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The first reason is the climate

The weather in Guatemala is without exception, perfect all year round. Here are the online facts available for anyone to confirm. Temperature varies with altitude. The average annual temperature on the coast ranges from 25° to 30° C (77° to 86° F ); in the central highlands the average is 20° C (68° F ) and in the higher mountains 15° C (59° F ). In Guatemala City, the average January minimum is 11° C (52° F ) and the maximum 23° C (73° F ); the average minimum and maximum temperatures in July are, respectively, 16° C (61° F ) and 26° C (79° F ). The rainy season extends from May to October inland and to December along the coast, and the dry season from November (or January) to April. Because of its consistently temperate climate, Guatemala has been called the "Land of Eternal Spring." 

 

The second reason is the cost of food


It may be hard to imagine that you can buy locally grown fruits and vegetables all year round at prices that would amaze you in comparison to other countries. The reasons are simple. Most countries have a short growing period, so fresh produce is available only on a seasonal basis. Non-seasonable produce must be imported, and generally, it will come from Mexico or Central America. There is a cost attached to this, and the consumer ultimately pays.
Produce in Guatemala is normally purchased in local markets, and sold by indigenous farmers, who bring their fresh goods to market at least twice a week. The overhead costs are next to nothing compared to other countries that sell everything in large commercial shopping centres with up to 50 or 60 employees, most earning union wages, and benefits, and paying an enormous amount of rent for their space. Conservatively, the cost in Guatemala for produce, no more than 2 days out of the field is almost 65% less.


Reason number three is the cost of housing or rental accommodations

Certainly, Antigua is not the most economical place to rent or purchase a home, as it is a unique Colonial city dating back to the early 1500’s, and a favourite place for X pats and tourists to live and visit. There is always a strong demand for reasonably priced property. If renting suits you better than purchasing a home, please use this link to see examples of rental prices.


Purchasing a home in Guatemala is no problem for a foreigner. The law states that anyone can purchase property in Guatemala, and they have all the legal rights of a Guatemalan.

Homes vary in price depending on location. The closer you are the main Central Park area, the more expensive the property. Obviously, the size of the home and the lot will dictate the price, as well as the historic value of the home. Moving a bit out of the central area, but within walking distance, newer style homes with all the conveniences are available in the mid $200,000.00 range.

The further away for the central area, the lower the price. Further out can mean an 8-minute drive to downtown.  In Los Angeles at rush hour, that is about the time it takes to move half a mile.


Foreigners should be aware that mortgage loans are basically none existent. If you’re a foreigner, cash is generally required to purchase. In some cases, a seller may consider private financing, but they are few and far between, and a buyer would require at least 40% to 50% down payment, and generally for a short term of around 3 to 5 years. Interest rates at the banks are now around 6.75 to 7.5 %, and private financing rates are about the same.


The last reason (four) is really a few reasons combined, but they should cover most things.


Medical: Medicare and Medicaid don’t exist in Guatemala, but there is a National Health Care system, and they will treat a foreigner-free of charge. This is really a choice of last resort, as they don’t treat simple ailments. 
There are several major hospitals in Guatemala, with US-trained doctors, and all specialities are covered. 


Communications: Guatemala is totally up to date with state of the art communication systems, including cellular, fixed landlines, cable TV with HD and ample English channels.
Telephone, cable and internet packages for $50.00 a month.


Transportation: Although not recommended, busses in Guatemala range from first class to 
“I wouldn’t get on that thing if you paid me”. If you need simple local Antigua bus transportation, you can catch a bus almost anywhere, and locally, the cost is .13 cents.
We recommend that if you live here, and not just passing through for a few months, that a car is essential. We recommend that bringing a car into the country would only be a choice if it’s something that you couldn’t live without. Import taxes for vehicles are expensive. Vehicles are not expensive to buy in Guatemala, and all the normal brands are available.
It just takes a good eye and a good negotiator to find exactly what you’re looking for.


Air Lines connections: Guatemala is serviced by most international airlines. American, Delta, Continental, Taca, Copa, Spirit and others.
As Guatemala is not an airline hub, the prices are a little higher than I think they should be, but a lot of that is the local Government airport taxes. There are the occasional deals available, but not as many as there should be, as we are a captive market. 


Residency: It may seem strange, but you don’t need to apply for residency if you don’t want to.
The only condition is you must leave the country every 90 days. As Mexico is only a 4-hour drive, most people make a quick shopping trip and spend a day in Tapachula enjoying the great Mexican food and local entertainment.
If leaving every 90 days is not appealing, you can apply for residency, and you will need a confirmed and certified income statement of $1200.00 a month for a single person and $1500.00 a month for a couple. A police report from your last country of residence is required, and a local attorney can do the rest for about $900.00 and a few months waiting time.
Insurance: All forms of insurance are available. International Health Insurance, Life Insurance, car insurance, home insurance etc. Insurance is very inexpensive compared to most countries, and all conceivable risks are covered.