Beautiful baroque churches adorn street corners. Magnificent colonial buildings recall times past. The warm climate and a dynamic and exciting vibe are drawing the attention of expats to this historic city in Nicaragua.
So much history took place in León: It was the capital of Nicaragua for many years, it’s home to the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, the second oldest university in Central America founded in 1518, and is considered the intellectual and political center of the country.
The city wears its culture proudly but also embraces the modern world with its chic clothing stores, avant-garde murals painted all over city walls, and edgy coffee shops and nightclubs. It’s an artsy city. It’s a thinking city. It’s a fun city.
León always buzzes with activity. Walk through this city of over 200,000 people and marvel at the interwoven tapestry between the old and the new. You can sit in a health-food restaurant having a carrot and orange smoothie while gazing at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of León (the largest church in Central America). Vendors with brightly colored balloons, candy, and toys stroll through the square, looking for kids and their families to buy their wares.
You may think that living in such a vibrant town would cost a lot…but you’d be wrong. In fact, León is quite affordable. A couple can expect to spend around $1,500 a month to live here and that includes everything: rent, food, utilities and WiFi, entertainment, and eating out.
In the best neighborhood in León, you can rent a fully-furnished three-bedroom, two-bathroom home that includes an indoor garden, outdoor fruit trees, and separate maid’s quarters with a bathroom for $500 a month. For just $400 a month, a furnished two-story, three-bedroom, one-and-half-bathroom house with tile floors and a small backyard can be yours.
Other costs depend on you. If you can do with fans instead of air conditioning, your electric bill should be under $100. If eating local produce and food suits you fine and you don’t need pitted dates, artichoke hearts, T-bone steak, sesame oil, and fine wine, then a couple should be able to spend around $200 a month to eat. Add to that $100 for entertainment and another $100 for entertaining. Trash pickup can be around $10 a month. WiFi costs from $25 per month (for shared service) to $125. Cleaning service (twice a week) for a month runs about $64; full gardening service is the same.
Maintaining a car can strain your budget but the good news is you don’t need a car if you live in León. Taxis around the city are under a dollar and this is also a great walking city so you really don’t have to worry about a vehicle.
Meals in restaurants like Bodegón, a terrific Cuban/Polish fusion restaurant, will run about $12 per person including a drink. Other international restaurants and Nicaraguan fare eateries cost around the same or even less.
So when you are considering where to make your home in Nicaragua, consider León. There aren’t a lot of expats here yet, so opportunities for opening businesses and getting great prices for rentals are high. Beautiful beaches are only 20 to 30 minutes away, so escaping for a relaxing water weekend is a snap.
Sophisticated, modern, gorgeously antique, cultural, hip…León ticks all the boxes for an affordable place to live.