Foreigners “trapped” in San Juan del Sur

There are four stories and a common destiny: American, European and South American have anchored in this Nicaraguan port and want to live there forever.Aliens "trapped" in San Juan del Sur
Read the rest here.

This is an interesting story from the El Nuevo Diario newspaper about four expats who have come to live in San Juan del Sur. Kelly Ann Thomas I know a little bit, she has the well-known bookstore/coffee house “El Gato Negro.”

Another of the “trapped” foreigners is an Argentinian who runs a smoothie bar called “Simon Says.” The others listed in the story are an Italian who operates a pizza place called “Pizzeria San Juan.” Finally, the story talks about Vanessa Pattison and her yoga studio called “Zen Yoga Studio.”

So that’s all well and good, at least from an expatriate’s perspective, i.e. that folks come down here, open businesses, provide a service, and are successful in their endeavors. However, the most interesting aspect of this story are the comments.

There are a few Nicaraguans, especial “NICA” commenting there that these entrepreneurs are not paying taxes, etc. The other commenters are basically telling the negative commenters that they are ignorant and should not be saying such things. Read it through if you would like to get an idea as to the attitudes that Nicaraguans have about foreigners coming here and opening businesses.

Kelly Ann actually has a great response to the negative commenter:

Kelly Thomas | 13:24 – 04/13/2014

Nica : You talk about the things you obviously have no knowledge. Go to government authorities . It will be seen that I have a legal business that is in compliance with Nicaraguan all taxes and government authorities and have had for eight and a half years I’ve lived here . I pay INSS , 15 percent VAT and 1 percent of my sales to both the DGI and the Mayor . I pay (or pay Jack Black ) imposed by a sign , a waste, and a variety of other taxes. I am one of the biggest tax payers commerciales San Juan del Sur, where most companies pay a ” flat fee ” and a business that generates four times my income pays only a hundred dollars a month in ” fixed fee .” I pay my rent with a Nicaraguan woman. I put 7 people through universities , including five employees. One of my employees did laundry for twenty dollars a week before she started working for me. Now she owns her own home and graduated with a law degree . I have had four employees working for me for over 8 years.
I must be doing something right.

My time has not been easy. I had a gun to my head twice . I was beaten with a gun in my eye, strangled and beaten and my husband was shot during home invasion in us . I have had my home in the car and stealing many times I have lost count. I have seen customs seized my books value U.S. # 2000 because the bill of lading was a misnomer. I put all my earning in this country. What hast thou done , Mister Anonymous sitting on the keyboard? What gives you the right to judge others ?

You write as if this will be Nicaraguan being a victim of oppression. If your life is not the life you want, only you can solve . You are responsible for your happiness.

God bless you Kelly Ann!

7 thoughts on “Foreigners “trapped” in San Juan del Sur

  1. I was delighted to be assigned to Nicaragua as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1996. But I would have preferred not to have been suspected by some Nicas as being in the CIA. Then there was the taxi driver who charged me double for a fare. When I cynically asked, “Is this the real price or the gringo price?” he easily admitted, ‘Oh, that’s the gringo price!”

  2. Yes there are some disadvantages to owning a business in Nicaragua. DGI, City tax, Vat, sign tax, building and land tax, tax on inventory, tax on furnishings, social security/payroll tax, 13th month, 30 days of vacation 90 days for a pregnant woman, trash pick up, contributions to the fire and police departments and so many others that I had to get a CPA to make sure all was in order. Then the US income tax, duties on imports and the list of expenses goes on. We have 13 employees and pay above scale for their services. We also pay all education for them and their children, we pay for college, make loans at zero percent interest pay their insurance and give them a bonus on top of the annual 13th month. If the show proficiency in English they get a bonus and a pay increase. Do they speak badly about us? Who knows what they say behind out backs but I do have a waiting list of over 50 people who want to work with us, not for us. We are a team these people are my adopted family. How can anyone break bad on these people. The expats who are here trying to make a living with all these taxes a doing the community a big favor. Yes, there are people who do not have a license, do not meet Intur standards, do not pay employees well, do not pay Nicaraguan income taxes and probably not taxes to the country of origin. They probably steal electricity, bypass the water meters and dump trash on the street. Those people should be put in compliance or put out of business. There are vehicles to doing both. Every city has a system for reporting people who operate illegally and the city will padlock their doors and seize their assets. Who gets by with the most violations, the locals. My neighbor built an entire house without a permit, illegally hooked up electricity, tied into cable and removed his water meter. Has he been talked to, no.

    Do good work and be nice to others, it will come back many times.

    • Thank you for your comments Glenn. Keep up the good work! I don’t know much about Granada Home Rental, so feel free to let us know about it if you would like. I’m sure that people would like to support ethical, socially responsible enterprises such as yours.

  3. I am 1/2 Nicaraguan 1/2 American, and own a lodge in the Rio San Juan. By experience, I fell the same as Kelly Ann, but I still love to live here, I DO PAY MORE TAXES, GET HARRASED BY THE ARMY and everybody ask for money or favors. Is just a way of life, you have to know how to use your brakes and stop the excess, then have time for ouself.

Hey reader, watcha think?