Sitting on a flight home from a 10-day vacation in Mexico I realized something profound. I wasn’t dreading going back to work and dealing with the day-to-day grind. Nor was I already dreaming about my next vacation.
Why? Because the home I was returning to was one of my favorite destinations in the world.
It’s been six years since my wife Elisha and I moved to Nicaragua, and we’ve loved every minute of it.
Our first year here was spent researching, living in the country’s most popular towns and cities, to get a feel for them. Poneloya, Léon, Granada, Laguna de Apoyo, and San Juan del Sur were all places we called home.
We loved them all, but it was the beach town of San Juan del Sur that won our hearts. Being surrounded by tropical jungle and mountains with the Pacific Ocean at your doorstep is very appealing.
But it was the people that really sold us. Sanjuaneños are incredibly welcoming, with relaxed beach town attitudes. They have always been willing and ready to help us while we navigate a new life in our adopted town.
The expat community in San Juan is very diverse. At a guess we are one-third American, one-third Canadian, and one-third from Europe and the rest of the globe. Ages range from 20 to 80.
Some expats are here to retire. Others come to start a business, volunteer, or do missionary work. Some work online or for non-profits. And others teach yoga or surf. We have lots of families with young children that attend the local international school.
Since our first days in Nicaragua we’ve maintained a blog, called In Nica Now. Through it, we’ve been able to connect with 100s of travelers and would-be expats. This gave us the idea for our first business here.
Four years ago, we started a home finder and relocation service. With our help newcomers who arrive in San Juan have a home to show up to. We recently expanded the business with the addition of a 10-day relocation tour. And our latest endeavour is real estate. As an agent, I am now able to help customers go from a long-term rental to owning their own slice of paradise.
At ages 47 and 43, respectively, Elisha and I work part-time and earn enough to live well and still travel. $650 per month covers rent and utilities for a 900-square-foot North American-style one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom home with shared pool.
Now, instead of starting our day with an hour-long commute to work we get to enjoy a leisurely walk on the beach with our dog. We are surrounded by amazing local friends and incredible expats from all over the world. Our biggest daily struggle now is a managing a social calendar that is often too full.
I don’t know what’s next for us, but we’re always looking at expanding in new directions. An auto finder service, an import service (for vehicles and household goods), rental home management, or an employee management services are also on the cards
One thing for sure is that there is no lack of opportunities to start a business here.
Elisha and I try to take a vacation together every year. Not to escape our life, but to keep exploring and broadening our world view. We come back home excited for the new opportunities and adventures in Nicaragua. San Juan del Sur offers a life and lifestyle that I want to return to.
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