In all of my research, I never found any mention of Guatemala not having a postal service. Without this knowledge, I had a mail forwarding service send mail to me in Guatemala. It sat somewhere for a month or so and was finally returned. Learning that DHL was the only international mail carrier, I had the mail sent to me here. Cost $140.
Also, there is a lot of hype about the medical care costs in Guatemala being cheap. Yes, on some procedures. And, we pay our local doctor 100Q ($12.00) for office visits, but needing shoulder surgery sent me into Guatemala City for a price quote from a specialist. Cost $8,000-$12,000. Outrageous. We cancelled our Medicare in the States before our move here based on all the hype about medical care costs. Having needed the shoulder surgery, I have to travel to Mexico for $5,500 surgical cost. If you have Medicare, DO NOT cancel it. You will need it. On a insurance website called CompareNow, for two 66 year olds we are quoted $11,352/yr and that's after a $7,000 discount. One prescription I use as a maintenance drug is $95 for a month's supply. All in all, Guatemalan health insurance IS NOT a bargain for older people.
Bottom line: based on costs for American-style groceries, mail and package costs, and medical care can make Guatemala seem like not such a bargain.
I agree that one should not cancel Medicare. You would have the expense of getting back to that States, but then it would be taken care of pretty much. Medicines are not necessarily cheaper, but then U.S. prices are outrageous unless you have a drug plan. My husband is diabetic and we priced the U.S. and Guatemala and found them to be pretty much equal. We now go to Canada where his daughter lives to get his insulin. Of course, the best deal here is dental.
Postal service has been closed for two years. Medial treatments here are far less expensive. I had hernia surgery last August for less than $2,000 and that include one night in the hospital. Yes, American-style groceries are more expensive but what do you expect they for the most part are imported. I am responsible for a family of five that includes two males 17 and 20 who eat an outrageous amount and I still have a budget of less than $3,000 per month and that includes paying high school for one and university for another. Impossible to be anywhere close to that in U.S.
I tend not to agree with your post. Mail service here in Guatemala is non-existent as you state but mail forwarding services out of Miami are great. I've been with a service for the past six years and it works seamlessly. Order something from Amazon and its here in Antigua in a week or so. Medical care is lacking, but I have never had a problem with it. All in all I find Guatemala a very affordable place to live and have no desire to return to the US and all it's problems.
Thanks for your opinions. I should have qualified my post as "Things to consider for retirees." My points were directly aimed at those of us who are older and rely on good, inexpensive health care. I read where one reply talked about a hernia operation for $1,000. That is the kind of story that helped draw me here. My experience was a rotator cuff surgery with a quote directly from the doctor for $8,000-$12,000. He is considered a top doctor by at least one medical tourism site. The surgery would also cost me just as much in Costa Rica but far less in Mexico. I am 66 years old and things start happening that you don't think will happen to you. You fall, as if you've done many times before, and you get up. This happened a couple of months ago and my rotator cuff was torn. Health care and how to pay for it is a major concern for retirees. If you're younger, it's not such a big concern. I live in Panajachel and I can ask a hundred people under 40 if they like it here and I'm going to get a positive reply from the vast majority of them Also, if you look at any expatriate blog, you will see only mention of getting mail in Panajachel is via DHL. I've also been told by locals who have spent decades here that this is a fact. My landlord mailed his tax return to the US for $70. I just received mail from the US from my sister for a cost of $142. As far as the food goes, again, this is relative. There are two supermarkets in Panajachel with food catered for Guatemalans and it is largely unhealthy. The two stores here that supply American style food do so at greater costs than the states. The point is my situation is unlike any of the posters replying to my comments. Retirees may have much better experiences in other cities in Guatemala however some issues are universal for all of Guatemala. I posted my comments for retirees considering moving here and urge them to do due diligence in researching Guatemala. I fell for too many of the utopian experiences that younger people have expressed.
I live in Teculutan and I like it here very much , but it is far from perfect . Guatemala used to have a wonderfull postal and healthcare system , not any more . I use interlogixs for mail , but it is more complex and you have to stay on top of things . healthcare that is a problem and there are some real crooks here , you could die of poor healthcare ( my land lady and the fauther of a friend did ) . I do not understand some of the overly Pollyanna'st stuff I read here are they being paid ? have they just been here a short time ? ( I have been here 22 1/2 years) , My home town in Oklahoma is the meth capatol of the world , Teclutan is a definitely a step up for me , but for many it may not be .
I said it is a step up from a meth town , I would not go so far as to say "Going well ", I run a buisness and the quality of labor here is terrible , and that is my biggest and constant headace . Every day I try to accomplish somthing and get a good nights sleep so I can face tommorow .
My answer about "going well" was supposed to be to the 73 year old gentleman who said he was happy with things in Guatemala. From your post, I gathered that things were not going as well as possible. I didn't even get into the many roadblocks and morbida that's rampant in Guatemala (Mexico too). I had to give $5 to the cops just to pass through the town of Solola. When I start answering the wrong person with the wrong response, I know it's time for me to leave things alone. Best of luck.
as far as healthcare I think it is all about who you know. After almost 26 years living here I know a few people in the medical industry and my extended family is Guatemalan so I have an advantage there as well. I would never go to a doctor recommended by a medical tourism agency the prices will not be as high as the U.S. but certainly higher than most Guatemalans would play. I have has several surgeries while living here and all were done professionally without an problems post-op. Guatemala is far from being utopia and although I love the country,mosr of its people and living here, it is certainly not for everyone. I have children that were born here and are studying here and that is far different from an expat who move here to retire. I am an immigrant and not an expat and in my opinion that is a big difference.
Re; receiving mail in Pana. Rent a box from El Rancho, it's costing me about Q100 per month for some mail and a couple magazines. Receiving packages will cost more. You get an address in Miami and mail will be brought here once a week. It does take 3-4 weeks to get mail, at least that is how long to took to get some Christmas cards this year.
Some one should talk about addresses in Guatemala , especially in cities with no street names , like my company has a address but it is pretty useless , so every one just says "behind the stadium " but if you look at the stadium it really is infront of the stadium , but the main intersection is really behind the stadium so if you are at the main intersection my buisness is kind of "behind the stadium" . I think the person in charge had to do a lot of politicking to get his/her job and did not have time to travel much , so they never really got to see things from the point of view of a traveler new to a place .
El Rancho in Panajachel is on Calle Principal. On this map it is between La Palapa and Supermercado Challos. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Panajachelemail@example.com,-91.1546481,18z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x85894b8cc176193b:0x9e3f675068327d28!8m2!3d14.7404929!4d-91.1520965
el Rancho is on the right side of Calle principal Between Sandra's and Batres. if you are looking for a mail box to rent. Not on Santander which ends ate the 3 way intersection by La Palapa Bar. PM me if you want more info.
Generally, I agree. But like anything else, the cost of health care here varies widely in both quality and price. 2 people I know had emergency appendectomy surgery at the public hospital, it saved their lives, however the conditions at the hospital were appalling. Living in Pana, if I needed emergency medical care I'd go to the Hospitalito in Santiago de Atitlan.
I use process in my buisness that can result in niquel carbolic poisioning , which is compleatly curable , but the cure is not available here so a local doctor/pharmasy said they would get me 10 doses for $2000 USD I went to a trade show in San Antonio and while there bought 100 doses for $10.80 , but now the local doctor/pharmasy will not even talk to me or treat any employees that may get sick from Niquel carbolic poisioning , also the doctor brags about the huge money to be made from the legal drug trade .I plan to eventually have a nurse on staff and not rely on local health care .
Central America is an increasingly popular retirement destination. Retirees love it's proximity to the United States, lower cost of living, beautiful cities, amazing beaches, healthy lifestyle and friendly people.
Central America is an increasingly popular retirement destination. Retirees love it's proximity to the United States, lower cost of living, beautiful cities, amazing beaches, healthy lifestyle and fr...
A French expat who went to Panajachel, Guatemala on vacation loved the climate and locals so much he ended up staying. He advises other newcomers to rent first, pack lightly, use a lawyer and translator when signing contracts and leave your prejudices behind.
A French expat who went to Panajachel, Guatemala on vacation loved the climate and locals so much he ended up staying. He advises other newcomers to rent first, pack lightly, use a lawyer and transla...