Planning to Become an Expat (Guatemala City)
My wife and I want to live abroad from the U.S once our youngest daughter turns 18 and wants to move out on her own (approximately in Protected content . Consequently, we are beginning to look into our options so we have a few years of planning.
We both work in the I.T sector, I work in Development and she works in Network Operations and both of us have been working remotely since even before COVID-19. As a result, we have the freedom to move anywhere as long as a decent internet connection is available. We are not wealthy by any means, though we do have a combined salary that allows us to live comfortably in most places of the U.S.
Antigua, Guatemala or around that area seems like a very nice place for us to move to based on our limited research so far. We are looking for a temperature variance of around 65F-75F in a place where it does not rain as frequently. It would be nice to have Lakefront property, though I would imagine it may get a bit pricey even in Guatemala.
Our ultimate plan is to rent a house there and buy land, and develop that land for the next 20 years for the purpose of retirement using our 401K, Investments, and Social Security from the U.S.
I have some questions that maybe people in this forum can give advise on--don't have to answer them all, but if you have specific experience please feel free to chime in. These questions are in no particular order.
1). Do you have any random tidbits of knowledge that you feel important to share about becoming an expat and moving to Guatemala?
2). Do you have any online resources about Guatemala to share that will give some additional information?
3). How are U.S repats treated in Guatemala?
4). Any areas that we should avoid there?
5). We want to be involved and give back to the local communities via charity or any other means. Do locals view charities as insulting or is it welcomed? I would not want to insult anyone.
6). Are there many instances where expats are conned or preyed upon?
7). Advice on good areas to live in for $ Protected content less rent?
8). Can we get by with a basic knowledge of Spanish, i.e., can we move there with basic fluency and then learn as we go?
9). Any communities suggested for mingling with other likeminded English speakers to share experiences and ideas?
10). What is the culture-shock like when first moving there?
11). How fast is the internet there?
12). What business/company is best to have drinking water delivered from?
13). What is the COVID-19 situation like there?
14). Have you had any experience with violent crime?
15). If we do not apply for residency right away, can we really go to Mexico for a day to do some shopping and come back and the time is reset?
16). Should we sell our vehicles and buy there, or have them shipped over across the gulf?
17). What is the most popular mode of transportation?
18). What are the best cellular plans there?
19). Is it easy to get green energy medium there such as Solar Panels, and buy a backup generator?
20). Is there any wind in Antigua for usage of Wind generators?
21). What has your best experience there been?
22). What has your worse experience been there?
23). What does the cost of building material look like from a lumber yard, or even what is the commonly available building medium?
I have so many more questions that I could just type all day about them, so if you have any tips, please feel free to provide them as well.