It is still considered polite for men to shake hands when they meet. Between a man and a woman or two women, it is customary to shake hands and give a kiss on each cheek. Similarly, when meeting people, they don’t ask how you are, but if everything is fine (“¿todo bien?”). The answer to that is always, yes everything, and you, (“si estoy bien y vos?”) Even if you are having a terrible day, when someone asks you, like an acquaintance in the street, you always answer yes everything.
Even if you are given food, you are obliged to eat it and say that it is good (rico in Spanish). Saying the opposite to someone you don’t know can be considered cheeky and rude.
In Paraguay, due to the small number of tourists and foreigners, people may joke or make fun of you when you first meet them. This is not meant to be rude, but simply to acknowledge the differences between you and them, and should not be interpreted in an offensive way. Paraguayans, like Argentines, have a very biting sense of humour, especially in the cities and among the young.
It is very difficult to find people who speak English in most parts of the country, but if you are very patient and try to communicate in Spanish or with signs, most Paraguayans will try to help you. Those who can will often seek you out and start a conversation themselves, eager to try their English. People are very friendly and helpful and are happy to meet a foreigner.
Punctuality and perception of time
Paraguayans have little awareness of the value and importance of time. Nothing runs on time, and being a few minutes late to a meeting is not uncommon and is considered rude. Flights and buses are almost always expected to be late.