Adventures While House Sitting


It's market day in Santiago, Atitlan


I thought this might interest some of you who may be considering a drastic lifestyle change.

David and I frequently discuss how much of a shock it will be to return to the USA and face the soaring prices and the absolutely ridiculous prices in Alaska, which can literally take your breath away.

Some things in this area of Guatemala are not cheap, gas for instance and imported foods. Prices here are higher than other areas is Guatemala because this is a major tourist destination.

On our last shop in Santiago we spent a total of $102 in USA dollars.  That included a wonderful breakfast ($2 ea.), all the local fresh veges, fruits, meats and eggs we need for two weeks, some incidental items from our favorite tienda (store) such as powdered milk, cornmeal, cold beverage to drink on the go, crackers, cookies etc… recharging the phone for a month, our RT boat ride between the casa and Santiago and to top it all off two banana splits (not with one banana split in half but two whole bananas, three scoops of ice cream and all the works for each of us).

Last week we went to Pana to the dentist for routine maintenance.  Cost? $25 ea. We also splurged and had a meal at one of the top end restaurants which included live instrumental music.  Cost? with the tip, beverages and meal… $26 for both of us.  I had chicken parmesan, David had steak and we both had mixta fruita con agua or giant fresh fruit smoothies.

This coming Saturday is a big shin dig.  A very large boat will haul 150 passengers from Pana to Santiago.  First stop, the Posada Hotel where a New Orleans style BBQ with live jazz and blues can be enjoyed by all, a few hours later everyone re-boards the boat and goes to the Tiosh’ Hotel and enjoys more jazz and blues and a spread of traditional Guatemalan foods, a few hours after that everyone re-boards the boat and travels to the Bamboo Hotel to enjoy yet more jazz and blues and a Mediterranean meal. Cost for the boat, food & music?  $40 for both of us (however we only paid $33 for both since we will already be in Santiago and also we are friends with the sister of the man who sets up these local music fests). Pretty good deal for our 8th wedding anniversary celebration!

Property prices really vary. You can buy a very small home with lake view or lake front for $60,000. Nicer homes usually start at $130,000 and up.  There are no taxes unless you buy in a village, but even then they are practically non-existent. Here are a few properties to check out:     (this is the property we are currently housesitting which is overpriced as compared to other lakeside homes).

Rentals are cheap.  Our lawyer friend pays $125 a month for a fully equipped apartment and utilities.  Vacation homes and apartments run $350 a month and up and often include utilities.

Americans can own businesses and even hold citizenship without giving up their USA citizenship.

Basically, anything you buy at the market will be inexpensive as compared to store purchases.

·         A full time gardener, cook/maid will run you about $50 a week.  A professional builder $12.50 a day.

·         Travel from any point on the lake by public boat will cost, at most, $7 RT.

·         RT taxi (plus the wait in any village/town) costs $1.30 – 1.50

·         6 gal premium gas $30.00

·         Spanish School (one on one instruction 20 hours) $90

·         3 mo. VISA renewal $53 (cost is for courier service).

·         1 mo. Satellite TV $20

·         1 mo. 1 GB Internet $19

·         25lb propane $17.5

·         Laundry .93 cents per pound (they do it)

·         4 GIANT rolls TP $2.40

·         1 lb popcorn .60 cents

·         Granola 1lb. $1

·         Imported Cheddar Cheese 1lb. $5.60

·         Decent coffee/lb. $2.80 – 4.60

·         US brand Yogurt drink .66

·         12 OZ 100% Fruit Juice .53

·         1 qt. USA brand name Mayo $1.33, non USA .66

·         1 doz 6” local handmade tortillas – still hot!  $1.6

·         1 lb. Imported butter  $2.13

·         1 doz ex-lg free range brown eggs $1.20

·         1 lrg papya $2.40

·         1 lb. potatoes .26

·         1 lrg broccoli or cauliflower .66

·         12 inch cabbage .66

·         Acorn squash .66

·         Med. Watermelon $2.66

·         1 lb tomatos .66

·         Bananas 4lb $1.33

·         Med zuccini .25

·         Stringbeans .40/lb

·         Uka (weird potato tasting thing) $3.33 (for a BIG 18” size)

·         6” Wiska spiky green or white vege that can taste like anything from smoked salmon to potato or winter squash .25 ea.

·         Imported Raisins $1.73/lb

·         Imported Shredded Coconut $2.40/lb

·         Imported Cocoa powder $2.66/lb

·         USA candy bars $1.25 ea.

·         Local Fresh Hamburger $2.40/lb

·         Local Fresh Chicken thighs $2.60/LB.

·         Local fresh Beef Backstrap $2.40/LB.

·         Nice metal leaf rake $10

·         Heavy duty two gallon plastic bucket with metal handle  .66

Hope you enjoyed the list…would love to hear your response to prices.

Of course as in any place on earth there are risks…we had three earthquakes in the half hour it took to write this up.  The quakes were west of us and registered 4.1, 4.6 & 5.0. But then again we can walk out the door and pick lemons, lime, bananas, avocados, four varieties of wild fruit, aloe vera, lemon grass, a huge variety of flowers, coffee,  domestic herbs and veges (you can garden year around) and easily keep chickens, horses etc… Adios, Cassy & David





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