The cool-weather mountain city of Matagalpa is one of Nicaragua’s undiscovered gems. This affordable expat haven, in the heart of coffee country, is home to 300 to 400 expats—mostly American and Canadian.

A couple can live here for $1,200 a month. For $300 a month you can find a three-bedroom, two-bath house with garage and backyard. For $400 you’ll feed a family for a month, and $75 will cover your utilities for a month.

When you live in Matagalpa, you’ll want for nothing. Within the city you’ll find modern supermarkets and hardware stores, fashionable clothes stores, all kinds of restaurants, nightclubs, and more. Matagalpa also has excellent roads.

In Matagalpa your surroundings are green all year round. The city is nestled in nature, with pristine lakes and rivers, lush, green forests, and fresh weather. The climate is mild and ranges from 59 F to 74 F. Because of this you will almost never need air conditioning.

Good healthcare is also available, with expats speak highly of the two modern public hospitals: César Amador Molina hospital or the Santa Fé hospital, which opened in 2014. Private clinics are also available.

If you’re looking to retire somewhere with gorgeous views, clear air, pristine natural beauty and an affordable cost of living, Matagalpa could be the place for you.

Retire in Matagalpa

Retire in Matagalpa

It’s not unusual for the first group of expats that “discovers” a fantastic destination abroad to want to keep it a secret. Many people move to get away from everything they knew back home. They are searching for something more exotic, a totally different lifestyle, and they don’t want U.S. fast-food
restaurants and other “gringo” installations to mar their newly found city. They fear that, if word gets out, there will be a run for this perfect spot and expats will come in droves, and the place will lose the charm that attracted them in the first place.

This is the case with Matagalpa. This city has been thriving for hundreds of years and has just now hit our radar as expats from the U.S. start moving in. A mountain town, Matagalpa boasts a year-round, spring-like climate and stays green all the time. With fresh weather, pristine lakes and rivers, the city nestles within nature, providing many outdoor activities.

When you live in Matagalpa, you’ll want for nothing. The well-established city infrastructure makes trips to Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, for supplies unnecessary. With a population of just over 150,000, it’s large enough to have the most modern supermarkets, medical services, banks, museums, cultural events, and shows.

Hospitals and private clinics are plentiful, along with eye doctors and other specialists. Living in Matagalpa is very economical and can help you retire years before you were planning to. If you get your cedula (permanent resident retiree card), you will have all sorts of extra benefits as well.

Lifestyle in Matagalpa

Lifestyle in Matagalpa

The lifestyle in Matagalpa can be described as calm, peaceful, and beautiful. In a typical day in this middle-class city, you may meet some friends at any one of the several modern cafés: Baristas, El Gran Cafe, Seleccion, for what could be the best cup of joe you’ve ever had. One of Matagalpa’s main industries is coffee production.

Then you might take a walk to one of the two large parks in the city, both dominated by beautiful churches. Here you can relax on a park bench people watching, seeing what the vendors have to sell, or watching the many activities that take place at the parks.

In the evening, if you don’t feel like sitting at home, try one of the international restaurants. Cuban, Mexican, Italian, Chinese—it’s all there in Matagalpa. Or if you’re hankering for some good old North American food, try HAPPY Restaurant, where you’ll find old favorites like a fresh quarter pound burger, or pasta with shrimp, pumpkin soup and more. Top it off with real ice cream from Besame, a hand-crafted ice cream shop featuring such delectable cold treats as salted caramel, key lime pie, and Matagalpa chocolate (also a big industry).

Real Estate in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Real Estate in Matagalpa

You can’t live any cheaper in Nicaragua than Matagalpa. You’ll find a brand new three-bedroom, two-bath house with front patio and back yard rents for just $200 a month.

If you’d like to live in the heart of downtown, where all the action is, plan to spend from $350 to $600 for a rental, depending on how big the place is and the location.

Others have opted for a place up in the mountains—away from it all. With gorgeous views, a cool breeze and very clean air, you can purchase a fixer-upper on two acres of land for around $50,000. And your drive is up a beautiful winding road to get to your country home.

If you want to start a business, expect to rent from about $500 and up for a great location downtown.

Cost Of Living in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Cost of Living in Matagalpa

Your cost of living in Matagalpa depends on all the home “comforts” you need, how often you entertain and how often you want to enjoy the city’s entertainment and other various factors. One expat who has lived in Matagalpa for four years says he spends $1,000 a month for himself, his wife, two kids, and one on the way. Their three-bedroom, two-bath house with garage and backyard rents for $300 a month. He has a $400 a month budget for food, and he spends $75 a month for all of his utilities. The extra $225 a month is for whatever they feel like spending the money on.

If you are looking at the other end of the spectrum and prefer a lavish life, Matagalpa has the luxurious neighborhood of Lomas de San Francisco. Here you can purchase a mansion that would cost millions in the U.S. or Canada, for between $250,000 and $650,000. This gated community rises above the city with fabulous landscaping and terrific views.

If you want to open your dream business when you retire, you’re in luck in Matagalpa. There are a many opportunities to open a new business in Matagalpa. A movie theater, yoga studios, spas, fine dining restaurants, art gallery, and home decoration store are only some of the ideas for new businesses. You’ll pay between $500 and $800 a month rent for commercial property in the heart of town.

Here’s a sample monthly budget for a couple living in Matagalpa:

ExpenseU.S. $
Rent$300
Utilities$75
Satellite TV$55
Internet (plus start-up costs)$75
Cell phone$25
Groceries$200
Entertainment$100
Transport$80
Health insurance$100
Maid (three times a week)$36
Gardener (three times a week)$36
Incidentals$100
Monthly total$1,182
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