Low-Cost Living in Guatemala
vacation or retirement spots are as seductive and economical as Antigua, Guatemala, with its unpretentious, unspoiled colonial charm and low living costs.
Recent devaluations in the quetzal against the U.S. dollar make Guatemala even more economical for visitors and for retirees on fixed incomes.
Apartamentos Golondrinas (6a Avenida Norte #34, Antigua, Guatemala; Tel./fax 011-502-832-3342) offers basic rooms with private bath for
$7.50 per day and fully furnished studios or 1-bedroom apartments for $250 to $360 a month. This includes maid service, fresh linen weekly, bottled drinking
water, telephone, etc. Owner/manager Daniel Ramirez Rios plans to be the first Antiguan to provide 24-hour assistance to long-term elderly and disabled guests.
He speaks fluent English and is extremely helpful in assisting travelers and long-term residents alike with travel, immigration, and translation problems.
He can also arrange to have you picked up at the airport in Guatemala City.
A good hotel choice in the moderate price range is the Hotel Convento Santa Catalina (5a Avenida Norte #28 [also known as Calle del Arco];
011-502- 832-3080, fax 011-502-832-3079).
Robert, an American, and Hilda, his Guatemalan wife, co-owners of an Antigua beauty salon, recently announced that they are planning
to rent out a 3-room furnished penthouse suite with fireplace and a volcano view for only $150 per month. They also have a furnished room with a private bath
and a lovely patio for $60 a month. Contact: Robert or Hilda, Casilda (Sala de Belleza), Calle Ancha Esquina #9, Antigua, Guatemala; Tel. 011-502- 832-4756,
For $200 a month you can stay at a neat, 3-story suburban rooming house on la Avenida Norte #20B. Rooms are spacious, and all have a
private bath. The clientele are mainly international students, who gather daily on the lovely roof garden, one of the most spectacular views in Antigua, to
take a leisurely siesta in one of the large hamacas matrimoniales (hammocks). Kitchen privileges, laundry services, and purified drinking water
are available downstairs. The neighborhood is quiet and reportedly safe. For reservations (recommended) contact: Dorcas de Leon, 6a Calle Oriente #6, Antigua,
Guatemala; Tel. 011-502-832- 4368, 011-502-832-6576.
For those tied to the tightest possible shoestring budget and prepared to rough it, I cautiously recommend the rooming house located
at 7a Avenida Norte #60, Antigua, Guatemala; Tel. 011-502- 832-4232, 011-502-832-0705, fax 011- 502-832-0789. The family operation is headed by personable
Gladys Rivera. Most guests are international Spanish students who are absent a good part of the time. If all you want is a place to eat and sleep, this is
a great bargain at $40 a week with meals.