I fell in love with Antigua Guatemala the moment I visited. I devoured all the information I could about living here, and even though I had married a Guatemalan woman, there were still gaps in information that I did not have any knowledge about as a foreigner. Simple tasks like setting up Internet service, or how to deal with banks, were a lot more complicated than they should’ve been.
This guide gives you, future Antigua resident, information that you could not possibly hope to gather yourself in a two-week, or even a month-long fact-finding trip. There’s information here that you will help you steer clear of costly and painful mistakes that could have easily been avoided with a little bit of insider knowledge and planning.
What this Living in Antigua book is not: This is not a travel guide. At least not in the traditional sense. While I list many “can’t-miss” experiences in the book, I aim to help you come down here and explore for yourself. To go beyond the tourist trail and get to know what else is out there beyond the 20 city blocks Antigua has to offer.
The 18 Chapter Breakdown
1. Culturally: What to expect in your daily interactions with Guatemalans. Why some topics are off limits.
2. Safety: What to do to stay safe in Antigua, manage risk, and what to do if something does happen. No need to be scared here.
3. Cost of Living: I break down each category, from food to housing, utilities and more. I’ve done both lifestyles, as a local and as an expat. What each cost and why.
4. Housing Overview: Here, I have to burst your bubble. Antigua is not cheap – for tourists. Learn how to live like a local and watch your wallet get fatter.
5. North of Antigua: Why some communities here are popular and expensive… And why you should look elsewhere.
6. East of Antigua: You can live the pampered life in Antigua.
7. South of Antigua: Quiet communities that will give you good value for your money, and from which popular residential areas you should stay away.
8. Southwest of Antigua: This is the jackpot. Some of the best communities to live are here. Learn how a mile can make a difference of hundreds of dollars.
9. Cost of Utilities: What you should pay for what. How a little device can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
10. Cost of Food: Forget the tourist traps. Been there, done that. Where to get real, delicious Guatemalan food for a fraction of the price. Learn to shop like the locals.
11. Phone, Net, & Mail: How to stay one step ahead of the phone companies. Get the info on costs for Internet access and how to send and receive packages without hassle.
12. Transportation: How to conquer the famed “chicken bus” and get anywhere without the need for a car.
13. Children in Antigua: You’ll learn what the school system is like, where to enroll your children, and how to involve them in after-school activities for next to nothing.
14. Pets in Antigua: How to bring your pets to Antigua and get them through Customs without a hassle and where to get the best care in for your pet in Antigua.
15. Medical Care: Learn how to get the best medical care you’ve ever had and probably would not have been able to afford in a First-world country. I tell you our story.
16. Banking in Antigua: What you need to know to manage money here, and how to avoid being ripped off.
17. Visas & Residency: How to stay in Guatemala longer and without hassle. What to do if you’d like to stay here permanently.
18. Foreign Vehicles: Yes, you can bring your foreign car to Guatemala. But would you want to? How to manage your car’s visa.
Plus, bonus information that will make your life much easier.