Retire to Nicaragua’s Crown Jewel
Granada has charming Spanish-colonial homes selling for bargain prices. Granada is built around a bustling town square anchored by a neoclassical cathedral. By Kathleen Peddicord Oct. 20, 2015 | 9:45 a.m. EDT
Nicaragua offers one of the world’s largest lakes, pristine Caribbean beaches and islands, cool mountains and hundreds of miles of dramatically beautiful Pacific coastline. This country also boasts one of the world’s most affordable costs of living in retirement. A couple could retire comfortably here on as little as $1,200 per month. It’s easy to establish retiree residency in Nicaragua, which has a low minimum income threshold. Regardless of what you may have heard or read, Nicaragua is a safe and welcoming place. Every time I visit, I look forward to getting there and I’m sorry to leave.
You have to hand it to Kathleen Peddicord, she does have the ability to publish the same basic article seemingly about one hundred times and the US media keeps eating it up! Kathleen has been around Nicaragua for quite some time off and on, so it’s not like she doesn’t know of which she speaks, heaven forbid!
It is interesting that there is such a consistent push towards Granada from the likes of International Living Magazine and Live and Invest Overseas. While I personally like Granada quite a bit,I wouldn’t call it the “Crown Jewel of Nicaragua.” Being a tourist there is quite fun on occasion, and the town itself is lovely, but as the saying goes, “Its a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.”
For the casual reader interesting in relocating to Nicaragua, I recommend staying away from organizations that make most of their money selling the dream in the form of expensive conferences where experts will share their knowledge about how to make it abroad, especially from a financial perspective. The majority of so-called “experts” really are interested in selling you their overpriced real estate. Making money in real estate is not the typical scenario here.
In fact, I’m a proponent of taking a very cautious approach to living and investing overseas as there are downsides to living in Nicaragua or other overseas countries that publications and individuals which are mostly interested in selling you real estate naturally are unlikely to put in the forefront.
Not only do they want to sell you property at the “gringo price” but the “dumb money gringo price.” The lifestyle seminars won’t tell you about lots of important aspects of moving and living overseas. Pricing of real estate, for example, is not transparent, although there was recently published a price snapshot for Central American real estate.
People from the United States, Canada and Europe move to Nicaragua for a lot of different reasons. If you want to live in the largest expat community, join the clubs and legion halls like you did back home and be able to easily get along hardly speaking a word of Spanish, then Granada is the place for you. Just don’t think it’s the place to buy cheap real estate and live inexpensively. A similar house in a village about fifteen minutes away from Granada would cost about 1/3 less, for example.
Sure it might cost less to live in Granada than in a big city up north, but don’t go thinking you’ll be part of the greater Nicaraguan community or that you’ll really be challenged to learn the language. For example, if your goal is to integrate to a certain extent with the locals, I think there are better places to do that in Nicaragua. If your goal is to live cheaply, there are lots of places that fit the bill better. For example, a little house in the nearby “Pueblos Blancos” such as Niquonomo, Masatepe, Catarina, San Juan de Oriente, etc. might be the call. The weather is better there anyway as the elevation is higher.
I hope this gives you dear reader(s), a bit of perspective so when you read these articles you keep your mind on the realities, not just the dream, of living in Nicaragua. As always, feedback and comments are welcome!