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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Panajachel, Guatemala is Open

for Tourism

Peter LaFerrara

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala 

Map of Lake Atitlan

Flights into Guatemala

Guatemala re-opened its international airport on September 18th, 2020 and the number of flights has been steadily increasing.

There are currently regularly scheduled flights arriving from major US cities, including Houston, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Newark, Atlanta, and Dallas. Flights are also available from Mexico City, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, and Panama.

Map showing the US, Mexico, Central America and South America

Map showing the location of Guatemala from the United States

What is needed to enter the country

In order to enter Guatemala, you need to have a negative COVID test (PCR or Antigen) that was taken within 72 hours of your arrival. Also, you need to fill out a one page online health form before your departure (link is also at the end of the article).

As of January 26th, 2021, the US also requires a negative COVID test to enter by air. In Guatemala, the test required for re-entry into the US is readily available and reasonably priced. The results are available quickly, often in hours. Additional information on both entering Guatemala and the US can be found on the US Embassy's Guatemala Webpage (link is also at the end of the article).

Map showing location of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

Map showing location of Panajachel on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

Upon arrival

When you arrive in Guatemala City, you can hire a private car or take a shuttle to Antigua or Panajachel. My shuttle operator is recommending booking in advance. The shuttles are running several times a day, but sometimes a shuttle is canceled because of lack of reservations. Other times, more shuttles are added to accommodate passengers while still complying with social distancing rules. Booking ahead will ensure that the transportation you desire is available and waiting for you.

When you arrive in Panajachel, you will notice that all of the hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafes are open. The souvenir shops are also open, and street vendors are selling food and trinkets. Boat service to the other towns is on a normal schedule. Mornings and weekdays are generally quiet.

Weekends feel festive with both national and international tourists strolling on the main streets and enjoying the shores of the lake. Late nights are also quiet because the bars are closing at 9:00 PM.

Heading out across the volcanic lake

Out in a lancha, on the lake

Transportation

The public buses are still running, but with a reduced number of passengers. Instead of having 5 people crammed into a bench seat, there is one person per seat. The prices have increased as a result, but they are still quite reasonable, especially considering you get your own seat. For example, the ride from Panajachel to Sololá used to cost about 25 cents and now it costs 65 cents.

Like always, the bus system can have trouble keeping up with demand during rush hour in the bigger cities, but availability of service is not a problem in the rest of the country. The overall mobility of people and goods has not been negatively affected in any meaningful way. For example, we are still buying freshly caught seafood from the Pacific, delivered to our house for $3.25 / pound. 

Living in town

Like many countries, Guatemala adopted a color coded COVID response system to prevent overcrowding of public establishments. In areas with high populations, like Guatemala City, this can result in waiting in lines outside of stores or restaurants.

Million Dollar View

A serene view looking out over the lake

However, in Panajachel, the population is lower and there is enough capacity for the businesses to satisfy the rules without compromising on service or inconveniencing their clients. You may notice that a few tables were moved from indoor areas to outdoor areas in order to reduce the number of people per square meter, but there are no drastic changes. Like always, you will be served promptly and with a smile.

Close up of Lake Atitlan in country of Guatemala

Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

Important links

The online health form required to fly into Guatemala: https://servicios.igm.gob.gt/pasedesalud/

The US Embassy’s webpage that covers COVID related requirements for traveling into Guatemala and from Guatemala to the US: https://gt.usembassy.gov/alert-covid-19-2/

Shuttle Service: https://www.transportguatemala.com/

To see photos and financials of this property for sale, click here

Contact Peter LaFerrara

Guatemalan Phone # / WhatsApp +502 4849-9709

US Phone # +1 772-919-7383

Email: peteinguate@gmail.com

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About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

contact Billy and Akaisha at theguide@retireearlylifestyle.com

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