If you enjoy fabulous sunsets, the sound of the surf lulling you to sleep, a great choice of international restaurants, a laidback lifestyle and no stress, put San Juan del Sur on your list of places for retirement.
Few beach locations are as charming, quirky or as fun as this town on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. Some people say that they hear the Pied Piper as he invisibly walks the shores, luring people to stay forever; this based on the number of people who arrive and never leave or who visit once and are back permanently in a couple of months.
So what draws people to retire in San Juan del Sur?
Two things come to mind immediately: the lifestyle and the cost. You may think that all beach towns have a similar draw, but this isn’t necessarily so. Some beach towns are large and you’ll need a car just to get to the grocery store. Others have built-up marinas and fancy seaside dining restaurants that cost an arm and a leg. Often, by-the-shore residences are out of your budget or in gated communities that have many rules, including the color you are allowed to paint your house.
Not so in San Juan del Sur. Here you can live in the city or just outside of town and never have to own a vehicle. Nine square blocks of city-living provide all the basic needs: an open air market, economical meals, a store that caters to foreigners with their comfort food from home, a first-class dental office, a clinic, pharmacies and lots of places to have a cappuccino, a cold beer or glass of wine.
Bus transportation to other cities is affordable and easy to use. And while there are some upscale restaurants in San Juan del Sur, a lobster meal with all the trimmings and a glass of wine in the finest places will never cost more than about $22, including tax and tip. If you visit one of the regular restaurants, you usually dine well for about $10.
You’ll Never be Bored if you Retire to San Juan del Sur
San Juan del Sur has a large expat community with several social activities during the week. Go to Take-It-Easy Monday at El Timon for cheap appetizers and top 40s hits from the 60s through today, sung in English by three young Nicaraguan men who don’t speak English! Trivia Night or Name-That-Tune nights at Republika remain popular and fill up fast. Big Wave Dave’s Saturday morning market and Wednesday “Blues” night with James bring many Americans, Canadians, Brits and others together. There’s also water aerobics at Pelican Eyes, “Big Band” dance night at La Carreta, or afternoon pool get-togethers at O’Sheas. For such a small town, there’s plenty of expat social activity.
And finally, something more esoteric, but important when considering a retirement location. Not many places have this, but San Juan del Sur does, and almost everyone who lives here comments on this one odd phenomenon. No day is like any other under the San Juan sun. You may wake up in the morning with a plan, then something happens along the way to change it.
It’s not like home where things can be predictable, where habit forms the backbone of your day, where going out to dinner with your friends each week, exercising on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, doing errands on Saturday and cleaning your house on Sunday becomes your existence.
San Juan del Sur will never do that to you. But this is a good thing; because you will never be bored here. Living in this lively city keeps you on your toes, challenges you, makes you think, and keeps you young. So visit San Juan del Sur, and when the Pied Piper calls, follow his tune straight to your retirement dream life. Buy an ocean view house for less than $150,000….and paint it red!
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