My 5 Reasons To Retire In Nicaragua

by Margit Streifeneder

Why would anybody want to retire in Nicaragua, a country famous mainly for corrupt governments, dictatorships and Sandinista revolution? Well, I can't speak for everybody, but here are my top 5 reasons for retiring in Nicaragua.

The Climate in Nicaragua

Nicaragua rainy seasonNicaragua dry seasonNever being cold again... that was one of my goals when I looked into possible retirement countries. Nicaragua fits the bill, with average daytime temperatures between 25 degrees C and 30 degrees C all year round, at least in the lowlands. You get to enjoy two distinct seasons, the rainy season or "winter" from June to November, and the dry season or "summer" from December to May. I prefer the rainy season, with its cloudy skies, slightly cooler temperatures and lush green vegetation.

Nature In Nicaragua

Nicaragua apoyoThe country of lakes and volcanoes enchanted me from the first minute I set foot in it.

Even its capital Managua with more than 1 million people feels more like a huge village than a city. The 15 minute drive from our house to Managua proper fascinates me every time. Rolling green hills and valleys as far as you can see. In the distance, the volcanos Momotombo and Momotombito raise majestically above Lake Managua.

Hiking, bird watching, horse back riding or a boat trip on the Rio San Juan are just a few ways to explore and enjoy the unspoiled nature in Nicaragua.

Cost of Living in Nicaragua

Honestly, the cost of living isn't as low as I had expected. Yes, you can rent a place for $400, but you probably wouldn't want to live in it! At least in Managua you should budget around $1,000 for a 3 to 4 bedroom house in one of the good residential areas, for example along Carretera Sur or Carretera Masaya. Imported food is pretty expensive too ($7 for a 350g Nutella jar!).

Local products, however, are cheap, especially when bought on one of the many "mercados" (markets). Dining out is a joy, as the bill makes you smile rather than choke on your dessert. A one hour bus trip from Managua to Masaya sets you back a whopping 13.5 Cordoba (ca. 61 cents).

The biggest plus, in my opinion, is the low cost for household help. My maid comes three times a week, 5 hours per day. For the 15 hours, she charges 500 Cordoba. That's $23.

The People of Nicaragua

Things that I'd been used to doing over the phone or online back home, like paying bills or transferring money, have to be done in person in Nicaragua. I believe that part of the reason behind this is that Nicas love to talk and chat. They truly value human contact.

On one hand, I find it annoying that I have to go to the bank each month to pay my rent. On the other hand, I love being greeted by name, with a warm smile and a genuine interest in how I am doing.

I've found the people in Nicaragua, both locals and expats, to be welcoming and genuinely helpful.

Quality of Life in Nicaragua

Nicaragua poolIn the "official" quality of life indices - published by the likes of - Nicaragua ranks way down. In my personal quality of life index however, the country gets top marks. Compared to the life I had in Ireland, my last domicile, I have
  • a beautiful, spacious 3 bedroom house vs a tiny 1.5 bedroom flat (for less money)
  • a pool in my garden
  • affordable household help
  • warm weather all year round
  • an ocean where I can actually swim without freezing to death and
  • a cat and two guinea pigs vs (unsolicited) mice in my flat :-)
So, yes, to retire in Nicaragua seems like a pretty good idea to me!

©2011 Margit Streifeneder from Used by permission.

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