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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.

Photo Credit: German Perez

Photo Credit: German Perez

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.

Expat Hotspots:

Lake Atitlan

Photo Credit: Ourownpath

Photo Credit: Ourownpath

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.

Antigua

Guatemala is Retirement Heaven

Ward Oliver

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.

 

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6 thoughts on “Guatemala: Costa Rica’s Retirement Competitor

  1. 1

    Thank you for your report on Guatemala, It is indeed a paradise for retired people.. The country offers a great variety of destination for retirees in a very small geographic area. From Tropical coast to High lands volcanos surrounded valleys to gorgeous tropical rivers and low land of the archeological sites of the Mayan greatest archeological center Peten.. Read about retirement in guatemala at http://www.realestateatitlan.com/retirement-in-guatemala

  2. 2

    You should mention that Lake Atitlan is coming close to being a dead lake with algee taking over thanks to the indigenous people pouring there sewage into it and runoff from crops being over fertilized. And no one seems to care that this beautiful lake will become an environmental disaster.
    Lake Atitlan is Guatemala’s nightlife capital? Guatemala is safe and peaceful? I don’t believe the author of this piece has never visited this country! This is an irresponsible article although a real estate agent might disagree with me. But that being said there is much to admire in Guatemala just be very careful!

    • 3

      Just got back from guatemala, beautiful place, friendly people, and excited about going back. Safe? That may be a stretch, in Guatemala City Wlmart has a 10′ fence around it, deliveries to many tiendas require armed security…you be th judge. I love it there, and love the people. No matter how poor, they were smiling and not entangled with the materialism of the US. I could see myself living in a small village like Magdelena, Buena Vista, or San Tomas for awhile an totally loving it.

  3. 4

    LOL. The author’s comment, in quotes below, is laughable.

    “And if you are looking for a little more excitement, Lake Atitlan also has many bars and clubs making it the nightlife capital of Guatemala.”

    Lake Atitlan is a beautiful, scenic, rural area that is nowhere near “the nightlife capital of Guatemala”. The author has clearly not been there and is just making this up, apparently to sell real estate.

  4. pasadena tx fences
    5

    A wood fence or chain fence isn’t possible. Are some better than the others? What features should I look for? Where can I locate a good one fairly priced?. I do believe it’d be good because my very small dog frequently works out the door whenever we open the front door..

  5. Arvind Pradhan
    6

    Spent 4 glorious weeks in Antigua. Felt completely safe even when coming back home at 2 in the morning. Friendly people, gorgeous weather. Just watch those stupid metal grills that they have on the windows and stick out to bang you hard on your head and can hurt badly. Nowhere else in Guate did we encounter this stupidity. That is the only negative about Antigua.

    A lot of good sites to see thought. Hotel Santo Domingo restaurant on the mountain is a gem. 3 of us ate and drank with our evening meal for circa Q230 (in Feb 2013). Not bad value for the money. The Indian restaurant El sabor de la India good but overpriced. Ate and drank from the street vendors and we are all still alive. Only my son (25 yo) got sick eating fruit yougurt at a place around parque central.

    Mí, no puedo esperar a volver.

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