While I mentioned this in my Unit for rent in Pana page I have decided the idea of available local help is worth a blog post. So, here it is. I will cover who these people are, why using them may make sense and what are the costs.
There are lots of people here who work in what we have become accustomed to calling the informal sector. Roughly translated, that means they work for cash and their income is not reported. It’s very common and not limited to just paying a maid or day worker. For example, some companies pay their workers this way. In other words, it is typical practice.
Most of the locals you find looking for temporary or part-time work are either of Maya or Maya/Spanish descent. Virtually all speak Spanish well and many will also know a Maya dialect. Panajachel has a very unique layout where you are likely to find these relatively poor locals living very close to up-scale hotels and housing. This is good for them because they don’t have to commute from their neighborhood to where you are.
Because of tourism here many are very used to working with foreigners (and dealing with language barriers). Some speak English and other languages.
Now, why might you want to employ such a person? The best answer is “to save time and money”. They know where things are. For example, finding something here could be a 10 minute job with a local or an hour on your own. But, save money? Yes. Whether you are shopping for handcrafts or food in the public market, they know what things should cost and can bargain to get you a fair price. They also know who has the best products.
Finally, what would their help cost? I don’t want to offer a hard rule here but I realize you do need an idea what would be typical/fair. I would say around Q100 (about $13) a day would be realistic. If you will be working with them for more than a few hours or travel is involved, you would, of course, need to pay for their food and transportation. Even having to pay for food may save you money. For example, a tostada or tamale from the street might cost Q3 and be a good, nourishing meal instead of a Q50 or more meal in a restaurant.
That’s the basics, feel free to ask questions/post comments. Note that I have no intention to “financially benefit” from helping you get connected. I just want to do what I can to help out local folks. Without them here, Panajachel would not be such a wonderful place to live.