lunes, 6 de febrero de 2017


Amsclae, the government entity in charge of the protection of the wáter quality of  Lake Atitlan, has four weather stations located  on the North side of the lake.

Tree of them are located above 2,000 m, and one at Panajachel level.

These stations are automatics weather station , Davis Brand, Model Vantage Pro2. Different from the convencional ones,  they are operated daily and present better calibration of their instrument.

Part of the interesting measurements collected are the following

-       Temperatures
-       Rain precipitation and % of humidity
-       Solar radiation and UV with a chart of máximum exposure time according the UV received in the área.

 I will look at the average of the station of Panajachel as most of the expats are located on the Panajachel altitute.


The average temperature are between 18.86 oC and 22.69 oC
The lowest ones are between 10.4 oC and 15.9 oC
The highest  between 30.5 oC and 31.1 oC

The averages show very Little change through out the year. Making it a very pleasant environment to live in.

In 2015 se rainy started in April and finished in Octobre. September received the most wáter with 453.8 mm.  The dryest month was July which correspond with the “canicula” normally a small dry times during the rainy season. Last year last the full month.

Here are the statistics provided by Bill from Jaibalito who has a long record of rain statistics for 2016.
It might no reflect the exact quantity of water but it is a picture of the trend.
and for 2016 we can note the following..
  1. Lowest year in 11 years of collection of record.
  2. June always the rainiest over the years.

UV Radiation over 2 years period. 

As you can see the in 2015 the radiation have been higher than the year 2014.
Below is the indice of exposure according the skin colour.
Then the level of the indice is over 12 to 15 all year long which is very high. 
And with these numbers you can see in the chart we are in the colour fushia which is very high..
So recommendation don't stay to long under the sun.

Consequences for the lake and lake front resident.
  1.  Let rain mean the lake didn't rised more than last year level
  2.  Means pier to lower.
  3.  Trend looks like for the moment the lake rise is stop and we might see a recess
  4.  Less rain mean less nutritient coming into the lake. 
  5. Temperature is comfortable
  6. UV radiation high so be covered long sleeves, hat, always wear sunscreen.

miércoles, 25 de enero de 2017

2017 Minimum Salary for Guatemala

Guatemala 2017 Minimum Salary

2017 is not different as the past years. The government fixed the new legal minimum salary for theis new year..
It is divided between Farm and Non Farm Activities Q 86.90 per day  and Exportation activities and maquila is Q 79.48 per day.

The No Agicolas Activity is the one that interest the expat community which hires employee.
The minimum to be paid being  in 2017 is Q 2,893.21.

Plus the usual Bono 14 in July and the Aguinaldo in December.
Make sure you have your receipt for the salaries paid in 2016, including the Bonos and the vacacions of 2015 taken. Now it is times to discuss with your worker about when you would like him to take is vacations in 2017 (that will be the vacations accumulated in 2016).

If you question don't hesitate to write me and remember in case of doubt consult a lawyer that have experience in labor cases. As if taken to the Ministry of Labor being a foreigner you have all the chance to lose your case..

jueves, 19 de enero de 2017

How to protect your real estate investment against fire..

When you leave in a foreign country and particularly a third world country you might find out that you can't expect the government response that you might have in your own country particularly when wildfire happen.

So how to be prepared in case of fire around your property.

I live on the shore of Lake Atitlan, for 26 years now, in a remote area only accessible by boat surrounded by hotel and forest.
For many years we have been protected against wildfire because we are few owners in the area.
Most of the fire happen when you have an access (road, path) and kids very often start the fire for fun. fewer farmers are starting fires because they have been sensibilities to the importance of farming responsibly to help protect the forest so important for the Eco-system, to prevent erosion that ultimately brings to many nutrients to the lake contributing to the growing of Ciano bacteria.

This year a wildfire started kilometer from my house suddenly expand into the most dangerous event I had to deal with during the 26 years I have been living here.
Suddenly I was faced with an imminent event that could jeopardize my lifestyle. My real estate investment in Lake Atitlan could have been torched by a situation started kilometers away...

Get an insurance.

I do have insurance on my house for fire, earthquake, mudslide, volcanic eruptions but I guess you contract an insurance with the hope to never have to use it.
Wildfire on Lake Atitlan

As you can't predict from where, or fast and strong a fire would come you can prepare your property for that.

Build strongly

First advice builds in materials that are resistant to fire. I have a palm roof which I have been wanting to change for years now that it is coming to the end of its life spend... As the fire issue has been something hovering above my head.  So minimized the use of natural materials (wood, palm,...).

Work with your neighbors

In agreement with your neighbors makes sure you clean all the bushes and field are regularly maintained. As the dry materials all around your property is an ideal flammable material that allows the fire to progress quickly and put your house in danger. Clearing the neighborhood to make a breach that will help the fire to stop.

Storage water

Get a big water source (water deposit, river, lake,...) where you can tap water quickly.

Be equipped 

The easiest is to get a proper water pump  I found out that a surface gasoline powered water pump allow you to put out a high volume of water. The only drawback is that you can't get the water to high.
The second pump is an electrical submersible pump that you plunge into your water-deposit and from there you can with tubes go around your property.

Preparation is key in front of such event. You never underestimate a fire as far as it seems to be with the help of high wind you can be suddenly in danger.
It came very close
I'm also planning to install proper firemen hoses and more holding tank. I will make sure my surface pump is properly storage as this time it wouldn't start because of a year of not being used.
In any case, you have to remember that things can be replaced but not your life.

miércoles, 19 de octubre de 2016

5 Reasons prices of Real Estate is dropping in Lake Atitlan

Lately prices on certain properties have been reduced...? Why?
Check out last post on reduced price properties

Lake Atitlan Guatemala real estate market is very particular and different from what you are used to.

After the 2008 -2010 crisis when business went dead until 2012 everybody expect the market to bounce back... and if it is true that since 2013-14 and 15 it has been more active than ever it is not yet a hot market where properties sell quickly.

Suddenly we are seeing serious price reduction on several of our properties listed...
so here is why some prices are coming down...

The main reason is  an original  pricing way to optimist. Owners are always thinking that their property is worth much more then what the market can bare. The fact that Lake Atitlan is one of the most beautiful lake in the world if it is not known not many people are rushing to buy here.

Second reasonAging and health issues, the envy to relocate back to his own country and close to his family are the main motivation. Therefore a price reduction helps the transition back.

Third a divorce it for sure affect the condition of ownership making a sale the only way to settle.  It is maybe the least occurring situation.

Fourth  death  in a couple makes the stay no desirable for the one left or simply death of the owner and the heirs have no interest in keeping the property in the family.

Fifth Exchange rate.. for some countries like Canada or Europe suddenly as the US dolars increase in value, a price reduction is appropriate. The final price in the foreign currency is easier to rich now with a lower US $ price tag then ever.. Helping the seller to lower the price tag to the benefit of the buyers.

Still Lake Atitlan Real Estate Market is a buyer market..

martes, 18 de octubre de 2016

5 Properties reduced price Lake Atitlan

Guatemala real estate market for investor.. the new destination.

Lake Atitlan is considered one of the most beautiful lake in the world.. and still little known..
I just have a friend who was speaking with a lawyer in Miami. and he did knew Lake Como (Italy) and Lake Taos (USA) but never heard of Lake Atitlan (Guatemala).
I was with some guests of the hotel next door to my house and they were from Florida.. We chat on the real estate market opportunities around here and I asked them how they discover Lake Atitlan. They found it through House Hunter International (HHI) episode on the lake and they just decided to come to check for themselves.. and they were mesmerized by what they saw...

So now that Guatemala has been portrayed several times on HHI we can expect a surge of visitors and as well potential buyers.. Well if the numbers of tourist is increasing slowly it is not yet the rush..
Meanwhile the real estate market has seen some interesting movements.. For many years the prices has been either rising or simply to high for what the market could bare..
And recently several properties I have listed   have seen their price lowered...

Let see which ones as there is might be one that might interest you...

This great lot near San Marcos La Laguna,  SANMARL 05 , which has been on the market for a couple of years have seen is price come down from $ 28,000 to $ 15,000. A serious discount for sure but the owner is in urgent need to sale so it explains it. A piece of land not waterfront but with views to the East and West over the beautiful point just before the bay of San Marcos La Laguna. Giving you views to both bays, 5 volcanoes, sunrise and sunset. Still walking distance to San Marcos La Laguna.. Above the road, needs some infrastructure work but the pay off for the price is guarantee..

View to Sunset

Spectacular waterfront house, Jaibalito, JAIBH 09, Santa Cruz La Laguna. New Price $ 487,000 which  makes it attractive for its strong potential for development. The house sits on an rock, water front , very private beach, no road access. Build on several  level, 5 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms,  furnished, boat. Ready to make it a B/B or  a boutique hotel..
Set up for some boutique hotel

Large terrace with volcanoes views

Cute little house, Lake and Volcano views, Santa Cruz La Laguna,, STCZH 28, from $ 68,500 reduced to $ 55,000, 80 mts from the lake shore , in residential neighborhood. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, water deposit, mature garden, walking distance to local restaurants and village.

Large open kitchen, dining, living room with fire place

View from the garden

Last waterfront track of land with full grown native trees, Santa Cruz La Laguna, JAIBL 06 facing south and the volcanoes, boat access only, water deposit, from $ 250,000 to $ 175,000. Ideal for unique private house nicely tucked into the pristine landscape. 60 mts waterfront.

Central and commercial cute little house 1 bedroom with mezzanine, in the center of San Marcos La Laguna on the main street coming up from the pier. Reduced to $ 70,000 from $ 80,000. All fenced can be turned into a business, little cafe, healing center you name it...SANMARH 21

Take the time to check these newly reduced properties if you don' t find what you need you contact me.

To be updated on the new listing LIKE our facebook page... and our Facebook page for real Estate

viernes, 26 de agosto de 2016

San Marcos La Laguna Real Estate Map update

San Marcos La Laguna, Lake Atitlan Real Estate Market.

Currently San Marcos La Laguna is experimenting a tremendous surge in properties for sale..
For different reasons they came on the market..
Why suddenly so many.. ?
Well the most recurrent reason is the relocation to another country or expat go back to their own country. Their times is up and either for health reason, family call or professional new endeavour.

Second reason people need cash and for that need to liquidate an asset.
Enjoy this map that reflect the large portfolio of houses for sale in San Marcos La Laguna.

Enjoy the new map and email me at if you need more info on any of the properties..

And if you wonder how the lake look like in San Marcos La Laguna well check this waterfront view from one of my favorite restaurant on the lake Tul y Sol.

martes, 28 de junio de 2016

What is Bono 14 ?

If you own a property in Guatemala and you have employees, you have to remember to pay the BONO 14.

It is an annual economic benefit that all employers have to pay to their employees in Guatemala and it has to be paid in july, like an extra month bonus.

It has been installed by the 42-92  Decree of the National Congress of Guatemala. 
The law stipulate that it is mandatory for the public and private sector.
And it is independent of any other bonus.

This bonus has to be equivalent to the ordinary monthly wage for one year of continuous service.

So it is calculated from the 1st of July to the 30 st of june. If you employee started in the middle of the year or are not full filled a year of work yet.. Still you have to pay it proportionally to the time work until the 30 st of june.

Ordinary monthly wage it means not including the Bono incentivo of Q 250 paid on top of the ordinary wage.
The Bono 14 has to be paid during the 1st and 15th of july.

Also remember to have it documented properly. With a proper receipt and I always recommend to pay by check as a double proof of payment. A check specifically of the amount.

It is a big moment for the Guatemalan Economy as it is with the payment of the Aguinaldo in December. As a lot of cash is injected in the economy at that time. And you often see dedicated add inviting people to spend their bonus on tires, Tv....

According the National Institute of Statistics of the Fifteen Milliones inhabitants of Guatemala only   Six are part of the working population (in age to work). Of these six only 25% of them receive this bonus.. The rest being in part of the informal sector have no access to these workers rights.