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Quetzaltenango, Guatemala: Cost of Living, Healthcare, Local Clubs and Activities, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Quetzaltenango | Expat Exchange
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Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

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By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Jul 09, 2023

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

What do I need to know before moving to Quetzaltenango?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Quetzaltenango, they said:

"Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela, is the second largest city in Guatemala and is known for its rich Mayan culture, colonial architecture, and stunning natural surroundings. Before moving to Quetzaltenango, expats should be aware that Spanish is the primary language spoken, although there are also 21 Mayan languages spoken throughout the country. Expats should also know that the cost of living in Quetzaltenango is relatively low compared to many Western countries, but wages are also significantly lower. The city has a slower pace of life compared to other major cities, and it is common for businesses to close for a few hours in the afternoon for siesta. The city is located at a high altitude, so it can take some time to adjust to the thinner air. The weather in Quetzaltenango is generally mild, with warm days and cool nights, but it can get quite cold in the winter months. Healthcare in Quetzaltenango is generally good, with several hospitals and clinics available, but it may not be up to the standards that some expats are used to. It's recommended to have comprehensive health insurance that covers medical evacuation, as serious medical issues may require treatment in a larger city or even outside of the country. Safety can be a concern in Guatemala, and while Quetzaltenango is generally safer than some other areas, it's still important to take precautions. This includes avoiding certain areas at night, not displaying wealth, and being aware of your surroundings. Public transportation is widely available in Quetzaltenango, including buses and taxis, but it can be crowded and not always reliable. Many expats choose to drive, but should be aware that driving in Guatemala can be challenging due to poor road conditions and different driving customs. Finally, expats should know that while Quetzaltenango is a vibrant city with much to offer, it can also be a challenging place to live due to cultural differences, language barriers, and the potential for natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. However, with preparation and an open mind, many expats find living in Quetzaltenango to be a rewarding and enriching experience," remarked one expat who made the move to Quetzaltenango.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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