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Living in Guatemala City
A comprehensive guide about living well in Guatemala City
The most populous city in Central America, expat life in Guatemala City is certainly an experience to write home about. Make sure you are well prepared for living in Guate, as it is often called by the local population, and read up on healthcare, transportation and more in this article.
Life in Guatemala City
Transportation in Guatemala City
Those living in Guatemala City should note that congestion is a big problem, and to combat this, 2007 saw the introduction of a Rapid Transit Bus system, with special lanes accommodating high capacity buses. This has reduced traffic in Guatemala City, and while it currently consists of only two lines, there are plans to increase this to 10 lines in the coming years.
Traditional buses can only be taken to the edge of the city, at which point all passengers must use the TransMetro. Those wanting to take a taxi instead will find plenty around, and a 10-minute journey will cost approximately 50 GTQ (Guatemalan quetzal). Guatemala City taxis have no meter, and so a price must be agreed upon before getting into the taxi.
Healthcare in Guatemala City
Those thinking about living in Guatemala City should note that the city’s healthcare system is far from outstanding. While the city has a number of modern and fully equipped facilities, hospitals in rural areas are lacking funding.
Foreigners working in the city are advised to take out private health insurance so they can have access to the private hospitals in Guatemala City, with English-speaking doctors also ensuring that there are no language barriers. However, although private hospitals are by far the best option, foreigners will often have to pay before any treatment is administered, even if the costs are covered by a private medical insurance scheme.
Culture and Leisure
Those living in Guatemala City can take in the city’s culture, starting with museums such as the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, with many Mayan artifacts on display. Residents can also visit the Ixchel Museum, for a glimpse into the country’s textiles, while the Popol Vuh provides a detailed insight into Maya archaeology.
Those exploring Guatemala City will find many appealing activities, whether it is walking around the city’s botanical gardens or visiting the unique Relief Map — a 2000-square-meter model of the city built in 1905 and located in Zone 2. This is a very interactive and interesting way to get to know the ins and outs of the city. Visit on the right day and residents will even find the lakes and rivers filled with water.
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