Living in Guatemala guide for expats

All the information you need to relocate and live in Guatemala.

Our selection of articles for expatriation in Guatemala

Banking in Guatemala

Guatemala has endeavoured to clamp down on money laundering by implementing stringent control over international capital flows ...

The healthcare system in Guatemala

Guatemala's public health system benefits from a well-established legal framework, a long-standing institutional history, and ...

Leisure activities in Guatemala

With Guatemala's rich cultural and historic heritage, stunning landscapes and dense cultural agenda, spending your free time in ...

Phones and internet in Guatemala

Guatemala enjoys extensive and modern telecommunications networks, encompassing cellular and land lines, broadband internet and ...

Relocating to Guatemala

Bringing your personal belongings as well as your furry or feathery friends to Guatemala is a key part of your expatriation ...

How to drive in Guatemala

The majority of public means of transportation in Guatemala is notoriously uncomfortable, so being able to drive is essential and ...

Travelling around Guatemala

Without passenger trains running on the national railways, air and road transport are the main means of transportation available ...

The tax system in Guatemala

Taxation in Guatemala is all but excessive; the country's revenue from tax, at 12.3% of GDP, is one of the lowest in the region ...

Study in Guatemala

Facing one of the lowest adult literacy rate in Central America, Guatemala's higher education system has many challenges to ...

Accommodation in Guatemala

Guatemala being a country of stark contrasts, the choice of a place to live deserves careful thinking. The accommodation in ...

Finding work in Guatemala

Guatemala has a stable economy driven by the primary and tertiary sectors. Although foreigners are only rarely employed in ...

Residence permits for Guatemala

Although a legal loophole allows foreigners to legally stay in Guatemala beyond the 90-day period without a residence permit ...

Visas for Guatemala

The nationals of 86 countries can stay in Guatemala for a maximum period of 90 days without a visa of any kind. If you are a ...

Childcare and family activities in Guatemala

Guatemalans tend to have large families, especially in rural areas, so your children will not lack company, and moving there as a ...

Free movies

As a movie fan, having the chance of watching all kinds of movies in the places I visit is a plus. Although, sometimes the ...

About Guatemala

History of Guatemala

Guatemala is historically a Mayan territory. After being colonised by Spain, Guatemala gained its independence in the 19th century. The country was then plagued by decades of political turmoil, with a series of military coups facing guerrilla opposition, which escalated into civil war. Guatemala finally achieved peace and transformed into a democratic regime at the end of the 20th century, and has ever since steadily been recovering.

Since 1986, Guatemala is a constitutional sovereign democratic republic.

Geography of Guatemala

Located in Central America, Guatemala shares borders with Mexico, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, and is bounded by the Gulf of Honduras and the Pacific Ocean.

Although fairly small, with a surface area of 108,889km2, the country is geographically very diverse: its southern parts are home to a string of 27 volcanoes, three of them active, while the north is comprised of a dense rainforest and savanna grasslands.

The ongoing deforestation process has somewhat depleted the region's exuberant wildlife, formed of mammals, reptiles and birds, including the gaudy quetzal, the national symbol.

Located within the tropics, Guatemala experiences constant temperatures throughout the year, ranging from about 14 °C in the highest areas to 24 °C at sea level.

As for precipitations, Guatemala has a dry season between the months of November and April but is likely to face strong, windy tropical storms causing floods in September and October.

The country's population of roughly 15 million inhabitants lives half in rural settlements, and half in large cities like capital city Guatemala City or Quetzaltenango, heartland of the Indian community.

Economy of Guatemala

The country's climatic variety allows a wide array of crops to thrive, and Guatemala boasts significant agricultural riches. Commodities such as coffee, sugar, and bananas are in fact pillars of Guatemala's external trade.

After weathering severe economic and currency in the 1980s, the government has endeavoured to revive the national economy and stabilise its balance of payment by encouraging crop diversification, promoting the cultivation of flowers or snow peas for export purposes.

When it comes to industrial activities, the leading sectors include textile manufacture, food processing (and particularly sugar processing) and beverage production. Assembly plants have also been set up in a bid to leverage the country's proximity to the US and Mexican territories.

The service sector is rapidly gaining steam and already makes the largest contribution to Guatemala's GDP. Tourism in particular is an important driver of growth.

Culture of Guatemala

Guatemala is home to two main ethnic groups: the so-called Ladinos, of mixed Maya and Hispanic origins, and the indigenous Maya Indians.

Spanish is Guatemala's official language, but dozens of Mayan languages are spoken and even used for administration and business purposes. While most Ladinos do not speak Mayan, many Mayas are fluent in Spanish.

Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are dominant in the country, sometimes mixed with pre-Columbian beliefs.

Guatemala is marked by sharp inequalities in about every realm. Urban, affluent households live just like one does in New York city, in stark contrast to rural indigenous people who have retained a traditional, almost pre-industrial lifestyle.

Whatever their background, Guatemalans are generally optimistic, positive and joyful people more than willing to welcome and include newcomers.

Useful link:

Visit Guatemala

Quick Information

Official Languages : Spanish; Castilian
Currency : Quetzal
Area : 108890 Km2
Population : 13550440
Calling Code : +502
Timezone : America/Guatemala

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