25 Lessons From My First Year Living in Antigua Guatemala

It’s already been a little over a year since I made the move from the US to Guatemala. It’s been quite the adventure in some ways, frustrating in other, and a smooth transition in many areas. Overall, I have to say it’s been a great experience!

Here are 25 lessons I’ve learned in my first year living in Antigua Guatemala:

  • #25Everything isn’t better back home. I have no idea what the Kardashians or Lindsey Lohan are up to. Nor does anyone else here bring them up.
  • #24 – For roughly $5 a day my child receives a vastly superior education than what she would’ve ever received in a US public school.
  • #23 – Just because something is cheaper here, it doesn’t mean you’re getting it at a good price.
  • #22 – I don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. Or the Martinezes. Few people here can afford to anyway.
  • #21 – The US medical system is ripping you off big time. As is the pharmaceutical industry.

Guatemalan Tortillas

#20 – Corn tortillas are not that bad. Just give them another chance.

  • #19 – Don’t trust a Realtor to help you get into a ready-to-move-in house or apartment. Make sure EVERYTHING works before receiving your house keys and waving the Realtor goodbye.
  • #18 – Police here are not out to “get you.” Heck, they may even be polite and give you directions if you ask!
  • #17 – Is Guatemala dangerous? Well, they haven’t had any mass shootings or stabbings at any schools, sporting events, movie theaters, or universities lately.
  • #16 – Unleaded gas here sucks. Always get Premium gas.

Mercado Antigua Guatemala

#15 – Paying over $10 dollars to see a movie is insane.

I will never pay over $1.00 for a movie DVD if I can help it.

  • #14 – Don’t ever lock yourself outside your home or car on a Sunday. Nobody works on Sunday if they can help it. As it should be.

Antigua Mercado

  • #13 – Eating vegetables and fruits here is actually cheaper than eating at McDonald’s, not the other way around.
  • #12 – Always change the locks when you move into a house unless you want the owners or their relatives to drop in when you’re not home.
  • #11 – Don’t buy your ceviche (seafood cocktail) just anywhere, especially from that street vendor selling it in little plastic cups for Q5. Unless you’d like to cleanse your digestive system fire-hose style.

Antigua Guatemala

#10 – There are places in the world with perfect weather year-round.

Antigua is one of them. Remember this when the weather is below zero and you’re shoveling snow away from your driveway. Your move, hotshot.

  • #9 – “Chicken buses” will rarely, if ever, have any chickens in them. They will often have clowns, though.
  • #8 – Always bargain prices. You’re expected to. Except at restaurants. It won’t work, trust me.

Carne Asada Guatemala

#7 – Carne asada is not the same as a steak. Not by a mile. But it’s still dang tasty.

  • #6 – The quality of clothing and shoes in the US, even at Wal-Mart, is vastly superior to Guatemala’s. Just because the label says “American Eagle”, it doesn’t make it so.
  • #5 – Lava-spewing volcanoes are just part of the landscape. Enjoy the fireworks and have a travel bag ready at all times.
  • #4 – Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way. Cross the street leisurely at your own risk.

Guatemalan people

#3 – It’s OK to say “Buenos días” (good morning) to total strangers on the street.

They won’t think you’re a psychopath or a mugger. They will even smile and greet back!

  • #2 – No one ever wears gloves when preparing or handling your food. And yet, I haven’t died. I got over it.

And the #1 Lesson I’ve Learned While Living in Antigua Guatemala?

Naranjada Guatemala

Arguing over politics or politicians is a waste of time.

Just kick back and enjoy a cold beer. Or a naranjada, if that’s your thing.

*****

See more about what makes

Antigua Guatemala great here:

 https://www.okantigua.com/guatemala-expat/

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11 comments

  1. Hi!
    Great collection. And from my roughly two months down in Antigua I can confirm all except one thing – the school system as I don’t have kids ;-)
    The weather is great, the people are nice and helpful, lots of fruit and veggies at almost nonsense price compared to the ‘first’ world.

  2. Great post! With 1 year and 10 months under my belt in Nicaragua I have learned many of the same lessons.

    Cheers,
    Elisha in Nica
    Formerly from Calgary, AB, Canada

    • Hi Elisha!

      Thanks for stopping by! Have actually been following your blog for a while. Great stuff! Actually planning an exploratory trip to San Juan del Sur soon, as its a possible next destination. Will reach out when the date gets closer.

      Cheers!

      -Rich

  3. Great article Rich, really enjoyed that. Antigua on our list, maybe we’ll get there sometime in 2014!
    Good job on the blog,
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Wow! Twainian! Not sure if I should take that as a compliment… I have to ask first:

      Are we talking about Mark Twain the American author or Shania Twain the Canadian singer? Because I don’t know how quite take it if it’s the second one. I certainly don’t feel like a woman here! ;)

      -Rich

  4. Enjoyed your comments. Working at an orphanage in San Marcos, 2 yrs in march. Love our kids but do miss family & friends back in Mi. Finally feeling relaxed with the culture, takes awhile especially in more rural area. Take care, Linda & canica kids :)

Comments are closed.

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