Guatemala: Costa Rica’s Retirement Competitor
Nicknamed the Land of Eternal Spring, Guatemala is stepping into the spotlight and becoming a prime retirement location over past favorites like Costa Rica and Mexico.
With ideal weather, stunning views, and a great location (just a short plane ride from the U.S.), it’s not hard to see why expats are flocking to these countries to retire.
So what is it about Guatemala, located at the southern point of Mexico that has expats choosing it over other, arguably more popular countries in Central America?
Guatemala is Peaceful and Quiet
According to Travel Market Report, roughly 3.3 million American baby boomers claim that they intend to retire abroad, and as an increasing number of these expats set their sights on Central America, popular spots like Costa Rica and Mexico are becoming heavily populated.
But for those looking for solitude and serenity, Guatemala can provide them with an option that is a little more off the beaten trail, without sacrificing the wonderful weather and gorgeous landscapes that drew them to Central America in the first place.
Guatemala has a Lower Cost of Living
Due to the low cost of living, Guatemala can offer expats the best of both worlds, a beautiful place to retire, at a fraction of what they would pay to live the same life back home in the states.
In fact, it is estimated that people can live comfortably in Guatemala for only $1000-$1500 a month, and according to Guatemala real estate agent Glen Wilson, people living in Guatemala will only spend $2-$3 an hour on cleaning and gardening services, $6-$10 for fresh produce at the local market and their utilities will rarely go over $200 a month.
It sounds almost too good to be true.
Guatemala offers Affordable Real Estate
If renting isn’t for you and your heart is set on purchasing property in Central America, Guatemala real estate is very affordable. Depending on location, a fully furnished three bedroom home in Guatemala can be bought from the low $200,000 to $300,000 on average.
Also, unlike some other Central American countries, the process of purchasing property in Guatemala is not too complicated and they even make it easy for expats to secure visas. Of course, it is recommended that you rent a place for a few months before you buy (it will cost you around $200-$250 a month to rent an apartment on average); that way you can be absolutely certain that Guatemala is in fact the place for you.
Considered one of the most picturesque lakes on the planet, Lake Atitlan can be found behind a border of mountains and volcanoes just 75 miles from Guatemala’s capital, Guatemala City.
Expats come to Lake Atitlan not only for its perfect weather and breathtaking views, but also for its rich culture. The lake is surrounded by twelve indigenous villages that are still alive with Mayan tradition.
If you choose to make Lake Atitlan your home, you can expect to spend your days hiking, fishing, kayaking, and soaking in the thermal springs that feed down into the lake.
And if you are looking for a little more excitement, Lake Atitlan also has few nightlife options as well.
Located just thirty minutes from the Guatemala City airport, beautiful Antigua is one of the top travel destinations in Central America, and it isn’t hard to see why.
Founded in the early 16th century, much of Antigua was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, but today many of the primary buildings remain preserved as ruins.
So enjoy the spectacular view of Volcan de Fuego and Volcan de Agua as you stroll through the colorful cobblestone streets and colonial ruins, brush up on your Spanish at one of the many Spanish schools, or why not try your hand at yoga.
With more affordable real estate and a lower cost of living compared to Costa Rica, it’s not surprising that more and more expats are heading for Guatemala so they can retire comfortably without having to stretch their pensions thin.
If warm days and cool nights, mountainous landscapes, and a slower pace of life are all things you seek, you just may have found a match in Guatemala. So take a trip down, visit Lake Atitlan and Antigua and keep your eyes peeled for that perfect spot to call home.