Thinking about traveling to Guatemala?
These days, I can’t scroll through Instagram Reels without seeing someone post about their time in Guatemala! When we visited in March 2021, it seemed like it was a hidden gem. There weren’t too many people traveling to Guatemala but in the last year or so – it has exploded in popularity. We totally get why:
- the natural beauty is unique – lakes, mountains and volcanoes
- the weather is perfect – it’s not too hot and not too cold
- the Guatemala people are so friendly
- the rich history and culture
But there still might be one question on your mind…
…the cost of living Guatemala – is it cheap or is it expensive?
We asked ourselves this question before we made the final decision to visit the beautiful, diverse country of Guatemala. Before we even consider a destination, we need to know what the cost of living is like – if it suits our budget and if we’ll get value for money here.
Whether you are planning to be a digital nomad in Guatemala for a couple of months or looking to retire – it’s an important question to evaluate for yourself. Here’s the thing – there isn’t one magic number that works for everyone. That’s why I’m going to share the average cost of living in Guatemala but..
We spent 4 months in Guatemala and we’re also going to share our detailed cost of living for the 2 different towns we lived in – Antigua and Lake Atitlan.
Ready? Let’s go!
Why Live in Guatemala As A Digital Nomad?
What comes to your mind when you think of Guatemala?
- Is it the volcanoes?
- Maybe the cool hikes?
- Or probably the food?
- What about the spring weather?
Maybe it’s all of those things! There are so many reasons people love to visit Guatemala and here are just some of the clear reasons why people live in Guatemala:
- Affordable cost of living: Now I didn’t say cheap (and there’s a reason for that). It seems to be a trend in Latin American countries that the rent is expensive. We were used to being Asia digital nomads and we noticed it’s just SO much more expensive to rent an Airbnb in Latin America. The value for money also didn’t match! If you put rent aside, everything else like eating out, transport and activities are pretty affordable in Guatemala.
- High Standard of Living: You can live a very comfortable life in Guatemala. We think there’s something for everyone in Guatemala – whether you’re an outdoorsy person or a luxury getaway type of person! Getting to and from towns is fairly stress-free and although the wifi isn’t the fastest – it’s very easy to have a high quality of life in Guatemala.
But is it safe in Guatemala?
That’s a very common question and something that all our family and friends ask which is completely fine! If you’ve never been to a certain place – it’s reasonable to ask about the safety. Here’s the thing – it can be dangerous anywhere in the world and Guatemala is no exception.
In saying that, nothing bad happened to us during our 4 months in Guate and we felt completely safe the entire time. Be wise, use your common sense and don’t let the fear stop you from traveling to a beautiful (and worthwhile) country like Guatemala!
Average Cost of Living Guatemala: A Detailed Breakdown
- How much is rent in Guatemala?
- How much is a meal out at a nice restaurant?
- Is the cost of living in Guatemala expensive or cheap?
If you’re a digital nomad traveling full-time or an expat thinking about moving abroad – costs are one of the most important factors you have to consider. You need to know if you can afford the living costs in Guatemala with the kind of lifestyle you’re after.
I’ve created a general cost of living for Guatemala as a whole. After this section, I’ll break down our personal cost of living in both Antigua and Lake Atitlan (which is very interesting). Here’s the thing – your Airbnb costs can get really high if you live in the city center of Antigua. They can also get really low if you live in a small town on the lake. A lot of it depends on where you stay in Guatemala.
IMPORTANT: We travel as a digital nomad couple and that’s why all of the prices you see are actually for 2 people *not 1 person. Keep this in mind as you continue reading!
Here is the full breakdown of the average monthly cost of living Guatemala for 2 people:
|Activities & Entertainment
The average cost of living in Guatemala for 2 people with a comfortable lifestyle is: $1,728 USD (not including coworking)
Accommodation – $750
The Airbnb prices are pretty high in Guatemala! It’s hard to find a decent 1 bedroom apartment in a great location without a hefty price tag. What’s expensive?
It depends on where you plan to stay but most digital nomads find themselves living in Lake Atitlan and living in Antigua. For these two popular towns in Guatemala, you can expect to pay anywhere from $850 USD to as much as $1,300 USD. Yes, it can be that much! The price increases if you want to stay close to the city centers and you want to have a more ‘luxurious’ space.
We scoured Airbnb to find a half-decent apartment for a low price – there was no way we were going to pay that. In doing this, we had to sacrifice living a 15-20 minutes walk away from the city center which wasn’t toooo bad. But we did find an Airbnb for only $550 USD and the savings alone attracted us to this place! It was basically a small studio with a small kitchen, double bed and a small living room area. We probably couldn’t last longer than the month and a half we did stay but thankfully, we had some pretty awesome hosts. We can recommend this place (if you want to save money).
Groceries – $272
Groceries are fairly affordable in Guatemala. I can’t say it’s cheaper than Mexico groceries but it’s still not as bad. We only went a couple of times, getting stuff here and there – not really doing a proper grocery shop for the week (that’s why you can see our huge dining out budget). Overall, it’s not that expensive to do groceries in Guatemala and it can be a great way for you to save some money here.
Here’s an example of how much staple grocery items cost:
- 12 Eggs: 33 pesos ($1.68USD)
- 1L of Milk: 27 pesos ($1.36USD)
- Loaf of Bread: 46 pesos ($2.32USD)
- Apples: 43 pesos/kg ($2.17USD/kg)
In Antigua, the biggest grocery store in the city center is La Bodegona. It’s a pretty good supermarket and very convenient because it was close to where we lived. If you want specific things like almond flour or any of those health food items – you can take an Uber to Jocotenango, the Supermercado La Torre is only a 10-minute drive.
Dining Out $300
Other than rent, the dining out costs is probably the next most expensive part of living in Guatemala.
Well…it depends where you go! For example, it’s around 30% less to eat out at restaurants in Lake Atitlan than it is to eat out at restaurants in Antigua. You can get a meal (salad, sandwich or pasta) for around 40Q ($5.20 USD) to 60Q ($7.80 USD) in Lake Atitlan and this could cost more like 60Q ($7.80 USD) to 80Q ($10.40 USD) if you’re living in Antigua.
If you have local food, it will always be cheaper. Our favorite spot was Rincon Tipico in Antigua. However, if you want Japanese, Thai or Italian – you’re definitely going to pay more for your meal.
You’ll notice we always have a separate budget for coffee because we just love it so much! We love to get at least 1 coffee per day and this budget somewhat reflects that.
A latte at our favorite cafe, Artista de Cafe, costs around 24Q (If you love coffee too – Guatemalan coffee beans are pretty tasty! We didn’t realize how big of a coffee exporter they were! It’s definitely worth doing a coffee farm tour while you’re in Guatemala.
Your transport costs can depend on a couple of things – where you live, what you want to do and more. We gave this a general budget of $50 in case you take Ubers, tuk-tuks, lanchas or shuttles to travel around Guatemala.
If you’re an Antigua digital nomad, the best way to get around is to walk or Uber around. An Uber across town can cost as little as $1.50. If you’re a Lake Atitlan digital nomad, the most popular transport options are tuk-tuks while in town and lanchas to visit all the other villages around the lake.
Drinking Water $19
You can’t drink the tap water in Guatemala.
You’ll have 2 options for drinking water no matter where you are in Guatemala – the big, blue 20L gallon of water or the amazing ecofiltro! For our first Airbnb, we used the blue bottles for water which cost around 20Q each. If you’re Airbnb provides an ecofiltro – it’s perfectly safe to drink from it! It’s made of clay and an innovative way to take undrinkable tap water and filter it. We had it for our 2nd Airbnb and it was the best thing!
Phone Plan $26
If you’re staying a month or longer – it’s worth it to get a local SIM card.
The best company with the widest coverage is Tigo. It’s not that expensive for a 30-day internet package. You’ll pay around 50Q for the chip/sim itself and then it costs 99Q for an 8GB data plan with unlimited social media.
Need help with SIM cards? Check out our guide on buying a SIM card in Guatemala.
Activities & Entertainment – $65
We just loved living in Antigua like a local and didn’t feel a great need to do all the touristy things. Of course, we did a couple of tours like hiking Pacaya Volcano and going on a coffee farm tour!
The activities in Guatemala are very cost-effective and most trips usually include everything (transport to and from, tour guide, etc). We paid around 300Q for our hike to Pacaya and quite a bit more for a coffee farm
Travel Insurance / Healthcare Costs – $84
Medical tourism is a thing and it’s much more popular to get procedures done in Mexico…but what about Guatemala? We have had friends get LASIK surgery in Guatemala City and it cost less than half what it would in the States. She said they did a great job and it’s a cost-effective way to get any medical/surgical procedures done here.
If you don’t have travel insurance, you really should! We’ve been on the road for 3 years and we aren’t taking any chances. You can use the popular digital nomad ones like World Nomads or SafetyWing. We personally use and recommend SafetyWing – it’s only $40 USD per month.
Gym Membership – $50
Getting a gym membership was more difficult than we expected in Antigua. For some reason, the gyms love to have lock-in contracts. We decided to do one for 3 months and just left before our 3rd month started because it was more affordable that way.
We went to the ” ” gym and paid approximately $50 USD per month for 2 people. The other popular gym people go to is La Fabrica which has more flexible memberships plans and nicer owners!
*Optional: Coworking $190
We opted for a coworking space in Antigua as we normally do. It was slightly higher than what we were used to paying for a coworking space but it was brand new and absolutely stunning!
We went to El Cubo Center which we highly recommend! It’s a little further out in a small town called Puerto Vieja but there are shuttles from the city center in Antigua than can take you. If you do this commute – you’ll be rewarded with ergonomic chairs, comfortable work desks and a stunning view of the volcanoes!
Our Personal Cost of Living In Guatemala
You’ve got a general idea of what it costs to live in Guatemala but interested to see what our exact expenses were? I feel like this is the most accurate way to tell if you could live in a place – seeing how much others can live there for.
We spent around 4 months living in Guatemala and stayed in 2 different towns in Guatemala – San Pedro La Laguna in Lake Atitlan and Antigua. Here’s the cost of living for each town and a general assessment!
Cost of Living Guatemala – Antigua
We spent quite a bit living in Antigua because we made so many great friends, ate out for almost every meal and didn’t hold back.
We were able to save on our rent (which is rare) because we only paid $550 USD – granted it wasn’t a spacious studio but it was worth the savings to us. You’ll see how much expensive it really is to eat out in Antigua – almost like US/Australia price at times!
Here’s our cost of living in Antigua, Guatemala:
|Activities & Entertainment
Our monthly cost of living in Antigua, Guatemala for 2 people is: $1,885 USD (not including coworking costs)
Cost of Living Guatemala – Lake Atitlan
We spent 2 months living here and it’s more affordable than Antigua.
We enjoyed the gorgeous Lake Atitlan weather and going to the best restaurants around the lake. We found a cup of coffee to be much cheaper than in Antigua and as I said before, meals are around 30% less here.
Here’s our cost of living in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala:
|Activities & Entertainment
Our monthly cost of living in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala for 2 people is: $1,529 USD
Did The Cost Of Living In Guatemala Surprise You?
What did you think about the cost of living in Guatemala?
Was it expensive in your opinion? Was it cheap? Or was it somewhere in the middle?
For us – it was more than we were used to spending per month, especially while being an Antigua digital nomad. It’s also pretty hard to find a decent, comfortable 1 bedroom apartment in the city center for less than $1,000 USD. Yes – you can definitely do it cheaper just like we did (per our rent) but the value for money just wasn’t there for us. If you spend close to what we spent – you’ll be able to live comfortably, eat out when you want and have a decent coworking space.
With that said, we think Guatemala is one of the best places we have ever visited and it’s worth the ‘splurge’ for a couple of months!