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!
Petrish @ Debt Free Martini says
I really enjoyed this post. For you to just take off and make this happen is awesome. Your lake view is awesome!
Thank you Petrish!
Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says
Who would have thought that you would settle there and stay for two years? Seeing those pictures, it seems like you got a perfect house, which is situated by the lake. That must feel really good surrounded by a lake and nature.
It is indeed a wonderful location to call home. I had no idea I’d stay for so long but I love it.
Financial Samurai says
Fantastic progress! It’s pretty cool you can see yourself there for the long term since it seems so different from in France.
Can you put up a Google maps picture to show where you are? Looks very cool!
Thanks Sam! Yeah I had no idea I would last for so long, and after 2 years really feel at home. Every month that passes I miss less things from Europe. Now it is basically down to people and that’s it. I am at 17.011518,-89.848353 in the North, and my 90 acres are at 17.015765, -89.841830. For security reasons I usually don’t put exact details.
Will - FQF says
What a crazy amount to accomplish in just 2 years! I need to work harder so I don’t feel like such a slacker! Thanks for the motivation!
A lot of it was done by delegating to cheaper and more qualified people haha! So don’t feel bad, I slacked too.
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says
What an incredibly transformation. Two years seems to go in the blink of an eye. I’m amazed at how much you’ve accomplished.
Victoria @thefrugaltrial says
This is such a great post. It is such an adventure that you have been on, it looks hard work but so enjoyable.
Thank you Victoria!
This is a great visual of your two years in Guatemala. Those pictures remind me of how long I have been reading your blog. Continue to enjoy your time in your jungle paradise.
Thank you Lynx!
Joseph Hogue says
Wow, a little oasis in paradise! Not sure if I could do it. I’m a city boy and need my internet connection. We go out to a finca every few months and I get stir crazy after a few days.
I get pretty decent connection considering where I am. about 300kbps downloads which is fine by me. Sure, it takes a couple of hours instead of 10 minutes to download a movie, but as far as email is concerned there isn’t much of a difference.
SISA @SafeInvestingSA says
What a journey! I really enjoyed it. I followed you from the beginning.
Thank you! Glad you liked it.
Sorry I’ve been out of the loop lately with the birth of our son and all the time leading up to it. I’m sorry to hear things didn’t work out with you and your BF but glad that you are working things out. I know what you mean about just getting things done and walking away. Nothing is worse than arguing about money. I’ve followed this post from the beginning so it was nice to have a summary all over again. You’ve done so well for yourself so be proud. There is still lots of life ahead of you to explore!! Have a great day Pauline!
Hey Mr. CBB thanks for your kind words, yes it was a bit hard but now I am happy on my own with lots of new projects to look forward too.
Anne @ Money Propeller says
I really don’t think my past two years have even a fraction of that amount of change!
yeah it was pretty intense!
Oh my gosh, that snake is terrifying!
Kayla @ Femme Frugality says
Wow! That’s a lot of changes (and work) in two years. 🙂 2 years ago I was just out of my final year of college and getting adjusted to working full time. Not too many changes around here since then really. Still work at the same place, still live in the same place. Maybe it’s time for some changes in my life…
Myles Money says
Each time I come back to your blog I’m reminded of how amazing it is that you have managed to achieve so much since you arrived in Guatemala. I need to build up the courage to tackle something like this myself… it must be an amazing learning curve.
Wow! That view is insane. How much of the work were you able to do yourself? was it all farmed out? Why did you have to burn the ocean hut?