Whether you’re living or traveling in Central America, these Facebook groups will inform and entertain.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, when you wanted info on a place, you had to go to your local bookstore and buy yourself a travel guide.
There were also the monthly magazines out there. They looked great on coffee tables with their images of luxury hotels and azure seas. And brochures? Remember brochures? You went to a local travel agency and picked up a bunch of paper filled with hotels and packages for you to book.
That was if you were looking at traveling or going on vacation, as opposed to moving. If you were moving to another country, there were no guidebooks for that. You had to do yourself.
And then came the internet. This was a revelation for travelers and expats alike.
In the early days (the 90s and the turn of the century) internet cafes sprouted up everywhere. People forwent the books to check in online, reading their email and surfing the net for info on the next country to visit.
Soon the whole concept of social media arose.
People stopped looking at the Lonely Planet website. They started going straight to other people on the ground to get their info.
For those of you wishing to come to Central America, social media is a goldmine. And the biggest nugget in that mine is Facebook.
Facebook has always been better for potential expats rather than tourists. That’s because it’s where a bunch of them hang out when they should be doing something better like surfing. Or working.
There’s nothing better for the potential expat than to get on Facebook and join some of the groups that trailblazing expats and locals have set up over the years. It’s perfect for finding out if Marmite is available in Managua. Or if you can watch The Bold and the Beautiful in Belize.
On a personal note, I admit I’m about done with Facebook.
I used to love it. Too much, actually. I was always on Facebook, trolling this group, starting arguments in that group. Chiming in to other arguments, wasting time. Ridiculous it was. I was ridiculous.
And then in recent weeks, I’ve had a bunch of health and other issues that have taught me the importance of quality time. And when I think of it, I’m not sure if arguing with, or heckling strangers on Facebook counts as quality time. It’s always the same people too. People you think you know or who think they know you, but don’t. And some of them are just weird. Psychotic even.
Ridiculous. Ludicrous. It took some time out of everything to realize this. I’m glad I did. Sometimes it takes some serious shit to go down to teach you what’s up.
Now I use Facebook for work only.
I’ve taken the app off my phone and cut off my access to Messenger. I haven’t deleted my account because I need it to access my professional pages, but I would if I could.
I say all this as a warning. These groups are easy to get sucked into. But if you’re not like me you can find them useful and fun, I promise.
So that said, here you’ll find a bunch of the best expat groups you’ll find on Facebook in Central America. Soon, you too will become addicted to them like all the best (and worst) gringos living down here.
*Note. Please note that these groups are all in English. There are tons of groups in Spanish, covering all kinds of topics. These are not the focus here.
Belize Expats is the main expat group in Belize. This place is where you go to find out the scoop on everything Belize. They’re a pretty responsive and helpful crowd here, and they make newcomers feel welcome.
Expats Living In Guatemala
You’ll to get used to all these Facebook groups having the name of the country the word “Expats” in the title in some form or the other. They’re everywhere, but at least it’s clear right? Anyway, this one is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a group for expats living in Guatemala. Everything you needed to ask about living in Guatemala but were too afraid to ask is here.
The Real Antigua Guatemala Classifieds
The colonial town of Antigua is where you’ll find most of the expats in Guatemala. It’s beautiful and peaceful. This group is a buy-sell forum that also acts as a way for the expat community in town to swap info and tips. Essential if you’re hanging out in Antigua (which you will be), even for a short amount of time. The other thing I like about this group is that they treat their members like adults. They don’t censor them (very rare in Central America Expat Facebook Group Land).
Panajachel Community Group
The Lake Atitlan region is the other main hotspot for expats living in Guatemala. There are a number of groups catering to foreigners living in this region, but this one offers the best sense of community for all.
Looking for a place to eat in Guatemala? Here’s your group. Same if you’re looking for ingredients, recipes, or anything food-related. You get the picture.
With less than 1,000 members – which could reflect the number of expats moving to Honduras in comparison with other countries – this is a small group. Again, it does what it says it’ll do: cater to the English-speaking expat community in Honduras. With so few people, don’t expect too much action, but the expats in Honduras are a hardy bunch and always happy to help others.
Utila Buy and Sell
Utila is one of the Bay Islands of Honduras, next door to Roatan. It is smaller than Roatan but has the largest expat Facebook group in Honduras. This is the best networking group in Honduras hands down.
EXPATS Living in Roatan
This one is a little cliquey in that they won’t let you in if you don’t actually live on the island of Roatan. We can’t blame them. The word “EXPATS” in capital letters is no mistake. They’ll ask you exactly where you live and how long you’ve been on Roatan (we tried to sneak in here on your behalf). Unless you know the island very well and can front it, you won’t get in. Once you are in though, it’s a great place to bounce ideas and questions off your fellow island expats (or so they tell me).
Expats in El Salvador
El Salvador doesn’t see a lot of expats arriving, but this group still has over 5,000 people. Most of these groups don’t allow people selling stuff, but this one is a one-stop-shop for everything. They tell us this is a place “where members can announce events, promote their businesses, advertise items for sale, share resources, ask questions and connect with other expats in El Salvador.” Sounds about right.
Nicaragua is an odd fish nowadays when it comes to Facebook groups. There’s a lot of them out there, true, but the recent, ahem, difficulties* have changed many of them beyond recognition.
*By “difficulties” I mean state-sponsored terrorism, murder, and disappearances.
Anyway, most groups reflect the fact that Nicaragua is in trouble. Most of them are full of people trying to sell or rent their homes, trying to get rid of their cars, and so on.
One notable exception is Nicaragua The New Frontier which is still good, although censored by the moderators to not talk about the situation or local politics, which is wise, I guess.
Before we start checking out groups in Costa Rica, it’s worth a few words beforehand. There are TONS of groups in this country. Tons of them. It often seems like expats have very little else to do other than post on these things. The reason, of course, is that Costa Rica has more expats than the other countries. Those of you familiar with Monty Python’s Life of Brian might get some deja vu with these group names. You know, Judean People’s Front, People’s Front of Judea, etc). Anyway, here goes:
Expatriates in Costa Rica
Probably the best group for newbies. It’s big and so there are many people to answer your questions. The Costa Rican groups can get pretty brutal with sarcasm and trolling, but this one seems to get the least. It’s a public group which means you can see it before you join.
Gringo Expats in Costa Rica
This one is still a good group but has a reputation for attracting real estate agents and those expats who get upset if anyone is realistic about life in CR. If you disagree that CR is perfect and has zero problems, you might feel unwelcome here. But still, it’s a fun place and informative.
Costa Rica Uncensored
This group is less about info on Costa Rica and more about humor. In recent years it’s gotten pretty political too. There is far too much emphasis on US politics. If you have a political view that is not liberal and have the nerve to express your view in the group, the chances are the butthurt majority will hound you out. If you disagree with, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Bernie Sanders, expect someone in there to call you a Nazi or a fascist (which, you know, is fascist in itself, really). But get past that and there are some belly laughs to be had here. If you’re accepted by the group, you know you’ll fit in very well living in Costa Rica.
Expat Pet Owners in Costa Rica
Any questions you have or advice you want about any aspect of bringing your pets to Costa Rica or from Costa Rica, then this is the place.
Nosara Rant And Rave
Each area of Costa Rica has its own group. Expats are everywhere here. Nosara is a beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula. What makes this group stand out is its sense of humor.
Lake Arenal Community
Another regional group for people in the Arenal Volcano area of Costa Rica. For some reason, many of the expats who live here are conspiracy theorists of some sort or another. Chemtrails, UFOs, the vaccination debates…. All covered here in hilarious details with various degrees of woo.
WTF Costa Rica
A place to laugh about life in Costa Rica. If you don’t live in Costa Rica, you’ll find it goes over your head a little. Once you do live in Costa Rica, you’ll know exactly what it’s about. This group actually once inspired one of our own articles…
Families With Children in Central Valley, Costa Rica
This one is obvious. If you’re a family with kids, you’ll want to join this. Don’t let the “Central Valley” part put you off. You’ll find all sorts of good info and networking opps here, regardless of where you plan to live in Costa Rica.
We could go on and on with Costa Rica groups that cater to expats. Other groups to check out include Expats in Costa Rica, Young Expats in Costa Rica, Costa Rica Friends, and North American Expats in Costa Rica. Over the years I’ve trolled them all. Regional groups include Costa Rica Southern Zone Expats & Friends and Coco Chit Chat.
ExPats in Panama
This is a great source of info on Panama in general and Panama City in particular. You have to answer a couple of simple questions to join, but once in you’ll find a friendly, happy to help a bunch of expats. No advertising!
Expats in Panama
The difference between this group and the previous one is the capital P. Another one of the Expat Focus stable of groups (they’re everywhere, these guys), this is “for anyone moving to or living in Panama”.
Young Expats in Panama
Catering to a younger crowd (or a younger at heart crowd), this group is the prime networking go-to for those looking to party and do young-people-stuff. But it’s also a very useful resource for anyone who isn’t in Panama to retire.
A parent’s group for expat and local moms/dads to network and help each other out. Looking for a babysitter or a place to buy formula? How about scheduling playdates? Here’s where you ask.
Panama has more and more groups cropping up, from Buy and Sell groups to regional ones like the Boquete Community Group. As more expats come down, expect more groups. A word of warning: Don’t join the Panama City, Florida groups by mistake!
And that about wraps up the best Facebook groups for expats in Central America.
Of course, there are many more than this bunch, particularly in Costa Rica. Let us know your favorites. And if you have your own group, also let us know in the comments so we can help plug it for you. There’s always room for more groups, even in this saturated little corner of the world.
James Dyde is the editor of CentralAmerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.