I can’t believe it was two years ago when I arrived in Guatemala with only one suitcase, ready to live in the remote Northern region of Petén, where (my now ex-)BF and I had bought a house I had never seen but in pictures. Here is a small recap of all that has happened…
It was an old house by the lake, almost abandoned. The previous owner hadn’t been there in years
there was no gate to get in from the road
and the old deck was all rotten
The roof was rotten too, we had to put a plastic bag on it so it wouldn’t rain inside
There was no running water or electricity. Two guys came to plug the power
So we were able to install a water pump and stop bathing and cleaning dishes in the lake.
It was a bit rough, but the sunsets were amazing from day 1.
Soon, the house was painted,
the rotten thatch taken down and changed for a plastic roof
And the space divided into two rooms
so we could sleep in a private space
away from nasty visitors.
We also quickly built a wall, bought a gate,
and fixed the deck and beach
That little hut became a chicken cage
home to the first three hens Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, and their many descendants.
Now they have moved for the lack of space, and have been joined by turkeys, ducks and geese.
A new room was built first,
with stones, wood and other materials from around here
with its separate bathroom and closet.
And living space / summer kitchen on top.
It is now for rent on Airbnb as well as the two rooms of the main house.
We live in a third separate unit that was finished a few months ago.
It is smaller but has its own living area in front
a nice bathroom
and a rooftop bar with panoramic views over the lake.
Seen from the lake, you barely see the three structures.
We had a tough winter and the lake rose, up to deck level.
We had to burn the deck down
and build a new, more elevated one.
After 18 months of work, it was time to take a break from workers and focus on the other project: 90 acres of land half a mile down the road.
The place was rough at first, with weeds so high we would get lost inside the land.
Navigating the jungle of red tape and getting the land legally split into 100 individual plots without paying bribes to the council was a challenge, but after a year, we had our property titles!
It was time to bring a caterpillar to trace roads
build a wall and a gate
And we burned the land down a few times to get rid of weeds and allow grass to grow stronger.
It has awesome lake views, and two forest areas where you can still hear hawler monkeys.
In front of the land we bought a beach so residents have a water access
And we are building a stone road to launch boats, a beach area and a nicer deck than the one in place.
Smaller, more expensive plots, will be for sale right by the water.
We mainly target foreigners who want to retire under the Guatemalan sun on a small budget. Land and construction prices are much lower in the North.
The plan for next year is to keep improving the 90 acres, keep selling plots, and enjoy a finally workers-free house with Napoleon the Little Great Dane who came along seven months ago!