You do not necessarily need to become a permanent resident of Nicaragua in order to live here. I, for example, am not a permanent resident. I am currently staying on a tourist visa and living here in Managua. There are some limitations to being here on a tourist visa, however:
- You have to leave Nicaragua every 90 days for a certain period of time before re-entering / renewing your tourist visa.
- You cannot open a Nicaraguan bank account.
- You can be fined for overstaying your visa.
- Generally speaking you have fewer rights.
There are a number of benefits to maintaining residency if you do indeed decide to relocate to Nicaragua full time. Foreign investors, retirees, individuals married to Nicaraguan citizens, and individuals sponsored by employers may have an easier time obtaining their residency. Requirements for Nicaraguan residency can be found at the US Embassy in Managua's webpage.