Guatemala guide for digital nomads

The Ultimate Guide to Guatemala for Digital Nomads

Guatemala’s rich culture and heritage are top of the reasons why they get a flock of visitors all year round. The country is just filled with Mayan mythology as well as breathtaking sceneries and landscapes and who can pass up on a visit to the UNESCO-protected Antigua with all its Renaissance and Baroque architecture if they get a chance.

Guatemala is no stranger to the concept of backpackers, expats, and digital nomads. Its close proximity to the US plus its affordable cost of living has also been the reason why digital nomads choose to explore and work in this country.

Guatemala, as a country, has found the right mix of tradition and innovation to support digital nomads with everything that they need. Here’s your guide!


Guatemala for digital nomads at a glance

Pros

  • There’s a thriving digital nomad community and culture in the country, so internet or power problems may soon be addressed to support it and will be a thing of the past
  • There are guaranteed a lot of coworking and co-living spaces within the country’s larger cities
  • A Wi-Fi plan is locally available for you
  • Getting around cities is easy and can be done on foot so moving around is not very challenging
  • Affordable cost of living in all aspects
  • Diverse and delicious cuisines
  • Rich culture, heritage, and breathtaking architecture
  • You won’t run out of sights to visit

Cons

  • Off the beaten path areas might as well be considered as a no-go zone for digital nomads for their safety
  • Internet connection may not be as reliable as some other known digital nomad countries
  • There are regular power interruptions in rural areas of the country as well

The Cost of Living in Guatemala

cost of living in Guatemala

As mentioned, the affordable cost of living in Guatemala makes it an attractive destination for not only digital nomads but also backpackers and expats alike. Rest assured that everything from food, transportation, and accommodations will always have a cheaper option for those who know where to look and are willing to take the frugal route in their travels.

In Guatemala, you can eat good food for less, go to breathtaking destinations for less, live comfortably for less, and move about the cities and towns for, you guessed it, less.

The overall cost of living for digital nomads in Guatemala should be around $1000 per month about twice that of a local, not bad, right? This can even be cut down to $750 if you are frugal enough whilst preparing $1500 a month is already considered luxury living.

How much does accommodation usually cost?

Please do take note that our estimated cost is largely based on how much things are in Guatemala City which is the capital of Guatemala. We are going to talk about Antigua in a later section a little bit as well as other cities or towns so don’t worry.

For now, the average cost for accommodations in Guatemala would be around $450 for a 1 bedroom studio type apartment, $800 median price for a hotel, and around $850 to $900 for Airbnb a month.

Coworking spaces should cost about $120 a month and hotels around $40 a night with Airbnb costing less per night at $29. Please do take note that these are more or less median price ranges and you can definitely find cheap accommodations if you only know where to look and don’t expect luxury living.

What about the food?

Most of what you’re going to spend in your stay in Guatemala is going to your accommodation about 2/3 of it, really. From here on out, get ready to treat yourself with affordable yet flavorful food from Guatemala’s rich cuisine.

Just set aside about $10 a day (about $3.5 per meal) for food and you’ll be good to go. Anything more than that and you can afford fine dining but if you’re frugal enough then you can save a lot of cash when it comes to chow.

Want to cut back more from food? You can always buy your own groceries and cook yourself your own meal. Beer and coffee will cost around $1.5 and $1 respectively.

Transportation

Generally, Guatemalan cities are not that large and so you’ll sometimes be better off exploring it or moving around on foot. That saves a lot of bucks and a pretty healthy habit to boot.

If you don’t feel like walking then you can go about the cities through Uber or a rickshaw. They also offer more comfortable transportation like minivans as well as bus accommodations offered by both hotels and hostels.

But what we would recommend you at least try once when you’re in the country is the famed chickenbus. It’s just one of many cheap ways that you may travel through the local’s ingenuity when it comes to transport.

Transportation, in general, within the cities should cost you about $4 to $5 a day. Imagine your savings if you’ve mapped everything out and strategically planned to just walk per day to your destinations as you work and immerse yourself with the culture and day to day living.

More meaningful experience plus it’s easy on the budget.

So, that’s about moving within the city but moving or transportation from one city to another can prove to be a lot more challenging. This is due to the poor overall infrastructure of the country with unfinished roads and all other factors. They only also have 2 airports within the country. So be sure to prepare yourself for the challenges of domestic travel.

The Weather in Guatemala

weather in Guatemala

Guatemala has a tropical climate and has 2 seasons, wet and dry. So, naturally, the year is divided into these two with the dry season lasting from November to April or May and the wet season from around April or May to November.

What you need to take note of with Guatemalan temperature though is that it’s pretty much altitude-based. That means that as you get to higher places the temperature would also consequently drop.

Base on this, you can decide whether which months you’d want to visit. Naturally, the dry season would be ideal but not because of obvious reasons but due to some other areas in the country being hard to access when it rains due to poor road conditions.

It’s also important to take note that Canicula or a known period of break in the rainy season happens in July and August much like the USA’s summer break. The dry season is also filled with festivals that the country celebrates so that’s an additional reason why to go visit it during that time of the year.

Finding a Place to Stay in Guatemala

accommodation in Guatemala

We’ve touched on the places that you may stay in as you visit Guatemala earlier. You can go to hotels, hostels, Airbnb, and even live in co-living spaces that are abundant within its major cities.

Bookings.com still going to be a valuable tool for you as you find and book the best hotel and accommodation deals you can find for this awesome country. And, as always, there is a small couch surfing community in Guatemala too that you may try although this ain’t a very popular option for now.

Top hotels to stay in your stay in Guatemala for $30 upwards should be Barcelo Guatemala City, Grand Tikal Futura Hotel, Hotel Clarion Suites Guatemala, Holiday Inn Guatemala and IHG Hotel, and AC Hotels by Marriott Guatemala City.  

Visas and Documentation in Guatemala

Guatemala airport

You can visit Guatemala visa-free and for 90 days. This privilege may even be extended for another 90 days should you want to in Guatemala City. All you need to do is to go for a visa run by crossing the border of nearby countries like Honduras, Mexico, Belize, or El Salvador.

The Top Destinations for Digital Nomads in Guatemala

In general, it is worth knowing that currently, the digital nomad scene of the country is centered on their larger cities or Guatemala City, Antigua, and may even extend to Lake Atitlan. These are all good bases if you want to explore the rest of the country.

A lot of the attractions will be accessible to you if you stay on any of these three. Peten is a bit far and Flores or maybe even Tikal does not have a reliable internet connection. Here are your top destinations and brief guides to your stay in these wonderful and historical cities.

Guatemala City

Guatemala city

We need to remember that only a few years ago even though it’s the capital city of this country, it was pretty much avoided due to some turmoil. But right now, parts of the city especially Zona 1 and 4 are becoming a hub for digital nomads.

It’s no longer as chaotic and is now pretty much a tourist-friendly city to be in. And, naturally so, it’s now filled with coworking spaces and accommodations meant for backpackers, expats, and digital nomads with a reliable internet connection so your work won’t get disrupted.

Food shortage is not an issue and you’ll enjoy only the most flavorful cuisines at very affordable prices.

Coworking in Guatemala City

Right at the center of the capital city, Serendipity Lab is located in Zona 14 which is considered as the upscale part of the neighborhood. It’s actually located inside a mall called Plaza la Noria so from that, you already know that you will have everything that you need should you decide to work in it.

There’s food, there’s a gym, and the aesthetic that’s relaxing and stimulates creativity.

Antigua

Antigua

There’s nothing better than being a digital nomad in a UNESCO World Heritage town, ain’t it? The fully preserved capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala is a delight to live in even if only for a while.

The architecture is breathtaking and just imagine if you wake up on its streets day in and day out. Antigua can also be traveled on foot and its close proximity to Guatemala City (and the airport) is also pretty convenient.  

It’s got a pretty moderate climate with quirky cafes plus coworking spaces all-around. Bars and restaurants all over are also a few of the reasons why it’s got such a budding digital monad scene.

It’s got a good and reliable internet connection too and o food shortage reported whatsoever. It’s got a spring-like climate and temperature but as soon as the sun goes down it can get a bit cooler.

Coworking in Antigua

Impact Hub is one of the first if not the first and probably the only coworking spaces in Antigua during its opening. Right now, you can be sure that the city has more than a few of them plus some accommodating cafes that you may also use as a place of work.

This is the number 1 coworking hub in the city and is only a few blocks away from Central Park. It’s got a spacious courtyard and roof terrace to boot. It’s got a diverse and multi-cultural vibe to it and a remote workers haven with multiple branches all around the world.

You add into the mix the historical architecture and you probably don’t want to leave the city for a long while.  

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan

Located in the Guatemalan highlands, Lake Atitlan is known as the deepest lake in Central America. It’s surrounded by many villages and has since been a destination for digital nomads, well, for obvious reasons.

The laidback lifestyle, rooftop terraces, and the view of the lake are just a few of the reasons why people flock to the area. The internet connection may be a bit spotty so be sure to subscribe for your own Wi-Fi connection if you can. Or, go ahead and work in some of the quirky coworking spaces they have around.

Coworking in Lake Atitlan

Speaking of quirky, go ahead and check out JungleLab which suffice to say isn’t your average coworking space. The place is built from completely recycled and natural materials so it’s a bit rough on the edges.

But if you’re into rustic and digital at the same time then it’s the place to be.


Feel free to add your tips, ideas, destinations or tricks in the comments below. We’re always looking for more info to add to this ultimate guide to Guatemala for digital nomads!

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