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.
So much history took place in León: It was the capital of Nicaragua for many years, it’s home to the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, the second oldest university in Central America founded in 1518, and is considered the intellectual and political center of the country.
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.
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.