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Mike Cobb of ECI Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Living in Nicaragua offers a freedom long lost in the U.S. The nanny state has not reached Nicaragua and hopefully never will. My kids are free to be kids. The cost of living is low so we can enjoy meals out, movies, activities like the Girl Scouts, ballet and gymnastics without fretting over the costs. Family is important here and spending time socially with friends is a high priority. The ability to get involved and make a huge difference in the lives of others for no or low cost delivers incredible significance for all participants. We can go zip line in the cloud forest on Friday, visit an art museum in a 500 year old colonial city on Saturday, and spend a day at the beach on Sunday riding horses along the coast for hours, all within a 50 mile radius.
Marissa Gabrielle Lolk of Jireh Dental Care – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Marissa Lolk's husband and daugher – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLiving in Nicaragua, just like anywhere else in the world, has its ups and downs. The upside about living in Nicaragua is that you can raise your children really nicely. There is not that big of a drug problem here since drugs are really illegal. Even the tiniest joint of marijuana can get you 7 years of jail time, so your kids are a little more sheltered in terms of those illegal things.
 
The school system here in Nicaragua is not really nice. If you are going to be an expat to Nicaragua I don’t think you are going to send your kids to a public school. Even though the public schools here are strong academically, their buildings are not as nice as they should be but they are very strong academic competitors.
 
Living in Nicaragua gives you a more laidback life with an island feel without it being an island. People here in Nicaragua take everything a little bit more easy, which drives us expats a little bit nuts because we’re used to getting several errands done in the day. Things take a while here and it is just something that you need to know when you first move to Nicaragua. I wish somebody had told me this when I moved to Nicaragua. However, it is starting to get better because now you can do online banking here. It just happened here in Nicaragua but you still need to physically go to the bank to do a lot of stuff. I have a dental practice so I need to get permits, renew them, and update my tax codes. I had to do these transactions physically just like everybody does. This can be frustrating to expats because we are used to getting things done much more efficiently. But that is just the way it is here in Nicaragua and I don’t think it is going to change for a while.
 
Another thing that most expats in Nicaragua should know is that bill tracking here is not really good. Sometimes your electric company or your phone company mess up. It could happen that they did not log your payment and so you would get shut off, so it is advisable to keep your bills and receipts for at least 3 years.
 
For me, these things that I’ve mentioned are the downers of living in Nicaragua because you have to waste so much time for these things. As a business owner, I have to show up and pay for things physically when I should be able to do that online or through the mail. There is no proper mail system here. Some people say that there is mail but in my 9 years of living here, I have never gotten anything in the mail. There are no street names here so people who are moving here should get used to that. When people here give directions, they use a point of reference. For example, they will tell you to go from the palm tree that’s kind of broken to the left, three blocks upwards or to the south, and then there is a fat lady there always sitting in her chair; it’s right next to her. Initially, I did get lost a lot and I still do sometimes but we are progressing and we are starting to use Google or Waze, which is an amazing app. I have stopped getting as lost as before. When you use Waze you can search for City Hall (for example), and the app will actually take you there.
 
When you see the actual app, you’ll figure out that the roads actually do have names. As an example, it will tell you, “take left on Paseo European” but there are no labels on the streets. There are no street names anywhere so you wouldn’t know. It’s funny but you would get used to it within the first month that you’re here. Those were the things that I wish that would change. It’s just good to know these things. If I had known about the streets not having street names, it would have been amazing but it’s really hard to learn the huge, “directional” addresses; they’re like a paragraph!
 
There are also occasional rolling blackouts and occasional water interruptions but that is something that you can resolve by getting a water tank. These are no big deal but they are things that expats are not used to because we are used to living in the lap of luxury. Those are the things that just annoy me but once you get past those things, everything else here in Nicaragua is just nice.  There are not a lot of things for kids to do here but it’s nice to raise children here. If you start mingling with the right people and being a little bit active socially, there is a lot to do. It is something that you have to get the hang of just like anywhere else.
 
Overall, living in Nicaragua is great but the things that I mentioned are things that people do not tell you. These are things that you will learn when you get here and then you will get frustrated. I spoke with a lot of expats and those are things that we wished we knew before so you don’t get shocked or feel like it’s only happening to you. This is normal and even natives complain about it. That is just the way it is. I feel like if somebody told me that before, I wouldn’t perpetually keep looking for a way to make things better because it’s not going to happen since Nicaragua is so behind. That is just something that you need to understand and it is something that you need to get used to. You adapt and you will learn and then you will be comfortable. I am used to it now. If I could get three or four errands done in one day, that’s amazing. I have hit my goal and that’s great. In the States, you don’t really think about that because you pay for your gas, you put your check in the mail, and it’s gone. You pay for your electric in the mail, and it’s gone. Now that we have online banking, you can do everything there. Sometimes it is not like that here in Nicaragua. There are times when you have to go personally to make these payments. Recently, Nicaragua started using phone banking, so you could call and make a payment using your credit card. At least you can take that one errand out of the way.
 
In general, I like living here in Nicaragua. We were thinking of moving back to the US this last year because we were supposedly projecting that that would be the timeframe to finish what we need to do but we decided that we would rather just stay here until our kids graduate high school just because I feel like my kids are going to grow up a little more sheltered here than in the US. Childhood is longer here in Nicaragua. The more that I look back to where I came from in the States and when I look back to Los Angeles and see my nieces and nephews, I see that they are living life a little bit more rapidly in terms of their adolescence coming earlier. Kids in the States are like teenagers when they are just about 9 or 10. I feel like they are not living their full childhood. A lot of kids here in Nicaragua have wanderlust so they are like little kids even though they are already 13 or 14. Their innocence is still there. Nicaraguans are very traditional and very religious so I think that helps kids be kids as long as they need to, which is something that I think is very important.  
 
(Marissa Lolk's husband and daughter, Nicaragua, pictured.)
Carolyn Membreño of León Travel Bureau – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Caroline Membreno in Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLiving in Nicaragua, just like living in any other country has lots of pluses and minuses. I have been living outside of the US for 7 years now, first in Costa Rica now I have lived in Nicaragua for 4 years.
 
Nicaragua has a different lifestyle. There are a lot of cultural things that happen here that are natural but would probably make you say, “I can’t believe this happens here!” As you live here, depending on your lifestyle, you will learn to adapt and accept that things just the way they are.
 
If you are a tolerant person, you will do well here. People in Nicaragua are really warm and friendly. They would always love to help you if they can. There are a lot of creature comforts that you may not be able to have like going to a 7-Eleven but we do have a lot of gas stations that have convenience stores like 7-Eleven.
 
Overall, if you want the more laidback lifestyle, you will like living in Nicaragua. Personally, I worked two jobs, 7 days a week before I moved here and I weighed almost 300 pounds. I came to Costa Rica weighing almost 300 pounds I lost 125 pounds since then. It took me a little while but I was able to eat healthier, my stress levels went down considerably, and I am now able to exercise.
 
In the US, I haven’t eaten in a restaurant in years.  When I was in the US, I used to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in my car. In contrast, most of the time you go somewhere to eat in Nicaragua, you sit down to eat. I don't eat in my car any longer here because everything in Nicaragua is just slower. You eat slower, you live slower, your blood pressure goes down a few notches, and you learn to be very patient. You need to have some patience because things do not happen in Nicaragua as fast paced as they do in other countries like the US.
 
Here’s an example.  When I went to Costa Rica, I was in a mall buying lunch, standing in a long line. The cashier was talking to one of the ladies in front, having a casual conversation. I was so rushed and so upset that my blood pressure went going up. I was thinking to myself, “Why are they so laidback?”
 
It took me some time to be more patient and just accept things the way they are. If it doesn’t happen today, then there is always the next day. You really have to learn how to be patient and make your pace a bit slower. I really like that. I am no longer on several types of medication, thanks to the lifestyle that I have now. I just take vitamins everyday. I feel really good and I feel healthy. I eat healthy foods whenever I want. You can get organic food at a very low cost here in Nicaragua so it is even cheaper to be healthy.  
 
(Caroline Membreno at ease on the beach in Nicaragua, pictured.)
Carlos Roman Gutierrez Solis of Casa Granada Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In general, Nicaraguans love living a good and easy life. Here, people are not in a rush. They will tell you, “Tomorrow, we’d do it.” “Don’t worry, I promise I’ll be there at 4 PM or 5:20 PM.”  Just try to adapt and don’t question why people do it that way here and not how you do it in the States.
 
Sometimes locals can be annoying just because they have to be trained and taught about how to deal with expats. They also try to improvise on how to behave in front of expats because there is a difference of cultures. If you see the opportunity to teach the locals how you do things that is also an opportunity to make friends here in Granada and in Nicaragua as a whole. The locals appreciate it when you try to teach them in a good way.
Eugenio Cortez of Hacienda & Ecolodge Morgan´s Rock – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Street_in_Granada_Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI like living in Nicaragua. I have seen how the other world works. I have been to Europe and the United States and found that life in Nicaragua is similar, but it is definitely authentic. You have to get used to how things work here. It’s not very organized, fast and easy. It’s not convenient.

In the US, you can just get into your car or hop on a bus and go to Walmart or Target to take care of four different things. Here, you need to go to four different places to get four different things. You have to adjust. You learn that Saturday mornings is when you take care of all your chores. From 8 to 12, you are in the streets, going from one place to the other, which gets a little frustrating because it shouldn’t take you two hours to do all that. Again, you adjust.

You get to talk to people. It’s very "old school." We still have different people doing the houses, roads, food, and service.

Here's an example of a difference living in Nicaragua compared to, for example, the US.  You are on your way to work and suddenly, there’s a horse carriage with a family carrying their food to the market and you pass by them. You see children in the streets and you see construction of a new humongous building.

In Nicaragua, the laws here are not as hard as to comply with as in the States. The police would stop you here when you break a law but you can talk to the officer and he will let you go. They’re very lenient like that. Laws aren’t as strict and as suffocating here as they are in the States.

As for daily life, work is from 8 to 5. You work Saturdays here. We have tons of vacation. We have over six weeks total of vacations throughout the year.

People love baseball and boxing. There are beaches. You are half an hour away from a lake, volcano, beach and a colonial town.

Typical_Nicaraguan_street – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere is a lot of poverty here. It really depends on how you are as a person, what your mindset is because, speaking quite frankly, due to the poverty, labor is really cheap here. You can have a housekeeper for $10 a day, which is good and bad, obviously. It’s good because for you, it’s cheap. At the end of the day you are providing a job for someone who doesn’t have it. But it’s bad because you’re paying $10 a day and that’s what it costs.

Issues like these exist here and it depends on how you want to look at these. For example, there are children begging for money and offering to clean your window by most stoplights. That’s a shock to most people. Not to me anymore. It was again when I left for Florida to study and came back.  I forgot about all this. But then you decide what to do with that issue.

For example, at the end of the school year, if the kids who are begging show me good grades on their report cards, we’ll talk and I give them stuff later to reward them. It’s trying to do something good with a bad situation when it shouldn’t be there at all. They will be there and they’re not moving.  That’s the downside of the poverty that you see here. You take it all in.

You can live very comfortably with $2,000 a month wherever in this Third World country. There’s a saying here, “We live in a Third World country, but we live like kings.” I’ve lived in other places in the world and it’s completely true. Definitely true.

I lived very comfortably in Florida, but not as comfortably as I live here. You take it all in, pretty much.
Darrell Bushnell – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
What's it like to live in Nicaragua children community neighbors – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe have been here in Nicaragua for eight years now and we enjoy it very much. We are extremely involved in the community, we work with several foundations, and I write a community newsletter, so we are as busy as we ever were in the United States. We do like Granada and we do have very good neighbors.
 
We did not enjoy winters where we came from in the US, so we enjoy the tropical weather here in Nicaragua. The weather is great. A lot of people who come here and do not try other places in Nicaragua say, “Oh it’s too hot and too humid in Granada.” Or “It’s too hot and too humid in Managua.” But 15 minutes outside of Managua, there are pineapple plantations way up on the mountains where it can be 10 or 15 degrees cooler, so it really all depends on where you want to live.  Mombacho is an inactive volcano near Granada. You can live half way up there and enjoy 60-degree nights. Living and enjoying Nicaragua all depends on where you want to live and what things you want. It all depends on what lifestyle you are looking for.
 
Granada is the number one tourist location in Nicaragua, so we enjoy having better infrastructure, a lot of restaurants and bars, and a lot of cultural activities, so Granada is very popular. San Juan Del Sur is just as popular, but the expats there are somewhat younger than the expats in Granada.
John-Marc Gallagher of Granada Property Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Many of the comforts of home are available here in Nicaragua, although, you have to make some adjustments. For instance, in the US, I don’t know too many homes that don’t have an electric dish washer.  Here in Nicaragua, I can count on one hand the number of people I know have a built-in automatic dishwasher. Dishwashers are not common here because parts are impossible to get so if something breaks you cannot get it fixed. This is similar to the situation with swimming pools. A lot of people in Nicaragua have swimming pools but I don’t know anyone with an automatic pool cleaner. In the States, every pool has one. Here, no pool has automatic pool cleaners because it is more cost effective to have someone simply clean your pool every day and vacuum it by hand. Therefore, we could afford the US $200 a month it would take to keep a gardener / pool worker / handyman rather than an automatic pool cleaner which would cost $700 to $800 plus another $100 per year in repair and maintenance.
 
Here in Nicaragua, we can recreate our standard of living in the US with some changes and some adjustments in how we live. These adjustments can give you not only a better quality of life but also as good as the quality of life that you have had in the US. You will realize that you can still have a good quality of life and still do without some of the amenities that you used to have in the States and really, it does not affect you.
Tanya Hartill of NicaTour Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Sandino International Airport Managua Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingEverything you'd need is in Managua- it's the capital of Nicaragua. All services are there. There are also a lot of suburban neighborhoods where properties are still quite cheap. Everything you'd also need for health concerns is in the hospital - there are several in Managua including the Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas.
 
I would recommend living in Managua if you're doing business; it's close to the airport, it has every service you'd need, and there are very nice pockets of neighborhoods with good suburban houses for good prices. It's got everything, shopping, movie theaters, medical care like any other city.
 
Some people like to be around a lot of expats, so I'd say the large expat community and the number of services in Granada, Nicaragua make it a good place to live. It's a lovely little town with colonial buildings. It's physically very appealing.  The services and establishments in Granada include hotels, restaurants, electronics shops, libraries, art galleries, and bookshops, among many others.
 
If you're going to live on a beach, you won't get the same type of community that you'd get in towns like in Leon, Granada, or a more developed beach community like San Juan del Sur.
 
Gran Pacifica is the closest property development to Managua for people who are concerned about being close to a hospital. It takes about an hour and a half to travel from Gran Pacifica to Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas.
 
There are attractive beaches in San Juan del Sur and nearby. San Juan del Sur provides good surfing, restaurants, hotels, an expat community, grocery stores, tour and travel companies, a relaxed and laid back lifestyle, cafes, food shops, travel boutiques, and yoga studios, among many others. There's nothing major in the clothing department, though - only "beachwear" type clothes.
 
Leon, Nicaragua is close to the beach, about 25 minutes away, give or take. Leon has colonial architecture. There are hotels, bars, restaurants, grocery shops, and markets. There are also enough tourist sites that would give people a lot of things to see and do.
 
Leon doesn't have as many expats as the other regions like Granada or San Juan del Sur, but it's growing. It also offers cheaper property prices than those two regions.
Indiana Siu of Operation Smile Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Question: Compared to living where I lived beforeNicaragua students – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living in Seattle, Washington, what’s it like to live in Nicaragua?
 
Answer: Sunny.  :)
 
The main differences between living in Nicaragua compared to other places are really the culture and the tradition; the people.  In the more developed countries, things are further apart and people are more immersed in their own bubble.  Here in Nicaragua, things are close together and people are very helpful.
 
What I miss about living in the US is the wide variety and abundance of goods.  For example, here in Nicaragua, I have to import some of my ingredients and some of my books, but just for normal living, I really like Nicaragua.
 
Life in Nicaragua is very calm.  It’s more of a “chill out” kind of lifestyle compared to hard working, focused style of life you get in the US.
 
It’s really good for kids here in Nicaragua.  In the US, you will hear about guns at school or you see that the kids are doing drugs and even talk casually about using drugs.  Here in Nicaragua, you will never hear about a gun at school, and you don’t hear about drugs.  Here in Nicaragua it’s a more traditional culture.  That’s what I want for my family, for my kids, and for myself.  
Juan Carlos Espinosa of Hacienda Puerta del Cielo Ecolodge & Spa – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Compared to the US, life in Nicaragua is slow.
 
What type of life you have in Nicaragua depends to a very large extent on your educational / economic situation.  For many native Nicaraguans with what would be, according to North American standards, a low educational and economic status, life is difficult in the cities because there is not enough work.  In the towns in the countryside, even though the people living there are by North American standards poor, the native Nicaraguans have happy lives; you always see them smiling.  These people are not concerned about the need to possess material goods.    
 
In the US, you would struggle to live on $3,000 or less per month.  However, as an expat in Nicaragua, you could live great on $3,000 per month or even less, so you could live a relaxed, laid back life, including domestic help and very nice living arrangements.
Brett DeGreen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Sometimes living in Nicaragua can seem iWave at Northern Nicargua Beach – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingnconvenient, antiquated or broken, but soon your mindset changes and you are able to see past these minor inconveniences and you will be able to experience the joy and love of Nicaragua. The few modern conveniences that us Newly Christened Nicaraguans have left behind in our native lands are quickly forgotten. I have found that I wake up each morning with a renewed sense of calm that I have not felt for a very long time.
 
Yet, Nicaragua is a country on the upswing.  You can, if you want, lounge on the beach as you stream movies over wireless internet, or relax in a hammock strung between palm trees and video Skype your friends back home as they shovel feet of snow from their driveway.  But be warned if you choose to torment those back home you WILL need to build a guest room!
 
While I have run into situations that have made me question my decision to create my future here, those qualms have been short lived, and quickly overshadowed by the unyielding enthusiasm I have for my new home.  The people hold fast to their culture, and are welcoming to all those who want to experience a life that is unique to Nicaragua. Every place I explore has offered a unique and unexpected experience that makes me fall more in love with this place.  I meet people who seem to have found the secret of happiness that so many back home are working so hard to find, but here they have done so with ease.  It also helps when you wake up to what you see in the picture above every morning!!!

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