Reasons to Move to Guatemala Forever…and One Reason Not To

1. Cost of Living

This alone can improve your quality of life drastically. Hate housekeeping? How about having someone clean your house four hours a week for $50 a month? Want to go on dates more often? How about a babysitter for $1/hour? Don’t want to cook? Have an excellent meal for $3.

2. Hippyness

The culture here is one of aura reading, baggy clothing, yoga classes, and easy-going people. I’m a hippie at heart so I felt right at home. Only part I’m not into is the drug culture—a fairly prominent part of this scene as well.

woozy guatemala

3. Food

Rarely have I been in a place that food has been so consistently good. And so vegetarian-friendly, too. Tofu as a main is a staple in every restaurant. At the German café in Pana, besides the absolutely divine chocolate, there was a tofu kebab. Lecker!

4. Beauty

Is Lake Atitlan the most beautiful place in the world? It is certainly a contender.DSC04138

5. Friends

Besides the large expat population, frequent visitors from the United States, and friendly strangers in the streets, if you speak Spanish it is easy to make friends with locals. Ryder loved all of the attention he got.

running kids

6. Easy Spanish

$5/hour, two hours a day, six weeks with a tutor, and I speak/understand Spanish. The dialect here is easy to understand. It smacks of gringo.

7. Ease of Getting Around

Tuktuks, buses, shared vans, pick up trucks—lots of cheap and easy public transportation. Ryder absolutely loved getting around by boat and would perk up when he heard one drive past.

lancha beautiful

8. Rich culture—clothes, traditions, festivals

The Mayan traditions have been preserved despite the high tourist traffic. Between that and Catholic traditions at least one town on the lake is sure to have a parade, fair, or fireworks going on every weekend. We went to this kite festival with several other traveling families.

huge kites

9. Important and Interesting History

I had no idea there was a genocide in Guatemala so recently. The war and the political situation are tragic, complex and interesting to learn about.

10. Proximity to the States and the rest of Central America

Makes getting US products fairly easy. There’s a store called Sandra’s that sells US exports. And getting to and from the States is almost easier than getting to and from one US State to another it is so close.

11. Adventure activities and other date ideas

Parasailing, hot tubbing, hiking, motorbiking, bungeeing, volcanoes, cliff jumping, and the list goes on… Jacob took me on a painting class date.

painting class

12. Relaxation

And after all of those activities, you can always come home and swing in your own private hammock.


The One Drawback…


Guatemala is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The poverty and the recent violent history combine to make life difficult for the natives. Below is a wall of posters of civilian people in Guatemala City who tragically were murdered in the war.


I managed to enjoy my stay because we lived in a sort of compound in Panajachel with guard dogs and about 7 keys. Otherwise, you might not want to bring any sort of valuables because theft is high here. Jacob’s phone was stolen (but then he talked them into giving it back!) My bag was slit in Antigua—I caught (her) in the act! We’re not inexperienced travelers either! But for me this drawback was not severe enough for me not to rate this country as perhaps my favorite now after India.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 371 awesome articles for us.

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