What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Housekeepers and child-care workers are available, a full-time worker (40-45 hours a week) will cost about US$350/month, plus benefits. Live-in help is rare, but this isn’t usually an issue given how small the city is. If you have a yard, you will absolutely need a gardener (tropics = plants grow like crazy). It costs about US$40 to have someone come once a week. Private drivers are few and far between, but also aren’t really necessary, particularly if you have a diplomatic vehicle. Quality varies, and even the best workers aren’t immune from unreliability / inconsistency / pilfering. Manage your expectations accordingly. - Aug 2019


Very available, but varies in quality. Make sure you can trust them. They ask for more pay than I expected and as usual it is more than twice the rate of working for a local family. Nannies are either very good or not good at all. - Sep 2016


It is available and can be cheap. Most Americans don't seem comfortable negotiating prices and don't understand the local wage scale. We pay our housekeeper about half of what most people do, she works a bit more than most, and is considered well-paid on the local market. Be picky about who you choose and make sure they are trustworthy early on. - Apr 2014


Domestic help is readily available and very inexpensive. I have experience paying a cleaning lady US$15 for a day of work. Personal recommendations are the best way to find a good and trusted employee. - Nov 2013


It is available and is reasonable. - May 2012


Domestic help is affordable, our full-time person is 70/week and she does everything from kid care to cleaning to cooking four nights a week. - Mar 2012


Domestic help is readily available. Prices vary, but typically you will pay between US$1.50 to 2.00 per hour for full-time help. It's recommended you have them do your shopping at the outdoor fruit/vegetable markets as they get local prices. You must also be explicit on what you need and want them to do in order to have it done properly. - Feb 2012


Readily available. I pay usd 20 a day for help, and this is considered a decent wage. My maid does a decent job with everything, including cooking. I have heard of others not being satisfied with the cleanliness standards of their maids, though. - Feb 2010


Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)

Read More