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Considering a move to Panajachel

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Washington DC...
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Considering a move to Panajachel

My wife and I are considering relocating to Panajachel but are understandly nervous as neither of us have lived and worked outside the United States. My wife has been to Lake Atitlan several times, and speaks fluent Spanish, but it will be my first time in Guatamala. I've only been to Central American once - on vacation in eastern Costa Rica, and it ranked below the times I've spent in Buenos Aires or European destinations. But I want to expand my experiences and comfort zone.

My professional work is mostly in online communications, so reliable internet is essential, with enough bandwidth to Skype with colleagues back in the U.S. I am also curious about the weather. I understand it is very moderate (60-75F) most of the year, which is nice since I don't do well in hot climates or in direct sunlight. (I'm Irish by ancestry, with the accompanying pale skin.)

Am I being overly worried or would this be a difficult transition? The town sounds welcoming and I'm reassured with there apparently being a large expat community, but as noted, this would be a extraordinary experience for us, especially me. Moving is generally a tiresome endeavor, and this would be to a new country.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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327 reviews
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1. Re: Considering a move to Panajachel

Just visit 1st - it's a whole different world down there. You might love it or you might not; I would advise against selling everything and moving south in any sort of permanent fashion since you haven't even set foot there and didn't love your only other CA experience. ¡Buena suerte!

Panajachel...
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721 posts
19 reviews
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2. Re: Considering a move to Panajachel

I have been living in Pana for 6 years and have no reason to change. You absolutely should visit for awhile before making a decision. There are lots of expats living in Pana and many other locations in Guatemala. The temperature here is very steady - I almost never wear anything more than a t-shirt - but it rains about half the year and is dry the other half. Internet connectivity is fine. You can get 5MB service at a reasonable price. Many things in Guatemala are significantly cheaper here than in US/Canada/Europe. Health care is very good at the better hospitals in the capital. Opportunities for making money are difficult but if you are creative you can do well. I own a popular bar and although I am "retired" I work my a## off but love it.

Port Richey, Florida
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2,546 posts
12 reviews
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3. Re: Considering a move to Panajachel

You have to realize that this froum is mostly for tourism. But you may also want to post your question on this other forum which is expatexchange.com/guatemala/liveinguatemala.… for people planning to relocate on a permament basis. Good luck.

JENSEN BEACH
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51 reviews
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4. Re: Considering a move to Panajachel

I have been a Realtor for 30+ years. I ALWAYS advise people to visit a place in off season (rainy season etc) for as long as possible before even Considering a move. What if you absolutely hate the place? What was it that failed to excite you about Costa Rica? Did you enjoy the People, The food? The Culture? Can you picture yourself in CA? Nothing at all like Europe. Do You speak Spanish? If not I would get some cds and try to learn a minimum amount. It makes getting along SO much easier and the Local people appreciate it when you make an effort to speak the language. Your post sounds like you have "reservations" about a move. Moving is stressful enough without going to a place you have never been. Kyle's link can give you some very practical info.

Panajachel...
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5. Re: Considering a move to Panajachel

Definitely come and visit first - and yes, rainy season is a good time to come particularly May, Sept-Oct. If you have 2 months, then try oct - Nov as then you'll get an idea of the rainy season and the dry season which starts in Nov!

But as for temperature it is the "Land of Eternal Spring", so hot and sunny during the day, but never too humid except just now before the rains really start. And then its nice and cool in the evenings! You can't get a more perfect location.

However, I would suggest you research and ask around more re internet. It is not good in general, and can be sparodic - so long as you can live with the speed/bandwidth altering from time to time then you will be OK

At the Lake you unfortunately are limited to really only Pana, as the internet is OK, but you cannot get good high speed, the Max is 4mg I would say in the villages! You really need a landline, and thankfully you can now buy these in Pana.

BUT we are at 5,000 feet here and on a lake so the sun is VERY strong! You might need to take that into consideration too!

Feel free to private message me! I live in Pana and have done on and off for 15 years. It is a wonderful place, the whole lake area. But best, as everyone says, come visit and go to all the different villages as each one is very much its own place and has a different atmosphere!

The foreign community is very friendly and welcoming as is the local community. BUT it is not the US and not like Costa Rica or Argentina - it is very different. Patience is a great thing to learn as is Spanish - but plenty of opportunity for that down here too!

Dexter, Michigan
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6. Re: Considering a move to Panajachel

Sounds like you still plan to earn your income via the US. That solves a major problem. Pana is an easy place to live for most. Low cost as long as you don't try and live gringo style (lots of imports). Go down and check into a hotel. Couple of real estate offices plus bulletin boards in town. Look for a rental. Rent for at least 6 months. Look into the things that tourists don't..ie. utilities, health care. As to the latter...any issues? While there are good doctors and clinics only a few hours away in Antigua and Guat. City, locally I wouldn't count on too much.

Clawson, Michigan
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7. Re: Considering a move to Panajachel

I appreciated your post since I am an American who was born there and am looking to move back after being away for 23 years. Do you have any suggestions for jobs down there? I am currently a successful banker. Thanks

Dexter, Michigan
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8. Re: Considering a move to Panajachel

Dardar, you aren't going to find similar in Pana. There are foreign banks in Guat. City that you may be able to hook up with. Do you speak Spanish? Your best bet in Pana would be to have enough cash to start your own business.

9. Re: Considering a move to Panajachel

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