Nicaragua Fast Facts

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Population: 5,966,798

Capital City: Managua

Climate: Tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands

Time Zone: GMT-6

Language: Spanish (official)

Country Code: 505

Coastline: 910km

Nicaragua: Beautiful and Affordable

Along Central America’s Pacific coast you’ll find rocky outcrops, world-class surf, and some of the most jaw-dropping views in the world. If it’s natural beauty you are after, Nicaragua is the jewel of this stretch of coast.

Today’s Nicaragua is like a newborn child, eyes bright with hope with a smile promising a great future. The country stuns with its physical beauty, something that surprises every newcomer. Majestic volcanoes pepper the horizon along the Pacific Ring of Fire, some with billows of white smoke, proclaiming the life within, while others sleep, protecting their sparkling crater lakes for you to enjoy.

Lake Colcibolca, the 19th largest lake in the world, houses Ometepe Island, a magical place that soothes the soul with its own lakes, volcanoes and verdant green forests. White sand beaches and turquoise water with low-hanging palms greet you on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua. Bosawas National Reserve offers a dense rainforest, second only to the Amazon in the Western Hemisphere. Hiking, rock climbing, floating down crystal clear rivers, surfing a volcano and more are only some of the adventures in Nicaragua.

Pacific Coast, Nicaragua
Pacific Coast, Nicaragua

Because Nicaragua is just emerging as a tourist and retirement destination, many take advantage of the economical real estate and rental prices to retire early. Ocean-view condos for under $100,000 still exist, as do fully-furnished apartments to rent for $400 to $500 a month with all amenities and a block’s walk to the beach. Don’t despair if you want “more” of a house, as upscale mansions with a 240-degree view of the ocean exist for those with deeper pockets. The truth is, you can easily build your dream house and your dream life in Nicaragua, for about an 8th of the price of what it would cost you back home.

Still lacking a strong infrastructure, Nicaragua, like Costa Rica maybe 40 years ago, offers people from the U.S. and Canada and elsewhere the role of true pioneers. These expats are helping to shape Nicaragua into the tourist mecca it will become. New government laws with unparalleled tax benefits help expats form corporations and open businesses with ease.

Nicaragua is not for everyone. It’s more primitive and wild than its Central American neighbors. It’s for the young-at-heart, who don’t worry if the electricity goes off, who don’t stress over guests arriving late, and who don’t want to sit around just watching TV when they retire. It’s for those with vision, who want adventure, want to feel young again, and who want to create their ideal retirement. Don’t wait any longer. Let Nicaragua surprise you.

Find Out More From Our Nicaragua Correspondent

From the Archives of Nicaragua

Top 5 Travel Adventures in Nicaragua

Top 5 Travel Adventures in Nicaragua

I’ve lived in Nicaragua for seven years, and I can tell you that this is one of the most beautiful, affordable, and exciting countries in Central America. You can leave your stressful life behind and relax in the tranquility of a liquid gold touched sunset, listen to a gentle forest rain, or watch from your patio as thousands of fireflies make it look as though the stars have descended from the sky. And if you like excitement and adventure, Nicaragua will not disappoint.

Is This the Perfect Ocean-View Retirement?

Is This the Perfect Ocean-View Retirement?

“I go into my kitchen and look out over my pool to the ocean. I can see all the way to the mountains in neighboring Costa Rica. On my terrace are beautiful potted plants including orchids hanging from coconut trees. I feel blessed,” says Lawrence. Lawrence and Jeanne were living a high-powered life in the Big Apple, working and raising three children.

Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Matagalpa, Nicaragua

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.

Five Top Retirement Havens with the Lowest Cost of Living

Five Top Retirement Havens with the Lowest Cost of Living

In International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2015, we ranked and rated the 25 best retirement havens in the world. You can stretch your dollars in any of them and live better than you can back home—for less. But the five below offer the lowest cost of living and come out on top in the Cost of Living category in the Index.

12 Strangers Walk into a Bar…

12 Strangers Walk into a Bar…

People from all around the world come to my adopted home town, San Juan del Sur. It's Nicaragua's most popular beach town and home to a cheerful mix of folks. Let me give you an example. I once found myself in a bar where visitors and locals often meet up. With a rockin' band that invites anyone with an instrument to sit in and play, a true mix of Nicaraguans and foreigners, and fabulous local fare, it was so crowded that I found myself sharing a table with strangers. I was the lone U.S. citizen among 12 people from 12 different countries.

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