New members of the Guatemala forum, introduce yourself here

Hi all,

Newbie on the Guatemala forum? Don’t know how to start?

This thread is for you ;)

We invite you to introduce yourself on this topic, to share with us your expat story if you are already living in the country, or to tell us more on your expat projects in Guatemala if you are planning to move there.

It will enable us to help you better but above all to wish you a warm welcome.

Welcome on board!

Hi there!
                 Considering a retirement perhaps in the Antigua area . Wondering if people usually ship their home furnishing or are there many options for buying reasonably priced furniture there and home goods? Would I be purchasing furniture from Guatamala city or are there any dept stores near Antigua that sell goods for initial home set up? Also, what large stores would be in Guatamala that I would recognize being from Canada? Any Costco or Sams Club? Walmart etc?

thanks for any help provided

I recently retired to Antigua.  I rented an unfurnished house and bought all my own appliances and furniture.

Yes there is Walmart , Sears, Ashley Furniture,  Clubco (Sam's Club) and Pricesmart (Costco), all in Guatemala City.  Used appliances and furniture are available.  You just have to find the shops.  I can help if you want. 

I bought new appliances from a store in Antigua.  The store was a branch of a store in Guatemala City.  There are several stores like this in Antigua.  I first looked on the internet and found the best price in Guatemala City than went to the local store with a printout of the prices.  I was able to get the best price.  Knowing the prices and what you want is the best way.

I am a large person (6'4" and 250 lbs) so the normal couches and easy chairs in Antigua did not fit me or my wife.  We went to Ashley and spent more but purchased comfortable living furniture for long term use.  Look for there 35% off sales.

Hope this helps.

Thank you so much for the info ! This makes things a lot clearer for me ... glad to hear what stores are available and local options also .We are 2 yrs from retiring but plan on coming for a visit in spring of 2015. We have looked at the possibility of retiring in Cuenca, Ecuador but after visiting this yr , the big drawback was the journey to arrive there and to visit back home again to Canada (3 planes /12 hrs min). From what I have seen on the web , Antigua looks like a smaller version of Cuenca . Perhaps when we visit we can meet up and you can fill me in on life in Antigua!
thanks again , Elaine & Scott

Howdy All
Life long adventurer is coming down to Guatemala in June and July to explore the country for a potential move there in the near future. I would love to meet face to face as many of you as possible and possibly explore parts of the country together.
I'm fun loving, adventurous, outgoing and highly educated. There's only one life and a small world out there to explore so we should live well, laugh and love.
Anyone who has a positive upbeat go get'em kinda attitude I definitely want to meet you!! If you are a sideliner or wanna be then I feel bad for you....
What does Guatemala have to offer??? Well let's find out

We'll be headed out to Guatemala in 2016.  We visited in 2012 and fell in love with Lake Atitlan.  Can't wait to have our kids experience a different part of the world.  My husband is a motorcycle mechanic and we plan on opening a shop.  We'll see how it develops out there.  Can't wait and even officially have my 3 year plan binder.

Hello expats
Am so jealous of you for making the move per my profile I am an  exhausted corporate hamster ready to jump off the wheel. Fell in love with Guatemala in 2012 and now crunching numbers as to when we can make the leap and live a simpler life.  Looking to live small and enjoy life with my husband and our crew of little dogs. Debating buy verses build and Antigua burb verses Atitlan ( Santiago, San Juan or Pana). Hope to be back down in June to scout some property and figure things out like:
Drive my jeep down or ship?
How many dogs can I bring at once?
Should I bring my really awesome mattress or can I find comparable ?

Looking to build a simple  1300sq ft  2/2 house with a walled yard.....wonder what that would cost?

Looking forward to your advice and guidance

Hola mucha!

I am Zoe, from London and now living in Guatemala City. I have been in Guatemala for around 1 year and a half, living in between Antigua and the City. I will be posting my blog soon, and I invite you all to read it and comment freely.

Feliz dia a todos!

I'm John. We're from NYC and Philadelphia. My wife + 3 kids and I have been living in Antigua for the past 2 years.
If anyone needs basic advice about moving to Guatemala (esp. if you have kids), I'm more than happy to offer....e.g., schools, places to live, things to do, etc.

For work, I own an expat tax company. Visit us:
We serve clients around the world, including Guatemala.
Thanks very much.

Didn't see other responses so may duplicate. Sorry.

I received a great recommendation before actually moving here. I've been living here as permanent resident nearly a year. The recommendation is to RENT not buy.
Prices are truly quite high for purchases right now. I've even heard discussions about the real estate market here showing signs of a 'bubble'. And while buying is easy, finding someone to sell to if you want/need to is much more difficult. Many gringos have come, purchased, then lost their shirts when they changed their minds about where they actually wanted to live.
Also,it is very difficult to tell if an area is 'good' or 'bad' on just a short visit. Renting near where you THINK you want to live is best, as it gives you the opportunity to
a. get to know the area
b. watch for truly good prices
Most reasonably priced lots/homes don't ever get 'listed' with agents, but you will find them by word of mouth just asking around. Understand that we pay the 'gringo tax' (skin color is light, you must be RICH! ) so be ready to negotiate a lot.

We've rented since we arrived and I am really glad we did. We've gotten to know different areas and will only purchase (if ever) when we are SURE it is where we want to be and the price is a lot lower. Rents are reasonable here, while prices for purchases are higher than what we were used to in the States. We rent a 5BR/3bath 3500sq.ft. home in a gated/guarded community near the city and we pay around $600/mo. Electricity is about 3 times the price of the States, but the bill is usually much lower if you stay in the highlands so you will not need A/C. Our bill in the States was from $350 - $550 per month, and here we pay about $200 per month. If you eat only fresh fruits/veggies from the local mercado, your food bill will be quite a bit lower. If you want meats, they are not cheap here. And if you buy at the 'Western' style stores (big box like PriceSmart, Walmart, Clubco, Sears, etc) you will pay quite a bit more here than in the States. The biggest savings we have experienced has been the insurance. Our auto insurance is much cheaper, and we do not even carry health insurance, but have an account we pay ourselves to cover expenses if we need. We are more into the natural health, so won't be using chemo or radiation any way. Most medical/dental here is MUCH cheaper here than in the States, by factors of 5-10. And since we rent, we don't have house insurance (saves another $200 per month).

Some things to think about...

hi there i have been living in playa grande for a yr come august 24th. i find it amazing to see so many great stories on this website and see how ppl really like living here. so far my experience hasnt been so great but this is where my husband is from so this is where we will stay until he is ready to go back to the united states. i have felt so incredible alone in this country so finding this site is truly a blessing.

hello. where is playa grande?

its in quiche.
we are about 14 hours away from the capitol

          my name is christoper crichton. i am 57 years old.i am a retired nurse. i will be retiring to guatemala in nov.2014.i have friends in villa nueva that i can stay with and are going to help me until i get situated.i will be applying for residency under the pensionado residency .
           i would like to spend some time in pana.i eventually want to settle in xela. i cant take the heat much any more and like a cool area.
           my main concern is with banking i receive a retirement check from state and county.everyone i ask and everything i read people tell me something different about how to bank .any advice about banking and anyone that has pensionado residency. i have talked to a women named betty lopez that does emigration paper work in guate . i am sure that i will find out more as get there and go along.
                                                                                                           thank you.

Hi there,  I'm katie but friends call me kate.

I've been in Guatemala off and on now for about a year or so, becoming permanent in January of this year.  I managed to meet Mr. Right and get knocked up LOL, things can happen so fast.

I'm currently living in villa nueva and having the hardest time meeting friends.. I met a million nice people here,  but don't speak Spanish yet and never seem to strike gold on finding folks that also speak English. 

All the classes and activities I find are only available in Spanish which makes complete sense,  sadly not in my favor... makes me miss home alot. 

I'd love any suggestions to help improve my social situation : )  Spanish classes coming in 2016 but for the time being my Window of opportunities is rather small lol. 


Julien :

Hi all,

Newbie on the Guatemala forum? Don’t know how to start?

This thread is for you ;)

We invite you to introduce yourself on this topic, to share with us your expat story if you are already living in the country, or to tell us more on your expat projects in Guatemala if you are planning to move there.

It will enable us to help you better but above all to wish you a warm welcome.

Welcome on board!

Planning on moving to Lake Atitlan area by January 2018. We are from Southern Ontario Canada and are planning a recon visit in September 2016 (three months from now). Excited and want to learn so much between now and then. Starting to try to learn at least some Spanish so we have a place to start anyway.  Very interesting reading the posts so far and all the information can seem a little overwhelming but I am sure it will work out in the end.  We have very simple needs and do not care about material things really.  We are looking at some very nice casitas to rent for a few months when we first make the move.  Thanks for all the information and keep posting.....

Kim and Dave

I shipped a lot of my furniture and books and the service was good, but if I had to do it again, I would just get most of the furniture here.  There is everything one needs and you'll save yourself the hassle with customs.  Bring those pieces that have sentimental value, of course. And your own car, if you want to ship it. I shipped mine, and that was smart. As for stores, there is Walmart, Sears, Pricemart (like Costco and Sams), Big Lots, Dollar Store, Office Depot, and many other stores from North America, including Benetton, Nine West, The Gap and so on, not to mention fast food chains such as Appleby's, Friday's, IHOP, MacDonalds, etc.  I prefer to go to the market for shopping for vegetables and fruit, though, but that is me.

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