Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Life in Guatemala A to Z: Quetzal

The quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala, so colorful and beautiful! They are found in forests and woodlands, especially in humid highlands. I've not yet seen one, but then I haven't been looking either. But aren't they beautiful??
The quetzal bird is so important to the country, they also named their national currency after it. One quetzal is worth 100 centavos. In American dollars, the ratio is about 7.50 to one, or one American dollar gets you 7 - 8 quetzales.

Bottom line, our dollars go pretty far if we are careful, and Americans can live fairly well in Guatemala for a whole lot less. I'm still not over the thrill of taking $350 out of the ATM for my U.S. bank account and seeing it come out in well over Q2000.


So even though the Quetzal bird is pretty, I'm more excited about the Quetzales I carry around in my bag for shopping. Call me shallow but after years of living frugally and trying to make ends meet in the States, it's rather nice to have a little extra cash in Guatemala.

19 comments:

  1. I found living in Spain most affordable many years ago, but I thing the terribly wealthy and "Hollywood" have taken over many of the areas I had lived in. I was there "back in the day" of carts n donkeys as a young woman out exploring the world. The beauty and the bucks, the people, the serenity, allowed me to live well within a comfort zone I could have no where else. This would not be the case today unfortunately. You sound so happy and somewhat like a young girl out on a huge adventure, discovering life round about you. Enjoy - Happy Easter to you and your family.

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    1. Saucy, I'm afraid Europe isn't as affordable as it once was but fortunately there are still areas of the world that are. You just have to find them. The magazine International Living is a wonderful resource for anyone looking to live or travel extensively abroad. Central America is really opening up as a destination, and the governments of these countries are cleaning things up to appeal to American and European tourists bringing in new life to their economy.

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  2. Wow! What a beautiful bird, but the money connection is also fascinating. What if we suddenly decided to call the US dollar the eagle? Hmmmmm...interesting...

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  3. Sadly, I did not get the same joy at the ATM yesterday - money out was just money out! I wonder if US money is as exciting to kids from other countries as foreign currency is to our kiddos. My MIA travels and always brings the kids back a bit of paper and coin money from her trips and my children are fascinated. Most foreign money is so much prettier than ours - but maybe that's just because it's different.

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    1. Lisa, I find the Quetzales very pretty because it goes so much further than a dollar does, so there's more of it LOL.

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  4. Hi Karen - the Quetzal is an amazing bird - so so pretty .. I hope you see one soon ...

    Money, money, money .... that's it done and dusted .. but I'm so pleased you've a little spend in that delightful new home town .. cheers Hilary

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  5. I'd be more excited about the money! Nice to see there are still countries where our dollars mean something.

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  6. That's a good one for Q. I have a bunch of quetzales sitting in a drawer, good to know they're not worth much or I'd have to make the effort to exchange them.

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  7. Visiting on the 19th day of the #challenge. Happy to discover a fellow writer and love your blog presentation. Focused, uncluttered, wonderful photos to support your post. Congratulations. If you have time or interest, I am writing about gardening and related topics this month. Come and visit.

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  8. LOVELY bird! Such a cute little head and stark colors.

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  9. It is a pretty bird but like you, I'd appreciate what's in my purse.

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  10. That is a beautiful bird in colours and in design of his body with the tail. The money going far is always a great thing:) My friend goes to live in Thailand from Nov to April and he can live so cheaply and experience so much. We are lucky and you can really enjoy everything there-Happy Easter

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    1. Birgit, I would love to try Thailand! There are several Asian countries like that where the cost of living is comparable to Central America. Thailand is one on my list!

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  11. I can see why the Quetzal is their bird. It's colorful and so beautiful.

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  12. Stunning bird. I used to own a parrot - such pretty and intelligent creatures.
    #AtoZChallenge http://virtuallyallsorts.wordpress.com

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  13. Argh, we've got the opposite problem in Geneva. 1 kilo of strawberries can cost 9 Francs! Nearly everything is pricey...except maybe dairy products and bread. And basic household stuff if you're willing to shop around.
    Love your new header photo!

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