I moved to Nicaragua 10 years ago and live in an adorable two-bedroom, two-bathroom home on half an acre with a beautiful ocean view. That would never have happened in the U.S. I also retired 11 years early. Back home I'd be working until the day I died.
Bob and Tammy Davis are adventurous souls. Not for them a cheap South Beach, gated-community retirement, instead they wanted the Pacific Ocean, miles of pristine sandy beaches, and the sort of small town feel of the U.S.—40 years ago.
Mine was in Mexico, in a small city nestled in the hills of the Central Highlands. I had dreamt of Latin America's colonial towns, cobbled lanes, and shaded parks ever since first encountering the literature from that part of the world. The movies I saw confirmed it...There was magic and romance in those places and I wanted in.
Imagine searching for a place to retire for over a year and practically tripping over a top contender—filled with a stately grace, colorful cobblestoned streets, delightful garden cafés, and ancient churches at every turn—and then discovering it comes all wrapped up in an affordable package.
During high season in Nicaragua, “head for the hills” is the phrase of choice for many expats who live near the beach. Because the beach is where everyone else goes. When the sun is at its hottest, work-weary people from all over the country head for the beautiful waters to refresh, rejuvenate, and party.
Our decision to move to Nicaragua was never about moving away from the U.S. Rather, it was more about taking a leap of faith and living a grand adventure. My husband, Scott, and I had both traveled internationally prior to meeting and really liked the idea of continuing to enrich our lives through travel.
If you enjoy fabulous sunsets, the sound of the surf lulling you to sleep, a great choice of international restaurants, a laidback lifestyle and no stress, put San Juan del Sur on your list of places for retirement. Few beach locations are as charming, quirky or as fun as this town on Nicaragua's Pacific coast.
Most of us dream of owning a beach property—where we can ride out the cold winters back home, enjoy beach living year-round, or even as a bolthole for a few weeks at a time. The good news is that, in some places, your dream beach home costs a lot less than you might think.
As we lounge by the pool on this glorious sunny day, I marvel at the amazing lifestyle my wife, Johanne, and I have created for ourselves in less than a year. We had no idea that all of this was achievable—and that it would cost us so little.
“I wanted to live well with less,” says Judith LaRoue of what drew her to a new life abroad. “I wanted to enjoy the life I love and believed I could do that better here in Nicaragua.” Judith, 70, a retired educator, pastor, counselor, Montessori teacher, and self-professed “jack of all trades,” moved to Nicaragua last year.