Relocation to Nicaragua on a Shoestring Budget: Fact or Fiction?

Goals, Aspirations, and Dreams vs. Truth, Reality, and Fact

MY OPINION: First in a Series

The difference between aspiring to move to Nicaragua and the actuality of moving to Nicaragua.

In this post, I will attempt to differentiate between the hope and wish to move to Nicaragua and the reality of moving here and trying to make a living.

First off, if you are planning to move to Nicaragua and have either substantial assets, a regular monthly income from investments such as dividends, rental property, etc. Or perhaps you have some sort of pension or Social Security coming in. If so, then this post, while it may be of interest and have some valid points that resonate with you, ultimately may not be on point as your situation will be a bit different.

That is not to say that moving here with income and/or assets makes your future life in Nicaragua stress- and worry-free! Far from it actually. The point is that you should at least have the opportunity to enjoy a life here based on those assets and incomes. Sure, you might lose it all in a bad investment, buy a property without doing your due diligence that turns out to have a bad title, start a business that will fail, etc. But at least you have the green light to go for it, whatever your dream might be.

But what about if you aspire to move here, but don’t have much in the way of assets and income and want to shoestring your way to a brighter future in Nicaragua? Ah, that is the much more difficult path, a critical path one might say, fraught with a high potential for failure.

That’s not to say that it hasn’t been done. There are examples where someone comes down to Nicaragua, makes the right connections, gets their foot in the door, and works their butt off to make a successful livelihood here in Nicaragua. But those few examples are by far the exception. The rule is, whatever meager assets you have you will probably lose as you attempt to fill that niche, outsmart the local competition, and use your superior skills to gain market share, build customer awareness and loyalty, and ultimately to be a success in your endeavor.

What I’m saying is that even filling that need, addressing that customer base, providing a unique service or product, etc. may not be enough to make it here. Its just really tough. You are going up against local competition, or introducing something that has never been tried here before, or you may have an incorrect assumption that the local Nicaraguans are not as bright as you are. Let me tell you, that is not so.

What is so is that there are market niches, there are untapped markets, there are underserved demographics, and ultimately there are opportunities in this country. But once you identify those things and begin to implement your ideas, technology and work ethic to be a success, then the real work starts.

Questions? Comments?

10 thoughts on “Relocation to Nicaragua on a Shoestring Budget: Fact or Fiction?

  1. Funny how many people stand behind a computer from afar and state how hard it is to make it here without ever trying or because they failed so how can anyone else succeed.

  2. One thing a potential business person has to realize is, outside of a small number of people, most of whom live in Managua, Granada, or Leon, there is not a lot of Nicaraguan disposable income to spend with you.

    I sense that there is more Nicaraguan investment money available than there is market to absorb it. Building a better mousetrap will not necessarily guarantee success, as Nicaraguans have so long been accustomed to simply buying the cheapest of . . anything. Your mousetrap will have to be both better and cheaper.

    There ARE niche markets; there are tourists (even mochileros probably have more disposable income than the majority of Nicaraguans). But, markups are small, nothing like what a small business person enjoys in the US.

    On the other hand, labor continues to be a bargain, especially rural labor. Skills are low, but if you are willing to train your employees, you can realize a lot for your labor dollar.

    • Thanks for your comments John! Here at the Farmstay we are starting to receive more local Nicaraguans looking for a relaxing stay outside of the noise of the city. There are lots of undiscovered or underserved market niches here and will be more as you get better economics here in-country and more relocation from out-of-country.

  3. Really good post, I hope people will take it to heart. There are too many, International Living specifically included, that make it all sound too easy. We walk around Granada at least twice a year and count the places that have come and gone, many last only months. Wise words indeed…

    • Thank you for your kind comments Randy. I certainly don’t want to negate people’s dreams, but also would not want to add to the IL-type attitude of how easy it seems to make it in a country like Nicaragua. Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

  4. Pingback: Let’s Get Real about Working in Nicaragua | Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua - Bed and Breakfast Farmstay El Portón Verde, ManaguaBed and Breakfast Farmstay El Portón Verde, Managua

  5. I guess my question is why can’t an expat live of the same meager income of a local? You know more traditional farming self sustainable living?

    • Hi Robert and thank you for your thoughtful comment! You have the key question here, is that obviously the locals live on a few dollars a day (as little as $2 or $3) but most expats just are not willing to live the same way…Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Portón Verde, Managua

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