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Pros & Cons of Living in Antigua

If you're considering a move to Antigua, this article discusses the pros and cons of living in Antigua.
|-Pros & Cons of Living in Antigua

Thinking about moving to Antigua? Below we highlight some of the pros and cons of living in Antigua.

Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a city that is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Nestled in a valley surrounded by volcanoes, this city is a popular destination for tourists and expats alike. But what is it really like to live in Antigua, Guatemala? Like any place, there are pros and cons to consider. Let’s delve into the details.

Pros of Living in Antigua, Guatemala

One of the biggest advantages of living in Antigua is the cost of living. Compared to many Western countries, the cost of living in Antigua is significantly lower. This means that your money can go a lot further. For example, a meal at a local restaurant can cost as little as $3, and a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can be rented for around $300 per month. This makes Antigua an attractive option for retirees or digital nomads looking to stretch their budget.

Another major pro of living in Antigua is the climate. Known as the “Land of Eternal Spring”, Guatemala boasts a pleasant climate year-round. The average temperature in Antigua is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), making it comfortable to be outside at any time of the year. This is a major draw for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, or simply strolling through the city’s beautiful cobblestone streets.

Antigua is also a city rich in culture and history. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city is home to numerous well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches. Living in Antigua means having these historical sites right at your doorstep. The city also hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, the most famous of which is Semana Santa, a week-long celebration leading up to Easter that includes colorful processions and traditional rituals.

For those interested in volunteering, Antigua offers plenty of opportunities. Organizations such as NiƱos de Guatemala and God’s Child Project work to provide education and healthcare to the city’s most vulnerable populations. Volunteering with these organizations can be a rewarding way to give back to the community and make a tangible difference in people’s lives.

Finally, despite being a small city, Antigua has a thriving expat community. This means that it’s relatively easy to meet other foreigners and make friends. There are also numerous language schools in the city, making it a great place to learn Spanish.

Cons of Living in Antigua, Guatemala

While there are many advantages to living in Antigua, there are also some downsides to consider. One of the biggest challenges for many expats is the language barrier. While English is spoken in many tourist areas, Spanish is the main language of Guatemala. This can make everyday tasks such as shopping or dealing with bureaucracy more difficult for those who don’t speak Spanish.

Another potential downside is the crime rate. While Antigua is generally safer than other parts of Guatemala, crime can still be an issue, particularly petty theft and pickpocketing. It’s important to take precautions such as not displaying valuable items in public and avoiding certain areas at night.

While the cost of living in Antigua is generally low, it’s worth noting that this is not the case for everything. Imported goods, for example, can be quite expensive due to import taxes. This includes everything from electronics to certain foods. Therefore, while living in Antigua can be cheap, maintaining a Western lifestyle can be costly.

Another potential con is the lack of certain amenities that many Westerners may be used to. While Antigua has many modern conveniences, it’s still a developing country. This means that things like reliable internet or 24/7 electricity can’t always be taken for granted. Power outages, while not frequent, do occur, and internet speeds can be slow compared to what many expats are used to.

Finally, while Antigua’s climate is generally pleasant, it’s worth noting that the city is located in a region prone to natural disasters. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, while not common, do occur. In addition, the rainy season, which runs from May to October, can bring heavy rains and flooding.

In conclusion, while there are certainly challenges to living in Antigua, many people find that the pros outweigh the cons. The low cost of living, pleasant climate, rich culture and history, and opportunities for volunteering and learning Spanish make Antigua a popular choice for many expats. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential downsides and to take precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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