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Guatemala: Costa Rica’s Retirement Competitor

Costa Rica News – It seems that more and more people are shying away from Costa Rica as a retirement destination with other countries offering more affordable real estate and a smaller cost of living.  When checking out retirement locations south of the US border, retirees are all the time more turning to Guatemala – dubbed Land Of The Eternal Spring – rather than Mexico, Costa Rica and other lasting favorites.

Now, with the much more discovered expat destinations becoming inundated with bold retirees, baby boomers are investigating more far-flung zones for great weather, natural beauty and – perhaps most significantly – the chance to handsomely stretch pension dollars barely covering necessities in the United States.

Guatemala fits the bill. In most parts of the country, for example, experts figure one could live comfortably on between $1,000 and $1,500 a month.

The cost of food and other expenses are a fraction of what one would spend in most countries. Retirees shell out an average of only $2 to $3 an hour for cleaners, gardeners and even personal caregivers, and between $6 and $10 a week for fresh fruit and vegetables in local markets. Total utility costs rarely top $200 a month.

The property too, can be temptingly inexpensive. A foreigner can buy a property like if they were a Guatemalan. There are no difficulties.

That’s not to say all parts of Guatemala are created equal.

Located in Central America at the southern tip of Mexico, between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala is nearly the same size as Tennessee. But there are two places in particular that have earned reputes as being prime spots for retirees seeking to live out their golden years abroad.

Lake Atitlan, about 75 miles from the capital of Guatemala City, remains a mainstay of outstanding living. The lake’s breathtaking setting was legendarily described by Aldous Huxley as “really, too much of a good thing.”

The well-preserved colonial city of Antigua is the other sought-after site, located a mere 25 miles from Guatemala City.

In the Antigua area you can find a very nice three-bedroom fully furnished home in the low- to mid-$200,000 range.

In Antigua, people say you can be living on 40 percent to 50 percent of what it would cost for a similar lifestyle in the United States.

Although exact numbers are hard to come by, as many as 3.3 million American baby boomers say they are planning to retire abroad.

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