Difference between revisions of "Ciudad del Este"
Revision as of 23:33, 17 May 2010
Ciudad del Este is a city in Paraguay. It is mainly a shopping destination for Brazilians and Argentinians. Apart from that the city is not very attractive.
The bus terminal is located in the southern part of the city, a bit hidden behind the stadium.
International Border Crossing
If you don't have a Brazil Visa, before boarding the bus, be sure that the bus will take you all the way across the Friendship Bridge and into Ciudad del Este. If it doesn't then it will drop you off right before the bridge and you will have to walk through immigration (exiting Brazil) and run the risk of being stopped and questioned by the Brazilian Federal Police about how you got into Brazil without a Visa. Explain to them that you only wanted to visit Ciudad del Este and were unaware that the bus wouldn't take you all the way. Also add that you will be returning straight to Puerto Iguazu (Argentina) at the end of the day. The Brazilian National Police official with whom the Author spoke was fluent English and Spanish and allowed the Author exit Brazil across the bridge without having to pay for a Brazilian Visa. For information regarding getting back into Brazil without a Visa to catch the same bus back, please view the "get out" section of this article.
If you are transiting Paraguay (i.e. not coming back across the same border the same day), you will have to go to the Paraguayan customs office just past the bridge. Citizens of Mercosul are granted entry just with their ID, others need a passport. The stories of bribings and scams in the Paraguayan customs offices are frequent. Make sure you get everything you're supposed to get when they check your passport and/or ID. Those that handle them the ID should receive back, along with the ID, a formulary with the arrival stamp in it. If you're with the passport, you'll only receive the usual stamp on the page.
A common trick is not handing the stamped paper back with the ID; that way you cannot prove having legally entered the country. If so you'll certainly be asked for money for the exit to be granted.
If you arrive with your own car make sure you find a parking lot (usually the local touts will lead you to one. However, if you do not feel comfortable with the situation you still can research a parking lot in advance as some of them have websites on the Internet.
Shopping is the main business of the visitors. The main shopping streets are Av. San Blas and Camilo Recalde, where you can buy about anything and everything. Many people come for electronics.
A WARNING: If you want to buy electronics such as cellphones or cameras, the procedure shall be as follows:
Ask to test the device, if it works DO NOT give it back to the shopkeeper/assistant as some of them exchange them with faulty versions or hand the box back filled with paper or other but certainly not with what you just bought.
Due to the premium placed on street-front property, Ciudad del Este's eateries and dining establishments are commonly found inside multi-leveled shopping malls and are relatively scarce on the main street of San Blas.
To leave Ciudad del Este back across the Friendship bridge one has 3 options.
1) Walk back across the bridge and wait in line at Brazilian immigration along with scores of people returning from Shopping.
2) Take a bus from the bus terminal that goes into Brazil or directly to Puerto Iguazu and wait in the long line of cars.
3) Hire a motorcycle to take you across the bridge through the line specifically for Motorcycles that is rarely ever stopped by immigration officials. This can be rather dangerous as the driver will weave in and out of incoming traffic. This option is by far the quickest and took the Author 3 minutes to get from one end of the Friendship Bridge on the Paraguayan side, to the other end of the bridge on the Brazilian side - Past immigration. Cost = 10 Argentine Pesos