Guatemala Expat Forum - RETIREMENT IN GUATEMALA

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gero
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From: Guatemala
11/19/2004 16:12    
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I plan to retire to Central America in one year. Why should I retire in Guatemala? Why should I not retire in Guatemala?

HStewardson
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From: Mexico
12/8/2004 15:29    
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I am surprised you haven't had any replies. I visited Guatemala a year ago and enjoyed the scenery and the people. My friend and i visited Antigua and Panajachel. To live there, I would prefer Pana. Beautiful lake. Many good restaurants. There are a number of gringos there fulltime but not organized. Across the lake in the villages rents are very cheap.
I live in Ajijic, Mexico by Lake Chapala. It is the other extreme - many Canadians (me one) and Americans and there are many organizations to join; people are very friendly; house prices and rents are rising; traffic is getting heavier - so I was looking at Guat. as a possible alternative. One thing I would miss - apart from good friends - is the library. Happy travelling.
Hilary

gero
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From: Guatemala
12/14/2004 12:44    
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I thank you for your reply and find the information very helpful
hmanning@woh.rr.com

armandatitlan
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From: Guatemala
12/26/2004 11:01    
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Why Guatemala?
Well I would say that it is an unknown country for people who wants to retire. I have been living here for 15 years and my main activity is to help people find their dream house here, particularly around lake Atitlan.
First of all why Guatemala?
It is called the country of eternanl spring which means no winter. The temperature is comfortable all year round. Particularly on the high lands where you find Antigua one of the most romantic town in central america. Where a big community of expat live. With a big cultural and social scene. 45 minutes drive from GUatemala international airport. Housing is getting expensive particularly in the urban area and close to the main park. The second place of interest for expat is LAke Atitlan where also you can find a big foreign community but the life is more oriented toward nature and the cultural scene is still in development. Both place offer nice life style for an affordable price.
Well this is a short introduction and I will be pleased to help you if you have more precise concerns.
armand@intelnet.net.gt

gero
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From: Guatemala
12/27/2004 08:59    
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Thank you Armandatitlan. I am studying Spanish so that when I locate in Central America/Mexico I will be able to enjoy my new home and the native people better. I do have another question. Are there stores in Guatemala where I can obtain a fair amount of American products

pato23
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From: El Salvador
2/15/2005 16:05    
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Yes gero just about everything( "PriceSmart" in Guatemala City) read my travel bloq then e mail to me for full particulars When you obtain residency you are able to import an auto and household goods duty free..I can introduce you "on line" as well to honest long term residents and bi lingual natives, not just "real estate brokers" wanting to make a sale. donaldlee@thepolyglots.com
http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/caguide/

Artchoice
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From: Guatemala
2/23/2005 22:23    
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It's very nice here.. the weather, people and the prices. I would suggest living here for a few months before making the big move. My wife has family here and it's been a big blessing. We are about 10 minutes from Antigua, nice and quite with a great location. We Have a car, internet and presently looking at land to buy, to build on.
Wish you were here!
Art

armandatitlan
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From: Guatemala
2/28/2005 21:58    
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Good for you to want to learn Spanish. So many foreigners who after 20 years still cannot comunicate with the locals.
Regarding your question about US goods, yes there is Pricesmart in Guatemala City but also ClubCo ( a guatemalan copy of CostCo) and also in Panajachel or ANtigua you can find delicatessen with Us goods.
I would also recommend you to rent a house an spend some time here to feel the place.

hobojaime
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From: Guatemala
10/22/2005 00:16    
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Dear Gero. I,too,once thought about retiring in Guatemala.I spent periods of 2 to 3 months twice a year travelling around the country over a span of 5 years.I married a guatemalan woman,bought a small ranch,and thought i'd ride off into the sunset.Oh man,was I wrong! Over the last year I've been robbed at gunpoint once,robbbed twice by the police,[right after I reported the first robbery!],seen two bus drivers shot in broad daylight,and,generally have seen and suffered more humiliation in one year than my previous fifty.My advice to You is to go to the U.S.dept.of state web site,look under travelers warnings for Guat.,and take there advice Very seriously.

Artschoice
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From: United States
10/31/2005 11:41    
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I saw the same in Los Angeles, killings, helicopters every night and plenty of gang activity. In Guatemala, I would not choose the country side (way to far out) or many parts of the capital city(way to busy). We're close to what we need. We finished building our house and moved in last Sept. We have cable tv ($10 a month), high speed internet, 24 hour armed security response alarm ($24 a month), in a gated community. I spend time doing things around the house, on the internet, watch Sunday football games and go in Antigua for a nice dinner once in a while. We have nice neighbors, some are American and we live modestly. Check my blog at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/livinginguatemala
Anywhere you choose to live in the world has problems and has good places, you have to live beyond the fear.

fisherlady28
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From: United States
7/2/2006 02:23    
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I am planning to travel to Antigua in late July, can you recomend a safe and not expensive hotel or posada?
Thanks,
Fisherlady28

Rosguate
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From: Guatemala
9/26/2006 21:00    
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Are you back yet from Guate? How was the trip?

luluna
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10/19/2009 15:53    
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Wow! Well anything you can get in the US you can just about get in Guatemala. There are big shopping malls, theatres, and so on. They may not be in Panajachel or little villages, but go to Gutemala City and to a certain extent, Antigua or Huehuetenango, etc., and there are your applicances, autos, and so forth and so on. Weren't you trying to get away from all of that?

pato23
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From: El Salvador
10/21/2009 12:23    
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Got you all trumped...I first lived in Central America 1970-1972 returned to reside permanently in late 1985, started my residency (One starts their residency through INGUAT, Google it) Drove my vehicle down from States in 1986, did a lot of volunteer work with others from States (serious people, not change the world do gooders) and acted as guide interpreter throughout Central America for selected visitors. Returned to live in El Salvador in 1994. I am intergrated into society, speak Spanish and other languages besides English, had family and friends here before my arrival, still made every mistake in the book, howevr, errors in judgement are leraning experiences. Anyone who wishes my Central America information bloq, making it easy to Network directly with both locals and ex pats, send me a private message with your e mail, Name and Town, City, State, Province also feel free to call me on telephone or Skype... no "handles"...you know, it is not so difficult when you have contacts and know a bit before you go, no one else is going to do your "Homework" for you especially from a "Forum"
Advice, avoid people on forums offering to sell you Real Estate and tours on the Internet, I am able to recommend a great Hospitality Exchange Portal, non profit, where one will be able to meet up with bi and multi lingual locals. Unlike this forum, transparent, profiles with photo and bio. Remember that many small ex pat communities are very insular, the more spanish you know the less dependent you are on these self centered "gated community" ex pats, some of whom have little to do but gossip and bi lingual locals who charge more for servicing unilingual persons. There are Security Issues now throughout Central America, yes Dorothy, EVEN Costa Rica. Guatemala and the rest of C.A. is not disneyland. You will love it or leave it. Street Smarts and Common Sense required.

My Article on ExPatExchange

http://www.expatexchange.com/lib.cfm?articleID=3197&networkid=49


10 Things to Know Before You Move to Central or South America

By ---------------


Summary:

"--- offers ten tips for people contemplating a move to Central or South America."

"Easy does it..but DO it"

"Poco a poco se va lejos"

Saludos.

roscoe
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9/7/2011 02:18    
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I have been looking online at places for my parents to retire and was thinking lake atitlan seemed like a nice and affordable place to retire for them. I was wondering how far it is from health-care and if there is golf courses anywhere near the lake. Thanks.

chapringo
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9/26/2011 12:31    
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Hi Gero, I am retired in Guatemala (city), and have been living off and on in Guatemala since 1987. I love the country and the people, so in that regard you will be happy here. It would be worthwhile for you to visit the country, stay a month and look around. I recommend that you learn Spanish at a working level, although many speak English here. Where you live is important for comfort and safety reasons, and that means you live in an apartment or gated community. The residence process takes about 5 years and then you can come and go as you like. Down side in Guatemala is crime and corruption which is endemic in the Americas.

AlPavarotti
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9/26/2011 19:51    
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If I were to retire in guatemala I'd probably retire in the rio dulce area where there is also a large ex-pat community www.riodulcechisme.com
Now the draw back would be the weather if you don't like the heat. But you can easily find furnished apartments for rent and you can also find excellent clean hotels at real cheap rates so that you can have a feel for the country before you decide to relocate for good. In Puerto Barrios near Livingston you can find everything you need in terms of supplies. Or you can go to Walmart in guatemala city. I wouldn't make the mistake this other guy made that he bought a small ranch and ended up paying the price. In guatemala city you can find all kinds of beautiful apartments in gated communities. It reminds me of Caracas, Venezuela. It is true that if you go by the crime statistics guatemala scares the hell out of you. But believe it or not, the same goes for south florida. They could very well spend the whole newscast covering home invasions where elderly people get beat up and robbed. People get mugged while getting gas or at the ATM. I live in a gated community and I would rather live in guatemala or somewhere else in the world than living in an unprotected house outside my gated community because my house would get burglarized in a second because it happens every day here. The US is not what it used to be in terms of being a safe country to live.

8raven8
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9/28/2011 13:16    
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i Retired in Guate about 2 years..If people believe u ar rich the will borrow or beg. Some people believe that if they help u it cost 10%.Crime is not any worse than in the us, or any European city. The people are nice and most things are cheap. Housing ..I live in Alta Vera pas.Most peoplle are Ketchi/ Mayan indians, some speak spanish. Houses are built of Mud,Wood, Cement or what ever.No CODE is enforced here. When u are finished building your house .No house payment. no insurance.In this area, many construction earn $10 per day.Driving thru mexico is ok. Use the toll roads.If u use the free(Libre) u will see the police who each wants money.Registering your car is a nightmare.. The Customs andSAt will play games.So u must pay (Tramitadore)some one to speak for u at the Motor vehicles department. but i believe the exchange rate was close to 8: $1. so think about it.

armandatitlan
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From: Guatemala
10/3/2011 12:12    
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Hi,
Lake Atitlan indeed is a real heaven for retirement. I have several clients who had decided to prepare their retirement their. Regarding Health care you have a small hospital run by Americans across the lake in Santiago Atitlan called el Hospitalito and after that the best hospital are in Guatemala city a 2 1/2 drive from the lake or 20 minutes by helicopter.
For Golf course the closest is located near Antigua Guatemala called La Reunion Golf resort a 2 hours drive from the lake. Let me know for any other questions you may have...
Best
Armand

GavinoGainza
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10/9/2011 15:31    
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Guatemala, land of eternal spring, is one of the least expensive places to retire in. It has several climates from the heat of its two tropical coasts to the temperate highlands. I prefer the cooler highlands myself and base myself in Xela.

If you are thinking of learning Spanish, Guatemala is the cheapest and the easiest as the people speak slower. Again I chose Xela for Spanish classes as Xela does not cater to English speaking tourist like Antigua does. I wanted a more immerse experience. Xela is also home to some 300,000 people half of which are indigenous people.

With its five universities, 30 trade schools and an equal number of of Spanish language schools it is called the cradle of culture. This has a profound creative and cultural influence on the area.

Where ever you live in Guatemala, you will be amazed at its colourful history, amazing Maya ruins and a people that are very gentle and warm with their hospitality.

Check out my Blog for more information of who I am and what I am doing in Guatemala
http://www.heartquest-guatemala.blogspot.com or just Google .

All times are ET.  


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