Seven Reasons Antigua, Guatemala Should Be on Your Expat List

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Guatemala | 1 comment

Why I Made Antigua My Digital Nomad Home

For traveling and making countries your short-term homes, it’s important to not judge a book by its cover. That’s true for Antigua, too.

If I had listened to everything I had heard about Guatemala, I would have never had the courage to move to Antigua. And I would have missed out on the gem that it is.

Antigua is the perfect home spot for Digital Nomads (DN’s). Here’s why:

  1. Low Antigua Prices:
    Antigua by Dawn Demeritte
    Antigua by Dawn Demeritte

    I compare Antigua to Tulum, Mexico, a lot, and in many categories, Tulum doesn’t compare. Antigua is very affordable. This is especially true for lower budgets. In terms of food, even if you shop at the Bodega grocery store and decide to cook in, it’s cheap. If you eat out every day, you can spend as much as you want or less in Antigua. I spend only 12 USD on food the entire day, and 30 is my maximum. The fresh fruit scene is also very cheap. You can shop for fruits at the market, support the locals and get other things at the Bodega and still save tons of money. Guatemala is a great place for fruit, it’s abundant and fresh. Accommodation-wise, depending on how you do your search, you can spend 500- 800 USD a month. However, if you prefer hostel life, look to spend around 270-300 per month Getting around is fairly easy as well, as the entire city is walkable. But if you don’t feel like walking, then you can take an Uber for 2-4 dollars.

  •  Lots to Do in Antigua: What I love about Antigua is the number of activities available to do. For the Digital Nomads who need to switch up the routine often, Antigua is the perfect place to do just that. You can use your home as a base as you explore the entire country of Guatemala. Antigua is situated in the center of Guatemala, which gives you easy access to most of the attractions. It’s a 2-hour drive to Lake Atitlan and El Pardon, the Pacific coast of Guatemala, it’s quite close to the volcanoes, Pacaya and Acatenango, and if you want to go up north and a 10-hour bus ride isn’t something you’re particularly interested in, there are also domestic flights.
  • Foodies Unite:
    San Andres Semetabaj By Dawn Demeritte
    San Andres Semetabaj By Dawn Demeritte

    I’m possibly the only person who has said this but as a foodie, I feel at home in Antigua. There are many cuisines and they’re some of the best in the world. Before I came to Antigua, I expected tons of tacos, burritos, Mexican food that I had in abundance in Tulum. While that’s here, there are so much more options and Guatemalan food can easily be overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. Guatemalan food comprises pork, rice, beef, cheese, corn, tortillas, beans, and plantains. And it’s all delicious. And if this doesn’t appeal to you, several Guatemalan national brands will make you wish you were born Guatemalan. My favorite at the moment is Pollo Campero, the queues are always wrapped around the building, and one taste, you’d understand why.There’s certainly something for everyone, regardless of what you feel like eating. The food is also fresh and delicious with large portions.

  • Workspaces: For some people, the Internet in Antigua can be a hit or miss, so it doesn’t hurt to have friendly co-working spaces for DN’s to work from. Antigua has about 3 – 4, and they all range in price, but you can get work done and get a good meal while you’re at it and never missing a deadline.
  • The Culture: Everyone has an expectation in their mind about what a culture is like before they pack their bags. I expected a lot of similarity to Mexico and while there is some, the Guatemalan culture is so much bigger and better than what I imagined. The culture is filled with Mayan and Spanish influences, and many of the holidays and festivals are religious-based. Then the city is beautiful. The streets are like a walking Instagram feed, there are tons of ruins, churches, and cathedrals to draw you in. It’s one of those things that you’d have to visit to understand.
  •  Spanish Schools: Antigua is the best place to learn Spanish, there are Spanish schools all over the city and most charge you between 7 – 10 USD per hour. You enter not knowing Spanish and leave understanding beyond basic Spanish. The Spanish classes are the cheapest in the region and it’s easier because Guatemalans don’t have an accent. With Spanish, there are a lot of varieties, but Guatemalan Spanish is the most fundamental you can learn.
  • Safety: Of course, this can change based on the person, but as a black woman I feel safe in Antigua. It’s a walkable city, the locals are really friendly, and it has a huge police presence, everywhere.
    However, I don’t walk alone at night or all. When it’s dark, I hop in an Uber and the Uber drivers also look out for you. They wait patiently as you get inside and do not leave until they can see you’re in safely. And if I feel unsure about something, I either don’t go or I take a taxi, but this is just for Antigua. I’ve been to other places where I’ve felt uneasy and unsure about walking by myself or alone.
  • While this list doesn’t even begin to cover the amazing city of Antigua, I hope it will at least get you thinking about moving to Antigua for a few months. You’ll be glad you did, it’s an amazing city that gets better and better.

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    by: Dawn Demeritte