A Day Without Fiat in Panajachel, Guatemala

Follow Andrej on his one day in Panajachel, lake Atitlan, paying whole day with just bitcoin.

June 20, 2023

Arriving as a tourist or digital nomad at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, you may eventually find yourself running out of cash and in need of the local currency, Quetzal.

Información de la moneda de Guatemala | Global Exchange - Servicios de  cambio de moneda

In the traditional fiat world, your options for obtaining quetzales are rather bad:

  • Cash exchange - prepare to be scammed out of 12% because they will give you Q7 for $1, the official rate is 7.86
  • Local ATM: If you are super lucky and your card works (mine wont), you will lose ~7%

Thankfully Bitcoin fixes this and gives you better options:

  • Bitcoin ATM: 2.5-4.5% (+on-chain fee). There are two ATMs, one in San Marcos, the other, cheaper (supporting LN!), in Panajachel.
  • P2P exchange: get in touch with Lago Bitcoin community and they will surely help you exchange for around 2% of friendly commission 
  • BEST OPTION: Spend your satoshis directly in one of dozens businesses and avoid all this trouble with cash 

During my second week in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, I had almost completely depleted all my available cash. At this point, I had limited options and wondered if I would be able to find a way to sustain myself or if I would face the grim possibility of starvation.

9:30 AM - Coffee in Jazz Café

see on BTCmap.org

I was pleasantly surprised to discover several establishments in Lake Atitlan that accepted Bitcoin as a form of payment. One such place was a small and cozy café run by a friendly young boy who always had his Blink wallet ready to receive bitcoin. I started my day there with a delicious café americano, which only cost me 9k satoshis. 

11:00 AM - Chicharrones y Carnitas Don Güilo

see on BTCmap.org

One of my favorite food spots was a health food joint where they served chicharrón, a dish consisting of crisp bits of fat and meat fried in its own juices. The lady who ran the place was incredibly cheerful and fit, a testament to the fact that fat doesn't necessarily make you fat. I treated myself to a double portion of chicharrón, which set me back 19k satoshis.

Pro tip: If you stay here longer, ask her for lard for cooking. Disrespect those seed oils!

3:00 PM - Delhi 6

see on BTCmap.org

For a change of cuisine, I visited a top Indian restaurant located on a terrace with a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains.

Situated in the bustling commercial street of Pana, this restaurant offered a wide range of dishes. Although I opted for a simple wrap to save some satoshis, they had a plethora of options to choose from. I enjoyed a delicious meal accompanied by a beer, and with the addition of a tip, the total came to 36k sat.

8:30 PM - 80s Coffee

see on BTCmap.org

To complete my day without fiat currency, I decided to have dinner at a rock-themed café, where they served a huge sandwich with hot chocolate. This cost me 26k sats and served as a perfect dinner for a day spent with global money.

Total spent 90k satoshis / $24.50 / 193 quetzales

All merchants are happy users of Blink wallet. 

It's important to note that Lake Atitlan offers more than just food options for Bitcoin enthusiasts. There are plenty of other activities you can explore using Bitcoin as your preferred currency. I recommend checking out btcmap.org to discover a wide range of Bitcoin-accepting establishments in the area. Dont hesitate to scout them out on btcmap.org or even better, get in touch with aesome @LagoBitcoin community who made this possible.

Your fellow toxic maxi Andrej

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