As tourism grows and infrastructure improves, retirees have turned their attention toward Nicaragua. Here, you can get great-value land and property if you get in before the crowds come—think Costa Rica pricing 40 years ago.
"When I was growing up I always wanted to live in a big city," says Natalie Sullivan. "But when I did, it turned out I didn't like it. I didn't feel like I belonged to a community. That's why I love San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua."
León is a big, majestic city with almost 250,000 citizens, and more when the many universities are in session. Beautiful baroque architecture abounds, with many churches in different stages of refurbishment. Modern coffee shops, healthy food restaurants, international cuisine, theater, art, chic clothes shops, and more await you in León, where this grand city steeped in the past nevertheless presents a modern lifestyle.
In 2006, my financial advisor told me I could never retire in the U.S. I had worked since I was 16, paid into Social Security all my life...yet I would have to work forever. What had happened to the American Dream? Just passed me by I guess.
In my 40s, I started thinking about retirement. Living in expensive San Diego, I never pictured a house with an ocean view because that was out of my financial reach. I had a technical writing business that gave me a good living, but I still had to put two daughters through college.
San Juan del Sur is one of the most vibrant beach towns you’ll ever see. In addition to the beautiful bay that the city sits on, there are 21 other bays in the San Juan vicinity that will delight you as much, or more.
Sitting at an outside table of El Sesteo restaurant at sunset with a watermelon mojito in hand, I watched the sky change into hues of purple and gold behind the domes of the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of Leon (the largest church in Central America). The central park square in front of me was bursting with life: families, groups of teenagers, elderly couples sitting on benches, and children playing games. The night was full of fireworks, music, and singing. A slight breeze took the edge off the heat and every now and then a tourist or two walked by.
"Our days are so different from how they were in the States," says Jennings Wright. "Everything is more relaxing here and work often just feels like fun." After many months of travel, searching for a new and exciting place to live, Jennings (51) and her husband Chuck (56) chose Nicaragua for its low cost-of-living, natural beauty, and welcoming people.
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."
Bird-watching, hiking, swimming in natural pools under rocky waterfalls, exploring coffee and cacao farms... "Matagalpa is a nature lover's paradise," says Texas-native Rick Lester. "It's for people who love to see green year-round and appreciate a temperate climate like San Diego."