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Barry Oliver of Surfing Nahua – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Barry Oliver's son playing tennis, Northern Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe just moved homes in Nicaragua so we have no TV, phone signal, or Wi-Fi. It’s nice to have the kids learn how to enjoy life without all the technology surrounding them. They’re playing with sticks and coconuts and are having fun and enjoying it. Our neighbors’ kids are doing the same thing here in Nicaragua. There are plenty of opportunities. For example, my daughter dances and goes horseback riding. She’s got some incredible dance instructors in Nicaragua who come through northern Nicaragua. We’ve also got some horse trainers who come through for horseback riding. 
 
On the other hand, my son is into tennis and football (what in the US, we would call “soccer”). There are amazing people traveling the world and moving into Nicaragua and Central America who are amazing tennis pros and are giving my son the help he needs to be the best he can. Nicaragua is a nice, relaxed area. 
 
There are great schools in the area we live in that are extremely inexpensive. Both our kids are doing well in school. For example, my daughter just got her scores back.  A third of her scores were 100’s, a third were in the 90’s, and the rest were in the 80’s. She’s doing very well in school and in extracurricular activities. She just started high school, which begins at 7th grade.
 
What hit me the most about moving to Nicaragua were that the conversations I had with people were all about family and have nothing to do with money, houses, or cars, which is what we talked about in San Diego. It’s really easy to converse with people in Nicaragua and get into important, meaningful conversations. That’s what my kids who are being raised in Nicaragua also learn.
 
(Barry Oliver's son playing tennis, Northern Nicaragua, pictured.)
Justin Fahey of Aurora Beachfront Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
nicaragua, san juan del sur, raising kids in nicaragua, travel – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI love raising my kids here in San Juan del Sur.  SJdS Day School is perfect for our needs and our children love going there.  The school is on a self-sustainable farm in the hills above town, children see monkeys all the time, take nature walks, feed the goats, fetch the eggs, etc.  We have 25 countries represented among the group of parents and the kids learn about all the different cultures in our community.
 
Raising kids is a small town like San Juan del Sur is just as challenging as anywhere else but here its just easier to step back, be patient, and enjoy the time together as a family.  Our kids are bilingual, they love mixing it up with kids in town by the playground in the parque central or down at the beach.  Many kids here take swim lessons and start surfing early, others play baseball, soccer, and even rugby now.  
 
We are a tightknit community in some regards, as we share info on pediatricians and dentists, best places to get things done for the kids, etc.  Fun activities and beautiful nature are all around us here in San Juan del Sur.  Lots of impromptu beach trips, birthday pool parties, piñatas, parades in town, pizzas on the beach for kids and sunset cocktails for the grownups! 
Marissa Gabrielle Lolk of Jireh Dental Care – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Marissa Lolk at the beach in Nicaragua with one of her daughters – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI am a strong believer that it is very nice to raise children in Nicaragua. It is a very nice experience to have children grow up here. The kids here grow up a little bit more “old school” in the sense that they keep their innocence longer. My daughter is 9 years old and she still plays with dolls and dresses in pretty little dresses. I have friends who have sons and they still dress like children and look how children should look.
 
People here in Nicaragua do not have the style trends that we have in the States where kids tend to look way older than their age. Kids in Nicaragua look like kids and they act like kids. They go to the park, play basketball, and they go outside and play. They have a lot of social opportunities here because there are play dates that they can go to. There are so many at home moms and they go beyond and out of their way to be with their kids. They create those bonds. 
 
When my 3-year old daughter was in preschool, I threw a little get together so the moms could get to know each other and the kids could get to know each other too because they are all going into the big school. They are no longer in daycare so it was a little bit difficult for them to assimilate that. We did this get together and you could see how these kids have a completely different feeling from the States. There is more family time. Family time here in Nicaragua is insanely big.
 
Birthday parties here are never thrown on the weekends; they’re done on the weekdays because the weekends are considered only for the family and usually most families would go out to the beach or to places like Granada or other cities in Nicaragua. Sundays are reserved for going to church and spending the entire day together. So you would see families go to the movies or to the mall together. They are always together on Sundays. So nobody goes to birthday parties on the weekends because they don’t want t break their nucleus. 
 
Raising children in Nicaragua is much nicer. You have the ability to hire people to help you out such as nannies, maids, cleaning people, drivers, etc. it is relatively cheap to have people help you and still pay them well. That will facilitate your life with your children, so you could spend more time with your children instead of cleaning your house. You could have them pick up your kids so that you could get home from work. There is a lot of family bonding here in Nicaragua so raising kids here is much nicer. 
 
There is also the struggle factor. My kids do not have the options like in the States where you go to Old Navy, Target, etc. There is nothing like that here so kids here are not materialistic. You might have a family that is very well off but the kids have no idea about what certain popular brands are or what new toys are out because we don’t have that here. There are only a few toy stores and one of them is a mom and pop shop and the other one is like a big mall store and it is limited to four aisles. Kids do not really care about those things. They’d rather go outside and play with a stick, or they would rather just go and hang out with each other and mess around.  
 
It is also nice for the kids to see that others are less fortunate than they are and others who need help because you could see it. Some people live here in extreme poverty and so it is nice to show that to your kids and help them have social responsibility so that they can grow up to be empathetic and compassionate adults, which is something that I don’t think children in the States are exposed to because it is just so busy that people take those things for granted. In the US, it is more “me, me, me”, “I, I, I”, and they don’t have that human contact that I think kids need.
 
I like that the kids here Nicaragua would rather go to the beach and surf and play. My kids play with blankets and chairs in their rooms. That essence of having that play and that exploration of nature is something that you don’t get in the States. I don’t think you could get that anymore unless you live in somewhere really nice like Seattle where you could just go out in the woods and hang out. Usually you don’t get that. At least I didn’t get that when I was in Los Angeles. I was always in a concrete jungle and it would have been nice to be able to do other things like you can here in Nicaragua.
 
(Marissa Lolk at the beach in Nicaragua with one of her daughters, pictured.)
Carolyn Membreño of León Travel Bureau – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Children on the beach in Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingNicaragua is a family-oriented country. Family is “number one” in all aspects of their lives. Children here in Nicaragua, live with their parents way into their 30s and 40s; some just even live with them forever. It is very commonplace here for older children to live with their parents and take care of one another. It is pretty much in the Nicaraguan culture.
 
As far as education goes, there are a lot of private schools here in Nicaragua. There Catholic private schools and there are non-sectarian private schools as well. All the children of the well to do Managuans go to private schools. The quality of education here in Nicaragua is very poor unless you are in a private school. The public schools are really not up to par with worldwide levels. 
 
If you need to take your children to a doctor, you will not worry because there are a lot of pediatricians that you can go to. There are also lots of activities for children here. There are lots of festivals all year long and all of the municipalities have lots of activities for kids to do. 
 
As far as kidnapping and the like, none of that really exist here in Nicaragua. You can pretty much trust that people are not going to kidnap your children. Child abduction rarely happens here in Nicaragua. 
 
Raising children here in Nicaragua is significantly different than it is in the US in general or in New Jersey, in particular. Children in Nicaragua are not exposed to so much technology. Most children here do not have Xbox or PlayStation gaming consoles. They have more outdoor activities and more things to do with their families such as outings, going to the beach, trips, and so on, rather than staying indoors and watching TV or playing video games all day. Kids here have more interaction and so the neighborhoods are also kid friendly. Kids in the neighborhood play with each other.  
 
(Children on the beach in Nicaragua, pictured.)
Julie Speier of San Juan del Sur Day School – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Julie Speier with child, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingRaising children in Nicaragua is great. I have a full time, bilingual nanny. I have a housekeeper that I can comfortably afford to help me to keep the house tidy and do the laundry so when I’m not working, I can spend my time taking the kids to the beach or to the park, and just hang out with them. I couldn’t do this if I were in the States.
 
My nighttime at home is spent doing stuff with the kids and the kids have the benefit of my nanny acting sort of like a second mom. Our nanny has been with us for 7 years and she spends a few nights a week with us.  She helps with the dinner and she’s just great with the kids. In addition, my kids have the benefit of having a Spanish speaker around the house all the time so they can be fluently bilingual. 
 
When my kids are finished with school, we go home and watch the sunset at the beach. We have a swim, then we have a nice dinner, and then we are in bed very early. The kids are usually in bed at 8 PM at the latest and they are up with the sun at 5:30 AM. We are very much with the cycle of the sun here in San Juan del Sur. We are up with the sun and almost asleep with the sun. I sort of like that.
 
If all other things were equal in Cincinnati, New York, and San Juan del Sur, I would still prefer raising my kids in San Juan del Sur. They have a great school here and we have a nice and slower pace of life that is not so focused on materialism. My kids have an international, diverse group of friends, too. I was going through my list of students and realized that there are over 20 countries represented in the school where I teach. My kids have friends from all over the world and I really like that they are being influenced and exposed to so many different people and different cultures. 
 
I was a serious, competitive swimmer growing up, and I do miss having the same type opportunity for my kids to engage in higher-level competitive sports and to benefit from the discipline that comes with it. My one daughter has taekwondo three times a week and she just joined the soccer team. We also have a surf club. The town of San Juan del Sur is growing and as it grows these more organized sports and enrichment activities are becoming more and more available.
 
(Julie Speier, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.)

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