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Moving to Guatemala City

What to know if you're moving to Guatemala City

Moving to Guatemala City will raise various questions for you. What is accommodation like for expats in Guatemala City? How is the climate? How to deal with the local authorities? Our article gives all the answers to your questions about Guatemala City.

Relocating to Guatemala City

About the City

Guatemala City is the capital of the Republic of Guatemala and has a population of around 1.1 million. The city lies in the “Valle de la Ermita”, which is located in the south-central area of the Republic of Guatemala. The country is bordered by Belize, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and the Caribbean, while the official language is Spanish, and the currency is the Guatemalan quetzal.

In addition to the official language of Spanish, around 23 other indigenous languages are spoken, among the most popular of which are K’iche’, Kaqchikel, Mam, and Q’eqchi. In addition to this, English, German, and French are spoken by a small portion of the population. The dominating religion is Catholicism, which constitutes approximately 47% of the population, while around 39% practice Protestantism. In terms of ethnic groups, Mestizo people represent around 42% of the population, while indigenous Mayans constitute approximately 38.8%. Whites (18%) and a few other ethnic groups are also well-represented.

The Climate in Guatemala City

While Guatemala City is situated in the tropics, its high altitude and the fact that it is surrounded by mountains means that temperatures are lower than one might imagine. In fact, the city’s climate can be more accurately described as a subtropical highland one. The hottest months are April and May, during which time the average temperature is around 27°C. In terms of the winter, the coldest months are January and February, with average temperatures rarely falling below 13°C.

In addition to this, the rainy season in Guatemala City spans from May to October, with the dry season falling between November and April. Earthquakes are not uncommon in Guatemala City due to its position on the ‘Ring of Fire’. The country is often split into three zones, namely Tropical Zone, Cool Zone, and Temperate Zone, with Guatemala City falling into the latter due to the fact that it is more than 1,000 meters above sea level.

Finding Accommodation

Property prices in Guatemala City are the lowest in South and Central America, and those moving to Guatemala City and wishing to buy or rent should note that prices are calculated per square meter. For example, to rent an apartment in the city center, residents can expect to pay between 9.00 USD and 12.00 USD per square meter. On the other hand, those wishing to rent an apartment outside of the city are looking at prices of between 8.00 USD to 10.50 USD per square meter.

It is common for expatriates to arrange accommodation through their employer before moving to Guatemala City, as companies will often have special relationships with local property owners when it comes to providing accommodation for newly arriving foreign employees. A residence permit must first be obtained before any accommodation can be rented. 

Updated on: December 06, 2018

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