Retiring in Guatemala is a dream for many foreigners who want to retire under the sun and enjoy a country with a low cost of living. Here is a rough details of the costs you can expect if you want to retire in Guatemala.
You are entitled to a 90 days visa every time you enter the country as a tourist, and many people choose to get out four times a year to visit family or nearby countries, and stay on a tourist visa. While I don’t recommend it, I have never heard of anyone having trouble coming in our out, and have never had my migratory status checked in ten years of visiting and living here.
Obtaining residency is relatively easy, first you will get a two year temporary residency, then another one, before you can become a permanent resident. All applications made by a local lawyer should not cost more than $3000.
Spirit is the only low cost airline flying to Guatemala from Fort Lauderdale, and the rest of the US with a layover. You can find flights as cheap as $150 round trip, but the norm is more to the tune of $300 for a US flight and $1000 for a European flight. You could also fly to Cancun, Mexico and make your way overland to Guatemala.
Housing is very cheap in Guatemala if you are looking for a simple one or two bed house. In Antigua Guatemala, the most expensive town, you can rent a basic furnished house including utilities for $500, with more luxurious options in the $800-$1200 range.
Outside Antigua, places like Lake Atitlan and Peten are more affordable, with basic houses starting at $300 and nicer places renting for $500-$700.
If utilities are not included, internet costs about $50 per month for a good package, electricity $40, gas is $10 per tank and water rates are around $30 for normal consumption (no swimming pool).
Fresh fruits and vegetable are plentiful and delicious all year, most of them cost under $0.5 per pound, meat is around $3 per pound and other basics like rice, beans, sugar are under $1 a pound.
If you want imported products like wine, cheese, snacks and cereal, expect to pay around US prices. The cheapest bottles of wine cost $4 with decent options around $10.
If you live in Antigua Guatemala, you probably won’t need a car. A local taxi takes your around for $2 and shuttle buses run all around the country for $30 at most. If you want your own car, it is easier and cheaper to buy one there than to import your own.
Going out and visiting the country
You can have a good meal for two with wine for around $50 at the best restaurants in Antigua. A normal meal in a small restaurant costs $2-8.
A mid range hotel charges between $30 and $60 per night, with pensions as cheap as $8 per night around Lake Atitlan.