Buses dominate transportation with cheap fares and reasonably efficient service. Journeys from the Brazilian or Argentine border to Bolivia (and everywhere in between) take 30 hours or less, depending on the start and end destinations. Boats are used between Asunción and central cities along the Rió Paraguay.
Your own wheels come at a cost, but can be worth it if there’s a few of you. Flexibility is your main advantage, although buses go most places accessible to a car. National Car Rental (021-492157; www.national.com.py; cnr Yegros 501 & Cerro Corá) in Asunción charges from US$35 per day (excluding insurance and mileage beyond 100km). Better deals are available for longer rentals.
Bus quality varies. No buses go from start to end without picking up someone (or something). Servicio removido makes flag stops; servicio directo collects passengers only at fixed locations; común is a basic bus that stops at fewer locations; ejecutivo is a faster, deluxe bus with toilets, a drink service and videos. It’s best to travel during the day and always ask for a ticket or receipt. Larger towns have central terminals. Elsewhere companies are within easy walking distance of each other. If you want a choice of seats buy your ticket early. If you want the best price, wait until the driver starts his engine and start bargaining.
Most taxi fares are metered. Drivers legally levy a 30% recargo (surcharge) between 10pm and 5am, and on Sunday and holidays.
Flights save time but cost more than buses. Transportes Aéreos Mercosur (TAM; www.tam.com.py)has daily flights from/to Buenos Aires; Cochabamba and Santa Cruz (Bolivia); Saõ Paolo; and Santiago; as well as Cidade del Este (US$40, 50 minutes). Bolivian carrier LAB shuttles between La Paz, Santa Cruz and Asunción. Varig (www.varig.com) has daily flights to Foz de Iguazú, Saõ Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The recent addition Brazilian GOL (www.voegol.com.br) heads to Brasilia and Buenos Aires.