How to Work Remotely, Guatemala, & Language School

Posted by on Aug 23, 2013 in Entrepreneur Tips, Life Tips | 12 Comments

How to Work Remotely

So it’s been a few years since I’ve had a solid travel experience (I was in India/Nepal for 60 days 2 years ago).
I finally got on the road again.
This time in Central America.
Time to firm up how to work remotely.

My main intentions are to:

1. Take Spanish Lessons (being fluent in a 2nd language is a bucket list item).
2. Work Remotely while here.
3. Live/Travel/Serve a bit in an inexpensive place.

As of this writing, I’m at the end of my 2nd week of language school.
I’m planning to do 4 weeks in total.
Having a private instructor and them forcing you to speak only in Spanish is incredible.
I’ve advanced a lot.
I can’t wait for the next 2 weeks when I’m able to build on my foundation!
The cost is approximately $100/wk.
That’s for 20 hours of lessons.

How to Work Remotely - Morning ViewThat’s right, $5/hr. for private lessons.
You can go less expensive, but this is from a top school in Guatemala.
[On a side note: If you ever plan to attend language school in Guatemala, there’s no need to pay online before you go. I would recommend putting your eyes on the school and speaking with the staff. Only pay for it once you’re comfortable. It’s quite common for students to be able to start the very next day — as I did].
Speaking of prices, let me give a few of the deals that I’ve found and you can decide for yourself if you think Guatemala is affordable or not.

– My accommodation costs me 35 quetzales per night (approximately $4.50) for private room
and bath with an incredible view!
– I can buy 3 tacos for 10 quetzales (approximately $1.25) [which on a sidenote turns into 6 mini tacos since they give 6 mini tortillas. The first time I ordered I didn’t understand why
they gave me 6 until I bit into my 1st taco and half of the stuff plopped to the waiting tortilla below. Genius!]
– I can get a fresh fruit smoothie for 5 quetzales (about $.60)
– And my new favorite, a ChocoBanana for 1-2 quetzales (less than $.25) which is a frozen banana on a stick dipped in chocolate and peanuts. Delicious!

choco banana- working remotelyMy 2nd intention was to work remotely.
So I recently got a phone from Republic Wireless.
I was scared because I’m in real estate and need a decent operating phone plan (although I have a strong distaste for phone calls and divert most of my business to email and text).
This phone works on WiFi – check out how cool this is!
[sidenote – <<< that is a chocobanana!]
This means that I’m able to make my calls from Guatemala back to the U.S. from my normal cell phone at no additional cost other than the $20 I pay per month for the plan.
Is it perfect? No. It only works on WiFi and I seem to not be getting some of my text messages (when I’m not in the wireless) But hey, for $20 and the use of my US cell phone number seamlessly, I’ll take it.

My other tool is my Google Chromebook.
It was an even $200 and was an obvious purchase after I sold an older laptop for $200 to a friend – an even swap.
What folks have to understand is that you can’t download any software onto the computer.
But if you’re like me and already use Google for everything (Drive, Calendar, Docs, Contacts, Gmail, etc.) then this won’t be much of an issue.
Just imagine computing with only a chrome internet browser.
You also have a hard drive where you can store files.
If you need a specific piece of software (editing software for example) that you just have to have, then the chromebook isn’t for you.
But I’ve found that there’s an app or website for literally everything.
I’m in the real estate business and I’ve found that I can even 100% run my company from this ‘cloud only’ laptop.
Need to edit photos?
Need to edit a purchase agreement via a pdf?
Literally everything can be done online.
And then all of your documents stored in the cloud (I use both and

As of this writing I’ve been in Guatemala for 3 weeks.
In that time I’ve:
Written 4 offers.
Entered 2 new real estate listings into our local MLS.
Closed 1 real estate transaction.
Moved 2 pending deals closer to close.
Needless to say I am working while I’m enjoying.

I’ve actually added about 25 hours/wk. to my plate with the lessons plus homework.
So while the other morning I woke up to an incredible view, I was actually stressing a bit over some work items.
So that evening I went to an awesome restaurant with WiFi and buckled down with a burger and a cuba libre.
All caught up.
Back to relaxing and enjoying the experience.

Which of course I want to enjoy the country and be a tourist while I’m here as well.
I spent an hour or so looking at the top places to visit while here.
2 of them were fairly close to the airport and capital – Antigua and Lake Atitlan.
It was easy to choose both of these places given the positive reviews and how easy it seemed for me to get to them.
I also plan to visit Greg and Rachel Denning of while I’m here.
They’ve got a really cool project going on called the Mayan Eco Homestead and I want to meet them in person as well as give them a hand while I’m down here.

I’m living proof that you don’t have to take only a 2 week vacation on your job.
You can work while you travel.
And you can choose to travel in a place where your cost abroad is actually less than it is at home.

Are you guys doing it to?
Do you have a desire to?
Share it with me below.

  • This is so badass. The chocobanana might just be the greatest invention in human history 🙂

    But seriously man, it’s great to see you getting out there and exploring the world. I haven’t made it out to Guatemala, but it’s definitely on my list.

    Enjoy your time there man!

  • brooks

    Thanks man.
    That Chocobanana is one bad mamma-jamma.
    Thanks for stopping by – good to hear from someone whose posts keep me inspired!

  • This is awesome to see, Brooks! I had a similar experience when I was in Peru in terms of paying for things — everything was great value. Love that you’re living the digital nomad dream, can’t wait to see more.

  • Great writeup! Sounds like you are having an awesome trip.

    Two questions for ya:
    Did you plan out ahead of time how long you are going to stay in Guatemala?


    My brother-in-law would love to travel to a place like. Care to share what area of Guatemala you are in?


  • brooks

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Every time I get a taste of real travel (in my opinion it has to be where you’re not in a flurry to see as much as possible in 2 weeks) I always come away wanting more.
    Can’t wait to make it to South America!

  • brooks

    Hey Todd,
    Good to hear from you.
    I did. I actually booked my ticket when I thought that I was going to be meeting some friends in Belize for a week. That didn’t happen, but that just meant I got to spend an extra week here.
    With that said, Guatemala doesn’t require you to have a trip booked home so can easily just book a one way ticket and just arrange a flight home whenever you want within the 90 day visa period (which you also don’t have to arrange ahead of time).

    On the parts:
    My main trip has been based around Lake Atitlan – I spent 3 weeks studying Spanish here (in San Pedro).
    There are a number of different communities around the lake, some with different feels.
    I will also be spending my last week in Antigua (a cool colonial town) before flying out.
    I chose these because of the positive feedback I got from others and their proximity to the airport (Antigua is only an hour).
    With that said I’ve loved them both and plan to come back.
    Hope this helps!

  • Thanks Brooks for the info and can’t wait to read more about your trip!

  • brooks

    I’ll give you my newest.
    We just had an earthquake this afternoon that lasted a good 12 seconds — crazy!
    But all is well.

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  • Very nice experience. I am also looking forward to work remotely. It is my dream to have a freedom to travel around the world.

  • brooks

    Cool stuff, thanks for the comment! Where do you desire to travel? Have you attempted to work remotely yet?

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