I sat with a friend on the beach in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, marveling at the most spectacular sunset I had ever seen…gold, purple, orange, pink, and blue. I made the decision right then and there to live in this unbelievably beautiful country. And I wasn’t going to wait for retirement.
Monica Sedgwick and her husband, James, wandered into the laidback Nicaraguan beach town of San Juan del Sur about nine years ago. They were immediately hooked on its gorgeous beaches…colorful, yet less stressed lifestyle…fun people…and the fact that it was cheap to live there.
There are those who like big cities; some prefer farm country; while others are happy in the mountains. I, on the other hand, am a beach person for sure. I don’t have to go swimming in the ocean every day or even every week, but just knowing that the water is all around me is something that I crave.
My home is close to the beach town of San Juan del Sur. But if you’re looking for your own bargain property in Nicaragua right now, nowhere offers more choice of lifestyles and more appealing bargains than the area I recently scouted, around the northern colonial city of León.
Beautiful baroque churches adorn street corners. Magnificent colonial buildings recall times past. The warm climate and a dynamic and exciting vibe are drawing the attention of expats to this historic city in Nicaragua.
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.