Have you found the saying, “life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect” to be true? My husband and I have definitely found that to be the case. We’ve also realized that when life takes you down different paths it isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
As we contemplated the future we found that we had an undiscovered sense of adventure. Rather than looking to a “normal” retirement in Canada, we investigated the possibility of living abroad where our money would stretch further.
With planning and preparation we moved to Nicaragua in February of 2012 where we found a cute little house in León to rent. We quickly settled into daily life in this bustling university town. In Canada we had always loved exploring small communities and here in Nicaragua, living on the Pacific Coast, we found it allowed us to easily travel and see different parts of the country.
We visited Casares, a working fishing village, and stayed in a small hotel overlooking the beach—a great vantage point to watch the local fishermen and their families at work. We loved Las Peñitas, just a 45-minute bus ride away from León, where we could spend the day at a local restaurant eating, drinking and playing in the waves. We were really enjoying our life in León and weren’t looking to make any major changes.
But in early 2013 we went on another road trip…to a small community on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua called Pearl Lagoon. Pearl Lagoon is a small, tranquil town with few roads and even fewer cars. There are no grocery stores here and no bank or ATM either. It’s so remote that you have to travel an hour by panga (small boat) to get to the closest “big” town of Bluefields to access these amenities.
English is predominantly spoken in Pearl Lagoon but you will also hear Spanish, Miskito and Creole. We were surprised at how this little community captured our hearts and awakened in us a sense of adventure. By the end of our trip we were hooked and decided to move here.
We’ve now been living in Pearl Lagoon for over six months and the charm of living in this small community hasn’t worn off. Because Pearl Lagoon is remote and far from the big cities, there can be inconveniences occasionally—electricity and water can go out without notice and for extended periods of time, for example—but we’ve surprised ourselves at how well we’ve dealt with our change in lifestyle. We’ve found that preparation and adaptability are the key!
Life isn’t all sacrifice though. Pearl Lagoon has a couple of good restaurants where a group of four can enjoy a delicious fish dinner with beer or wine for only $35—complete with a beautiful view of the lagoon. Or, if you head to the local bakery, you can pick up a delightful rum cake for only a dollar. Fresh fruit and veggies are brought in from local farms so you know you are supporting the local communities. And, our three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is only $250 a month with our electricity and municipal water expenses at an additional $27—very affordable living indeed!
At our doorstep is a lush jungle where, with a local guide, we can take a nature walk and perhaps spot howler monkeys. Or, we can take a half-hour stroll to Awas, an indigenous Miskito community, and find a one-treed island all to ourselves where we can relax and read a book or take a refreshing dip in the lagoon.
Granted, a community like Pearl Lagoon isn’t for everyone. In fact, when we were researching moving to Nicaragua we didn’t think it was for us either. However, life has a way of taking you in directions you weren’t expecting… We’re happy our sense of adventure brought us to this laid-back, friendly community.
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