León is a big, majestic city with almost 250,000 citizens, and more when the many universities are in session. Beautiful baroque architecture abounds, with many churches in different stages of refurbishment. Modern coffee shops, healthy food restaurants, international cuisine, theater, art, chic clothes shops, and more await you in León, where this grand city steeped in the past nevertheless presents a modern lifestyle. New buildings juxtaposed to ancient ones indicate where the past has met the future.
The great thing about León, located about two hours north of capital city Managua, is that it’s only 30 minutes from three beautiful Pacific beach areas. So, depending on your preferences, you can live in a dynamic city with all the amenities and dash off to the beach whenever you want. Or, you can have your dream beach house, watching glorious sunsets every night with a cocktail in hand while planning trips to the big city for a fancy dinner, to hear a great concert, or to get anything you need.
León rentals and purchases are cheaper than in most other cities in Nicaragua because expats have not yet arrived in droves. Prices will increase sharply once that happens, and it’s about to. Rents in the city center can cost anywhere from $400 for a small furnished apartment, up to $700 and more for a refurbished colonial house with an inside pool or garden courtyard. Electricity is not usually included, but often water, cable and/or WIFI are. You can often buy an old colonial fixer-upper for under $100,000. Modern condos and apartments near popular shopping areas go for $60,000 and up.
You’ll find great beach deals here, too. A new area of virgin beach called Salinas Grande is just opening up. You can get a beachfront two-story, two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a large deck/balcony for just $139,000. You wouldn’t have a lot of neighbors yet, but you can count on those famous purple-gold-orange Nicaraguan sunsets, crashing wave sounds to put you to sleep, and complete peace and quiet.
Las Penitas and Poneloya beaches attract more tourists so you’ll find restaurants, small hotels and hostels, some surf shops, fishing tour operators, and other activities to do. In Las Penitas in particular, you can take a terrific boat ride through the mangroves of Juan Venado Island Nature Reserve for $20 to see birds, iguanas, turtles, and even small crocodiles. It’s a bit more difficult to find long-term rentals here as most places are listed as vacation rentals, but pay a visit, walk around, and you’ll most likely find a place that suits you. As for buying in Las Penitas, how does $115,000 sound for a three-bedroom, one-bathroom, furnished and air-conditioned colonial home on the beach?
Poneloya is similar to Las Penitas with its long, beautiful beach and tourist amenities (restaurants, small hotels, hostels, etc.). Prices can be a little higher here, but still, for beachfront property, at least one-eighth of the price of something similar on the coast of California. And these areas are growing. A purchase now is a definite investment. Currently there’s a five-bedroom, two-bathroom, 2,000-square-foot bungalow that can be your dream home or a savvy rental income purchase. Fully furnished with many returning rental clients, it can be yours for $189,000.
With its beautiful deck and patio and the fact that you can step right in and set up shop, it’s a steal at this price. You can have another beachfront property for $147,000 that has eight bedrooms, a large patio and room for a pool. Perfect for a boutique hotel/bed and breakfast. There’s so much on offer.
So, if you are thinking of living in the León area, I recommend you take some time to try out the city and the beaches. It’s really terrific to find a place on earth that can give you all that you want in such a compact area and at such an economical price. In León, your living choice is waiting for you.
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