Let’s face it, when we hear of people living in Central America it’s almost a given that they will have some domestic help! Before moving here, I used to say that a cleaning lady to me isn’t a luxury but a necessity.

I’ve never been very domestic when it comes to cleaning, washing and cooking. Even when I lived in the States, I used to bring my laundry to my mom’s house or take it to get it down. I ate out almost all the time. And cleaned about once a month and that was only because the house was so dirty that it disgusted me!

However, that would have to all change if I stayed in the States and start my family there. I would have to do the laundry, cook and clean and let me tell you it would be a very painful process for everyone, especially because I truly detest it.

When we moved to Costa Rica, our apartment was so small that we thought we can manage, but when I found out that it’s $5 for cleaning my whole house. So I hired her one day per week.

When my son was born, I decided to hire a nanny/cleaning lady, I paid her $1.20 an hour. Because I didn’t think I’ll have her full time, which is actually cheaper since you pay monthly of $250 per month.


Quickly my nanny went from 20 hours a week to 60 hours a week. I knew I was over paying immensely, but I didn’t care it was the best thing that a person can have.

Then, when we moved into a larger house, my nanny got pregnant and my husband didn’t want another one for a while, no matter how much I told him it’s a SERIOUS necessity. And I was right. It’s amazing how lazy one gets and how quickly, our house fell into shambles and so did our relationship.

Quickly we learned what it can do to us!

Now that I live in Guatemala, I have a full time cleaning lady, cook and nanny. Plus, I have a babysitter for my older son as well. We need to go out and have fun too.

Even though we earn a lot less living here, I make sure to find the $300 per month for these amazing bonuses one can indulge in while living in Central America!


Marina K. Villatoro has been living in Central America (Costa Rica and Guatemala) for over 9 years and her site Travel Experta and Expert Travel for Costa Rica is all about traveling in Central America. Marina loves to help people plan the perfect vacation to this amazing part of the world! Contact me for advice and planning your perfect trip! You can sign up for her RSS feed and join the fun on her facebook fan page and follow her on Twitter at @MarinaVillatoro.