Two or three pairs of shorts to wear around the house or for sleeping or exercising, etc.(Paraguayans very rarely wear shorts in public)
- Six to eight pairs of socks—include, cotton, wool, and synthetic blend (your personal favorite is best)
- Your favorite hat for sun protection (baseball hats work well, but wide-brimmed are best to keep the sun off your neck)
- Warm hat and gloves for winter—a necessity!
- Ten to 15 pairs of cotton underpants and five to 10 bras (including sports bras)
- Four or five nice shirts (this can include blouses, some sleeveless, nice long-sleeve or short-sleeve)
- Three or four lightweight, loose-fitting, knee-length skirts or lightweight pants (you should have at least one for nice occasions)
- Something nice for swearing in and special occasions (this can include nice pants, a skirt and blouse or dress)
- Three or four tank tops for layering (only for nonprofessional dress at home or exercise; tank tops should not be worn for training or professional activities)
- Swimsuit (you will wear them at Volunteers events.
Paraguayan women usually wear shorts and T-shirts to swim).
- Dress shirt and tie for swearing in and other special occasions
- Cotton underwear (boxers are difficult to find in Paraguay)
- Three or four short-sleeved, button-down shirts with collars for work settings (they are cooler in the summer than T-shirts or polo shirts)
- Three pairs of khaki-style pants
- Two pairs of durable, dark-colored pants or jeans
- Three to four short-sleeved, button-down shirts—if Volunteers don’t have these, the Ao’poi shirts are a great substitution!
- Swim trunks
- For women, one pair of flat shoes (in a basic color like black and with thick soles)
- At least one pair of sandals for summer (sandals are not normally worn by men at work)
- One pair of tennis shoes or all-terrain shoes, preferably in a dark color to hide the red dirt (good ones are expensive locally)
- Flip-flops (available locally)
- One pair of durable hiking or other boots (preferably waterproof)
- For men, one pair of informal, closed-toe dress shoes
Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
- Contact lens solutions (available in Paraguay but expensive)
- Makeup (if you are picky about brands)
- Good supply of tampons (only o.b. brand tampons, pads, and panty liners are available locally)
- Sunscreen (only if you have a favorite brand; the Peace Corps provides some)
- Three-month supply of any prescription drugs you use (to last you until the Peace Corps orders refills)
- Two pairs of eyeglasses, if you wear them
- Two or three bandannas or handkerchiefs (available locally)
- Extra toothbrushes (available in Paraguay, but expensive)
- Shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant (one-month supply)
- Small, basic cookbook and/or favorite recipes
- Dietary supplements you take other than multivitamins
- Ziploc bags (they are essential for keeping out bugs, ants, etc.) Miscellaneous
- Travel bag or small daypack
- Large backpack for longer trips (one with an internal frame is recommended)
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Sunglasses with UV protection (but note that most Paraguayans do not wear them, so they will set you apart)
- Set of sheets to fit a double-sized bed
- Washcloths and bath towels, preferably lightweight (available in Asunción, but expensive)
- Sleeping bag—considered essential by Volunteers, especially in winter.
- Portable CD player or iPOD and travelling speakers, (inexpensive, good-quality radios and tape players can be purchased locally)
- 220-volt adapter, preferably with a surge protector (small ones cost about $20 in Paraguay)
- Camera and replacement batteries (an expensive camera is not recommended without insurance)
- Portable games such as cards, Uno, checkers, chess, etc.
- Tent (optional)
- Travel alarm clock
- Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool
- Water bottle (e.g., Nalgene)
- Photos of your family, friends, and home (a good conversation starter)
- Duct tape (considered a must by many)
- Frisbee, baseball glove, and other recreational or sports equipment
- Prepaid phone card for calling home (can be purchased locally)
- Reference books (Peace Corps/Paraguay has a good general reference library for most work-related needs)
- Permanent markers (available locally, but expensive and of poor quality)
- Therm-a-Rest air mattress (great for visitors) or yoga mat (some Volunteers swear by these)
- Rechargeable batteries (regular batteries are available in Paraguay)
- Money belt or travel wallet/pouch to wear under clothes while travelling on bus
- USB flash drive (it doesn’t need to be fancy or big; in Paraguay, the USB drives works better than disks when transferring files to/from Peace Corps office to/from Internet cafes to/from other computers)