“We Have Luxuries in Nicaragua We Could Never Afford Back Home”

When Roberto, 63, and his wife Réjane Rojas retired in 2002, they were looking for a retirement destination with warm weather, a low cost of living that would allow them to live well on their savings and pension, and easy access to both North and South America.

“We visited most of the Central American countries before we decided on Nicaragua. We just loved San Juan del Sur,” says Roberto.

“The countryside is just amazing, beautiful pristine beaches, great weather, friendly people, and we have luxuries here, like a full-time maid and gardener, which we could never afford in Canada.”

Roberto, a former avionics engineer has seen many changes over the years in this formerly sleepy fishing village, which had just a handful of full-time foreign residents when he and Réjane arrived. San Juan del Sur is on the radar of travelers and potential expats from around the world now. And there are a lot more amenities, like cell-phone service, banks, coffee shops, medical care, high-speed Internet, excellent restaurants with gourmet cuisine—which they particularly appreciate—coffee shops, and accommodations from five-star hotels to modest B&Bs.

“One of the great advantages that San Juan has, being a bay surrounded by small hills, is that the expansion is away from the center of town so you still have the feeling of a small fishing village when you go ‘into town,'” explains Roberto.

And the arrival of more expats has made it easier to make friends. There’s an active community, says Roberto, with informal get-togethers in each other’s homes, the Saturday morning farmers’ market, volunteer work in the community, aquarobics at the local pool, and trips to nearby Granada and Managua, among other activities.

“We find it easier to have an active sociable life here than in Canada. I know that weather has a lot to do with it, but also the type of people that have chosen to come and live here usually have a lot in common with us,” says Roberto.

Réjane kept busy with archaeological work in the early days, and Roberto took up small-scale farming. He also bought property over the years just outside of town. And that’s where he’s recently seen opportunity in his new-found home. They are developing a small, gated community for expats. The infrastructure like streets and electric is in and they have a model home up, but they’re taking things slowly, says Roberto, to make sure they get it right.

“This attitude, fortunately, leaves us some free time to meet with our friends, both locals and expats, enjoy a nice meal in town, and walk on the beach and swim once in a while, or go on fishing trips,” says Roberto. “But there is nothing like laying down in a hammock in the shade with a good book, our dogs sleeping nearby.”

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