Why Zona 1 or 2?

When we were house shopping we only looked in parts Zona 1 and the part of Zona 2 south of the Pereférico. We weren't shopping for price, we were shopping for convenience. But, "suburbia folks" probably think we are crazy. We might have been years ago but not now.

Zona 1 is the old core of the city. Like most cities, the core tends to deteriorate over time. People fine new houses in the suburbs, businesses move out and the core tends to become a poor ghetto. I think Zona 1 went through that but is on the rise as people what a shorter commute and to actually know your neighbor. I ran across a video showing what it is like in areas we were considering. It's worth a watch to get the feeling.

The Municipalidad [of Guatemala] has been putting in a lot of effort to improve Zona 1. Zoning to preserve the character of the Historico Centro is part but they are also repairing streets and sidewalks. Along with regular cleanup by employees with no more than trash bags, most of this area is looking good.

Part of the character is a large number of small stores (tiendas) that sell they typical stuff you use every day -- eggs, detergent, tortillas, ... -- making living in the area very convenient. Extensive bus service makes it easy to get to areas further away.

We actually ended up in Zona 2, a few blocks north of Zona 1. (Except for street signs that say Zona 2, you won't really notice a difference.) It was the right house with a good assortment of tiendas and a good hardware store plus a short walk to a supermarket and a huge park. For Rocio, another plus is a short walk to Universidad Mariano Galvez. While there are more sidewalks that need repair here, it is happening.