Yesterday my father and I hooked up with Francisco Leri, the owner of a Paraguay-based Outdoors & Adventure Company. I met Francisco through a mutual friend named Juan Carlos. Juan operates ARB Chile, a Santiago-based 4x4 retail shop. The introduced took me by surprise at the 2008 SEMA convention near the Warn booth.
When I found out Francisco was an enterprising 4x4 enthusiast I knew I had to hook up with him in his homeland. My father also lives in Paraguay and I figured if I could get down there my financial burden would be minimized by simply crashing out at Dad’s place instead of a hotel. Francisco also happens to be the newest ARB dealer in South America, on top of that, he heads up the largest 4x4 club in Paraguay, I figured if the two of us could get together in Paraguay, I could get a personalized first-hand look at a 4x4 scene there. Today, after more than 400KM with Francisco in his fully accessorized 1997 Nissan Patrol SUV, I feel completely up to speed and ready to report on Paraguay’s 4x4 prospects.
Unlike the United States the vast majority of roads here in Paraguay are unpaved, the exact ratio is unknown but it is estimated that only 3% o the roads in the country are modernized. The remaining 97% are dirt and receive little or no yearly upkeep by government agencies. Just think of how your town would function without properly designed roads or drainage culverts, I bet everything would grind to a hult with the first real rain storm. Because of this 4-wheel drive is an absolute necessity to local inhabitants. Just in the single night we camped out in the outback of Paraguay, enough trees fell to block our return route in three seperate places!
In other words, the people of Paraguay depend on their 4x4s everyday for basic transportation, corporate operations and even Government protocol. In fact, without 4-wheel drive vehicles much of the Northern region of Paraguay would remain largely undeveloped and extremely difficult to live in. 4x4s are simply a way of life in this part of the world, and that my friends, is the story I came here to get.
Here are just a handful of images I scored while out on my personalized tour by Paraguay Outdoor Adventures.