Nicaragua’s lower cost of living does not mean you have to sacrifice the quality of life you have been accustomed to in the U.S. or Canada. In fact, you will probably be able to live in Nicaragua with even more luxuries than you are accustomed to, simply because the prices are so economical. Many live comfortably on $1,200 a month for a couple. Spend $2,000 and you’re living in high style. A single person can live very well on much less.

If you decide to give Nicaragua a test drive before settling here or purchasing real estate, you’ll find rents to be very reasonable. In most cities in Nicaragua, rent for a small apartment runs $300 to $500 and a family-size home runs $700.

A month of groceries for a couple runs under $300, including vegetables that cost a fraction of what you’d pay in the U.S. Eating out is cheap too. Lobster dinners with all the trimmings will set you back $15. At restaurants in the municipal market you’ll pay just $3 for a complete meal of rice, beans, and chicken, fish, or beef. And a beer at a restaurant is $1.25.

Depending on usage, your utility bills will probably cost between $50 to $75 for electric and water, and $75 for high-speed Internet. When it comes to looking after yourself, Nicaragua is very affordable, a haircut will cost about $10 and you can treat yourself to an hour-long massage for $30. For getting around, in-town taxi fares are generally $1 to $2.

One of the best ways to save money in Nicaragua as an expat is to remember that imported goods (food, household items, clothing, etc.) cost more here than in the U.S. On the other hand, expats can save lots of money by buying Nicaraguan products and by adapting to the Nicaraguan lifestyle when possible.

 

Below is a sample monthly budget for two people:

 

U.S. $
Electric (without air-conditioning)
$50
Water
$20
Propane gas (tank for cooking)
$15
Satellite TV (100 channels)
$55
Internet (plus start-up costs)
$75
Cell phone
$25
Groceries
$200
Entertainment
$100 or sky’s the limit
Gasoline or Diesel
$80
Health insurance (Hospital plan)
$100
Maid (three times a week)
$36
Gardener (three times a week)
$36
Incidentals
$100
Monthly total:
$892