Nicaragua

  Nicaragua  

Nicaragua: Beautiful and Affordable


Along Central America’s Pacific coast you’ll find rocky outcrops, world-class surf, and some of the most jaw-dropping views in the world. If it’s natural beauty you are after, Nicaragua is the jewel of this stretch of coast.

Today's Nicaragua is like a newborn child, eyes bright with hope with a smile promising a great future. The country stuns with its physical beauty, something that surprises every newcomer. Majestic volcanoes pepper the horizon along the Pacific Ring of Fire, some with billows of white smoke, proclaiming the life within, while others sleep, protecting their sparkling crater lakes for you to enjoy.

Lake Colcibolca, the 19th largest lake in the world, houses Ometepe Island, a magical place that soothes the soul with its own lakes, volcanoes and verdant green forests. White sand beaches and turquoise water with low-hanging palms greet you on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua. Bosawas National Reserve offers a dense rainforest, second only to the Amazon in the western hemisphere. Hiking, rock climbing, floating down crystal clear rivers, surfing a volcano and more are only some of the adventures in Nicaragua.

Because Nicaragua is just emerging as a tourist and retirement destination, many take advantage of the economical real estate and rental prices to retire early. Here you can buy an oceanview acre with a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house for less than $150,000, something that would cost easily over a million in the U.S.

Ocean-view condos for under $100,000 still exist, as do fully-furnished apartments to rent for $400 to $500 a month with all amenities and a block's walk to the beach. Don't despair if you want "more" of a house, as upscale mansions with a 240-degree view of the ocean exist for those with deeper pockets. The truth is, you can easily build your dream house and your dream life in Nicaragua, for about an 8th of the price of what it would cost you back home.

Still lacking a strong infrastructure, Nicaragua, like Costa Rica maybe 40 years ago, offers people from the U.S. and Canada and elsewhere the role of true pioneers. These expats are helping to shape Nicaragua into the tourist mecca it will become. New government laws with unparalleled tax benefits help expats form corporations and open businesses with ease.

Nicaragua is not for everyone. It's more primitive and wild than its Central American neighbors. It's for the young-at-heart, who don't worry if the electricity goes off, who don't stress over guests arriving late, who don't want to sit around just watching TV when they retire. It's for those with vision, who want adventure, want to feel young again and who want to create their ideal retirement. Don't wait any longer. Let Nicaragua surprise you.

 

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Fast Facts About Nicaragua

Nicaragua-FF
  • Population: 5,788,531
  • Capital City: Managua
  • Climate: Tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands
  • Time Zone: GMT-6
  • Language: Spanish
  • Country Code: 505

Archives

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

A Paradise of Your Own in Nicaragua

Let’s face it…all of the correspondents from International Living live in Paradise. We all experience a better lifestyle for less money in a warm climate, no matter which country we’ve chosen. And we’re happy to tell you about it. Yes, each country is different, but the basics are the same and each place has all the elements for a fantastic life. We’ve found a better life abroad – and that’s the truth.

Quito

What’s My Favorite Retirement Haven? I Don’t Know Yet…

My wife and I celebrated our 19th anniversary last week. The length of our marriage roughly coincides with the length of our journey of discovery exploring the world (and ourselves) on behalf of International Living. Married in 1997, it took three years of anticipation, trepidation, and preparation before we actually moved overseas, beginning our expat lives in Quito, Ecuador, in 2001.

Granada

A Charming Colonial City Where You Can Still Pick Up a Bargain

In January, I stepped out from the front doors of my colonial hotel into the already bright morning sunshine. Past perfectly preserved colonial buildings, I walked past a wide central park, lined with vendors selling cool drinks and snacks, and horse-drawn carriages offering rides to waiting tourists. It was just a few more steps—past a colorful Spanish colonial cathedral—to get a fresh-brewed coffee or a gelado. You can buy fresh-baked pastries or gourmet jellies or sauces in little street-side cafes.

Matagalpa,-Nicaragua

Finding Your Dream Home in Cool-Weather Nicaragua

With a general subtropical climate, Nicaragua is pretty hot everywhere and has a specific six-month dry season (December to May) and six-month wet season (June to November). However, Matagalpa is different. Here you wake up to sunshine most days with rain throughout the year.

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Enjoy Your Dream Retirement On Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast

The proverbial retirement…life in a beach home overlooking the ocean. Most of us experience this fleeting thought, but realize it’s never going to happen, so we settle on a more affordable, comfortable plan. And then a financial crisis hits, and it looks like we’ll just stay where we are and never move to that quaint town in the mountains that we had been dreaming about for the past 10 years. Unfortunately, retirement dreams just don’t look the same anymore.

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The Top Five Overseas Havens for Effortless Healthy Living: Part One

When people tell you why they want to retire abroad, a few big reasons crop up again and again: the lower cost of living…escaping the worst of the North American winter…finding a more adventurous life…access to excellent, affordable healthcare. But there are other benefits to embracing a life abroad—benefits most people don’t even think of. Many expats are pleasantly surprised to discover that you can also find a healthier lifestyle overseas—without even trying.

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Laidback Living and Golden Sands on Nicaragua’s Pacific

It may well be the best little beach town in the world… With 22 beaches for you to enjoy and a surge in foreign residents and travelers, San Juan del Sur, on Nicaragua’s southern Pacific coast, is perfect for any lover of ocean views, warm waters, and fun in the sun. After eight years of living here full-time, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Even if I’m away for only a few days, I find myself missing it. Many people come here to visit and end up staying or going home to plan their permanent return.

Nicaragua

Making Nacatamales, a Traditional Nicaraguan Dish

For special occasions, especially the Christmas holidays, nacatamales are the go-to traditional meal in Nicaragua. Making this delicious dish is a bit labor intensive and a multi-step process—so the whole family gets involved. The basic ingredients are masa, chicken or pork seasoned with achiote, and vegetables and herbs like onions, potatoes, bell peppers, tomato, rice, and mint—everybody has their own version. It’s all wrapped together in a banana leaf and then steamed.

San-Juan-del-Sur

Discover A World of Travel Possibilities When You Live Overseas

When you move overseas, you don’t just benefit from the better weather, lower cost of living, and the affordable healthcare…you also open up a world of travel possibilities. During our working lives, we’d take those one- or two-week trips, and were lucky enough to see a few highlights.
But when you live in a foreign country, you have the opportunity to use this new location to travel to other countries as well as to explore the place you’ve chosen to live. This happened to me when I moved to Nicaragua.

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The Secret of the FEIE: Your Ticket to a Tax–Free Life Overseas

Living and working overseas provides opportunities for new vistas, new cultures, great food, more sunshine, and a much lower cost of living. But did you know that it can also provide you with a huge tax benefit? Maybe you are overseas as an employee for a corporation, a local B&B, or even a tour company. Perhaps you operate abroad as an independent consultant, freelancer, or business owner. If you are a U.S. citizen living and working outside the U.S. for most of a year, you may qualify for what’s known as the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE). With this, you could completely eliminate your U.S. tax liability.

Crucita, Ecuador

The Top 4 Countries in the World for Healthy Living

Time and again, we hear back from readers looking for a healthier lifestyle overseas. So in this year’s Annual Global Retirement Index, we’ve added a Healthy Lifestyle category. Finding a healthier retirement abroad is a key consideration for many expats. And while many countries on our beat scored strongly in this regard, Costa Rica earned top marks.

Ometepe Island, Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua

The Awe-Inspiring Natural Beauty of Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

Set in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, the world’s 19th largest lake, Ometepe Island is an escape from the stress of the modern world. It’s most noticeable feature: the two volcanoes, one active and one extinct, that loom above all.

Island residents live a simple life of farming and fishing. There is no large-scale development and limited numbers of tourists make their way there for horseback riding, trekking in the jungle, eco-tours, and learning sustainable farming practices. You do find some expats on Ometepe, running restaurants or hostels…or farming. It’s still a relatively undiscovered destination.

PERU

5 Low-Cost Countries Where You Can Live on $1,500 a Month or Less

By choosing to retire in one of the world’s best bang-for-your-buck destinations, Rob enjoys a lifestyle well beyond his reach if he had stayed in the U.S. Every day he can choose to relax on the beaches around his home in the town of Sihanoukville, on the Cambodian coast, dine on fresh French croissants…rent a sailboat or go fishing on an offshore charter…

costa-rica

$5,000 a Month to Blog Around the World

Imagine a life where you get to travel, earn enough to live, and enjoy doing what you love. Samantha Wei and Yeison Kim are based in Costa Rica and earn a living from blogging about their adventures. Their blog now generates a healthy income averaging more than $5,000 each month in revenue.

Ometepe-Island-Lake-Nicaragua-Nicaragua

“I’m Happier Living in Nicaragua…You Could Be Too”

Forget what the scientists tell us about the five happiness factors. I’ve lived in Nicaragua for eight years and I can easily explain why I am much happier here than I ever was in the U.S. Don’t get me wrong, my life was fine in San Diego, good even. But now that I see how life can really be for a retiree, there’s actually no comparison. Here’s why:

Don’t get me wrong, my life was fine in San Diego, good even. But now that I see how life can really be for a retiree, there’s actually no comparison. Here’s why:

Rancho-Santana

A Beach-Lover’s Paradise With Great Views and Low Property Prices in Nicaragua

Imagine sitting on your patio with a glass of wine in hand and fresh mahi mahi waiting for you, prepared by your private cook, who you pay $48 a week to make all your meals (add to that cleaning costs at $20 a week for two days’ work).

You gaze at the endless sea and talk about the snow you used to shovel and the months you had to wait for the crocuses and daffodils to appear, the days you spent inside because it was too cold to go out. Now brilliant, colorful flowers adorn your home all year. The crash of the waves lull you to sleep at night.

cambodia-sihanoukville

Three Most Affordable Overseas Retirement Havens in 2016

Cost of living can be a major concern for people on fixed pension, annuity, and other retirement income sources. In International Living’s 2016 Global Retirement Index, three countries stand out from the top 23 retirement locations in the world as having the best cost of living:

Cost-of-Living

3 Top Retirement Havens With The Lowest Cost Of Living

In the right places beyond our borders today, you’ll find you have more good choices than ever for a comfortable—even a pampered—retirement. In International Living’s 2016 Global Retirement Index, three countries stand out from the top 23 retirement locations featured in the Index, as having the lowest cost of living in the world:

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Mexico’s Creepy Cave, Japan’s Doll Village and Much More…

Whipping and flickering across the night sky, the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are on many travelers’ bucket lists. And northern Finland is one of the best places in the world to observe this stunning natural phenomenon.

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The Five Best Bang-for-Your-Buck Retirement Havens: Part 2

“I really love my life in Guatemala. The low cost of living makes me feel that the opportunities here are endless, and I feel like I can really carve out my little spot here in paradise,” says expat Tara Tiedemann of her life in colonial Antigua, a gem at the heart of Guatemala. “It’s amazing how far your money goes in Guatemala. For $500 a month, I can rent a beautiful apartment in a colonial-style building right in Antigua. I’m within walking distance of the Central Park and my favorite bakery for fresh banana bread.

matagalpa

Rediscover Your Retirement Dreams in Low-Cost Nicaragua

When you were younger, what did you envision your retirement would look like? Long, happy days where you wouldn’t have to work the 9-to-5 grind anymore. Playing golf or going to the beach on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. You probably saw yourself pursuing hobbies and taking classes that you never had time for before.

best places to retire

The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2016

Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.

Leon

Retire to This Beautiful University City For $1,200 a Month

Leon is one of the oldest cities in Nicaragua and second-largest city in the country after the capital of Managua. It has a warm climate with average highs in the high 80s F and average lows in the 70s F and also has terrific colonial architecture to recommend it. Leon is great place to live if you want to be close to the beaches…you can enjoy all the conveniences of a big city, amid beautiful surroundings, and still be only 11 miles from Nicaragua’s stunning ocean beaches.

Manzanillo,-Costa-Rica

Pina Coladas, Tropical Sunshine, and Earning Adventures

Jim Sayers considers himself a very lucky man. “I have lived in three Central American countries—Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica—and am in love with each one,” he says. “In each the people are so friendly. Add to that a wonderful year-round climate and most of the stressful issues associated with living in Canada or the U.S. are virtually non-existent.

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Swimming Pigs and Evicted Mummies

Somoto Canyon is one of the oldest rock formations in Central America, and Northern Nicaragua’s most-impressive natural attraction. But it went undiscovered until 2004, when a team of Czech and Nicaraguan scientists stumbled upon this colossal natural wonder.

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The World’s Top Retirement Havens for 2016

Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.

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Cheap, Productive Farmland: Your Path to Fortune

The world is roaring toward food shortages. According to the World Bank, at least 50% more food is needed by 2050 to feed nine billion people. And it’s not just more food that’s needed; this fast-growing, global middle class wants different foods—producing meat takes a lot of water and animal feed. China, for example, has added 100 million new middle-class mouths in the past decade. Brazil has seen its middle class grow by 40 million from 2005 to 2011. Now 54% of the population, or 103 million people, fall within Brazil’s middle class.

San-Juan-del-Sur

Live in This Funky Beach Town of San Juan del Sur For $1,500 a Month

“Where else could we find this life?” says expat Monica Sedgwick of the one she and her husband James have created in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. “We’re living in paradise, paying $200 a month for a three-bedroom apartment with a super view of the bay.” Stroll through San Juan del Sur and you’ll see colorful buildings of all different sizes flanking the ocean. They house surf shops, bakeries, beach clothing stores, hotels, and hostels, from basic to top-dollar. Buy hand-made jewelry from artists from every continent.

Nicaragua

Swapping the American “Dream” for a Simpler Life in Nicaragua

Justin and Sarah Fahey did everything the way you are “supposed to” in the U.S. They focused on their educations, both finally getting Master’s degrees at Boston universities. They got married. Justin landed a sales job for a large research company and Sarah worked as a counselor in a private Massachusetts school. The road to the American Dream stretched out before them. Everything was perfect. Or was it?

Ecuador

The Easy Way To Make Your Money Go Further

Imagine if you could snap your fingers and instantly cut your monthly expenses in half. You’d effectively double the value of the money you budget for monthly expenses. It would mean the cash you once used for monthly bills would be available for other uses. There are hundreds of beautiful retirement locations around the world where this is possible. For the past 15 years, my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I have lived in many of them.

Lyon

The Giantess and the Big-Headed Midget

On December 8, 1852, the people of the French city of Lyon lit candles in their windows to celebrate the raising of a statue of the Virgin Mary on the city’s Fourvière Hill. Now, more than 160 years later, this tradition has grown into the annual Festival of Lights, which sees the streets of Lyon lit up by more than 70 artistic light displays from December 5 to December 8. Millions of visitors arrive during the festival to take in these ornate, creative works, as the windows, fountains, and trees of Lyon light up with every color imaginable.

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“In Matagalpa, I Have Hope Again”

Life here is just easy,” says 66-year-old Ira Stephenson of his new life in the mountain town of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. “I lived in many other places around the world before I came here, and Matagalpa felt like home from the very beginning.” Back in Sacramento, California, Ira worked in drywall construction. But after a severe work injury, several unsuccessful surgeries, and plain bad luck, Ira found himself unemployed, disabled, and with very little money.

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The Five Best Up-And-Coming Beach Towns For Retirees (Part Two)

Often voted one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, West Bay Beach, on the western end of the island of Roatán, Honduras, boasts a growing community of contented, beach-loving expats—part- and full-time. West Bay rests along Roatán’s northwestern shore, which is perfectly protected from the island’s prevailing southeastern breezes. This leaves the turquoise waters calm and still, perfect for a refreshing swim or snorkel. For many residents, a people-watching stroll on the white sands with a cold beer in hand is a daily routine.

San-Juan-del-Sur

Reinventing Family Life Abroad

Justin and Sarah Fahey did everything the way you are “supposed to” in the U.S. They focused on their educations, both finally getting Master’s degrees at Boston universities. They got married. Justin landed a sales job for a large research company and Sarah worked as a counselor in a private Massachusetts school. The road to the American Dream stretched out before them. Everything was perfect. Or was it?

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Your Choice of Nicaraguan Retreats from $1,200 a Month (Part One)

“Where else could we find this life?” says expat Monica Sedgwick of the one she and her husband James have created in Nicaragua. “We’re living in paradise, paying $200 a month for a three-bedroom apartment with a super view of the bay.” And they’re not the only expats to have discovered the wonderfully affordable lifestyle this retirement haven has to offer.

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Your Choice of Nicaraguan Retreats from $1,200 a Month (Part Two)

Picture rolling, green foothills covered in forest, which frame mountains up to 2,300 feet high…the city itself, orange-tiled roofs over houses painted all colors of the rainbow, creeping up the mountainside. That’s Matagalpa.

san-juan

A Six-Figure Lifestyle on $1,500 a Month

Adrienne made the move to Nicaragua with Pax, her one-year-old son. As a 41-year-old woman, she still had to create an income. Back in Whistler, Canada, she had a successful nail salon business that she sold in 2012. When she arrived in Nicaragua, she had just under $10,000 to invest.

San-Juna-del-sur

Swap Your Daily Grind for a Beach Life With Income

A family reunion for a 100-year-old aunt took Bob Urzua to San Juan del Sur for the first time. He fell in love with the place. The peace and tranquility attracted him immediately—he felt so good and calm on his trip. Would he feel this way if he lived here all the time? He decided to find out.

Plaza-de-Espana_Global-prop-notes

The Pleasures of a Walkable Neighborhood

Before the automobile came along, people lived life on a more intimate scale. You shopped at the local butcher, baker, and grocer (whom you knew by name). The café downstairs, or down the street, was your second home, and its patrons your second family. You scheduled your day by how long it took to walk from place to place…and nobody was in a rush, anyway.

Granada

No Regrets About Retiring to This Affordable Haven

After nine years of living in Nicaragua, Darrell and Amy Bushnell still feel it was a great choice for their retirement. The people are friendly and accepting, the cost of living is low, and a welcoming expat community provides a busy social life.

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