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San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala

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By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: People describe San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala as a beautiful, peaceful, and friendly town. Expats love the laid-back atmosphere, the stunning views of Lake Atitlan, and the friendly locals. The weather in San Pedro La Laguna is typically warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living for an expat is around $1,000 to $1,500 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $400 to $600 per month, and a two bedroom apartment is around $500 to $800 per month. The approximate population of San Pedro La Laguna is around 20,000 people.

What type of social life can someone expect in San Pedro La Laguna?

When we asked expats and global nomads about their social experiences in San Pedro La Laguna, they replied:

"Things are so limited right now because of the pandemic - at least if you're being careful. I was a lot more satisfied with things here a few years ago," said another expat in San Pedro La Laguna.

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"Social opportunities are pretty limited since the pandemic started - again, if you're being careful," said another expat in San Pedro La Laguna.

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What are medical services in San Pedro La Laguna like?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in San Pedro La Laguna, they replied:

"I have US health insurance that I use on visits to the US. You can get basic care here, but anything more usually means a trip to the capital or Xela," said one member in San Pedro La Laguna.

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What do I need to know about living in San Pedro La Laguna?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to San Pedro La Laguna, they said:

"Before retiring to San Pedro La Laguna, it is important to be aware of the local culture and customs. As the town is based upon Mayan culture, it may be wise to learn some of the basics before arrival. Additionally, it is important to ensure that you have a good understanding of the local language, particularly Spanish. While many people in the area are multilingual, it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of Spanish in order to navigate the local customs and culture. It is also advisable to plan your budget and to research what accommodation options are available, as retirement communities may not be the norm in the area. It is worth considering the cost of living in San Pedro La Laguna and what you can afford before moving there. Finally, it is a good idea to understand the importance of travelling around the area and the impact this travel may have on the local environment," remarked another expat in San Pedro La Laguna.

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What do I need to know before moving to San Pedro La Laguna?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to San Pedro La Laguna, they said:

"You should be aware that San Pedro La Laguna is a small, remote town located along the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. There can be a significant language barrier as Spanish is the primary language spoken in the town so it may be necessary to take language lessons before moving to San Pedro La Laguna. The cost of living in San Pedro La Laguna is relatively low so it is a great place for budget travelers. Additionally, you should be aware that the town can be quite isolated, so it is important to research in advance what kinds of amenities, services, and basic necessities are available in the town. Finally, it is important to be prepared to adapt to the more relaxed culture and slower pace of life found in San Pedro La Laguna," explained one expat.

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How do I find a place to live in San Pedro La Laguna?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Searching for living options in San Pedro La Laguna can be done through rental agencies in the area, online listings such as AirBnB, or through word of mouth. Many of the locals are friendly and may be able to help you find accommodation that suits your needs and budget. Additionally, it is possible to find room or house sharing opportunities with locals, including long-term and short-term accommodation. It is important to research the neighborhoods and ask plenty of questions before making any specific committment," remarked another expat in San Pedro La Laguna.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in San Pedro La Laguna?

"Expat homes and apartments in San Pedro La Laguna typically range from small, affordable dwellings to larger, more luxurious homes. Most of the housing has a rustic, modern-meets-traditional feel, with walls made out of brick or stucco. Flooring can range from polished concrete or brick to tile and wood finishes. Windows and doors usually come with either metal or wood frames, and some dwellings have vegetated, thatch roofs. Furnishings tend to be modern takes on traditional Guatemalan styles. All in all, expat homes and apartments in San Pedro La Laguna have a nice, cozy feel," explained one expat.

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What is the average cost of housing in San Pedro La Laguna?

If you are thinking about moving to San Pedro La Laguna, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The average cost of housing in San Pedro La Laguna is typically between $250 and $700 per month, depending on the size and location of the residence," remarked another expat in San Pedro La Laguna.

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How do I meet people in San Pedro La Laguna?

When we asked people living in San Pedro La Laguna about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"San Pedro La Laguna is a small community in Guatemala that is a great place to meet and interact with friendly locals. There are many ways to meet people in San Pedro La Laguna, including participating in local activities, joining a sports team, attending local festivals and events, visiting local businesses, and volunteering in the community. Additionally, the friendly people of San Pedro La Laguna are always happy to have visitors, so stop and chat with people you see or walk up to someone and introduce yourself. The locals may even invite you to join them for food or festivities, which is a wonderful way to break the ice," remarked another expat in San Pedro La Laguna.

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What should I bring when moving to San Pedro La Laguna?

People living in San Pedro La Laguna were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Clothing suitable for warm weather, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, hats, bathing suits, comfortable walking shoes, electronics and adapters, basic toiletries, personal documents (passport, visa, health insurance, etc.), flashlight, first aid kit, any prescription medications, copies of important documents, pet supplies (if applicable), guidebook and maps, local currency," said another expat in San Pedro La Laguna.

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Where should I setup a bank account in San Pedro La Laguna?

We asked expats in San Pedro La Laguna what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"Most major banks in Guatemala offer services in San Pedro La Laguna, including Banco Industrial, Banrural, and Banco G&T Continental. Many of these banks have branches, ATMs, and other services in the town. Additionally, smaller local banks, such as Banco de Desarrollo Rural (BDR), are also available," explained one expat.

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Will I be able to find a job in San Pedro La Laguna?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in San Pedro La Laguna, they reponded:

"Yes, there are many job opportunities in San Pedro La Laguna. In addition to agricultural-related businesses, the town features several hotels and restaurants, as well as offering a variety of volunteer and teaching opportunities. It is also common for foreigners to find work as English tutors," added another person living in San Pedro La Laguna.

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What is life like in San Pedro La Laguna?

When we asked people living in San Pedro La Laguna what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Life as an expat in the area can be very fulfilling from an international perspective as there are many expats from all over the world who call it their home. Depending upon the individual's interests and lifestyle, the local culture and cuisine offers something for everyone. Furthermore, the abundant scenic beauty comprising of beaches, mountains and rainforest offers plenty to explore. The locals are generally very welcoming and willing to accept others into their culture, making it easier for expats to settle in. Healthcare is of a good quality and the cost of living is not overly expensive. The area also has a good range of education options for those who wish to send their children to school and universities. The nightlife is also very vibrant, with bars, restaurants and night markets offering something for everyone," explained one expat.

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What do expats in San Pedro La Laguna appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expats in San Pedro La Laguna appreciate the friendly locals, the peaceful atmosphere and access to nature, the relaxed pace of life, the cultural diversity present in the town, the excellent fresh local produce, and the opportunity to learn to speak Spanish. They also enjoy the annual festivals, the beautiful scenery and diverse wildlife, the vibrant nightlife, and the availability of many outdoor activities," explained one expat living in San Pedro La Laguna.

"If anything the rebelliousness towards their corrupt government and their acceptance of a day to day optimism of life. I found that the poorest of people generally seemed to be the happiest," said another expat in San Pedro La Laguna.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expatriates often find adapting to a new culture, language, and way of life to be the most daunting and challenging barrier. Working with different business practices and developing a new professional network in a foreign environment can also pose great difficulty. Additionally, expats can face difficulties in adjusting to changes in their lifestyle, such as missing family, friends and familiar customs, developing a new social life, and creating a new home in an unfamiliar environment. In some cases, financial and legal matters, such as tax regulations, can be complicated and challenging to understand," remarked another expat in San Pedro La Laguna.

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Is there a lot of crime in San Pedro La Laguna?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"San Pedro La Laguna is generally considered to be a safe place with low crime rates. The area is well-monitored by local authorities and travelers shouldn't experience any major issues when visiting," remarked another in San Pedro La Laguna.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in San Pedro La Laguna accepting of differences?

"San Pedro La Laguna is a small town with a diverse population. The main ethnic groups in the area include Mayan, Mestizo, and Garifuna. The town also has many other smaller ethnic groups including people of Arab, German, and Spanish descent. The town is very welcoming and accepting of people from all backgrounds. People from all over the world have found success in San Pedro La Laguna, so newcomers are welcomed and supported. The diverse population and culture allow for a rich and vibrant atmosphere that celebrates individuality," replied an expat in San Pedro La Laguna.

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What are the schools in San Pedro La Laguna like?

"San Pedro La Laguna is served by several schools of varying sizes and specialties. These schools include public and private primary and secondary schools, bilingual schools, and vocational institutions. Some of the most notable schools in the area are Colegio San Pedro, Lago Atitlan English School, Florentina Espinosa de Espinosa School, Fabretto Centro Escolar Nuestra Senora del Carmen, The American School of Guatemala, and Colegio Panamericano. Additionally, the town has two prestigious universities: Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and Universidad Rafael Landivar. The universities offer a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as language classes, certificates, and workshops," added an expat with kids at in San Pedro La Laguna.

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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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