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Gordon MacKay of InNicaNow.com – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Christmas pub crawl, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWhen we first arrived in Nicaragua, we tried to live in a few different places. We stay in San Juan del Sur mainly because of the community of expats that’s here.
 
Here in San Juan del Sur, there are expats in their 20’s, and there are those who are in their 80’s. A third of the expats in San Juan del Sur are Canadians, a third are from Europe, and a third are from the rest of the world.
 
Everyone’s background is different. There are those who are here for yoga, for surfing, the ones who are retired, those opening businesses, people who want a slower pace of life from North America, those who don’t want their children to grow up with the kind of consumerism that there is in North America right now, and people who are here for religious reasons. The great thing is everyone’s very different, but everyone gets along and we all get together.
 
We’ve had parties at our house. For example, we had a Christmas party with 30 -40 people at the house with likely 10 countries represented by people in their 20’s through their 80’s with different cultures and different holidays to talk about. You don’t get the kind of tunnel vision you get if you’re sitting with a room full of Canadians or Americans. You’re getting perspectives from around the world and from all age groups. It’s absolutely amazing.
 
(Christmas pub crawl, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, pictured.)
Julie Speier of San Juan del Sur Day School – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Making footprint keepsakes at Mums and Bums, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe expats in San Juan Del Sur are a cast of characters. I always get a kick out of them!
 
San Juan Del Sur definitely draws a unique kind of expat; someone who likes a little adventure and someone who is looking at life to not be so predictable and easy. You definitely have to have some persistence here and a lot of patience because things are done differently. We still go days without water and days without electricity. Setting up a business is interesting, too. There is no direct roadmap for setting up a business here so you have to know some people and determine who you need to help you to get things done. But after you’re here for a while, then it works.
 
For example, in the US, you have AAA car service but here in San Juan Del Sur, you don’t need it. If your car breaks down, you call any of your friends and they will help you change a tire, or the first passerby will stop and help you.
 
Because so many of us expats have emigrated here to San Juan Del Sur, we really watch out for each other. We have a strong support system for one another, especially for young mothers. There is a growing group of mothers of young children here called San Juan Moms. We have meetings and we have a Facebook page where we ask each other questions and provide each other support.
 
There are now a lot more kids in San Juan Del Sur than there were seven years ago, when we came here. Seven years ago, there were only around six expat children who are living in San Juan Del Sur but now I have 60 children enrolled in our school and over half of them are expat kids. It has changed a lot in the last seven years and there are a lot of women who are here in San Juan Del Sur who organize activities such as play dates, group activities, and things like Santa Sittings.
 
There is also a new place in town called Mums and Bums, which is a play space for kids and family that was started by a mom from Botswana and another American lady. It is a nice play space for kids ages 2 to 10. It has a nice porch where you could get some coffee. You can sit there while your kids are inside playing. They have higher end, little knick-knacks and organic snacks. They also offer special classes like baby yoga, doing acrylic painting with your child, or making ceramics. They offer special events, too. Mums and Bums is doing really well and it is nice to see that a business like that can happen nowadays, whereas seven years ago, there wouldn’t have been any clients. We are getting more expat families with kids and some of the businesses are starting to emerge and grow along with the newly arriving families.  
 
(Making footprint keepsakes at Mums and Bums, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, pictured.)
Lance Moss of Surfari Charters – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
man surfing Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere’s a whole of variety of expats in San Juan del Sur. We live in the Popoyo area, which is about an hour and a half by car north of San Juan del Sur, so, to us, San Juan Del Sur is a pretty big kind of city town.  The expats in San Juan del Sur run the whole gamut.   A lot of expats now are surfers; people who had corporate lives in the States and they realize it wasn’t for them and just wanted to have a different type of life, what they call here a “pura vida” or “pure life,” and they move down. 
 
In San Juan Del Sur there are also a lot of people coming down to retire.  You can retire here for a fraction of the price that would cost in the States. Most of the expats I hang out with are surfers who moved down here to try to find their own niche to make a living and stay down here. Once you are a surfer and you need to surf you want to surf all the time and you want to surf good waves so there’s a lot of those in our area. I’d say San Juan Del Sur has more of the retirement crowd and people who come and retire.  Some of them start bars and restaurants. 
 
The stereotype of the surfers is something that surfers have had to deal with for a long time. Most of our clients are guys who are professionals—doctors, lawyers, they have families, corporate jobs, stock brokers, whatever it is—and that’s a big part of surfing and surf travels; these upper class guys who go surfing and love to surf. They might have been punks when they were 16 or 17 years old, but now they’re professionals and have families and they want to go on vacation and go surf, get waves.
 
(Man surfing the breaks at Popopyo near San Juan del Sur,  Nicaragua, pictured.)
Daniel Snider of Snider's Realty Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
young expats on the beach in San Juan Del Sur. Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe expats in San Juan Del Sur are a good bunch of people. You will see all kinds of expats from different walks of life here in San Juan Del Sur.  Expats in San Juan Del Sur nowadays are of all different ages. You get to see a pretty good, mixed pack of people.
 
Usually, the expats in San Juan Del Sur are American baby boomers who are retired from working in the States and looking for a place to come and get away from cold and the hustle and bustle. A lot of Canadians have also been moving into Nicaragua who move into places such as Granada, San Juan Del Sur, and into the northern regions of Matagalpa and Jinotega.
 
Out here in the San Juan del Sur area, where I live in Iguana Beach in Tola, there’s a group of expats who are a little bit younger. They are usually trying to get out of their countries, and usually are from the US. There are also a lot of Spaniards, Venezuelans, and Argentineans. They are from all different walks of life and they are in the 30 to 45 age range. They are just trying to start anew and usually people who are in that age range try to find places where they can settle for good.
 
Nicaragua has had that appeal for people who want to come and start a family and new businesses. We have a lot of expats here who are entrepreneurial and at the same time, we have a lot of retired expats. I wouldn’t say that Nicaragua is a purely retiree expat destination. There is plenty of opportunity for a pretty average person to come into Nicaragua and make a good living and live out the rest of their days.
Eugenio Cortez of Hacienda & Ecolodge Morgan´s Rock – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
US Military Sealift Command hospital ship off San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe expats in San Juan Del Sur are excellent, nice people (at least the ones that I have encountered). They are very nice and respectful people. They are very appreciative of their environment. I have never actually heard any expat say that he has made a bad choice of coming to San Juan Del Sur.  The expats in San Juan Del Sur tend to fit in with the locals and the community.
 
Many of the expats in San Juan Del Sur are Americans and some are Europeans. Most of them obviously love the beach. Since San Juan Del Sur is a surfing community, a lot of the expats here either know how to surf, used to surf, or still surf. (US military sealift hospital ship USNS Comfort pictured anchored temporarily offshore.)
Lucy Valenti of Liv Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The expats in San Juan del Sur are a diverse group. Expats at a market stall in San Juan del Sur – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living You find a lot of young people who come here and fall in love with the town, many of whom are surfers.  They find a job and stay.  Others establish small businesses.  Also, we have middle-aged people.
 
There are quite a few real estate projects in the area of San Juan del Sur that cater to pensioners, so there are quite a lot of people who have bought land or houses in San Juan del Sur who are retirees.
 
Mainly, the expats in San Juan del Sur are from North America, but you can also find some expats from Europe.
Blue van Doorninck of Rancho Chilamate Horseback Adventures & Guest Ranch – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The expat community in San Juan del Sur is a lively mix of retirees who have embraced the incentives offered by the Nicaraguan government and young adults passing through for a period of time, some with entrepreneurial ventures, some with young families with children (many of whom were born here).  Together, we have successfully created a community of support including new schools and social groups.
David Smith – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The expats in San Juan del Sur are all awful.  Fat gringos are everywhere smoking and drinking from 10 AM.  They are loud and obnoxious and get into brawls with the locals all the time.  San Juan del Sur is swarming with them, complaining about everything Nica (Nicaraguan) and how wonderful their home country is.  It makes you want to tell them to "bugger off back home then!"
 
In fact there are so many expats here that there isn't any room for any more so you'd better not come.  Have you heard about Panama?  Mexico? Costa Rica?  I hear they are lovely places to retire! I highly recommend that you chose somewhere else.....!!
 
And now the truth....but only if you don't tell anyone!!  San Juan del Sur is an amazing place with a small, vibrant, collegial and engaged expat community.  Interesting characters are everywhere and we are largely well integrated with the local Nicaraguan economy and culture.  There are plenty of expat community events to participate in (Pizza in the Jungle every Wednesday and Friday; Trivia night every Tuesday!) and if you want to be golfing there is that too!!!  Shhhh now.. lets keep this our secret!

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