If you’ve been daydreaming about Mayan culture, coffee and chocolate, and volcano adventures, then it might be time to consider being a digital nomad in Guatemala.
The digital nomad/remote work scene in Guatemala is still in its infancy, which means right now is a great time to be a nomad in Guatemala and work remotely for a couple of weeks or months.
Why is that, you ask?
For one, Guatemala is not (yet) on most nomads’ radars.
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Whether that is due to safety concerns, living expenses, WiFi speeds, or just unfamiliarity with the country, it’s not.
And two, the country is just teeming with adventure activities, culture, history, and so much more.
Literally, this country is extremely underrated. It’s by far one of my favorite places to live as a digital nomad.
And that’s exactly why I am writing this post! I’m here to tell you why you should put Guatemala on your digital nomad bucket list.
In this guide, I detail everything you need to know to make a decision about whether or not Guatemala is your next digital nomad destination.
Read more below to learn about where to live in Guatemala as a digital nomad, Wi-Fi expectations, community, Guatemala’s digital nomad visa requirements (if any), and more! 🇬🇹 💻 ⬇️
The Ultimate Guide: Guatemala for Digital Nomads
Cost of Living in Guatemala as a Digital Nomad
Guatemala is one of the cheaper Central American countries to live in for digital nomads—especially if you are used to sky-high European/North American costs of living.
So, just how much do you need to budget to be a digital nomad in Guatemala?
From our experience, you should budget between $1100 and $2200 per month (as a digital nomad couple) for Guatemala. If you are traveling solo, you can expect to pay less.
Below is a breakdown of costs!
That said, please be mindful of your purchasing power as a temporary nomad in Guatemala!
For example, avoid overpaying for monthly rentals because this hurts the locals who cannot match the rent prices tourists are willing to pay.
As nomads, we have a responsibility to do good in the host communities we choose to visit. Read more in my guide to ethical and responsible travel.
Your cost of living in Guatemala as a nomad will vary greatly depending on a couple of factors.
- Will you be slow traveling and staying in one place for longer or traveling through the country digital nomad backpacker style?
- Where will you stay as a nomad? In a coliving space, a hostel, or a local apartment?
- What is your travel lifestyle like? Do you eat out a lot or cook at home? Do you shop at local markets?
So, it all depends!
Just to give you an idea of everyday living expenses in Guatemala for digital nomads and remote workers, here are some examples of the types of prices you’ll see for food/drink, monthly rent, and transport:
- Cup of coffee: Q20 ($2.50)
- Beer: Q20–40
- Restaurant meal: Q60–120
- Budget eats: Q30–60
- Coworking day pass: Q50–70
- Gringo accommodation: Q5000+ ($650+)
- Local rent: Q3500 ($450)
- Boat fare (Lake Atitlan): Q5–25/person
- Tuk-tuk ride in small towns or cities: Q5–10/person
- Shuttle to Antigua from Lake Atitlan: Q100/person ($13)
The conversion rate from US Dollars or Euros to the Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ) varies per the market.
At the time of this writing, 1 USD is around 7.75 Quetzals (GTQ) and 1 EUR is about Q9 (we always rounded up to Q10 for easy calculation).
Do You Need a Digital Nomad Visa for Guatemala?
Citizens from the US, UK, and EU, among other locations categorized as visa-exempt (Category “A”), do not need a visa to enter Guatemala for up to 90 days.
If you want to extend your stay as a digital nomad in Guatemala beyond those 90 days, you will need to fill out this Tourist Extension Form and go to Guatemala City.
Guatemala Entry Requirements for Visa-Exempt Nomads:
- Passport validity of six months, with one blank passport page
- Onward proof of travel is technically required
- No COVID testing required
Basically, if the above applies to you, all you need to get into Guatemala as a digital nomad is a stamp in your passport.
It’s also important to note that Guatemala is part of the Central America Border Control Agreement (CA-4), which is similar to the Schengen agreement for the European Union.
In short, this means that the day you enter Guatemala or another CA-4 country (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua), you have free movement between those countries for up to 90 days.
Lastly, while not required, you should definitely consider getting nomad travel medical insurance to cover your trip! Read more below about medical provisions in Guatemala for tourists.
Healthcare for Digital Nomads in Guatemala
Public and private hospitals are fairly affordable in case you need general medical care or emergency care while traveling in Guatemala.
For routine check-ups, dental cleanings, and anything non-emergency, you could probably pay out of pocket.
For example, in Antigua, I paid $50 USD for a dental cleaning. (I highly recommend Smile Antigua, by the way!)
Services and their costs will vary, of course, depending on where you travel in-country.
- Regular Appointments: Q150 (general medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics)
- Specialist Appointments: Q300
- Emergency: Q300* — *base cost
Of course, just because medical expenses are cheaper in Guatemala compared to prices you’d pay in North America/Europe, don’t forego the SafetyWing nomad travel medical insurance.
It only costs $40/4 weeks to protect your life and trip in case of emergency. Perhaps best of all, it takes literally 3 minutes to sign up and coverage starts the first day you are abroad.
I have been insured with SafetyWing since 2018! You can read more in my SafetyWing Review.
Best Places to Live in Guatemala for Digital Nomads
Now here comes the fun part! Which towns or cities in Guatemala are ideal for digital nomads?
Surprisingly, there are several places to set up shop for a few weeks or months as a digital nomad in Guatemala.
Let’s start with my favorite!
Antigua — Guatemala’s Colonial Capital
Average monthly spending: $2200–$2500 (for two)
WiFi speeds: 10–20 Mbps
Why we love it: Volcanoes, history/culture, awesome food/drink, cafes, community
If you are a nomad who thrives on coffee culture and being able to explore your temporary home on foot, all while having access to epic day trips, activities, breweries, and more, then you would love being a digital nomad in Antigua!
There are simply so many awesome things to do in Antigua that make digital nomad life there so intriguing.
Besides that, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is just gorgeous. Definitely one of my favorite Latin American destinations and cities in the world.
Trust us, you won’t ever get bored being based there for a while!
We had the chance to live in Guatemala’s colonial gem for two months and deem it the best place to be a digital nomad in Guatemala.
Each week, we were trying out a new restaurant, brewery, or rooftop bar.
Antigua also is ideal for nomads thanks to its fat stack of cozy cafes with WiFi and coworking spaces like Impact Hub, Selina, and El Cubo.
The only possible downside of Antigua is it’s quickly spreading as a must-visit destination—for nomads and non-nomads alike.
That said, you can expect prices to be higher for accommodation, food, and more. Our expenses in Antigua were about $2200 per month as a couple.
You can read more in my detailed Digital Nomad Antigua Guide and in these posts:
- 💻 Antigua’s Best Coffee Shops & Cafes With Wifi
- 💎 15 Best Hotels in Antigua: Where to Stay
- 🚗 10 Best Day Trips from Antigua Guatemala
- 🌋 3 Days in Antigua Guatemala Itinerary
- 🍴 17 Best Restaurants in Antigua Guatemala
Lake Atitlán — Central Highlands of Sololá
Average monthly spending: $1100–$1500 (for two)
WiFi speeds: 10–15 Mbps
Why we love it: Culture, natural beauty, fun activities, wellness, adventure, unique destination
The second best place to live in Guatemala as a digital nomad is in Lake Atitlan (Lago de Atitlán) located in the Guatemala Highlands.
Lake Atitlan is great for digital nomads who don’t mind trading more stable Wi-Fi in order to be based in one of the most striking destinations on earth!
Imagine waking up to do your morning yoga before leisurely strolling into town to work for a few hours at a cafe that dons over the lake with three peaky volcanoes in sight.
That’s Lake Atitlan in a nutshell.
There are about a dozen towns around Lake Atitlan—only accessible by boat—but not all are ideal for nomads.
The best municipalities in Lake Atitlan for nomads are:
San Pedro is where we were based for 1.5 months as digital nomads in Lake Atitlan.
For a more bohemian vibe, head to San Marcos.
For a bustling shopping and commercial scene, Panajachel is the gateway to the lake and will offer the best in terms of Wi-Fi stability. Pana is where will find Lake Atitlan’s only coworking spot — Selina Coworking/Coliving Hostel.
And if you’re more intrigued by arts, coffee, and local life, then try San Juan.
From our experience, the Wi-Fi was a bit more unreliable in Lake Atitlan than in Antigua. We had several outages than desired.
And on that note, a lot more spiders (and even scorpions) in our house, too. (But ’tis the reality of a tiny home perched on the slope of an ancient volcano.) 🦂
As for housing options and availability, I will go into detail about that down below!
- 🇬🇹 20 Epic Things to Do in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
- 🥾 9 Incredible Hikes Around Lake Atitlán
- ✨ Top 10 Hotels & Resorts in Lago Atitlán, Guatemala
- 🏔 Hiking Indian’s Nose in Lake Atitlán with a Geologist
- 🎨 Visiting the Kaqchikel Maya Village of Santa Catarina Palopó
- 🛵 Discovering the Traditional Town of Santiago Atitlán
Flores — Petén’s Jungly Capital
Average monthly cost: $1000–$1500
WiFi speeds: 10–15 Mbps
Why consider it: Unique, backpacker community, adventure, Tikal
You have no doubt heard of Chichén Itzá in southern Mexico, but have you heard of Lago Petén Itzá in northern Guatemala?
Sure, one might be famous ancient Mayan ruins and the other a lake, but my point is I bet you haven’t heard of it!
But, here’s why you should consider Flores as a digital nomad location in Guatemala, even if you don’t stay but a couple of days or weeks.
Flores is a little island in the middle of Lake Petén, situated in the center of Guatemala’s Petén department, so already that’s cool.
But the capital town of Flores is also the gateway to the Tikal ruins, which are Mayan and are gaining in popularity as one of Central America’s best Mayan ruins sites.
Thanks to all this traveler foot traffic, more and more cafes with Wi-Fi, cool hostels (like Los Amigos), and other nomad-friendly services are opening up in the town.
I bet in a few years this place is going to be one of the nomad hotspots of Guatemala as it is already a top place to visit for backpackers and tourists.
El Paredón — Pacific Coast Beach Town
Average monthly cost: $1000–$1500
WiFi speeds: 10 Mbps
Why consider it: Wellness, surfing, beach, off-beat
The Guatemala Highlands aren’t the only places to live as a digital nomad or remote worker in Guatemala.
Head south to the Pacific coast and you will find the sleepy coastal town of El Paredón (El Paredón Buena Vista).
From what I can tell, El Paredón is like Sayulita, Mexico of Guatemala (but maybe what it was like fifteen years ago).
In short, nomads and travelers flock to El Paredón not for coffee or volcanoes, but for the surf.
As a surfing town, you can expect a couple of the digital nomad staples — i.e. cute cafes for living the laptop lifestyle (like Cafecito del Mar), fun things to do, thatched surf houses, and an up-and-coming nomadic community.
I’ve heard the Wi-Fi is not great in El Paredón so you should consider getting a Guatemala TIGO sim card, just in case.
Other places for nomads in Guatemala
If you are looking for a well-beaten destination so you are sure not to have safety concerns or Wi-Fi outages, I think Antigua is your best bet.
However, there are so many underrated places to visit in Guatemala.
You might also consider looking into these destinations:
- Livingston — A town on the Caribbean coast alive with Garifuna culture unlike what you will experience elsewhere in Guatemala! Nearby are the beautiful Río Dulce and Lago de Izabal.
- Guatemala City — Although the city has previously been deemed as a no-go zone, its Zones 1 and 4 are becoming trendy digital nomad hubs.
- Xela (Quetzaltenango) — Xela is a more local city in Guatemala that rarely sees the average tourist. However, that’s no reason to discount it!
Finding Accommodation in Guatemala as Nomads
In our experience, the best way to slow travel as nomads in Guatemala is to rent a local studio or apartment.
However, if you are traveling faster as a nomad backpacker, then you might find hostels to be cheaper and easier.
Otherwise, there are several ways to go about finding short and long-term monthly rentals in Guatemala.
- 👉 Search local housing on Guatemala Facebook groups — Make sure to search by destination (e.g. Antigua Rentals, Lake Atitlan, Flores, etc).
- 💻 Try to find local listings on rental websites — These can range from LongtermLettings.com to Anyplace.com.
- 🏡 Consider staying in a co-working/co-living — Check out Selina Guatemala.
- 💵 Negotiate a monthly deal on Airbnb — This doesn’t work every time but it’s a great way to snag unique accommodation in Guatemala’s off-season.
Coworking & Coliving in Guatemala
An extra note on this — for now, there aren’t that many coworking and coliving options for nomads in Guatemala.
The most trusted, beautiful, and well-known are the two offered by Selina—one in Lake Atitlan and the other in Antigua.
The others I’ve seen in other locations such as in Guatemala City have teetered out or are not yet listed on any major site.
Getting Around and Traveling in Guatemala as a Digital Nomad
Once you pick a location, the next item on your to-do list is to find out how you are getting there!
Before going to Guatemala, we were living as digital nomads in San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, and so we took a shuttle from San Cristóbal to Panajachel and crossed into Guatemala by land.
You might do the same thing if you are also in Mexico or if you are in Belize, Honduras, or El Salvador.
If you are not planning on entering Guate by land, then you will find the cheapest airfare flying into Guatemala City’s La Aurora International Airport (GUA).
Once you are in-country, there are just a few ways to get around:
- 🚌 Local chicken bus — These are loud and colorful American school buses that have been painted and converted into the local mode of transport (these are an iconic national symbol of Guatemala!).
- 🚐 Shuttle or shared minivan — Mostly for transport between major cities/towns (i.e. to or from Antigua to Lake Atitlan or Antigua to Flores).
- 🚙 Rental car — For an epic DIY road trip!
- 🚕 Uber, taxi, or tuk-tuk — For getting around within towns and cities like Antigua or Lake Atitlan.
Certainly, the most expensive option is the rental car. And if you are not familiar with Guatemala, it might not be the best choice.
The easiest and safest in my opinion is going the mid-tier route and taking the shared minivans or private shuttles if you are traveling between destinations.
✈️ To get from the airport to Antigua takes about 45 minutes to one hour, depending on traffic. The easiest way to get there (that doesn’t cost too much) is to get an Uber. This is what we did a few times!
The Best Time of Year to Work Remotely in Guatemala
Next, when should you visit Guatemala as a nomadic traveler?
As you may already know, Guatemala’s climate is quite diverse.
It has the hot and humid jungle up north in Petén, the sultry coast of the Pacific to the south, and the cooler and high-altitude Highlands.
But no matter which destination you choose, there is a distinct dry and wet season in Guatemala that makes the best times to visit fall between the months of November and May.
There’s a reason they call Guatemala the “Land of Eternal Spring” because most of the country’s climate is springlike and pleasant.
We were in Lake Atitlán in the spring and I must say, it was lovely!
We made the move to Antigua at the end of April and were hoping for more sunshine. But instead, the rainy season came early and put a chilly damper on our plans to hike Acatenango.
🌸 Before you ever hit the ground in Guatemala, plan what activities and destinations you’d like to visit depending on how long you plan to be in-country!
Unmissable Things to as a Digital Nomad in Guatemala
Speaking of Acatenango, there are many bucket-list-worthy things to do as a digital nomad traveler in Guatemala.
First up, you have to hike on a volcano — whether that’s to roast marshmallows on Pacaya, camp overnight at Acatenango Basecamp, or birdwatch while tramping up on one of the three surrounding Lake Atitlan.
If you are seeing more of the country than Antigua or Lake Atitlan, then consider adding these other must-dos to your list!
- 🌿 Swimming in the natural pools at Semuc Champey
- 🇬🇹 Exploring Tikal National Park in Petén
- 🏄♀️ Surfing it up at El Paredón
- 🌳 Kayaking on the Rio Dulce
- 🗣 Immersing yourself in Spanish Language School
- ☕️ Touring a coffee farm in the Highlands
- 🌋 Trek and camp on Volcán de Acatenango
- 🥾 Hiking Santa Maria in Xela
- 💐 Shopping at the sprawling Chichicastenango Market
- 🏖 Learning about Garifuna culture in Livingston
And that’s just to start! There is so much more to discover in Guatemala.
Overall, Is Guatemala Safe & a Good Country for Digital Nomads?
Finally, is Guatemala safe for digital nomads? And is it worth your time?
I understand safety is relative, but during our time in Lake Atitlán and Antigua, I felt very safe as a female digital nomad.
Rest assured that all of the locations I feature above, while they may certainly be less frequented, are not unaccustomed to seeing foreign tourists.
As for if Guatemala is a good country for digital nomads, it simply depends on your nomadic lifestyle.
I personally think Guatemala is so underrated for travel and nomadism!
It has an incredibly rich indigenous culture(s), natural beauty, and colonial history, an amazing food/drink scene pretty much anywhere you go, and so many adventurous activities around every corner.
It’s kinda hard not to love entirely.
All that said, if you are more of an adventurous digital nomad Guatemala would be RIGHT up your alley. I have no doubt that if you go and leave, you’d immediately start itching to go back as soon as possible — as I am! 🇬🇹
I hope this digital nomad guide helps plan your stay in Guatemala! Please drop me a comment below with your expectations, experiences, or questions.
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