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Valeria Espinoza of Gran Pacifica – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Nicaraguan child kissing US serviceman – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe rules of etiquette and customs in Nicaragua are different even from other countries in Central America. One of the first things you need to know, is that by nature, Nicaraguans are very warm and welcoming people. Below I have included a few things that you might want to know when either visiting or living in Nicaragua:
  1. When meeting or greeting a Nicaraguan don’t be surprised when he/she hugs you and kisses you on the cheek, like old friends. Nicaraguans tend to make you feel like family when it comes to meeting people or foreigners.
  2. Most Nicaraguans are very polite and will rarely say anything that would be offensive to anyone present.
  3. Nicaraguans are pretty indirect when it comes to answering questions about their age, weight, marital status, how much they make, how much something costs, etc.  There’s a little verbal dance that happens in order answer a question without answering it. If you are a foreigner, don’t feel offended if you don’t get an answer to your questions.
  4. Being on time for a meeting or even a party rarely happens; showing up a half hour, even an hour late is acceptable. Punctuality is not valued very much.  La Hora Nica is a very interesting thing. There’s an expression, “Hay más tiempo que vida,” “There’s more time than life”.Typically business meetings will start up to ½-1 hour late, though joking comments will be made about the lateness of the attendees.
  5. If attending a wedding, a 15 year celebration or an anniversary, please expect the meals at about midnight. Go ready for eating between 11 or 12 at night. Get a snack before attending.
  6. If visiting a Nicaraguan friend’s home, you will notice that when guests come over, it is ALWAYS the woman – regardless of what position she holds outside the home – to provide for the guests. It’s very rare that a Nicaraguan man cooks.
  7. Nicaraguans use gestures when speaking, so don’t be surprised when a person points at something with their lips, or if they move their hands to try to explain something, or when something catches their attention, they will raise their eyebrows. They also tend to smile very much.
  8. Two things that Nicaraguans consider as rude are taking your shoes off at a meeting and putting one's feet up on a desk or chair.
  9. Avoid saying ‘no’ when someone offers you something to eat/drink. Nicaraguans always want to share a little bit of their home and family with you.
  10. Cleanliness is highly valued so it is best to avoid being seriously unwashed in public places.
  11. If you don’t speak Spanish and the Nicaraguan doesn’t speak your language and you ask him/her for help or ask a question, he/she will try to explain you using their hands, their eyes, they will speak slower and they will even speak louder to try to explain you or help you with something. They may not stop speaking even if you don’t understand one word. Don’t be stressed; they are only trying to help.
These are just a few things from the top of my head that I consider important for you to know when visiting Nicaragua.
Marissa Gabrielle Lolk of Jireh Dental Care – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Ometepe Volcano, NicaraguaThe rules of etiquette and customs in Nicaragua are not different from that of the North America. However, people here in Nicaragua are very proper. They always say please, thank you, and good morning.
 
I cannot think of anything that can offend a Nicaraguan unless you come here with an attitude. Nicaraguans get annoyed when people from other countries come here and they want to boss people around or they don’t show respect. For example, people here in Nicaragua are very nature conscious even though they are not very educated. There are certain parts of the city that is obviously not as clean as the others but they are really in to cleaning that up. They get upset when tourists come and trash their parts of the city. I’ve known of moments when people from San Juan del Sur, which is a beach town, when it was high season and all the tourists come and they treat it like a crack town and they leave bottles and cups everywhere. The locals get very angry. I heard that a few years ago, the locals boycotted the entire town so people would clean up the trash. Locals do not like expats leaving trash around and I do not think anybody would like that anywhere.
David Smith – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Fruit and vegtable vendor, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingActually it’s a bit of a joke when you put on airs because it’s very relaxed here. The formalities are more authentic about families and being the person you are.
 
It’s so very casual here that there’s little adherence to formal etiquette and protocols without it being somewhat tongue-in-cheek or for enjoyment and humor rather than taken very seriously. 
 
If you’re coming down to Nicaragua to experience a new culture there’s nothing you have to be afraid of that someone would be insulted by your behavior. They’re very accepting of the fact that you’re a foreigner here and you’re bound to say stupid things and you’re bound to get it wrong. They always give you the benefit of the doubt that they know what you mean. I’ve never found, even when I’ve used to the formal or informal in the wrong way that anybody is upset.
 
(Fruit and vegetable vendor, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, pictured.)
Dr. Carlos Alemán of Centro de Diseño Denta (Clínica Dental) – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Miss Nicaragua 2007, pictured – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingNicaragua, just like any other country, has its own set of manners and etiquette. There might be some people here who do not have good manners, some of which is because they did not have a proper education, but in general, Nicaraguans are nice people.
 
If you are an expat from the US and you’re coming to Nicaragua, you do not have to make a lot of changes in order to be considered polite. You just behave the same way you do as when you are in the US.
 
Everybody is welcome to Nicaragua because Nicaraguans are very warm and welcoming. We like to help people. If someone is lost or does not know the directions to a particular place, we go out of our way to help, even to a point where we may take you to the place where you intend to go. There is nothing in particular that you have to worry about relative to unintentionally offending a Nicaraguan.
 
(Miss Nicaragua 2007, pictured.)
Zachary Lunin of Aurora Beachfront Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Las Penitas near Leon, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere is a lot of subtleties and intricacies that make up the different customs, rules and culture of a place or country and it is hard for me to put my finger on one thing or a group of things that are different in Nicaragua than the US.
 
I can, however, cite a few differences in customs. People here in Nicaragua are very open and friendly even to people who they do not know. You can meet someone on the street here in Nicaragua and they will invite you into their home to break bread with them or to get to know who you are and where you are from. You do not really see that much in the US anymore. People here in Nicaragua are very willing to help. For example, over the years of living here in Nicaragua, I have experienced many flat tires on the side of the road and I have never had to change one by myself; people always offer to help.  
 
(Real estate get together at Las Penitas near Leon, Nicaragua, pictured.)
Eddy Marin-Ruiz of The Mortgage Store Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Carlos Pellas, one of the richest men in Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe rules of etiquette in Nicaragua can either be more formal, or more informal, depending on the situation. 
 
Let’s take punctuality as an example. If I have a business meeting at 9 AM, it would not be unusual for me to show up at 10 AM and no one would bat an eye. I wouldn’t have to call and let them know that I’ll be late.  If someone invited you to a party to start at 3 PM and you actually showed up at 3 PM, you would see that they are not yet ready. At about 5 PM or 6 PM, people will start showing up and the party will actually start at 6 PM. It is completely opposite in the US.
 
On the other hand, business customs in Nicaragua are becoming more formalized just because of the amount of foreigners who are continuing to migrate or visit Nicaragua
 
Here in Nicaragua is it more formal in the way we interact with each other as far as shaking hands and related social interactions. To Nicaraguans, the introduction or talking to someone is more formal than to Americans. The process of greeting a person in Nicaragua is more formal.  Also, a waiter and other domesticated help would be more formal with you in Nicaragua than they would be in the US.
 
(Pictured: Carlos Pellas, one of the richest men in Nicaragua.)
Linda Carlson – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Flora de Cana, Canna_coccinea – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMy landlady (a native Nicaraguan) was very generous in bringing Nicaraguan dishes over to share with me for lunch or for dinner. She enjoyed cooking and she enjoyed sharing what she cooked.  When this happens, and one doesn’t just say, “Thank you” or “How wonderful”; you must reciprocate.
 
I couldn’t cook Nicaraguan dishes, so I was stymied but somebody mentioned to me that it was very typical to respond with a little cake or some strawberries. Finding the “strawberry man” was like finding a needle in a haystack because they wandered the neighborhoods, so I created my own way of saying thank you. One time I bought her a bottle of Flora de Cana, which is a type of rum. Another time, there were some vendors from Masaya who were selling beautiful rose bushes. My landlady had a front and back garden so I bought several rose bushes for her.  Another time, I took her out to lunch because she was always taking me to introduce me to her friends or inviting me to other places to socialize in the traditional Nicaraguan way, including eating a certain type of nut.  In response, I brought her the same canned nuts.  There was a lot of exchange in the food.
 
I was always very careful in dealing with Nicaraguans. I am always appreciative and polite so I never had the impression that I ever offended anyone. Just like in the US there are people who resent foreigners who live amongst us who don’t speak English, the reverse is true in Nicaragua. There are a few in Nicaragua who were not happy with the fact that I was a gringo and couldn’t speak Spanish, but I didn’t feel afraid or insulted. I just understood. It’s OK with me that not everybody is going to be happy to see me.  
 
(Flora de Cana rum is a popular Nicaragua rum that smells of caramelized nuts and baked plantains and is named after canna coccinea, otherwise known as the canna lily, pictured.) 
Esmerelda Vargas of Schuvar Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
-Plaza_de_la_Independencia_-_Granada,_Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI think we are very similar to North Americans in customs and the way that Americans live in Nicaragua. The only difference is that normally, Americans are not used to have housekeepers in their houses but other than that, the normal day of Americans is similar with how Nicaraguans live.
 
An American wouldn’t have to worry about unintentionally insulting a Nicaraguan. As long as they just act like a normal, decent person would act in the US, they should be fine. 
 
(Plaza de la Independencia, Granada, Nicaragua, pictured.)
Daniel Bolanos of Hacienda & Ecolodge Morgan´s Rock – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Nicaraguan mother and daughter at their stall in Managua City Market – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe people here in Nicaragua are friendlier, a bit nicer, and more welcoming than the people you would typically find in North America.
 
Nicaragua has a different custom where the people here are not usually on time. If you need to meet with a Nicaraguan at 8:30, add an hour. Nicaraguans tend to be late compared to American standards.
 
If you are in invited for a meal at a Nicaraguan’s home, you just have to be nice and eat everything they give you and if you do not like it, then try to be nice about it.
 
 
 
*In photo: Nicaraguan mother and daughter at their stall in Managua City Market
Immanuel Zerger of Solentiname Tours - Discover Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
El Calvario church in Leon, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingNicaragua is a very Christian country and there is a very strong Catholic church influence here. We also now have a certain number of Evangelical churches and other Christian groups. All of these serve to provide roots for the country of Nicaragua. Nicaraguans are very devoted to Jesus and to St. Mary, who is the protector of Nicaragua. This is important to know because you have to behave accordingly in the churches because these are really holy places for the local people. Nicaraguans pray in the churches every day. ( ( El Calvario Catholic church in Leon, Nicaragua, pictured.) 
 
In First World countries, there is free acceptance of sexuality, and in some areas, of nakedness, but this is not recommended in Nicaragua because there is a very strong social control here, and it is not good to violate these social controls because doing so can create some conflicts. And nobody wants that.
 
It is important to know how everything seems to go here and that everything is possible, but when you come down to Nicaragua, you should know what the unwritten rules are. For example, it is nice to be a friend to everybody and say that you are a friend to children, guys who have no work and to people in the high society, and you can invite all these people together to your house. Doing this is possible, but it is not helpful because no Nicaraguan would do that. The different socio-economic classes of Nicaragua do not mix. They live together in the communities, but they do not intermingle or get into each other’s private lives.
Carlos Roman Gutierrez Solis of Casa Granada Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The customs can be different from one place to another in Nicaragua. To do business in Managua can be different from how you do business in Granada.  Here in Granada, we still believe that things should be done easily and not overreact to things. We don’t need things right away. That is one big difference between Americans and Nicaraguans. We live for the day. We don’t always make plans for the future. This is what makes things complicated for expats when they try to work with locals. You have to teach the locals that we need to think one step ahead and not have a delay for no reason. Authorities in the government are not very proactive and that makes it more frustrating. Nicaraguans live in an easy way. They don’t rush tomorrow.
 
When you go to Managua and you see how the people there are, you can already tell the difference. They understand that if you don’t take care of the business, it will not grow. They understand that we have customers demanding more quality, so they work harder than Granadinos (people from Granada).
Arlen Pérez of Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Nicaragua is just like any other Latin American country. We dress the same and we are maybe even too friendly. That is something that you need to know if you are not a friendly person because here we might meet and then half an hour after, we will treat already treat you like our best friend. If you don’t like that, you can say it upfront and we can respect that.
 
If someone does not speak Spanish, we don’t care and we don’t mind. Some expats think we do mind so they try to explain things using Spanish words, but pronounce it like English so the translation becomes very funny.
 
Regarding customs, we know if you are a tourist because tourists wear shorts, sandals, and t-shirts because of the heat. It is really warm here in Nicaragua. Nicaragua is the warmest country in Central America.
 
I can’t think of anything that you can do that will offend a Nicaraguan, except if you make a negative remark about Nicaragua. Even if we know that it is true, we don’t like that kind of comment. I think that is just the same anywhere in the world.
 
If you were invited to have a meal at a Nicaraguan’s house, you can bring with you a bottle of drink or some homemade food and we would really appreciate that. One thing about Nicaraguans is that we are not punctual people. If the get together is at 7 PM, we would clean the house at 7 PM, take a shower at 7:30 PM, and be ready at 8 PM.  We are usually an hour late from the agreed time, which is equally true for business dealings, as it is with family affairs. If you agree to meet with a Nicaraguan at 6 PM, he might be there at 6:20 PM, so you just have to get used to that.  We don't get insulted when someone shows up late for a meeting, so we expect the same from expats or tourists.
Daniel Snider of Snider's Realty Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
If we were to compare Nicaragua to the US as far as etiquette, people in both places are overall nice. Nicaraguans might be a bit more open and accepting, even to strangers. We are always eager to please expats and other people who are new to the country of Nicaragua. So don’t be surprised if you just came to Nicaragua and in just a day or two, you are already invited to have dinner with a Nicaraguan family.
 
Table manners are extremely important in Latin American communities because table etiquette really reflects how a person was brought up in their home. So if you are going to a house of some Nicaraguan, be sure to pack your good table manners with you because your manners are a reflection of you.
 
The average Nicaraguan is a very welcoming person, contrary to how people are in the US. It is very rare for you to bump into someone new in the US and the next thing you know is that you are having dinner at their house. I know it does happen in the US, too, but here in Nicaragua, it is a very common thing. Overall, the average Nicaraguan is a bit more nonchalant on things and is more open when offering their homes and introducing themselves to other people.

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