When my wife, Amy, and I decided to retire overseas in 2006, we were searching for a new lifestyle in a different culture, but in a country that wasn’t radically different to our own. Since we opted for early retirement we also had to find somewhere that the cost of living was low enough that would allow us to continue living comfortably.
For five years we explored various countries in Central and South America but we kept coming back to Nicaragua, because of the low cost of living and the many opportunities this Central American gem presents.
In the bustling colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua, we were able to live comfortably on our Social Security and a small pension…and we had the freedom and opportunities to pursue our passions.
Amy started a small art studio and gallery in Granada, Centro de Arte, where she teaches painting/drawing five days a week, and displays the art of her students and local artists. She makes a small amount of money from this but the real reward is in developing the artistic talents of expats, tourists, and locals.
I maintain a popular website for expats and those thinking about moving to Nicaragua. I also publish a popular community newsletter that is enjoyed not only by the expat community but also by Nicaraguans that live here or abroad. Amy and I both help several non-profits in the area run by friends though we concentrate our efforts on libraries since they are not that common here.
After eight years of living in a Granada colonial home, we designed and built our country home just outside of Granada. We enjoyed living in Granada but we love living in the countryside, and we’re still just minutes away from the amenities of the city. It’s a little cooler and much breezier out here, and most of our free time is spent on our large terrace from where we watch the sun rise over Granada and set over neighboring Catarina. Being a little higher than Granada we can see all six major churches, the Granada islands, five volcanoes, and horses and cattle meandering down our country road or grazing in adjoining pastures.
Looking for a new challenge we purchased a small farm of five acres near the house where we now raise chickens, pigs, pelibuey (sheep without wool) and ducks. This is something you can do in Nicaragua relatively inexpensively.
Another opportunity arose when a friend decided to sell his horse tour business. Together with a partner we purchased it for very little, built 12 stables, and are now in the process of formalizing the business. As long as it makes a dollar more than expenses, we are content.
Our days are pretty full these days but we’re happier than ever. We keep Mondays and Tuesdays open for small trips, downtime, or a spot of golf.
It is up to you to find the right place to live and the lifestyle you feel is comfortable but we think Nicaragua offers a fair sampling of opportunities no matter what is on your bucket list. We found what we were looking for. What more can we ask of life?
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