When Terry Leary decided to settle down, she called up her sister and organized a trip to the colonial city Granada, Nicaragua—a trip that changed their lives forever.
“I was drawn to Granada by the people, culture, and lifestyle,” says Terry. “Granada is brightly colored, vibrant, and alive and there is still the promise of more to come to this lovely city.
“I live in a lively, friendly neighborhood that has lots of bands, parades, kids playing baseball and soccer in the street. It’s safe to walk at night, and the neighbors will always greet you. I can walk right around the corner and buy the best homemade yogurt, made with the freshest fruit.”
Granada is a grand city filled with refurbished churches and colonial buildings as well as others that stand proud showing their age. The well-known main cathedral, bathed in bright yellow and located adjacent to the central park, is a beacon whose tall bell towers can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Decorated horse and buggies line up quietly by the park, waiting to transport you back in time through the streets of historical Granada.
A budget-minded couple can live in Granada comfortably for $1,250 a month, including rent. For a little more you can rent an old colonial home often with a pool in the courtyard. If you prefer to buy, you can find a fixer-upper for under $100,000 and turn it into the colonial home of your dreams.
The two women arrived with the intention of opening a business and were surprised to learn that Granada only had three hotels. Hostels were everywhere, but not fine hotels.
So Terry and her sister opened Hotel Casa San Francisco, a charming boutique hotel, offering comfortable, elegant private rooms that flank a pool and garden.
They purchased the property at a fraction of what it would have cost in the U.S. Originally they found customers by calling the other three hotels and offering an “overflow” place to stay when the others were full. Today people flock to this beautiful and accommodating hotel; not much marketing is needed to fill the rooms. The hotel costs about $10,000 to $12,000 a month to run, yet makes a good profit.
“I have breakfast at my hotel every morning,” says Terry. “And I see our guests falling in love with Granada, just as we did.”
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