Retired in Nicaragua, and Loving It | Wall Street Journal

Retired in Nicaragua, and Loving It

Affordable health care was just the beginning for expats from Tennessee


Oct. 27, 2013 4:39 p.m. ET

This is part of a series in which Americans age 50-plus profile their adopted overseas locales. Send us your suggestions

Each new day in this nearly 500-year-old city is greeted with a symphony of crowing roosters, the clippity-clop of horse-drawn carriages, and barking dogs. My wife and I moved here, to Granada, Nicaragua, three years ago after living in Costa Rica for two years.

The Wall Street Journal has a good article on the decision of a couple from Tennessee to retire in Granada. They mention some realistic budget numbers, which I think is good since some of the other more rosy outlooks on living here say you can live well for under a $1,000 and I don’t think that is so unless you live out in the countryside and really live a fairly frugal existence.

It is also interesting that they mention how close they are in Granada to the Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas “about 45 minutes away on the outskirts of Managua.” We are about eight minutes away from there, and I have new neighbors who in large part, chose to live in my neighborhood specifically to be close to the hospital, the best in the country, regionally accredited, etc.

For those interested in medical issues in Nicaragua, such as Medical Tourism, Medical Insurance and quality of care, see my blog posts.

The other interested part about this article that is worth mentioning is how they deal with the heat of Granada. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, here at the farm stay we have a unique micro-climate that is quite a bit cooler then the cities of Granada, Leon, or Managua.

The authors also mention how in Nicaragua one should not expect to have appointments where the people you are meeting are punctual. This is certainly a factor in living here, but it is relatively minor once you become accustomed to it. Some individuals here are quite punctual and make a point of that as part of their character. Others? Well not so much…

Finally, the author, Mr. Lynch, says how they haven’t been back to the States and have no current plans on returning, but,

We have had several stateside friends visit, and have received promises from several others. As we tell them all: “Come on down. The beer’s cold, and the door’s always open.”

I couldn’t say it better myself!

The Retirees and the Volcano (Nicaragua) | Retirement and Good Living

The Retirees and the Volcano (Nicaragua) | Retirement and Good Living.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013   10:25 am |  Category:   Retirement locations   
Author:     bio

My husband and I retired to Ometepe Island, Nicaragua in 2010. We have an enormous fresh water lake, Lake Cocibolca, in our front yard and an active volcano, Vulcan Concepcion, in our back yard. Most of our family thought we were crazy to move to Nicaragua. “Isn’t there a war going on over there?” they would ask. “What will you do if the volcano erupts?”

Retire in Ometepe Island, NicaraguaActually, we never gave much thought to the volcano erupting because we bought a kayak and we figured we could escape easily by paddling rapidly across the lake. You see, we are risk takers. We always have been…and probably always will be. We chose Nicaragua after we delivered school supplies to an impoverished school in Granada, Nicaragua. The people sold us immediately on their vivacious culture, their generosity, and their simplistic living.

Nicely written short story from Debbie Goehring about her and her husband’s life on Ometepe Island. Three years in and they are starting to really get the hang of it, it appears to me. Bravo!

Your best bet to be near Managua but not “in” Managua!

Your best bet to be near Managua but not “in” Managua!.

While the great majority of visitors to Nicaragua are intent on getting out to the Corn Islands, San Juan del Sur, Ometepe Island, Granada or Leon (among other great spots…) as soon as they land at Managua’s Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA), due to flight schedules, a good amount of tourists will need to look for lodging that first night in a place closer to the capital city of Managua.

But Managua has a bad reputation, and although it is much better then it used to be, visually as well as attractions-wise, it still isn’t the first place that people think of when they think of their Nicaragua vacation destination. So, for visitors who are getting in late (or visitors whose flights depart early), we at Farmstay El Porton Verde offer a good alternative. You do not have to stay in a chain hotel downtown or across from the airport!

You can stay at a very tranquil and peaceful location with fabulous views of volcanoes and forested hills, on a working farm at an elevation of 1,000 feet above sea level, where it is cooler and there is almost always a pleasant breeze.

That’s what is behind the concept of being near Managua, but not “in” Managua. I’d be interested to hear your comments or questions below.

Farmstay El Porton Verde (Managua, Nicaragua) – Hostel Reviews – TripAdvisor

Farmstay El Porton Verde (Managua, Nicaragua) – Hostel Reviews – TripAdvisor.

Farmstay El Porton Verde: Pool looking towards the rooms and apartment

Farmstay El Porton Verde

Carretera a Masaya, km 10.5, del Centro Escolar San Antonio Sur, 1 cuadra al Sur, 350 metros al Oeste | Callejon de los Briones, Finca El Porton Verde, Managua, Nicaragua

Surf zones of Nicaragua

Surf zones of Nicaragua

Just to open up this thread, here’s an overview of the different areas for surfing in Nicaragua. Only a few beaches can be reached by road, most of the beaches are better accessed via panga boat.

Any questions or comments, feel free to ask!

San Juan del Sur: SJdS is the main attraction for surfers visiting Nicaragua. The town is located on a bay that is mostly protected from the swells, so surfing there in town is usually not a good call. However, just outside of town there are several surfing beaches.

North of town, the main surf break is Maderas, a fairly open beach break with some rock reef structures to watch out for, but nothing major. You will see a thriving local surf culture, a few basic hospedajes and beachfront restaurants. A definite must-see for the visiting surfer.

South of town, there are a few more options, none of which are as well known or visited as Maderas to the north. From north to south, you have Remanso, Tamarindo, Hermosa, Coco, and a few others to be discovered! Remanso is great for beginning surfers as it is in a cove, so the rip currents are minimal and the vibe is more the older crowd mixed in with beginners. Hermosa is a wide-open beach break with some very good peaks to be found on a good day. This is a more advanced break with a more critical wave form that can be good for getting tubed on the right day!

Tola: Tola is a town to the west of Rivas, north of SJdS. This is the heart of the surf of Nicaragua. Best breaks are Popoyo, Santana, Rosada, Astillero, Manzanillo, and Iguana. Popoyo is a reef break with both a right and a left, a real standout break. The other main surf beach is Iguana, which is a barreling beach break located in a private community, although getting access is not that difficult. There are quite a few lodging options in this area, with Playa Gigante and Las Salinas/Popoyo being the main options.

Carazo: Carazo is the next departamento (like a county) to the north of Rivas. While it doesn’t have the most outstanding waves in the country, there are some breaks there that are both fun and challenging. The main surf break is La Boquita. Others to be discovered as part of your surf adventure!

Managua: Pochomil is the nearest beach to the capital city, and is a pretty fair beach break wave that is surprisingly uncrowded most of the time. Other breaks are located in the private community of Gran Pacifica, and there is a beach break that can be fun and definitely uncrowded called Playa Quizala.

Leon: Leon has lots of surf options, most of which I’ll leave to the reader to go and discover for yourself! The main surf nearest to town is Las Peñitas, a fair-to-middling beach break around a rivermouth that can be good on certain days. Always something to surf there though! The other main surf area is near the town of Puerto Sandino. Freight Trains, Pipes, and Punta Miramar are the three known breaks. Also worth mentioning is the area around El Transito and Playa Hermosa. These are relatively unknown to the surf hordes and offer some variety in terms of reefs, beach breaks, and even some secret spots if you are willing to put in the time and effort!

Chinandega: This is the northernmost area of Nicaragua’s Pacific coast and is every bit as beautiful as the beaches in the SJdS and Tola areas. Some of the highlight waves are Booms, Bahia Nahualapa, and a few others you will have to discover yourself.

I hope that helps with a quick overview of the surf potential of Nicaragua and helps you decide where to focus your search for dakine waves on these beautiful coastlines.


Mike @ Farmstay El Portón Verde, Managua

via Surf zones of Nicaragua.

Products | NicaConexiones

Products | NicaConexiones.

Invest in sustainable tourism and

save hundreds of dollars traveling Nicaragua!

travel card culture

Buy the card, save money at participating businesses around the country. It’s as easy as that!

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NicaConexiones donates 10% of card sales to different organizations supporting sustainable tourism in Nicarauga. Organizations such as Sustainable Travel International, The Bosawas wildlife initiative and 5 volcanoes cleanup project. All NCX cards are printed on 100% recycled plastic and we are members of the Teatree Alliance for Sustainable Development. We love a good cause!

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Our cards are for sale for $10 each. Buy 10 or more and save 10%. You can pick them up at the closest participating business or if you are buying more than 10, we can drop them off to you in Managua.

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NCX cards bought online can be claimed at any of the locations that sell the card (unless you are purchasing 10 or more, in which case we can deliver them within Managua). You MUST let us know where you will be picking the card up from so that we can inform them at least three days in advance. NCX cards are not transferable nor refundable.  The NCX card must be shown to the participating business along with photo ID when claiming a discount.

Managua as a Tourist Destination? – Nicaragua Community – Nicaragua Community

Managua as a Tourist Destination? – Nicaragua Community – Nicaragua Community.

Managua as a Tourist Destination?

By  on June 16, 2013

Perhaps some readers would say it is ridiculous to think of Managua as a tourist town. If the lake Xolotlán had not been polluted and the city was less messy and safer, we would have a much more attractive city in terms of attracting tourists. The authorities and the education of the Managuans can determine if they can exploit the potential of this city.

Saludos Rolando! Thanks for this article. I too am starting to see a few foreign tourists visiting downtown Managua now. It used to be that I would take guests of my bed and breakfast to Managua for a half-day tour and we would rarely see any gringos, but now I do see a few here and there.

One place that is good to visit in addition to the spots you have mentioned is Mirador Tiscapa. There is the foundation of Somoza’s mansion there and there is an exhibit about the life of Augusto C. Sandino there as well. But the best part is the view. One the lakeside, you see “old Managua” and on the southside, you see “new Managua.”

Mike @ Farmstay El Portón Verde