Tips for Finding a Short-Term Rental in Nicaragua

Finding a good Rental in Nicaragua: How to rent a house or apartment in Nicaragua without paying the “Gringo” price

Are you thinking of coming down to Nicaragua for a few months? Is a house or apartment Rental in Nicaragua in your future? This article will help you make sense of how rentals work in Nicaragua and give you some tips on what you can do prior to coming down in person and what you can do when you finally arrive in-country. The goal is to ensure that you are paying the going rate, not an overly-inflated “gringo price.”

If you look like something like the Cobb family below and start asking about real estate prices, you won’t get the best prices. (Of course, Mike Cobb runs the Gran Pacifica resort and residential development so he and his lovely family don’t have this as a challenge!)

Cobb Family Enjoying Nicargua. Copyright mikesgringolife.com

Cobb Family Enjoying Nicargua. Copyright mikesgringolife.com

Would you like to rent a place for the majority of the time you’ll be staying in Nicaragua instead of moving around from town to town? That’s a great idea as you’ll really get to know the area and will be able to get a better feel for living in Nicaragua as opposed to just visiting as a tourist. This is also an excellent step to take if you are seriously considering relocation here.

As you might imagine, visiting a place on vacation is different than living here. Even if it’s just for a winter or a summer, renting a place for say three months will give you lots of insight as to what it’s really like to live here. There’s not doubt that this step will give you plenty of opportunity to have the sorts of experiences that separate the wannabees from the folks with true expatriate abilities and suitability. Not everyone is cut out for expat life!

Rental in Nicaragua

Expat central, La Calzada, Granada at night

If you are back home scouring the Internet, you’re not likely to see too many bargains, and some of the listings probably don’t even show photos, so it might be a bit difficult to judge whether or not a place looks suitable for your needs. Sure you can look at encuentra24.com for some decent listings, but even so, very few rentals in Nicaragua are listed on the Internet. The standard advice is to come down to Nicaragua and, if you have an idea already as to where you would like to live, go there.

Rental in Nicaragua

This could be yours for $1,200 a week! Think you can do better? Let’s hope so…

Rental in Nicaragua

Sometimes advertisements don’t have any photos!

If you’ve never been to Nicaragua and don’t have any specific place in mind that you would like to live, then you have some basic homework to do, which mostly consists doing your research. (Check out this article by Darrell Bushnell for help on Where to Live in Nicaragua?) If you haven’t already, consider going around the country and seeing the main towns and villages. You need to find out if you really are a beach person, city person, country person, etc. and only by moving around frequently can you figure that part out.

Rental in Nicaragua

Lots of options, especially if you speak Spanish and want to integrate with Nicaraguan culture and peoples.

For purposes of this article, let’s assume you have decided on a place you like. Once you are in your location, take a room at a cheap hostel or rent a room in a private house for a week or so. For your short-term housing, in addition to the usual sources of information like TripAdvisor for reviews of your lodging options, you might also look at airbnb.com which offers excellent social content in the form of reviews from past guests. You might also try the Nicaragua craigslist.

Rental in Nicaragua

You can at least get an idea as to the prices you see on the Internet for places in Nicaragua on the local Craigslist website.

Now that you have your place for the week, here is some advice and tips to help you find a couple of possibly good places for you to rent:

  • Hit the streets!
    Walk the streets of the town, or hire a driver if you are looking for somewhere out in the country or outside of the town or village and look around.
  • Bring a person to translate for you if your Spanish is not up to snuff.

Tip: Don’t just talk to other foreign expats. Get out and talk to Nicaraguans. If you find this step to be uncomfortable, then you may not be ready for expat life. Word.

  • If you find a neighborhood you like, walk the streets. If you see someone sweeping the sidewalk or coming in/out of the front of their house, stop and ask them if they know of a anyplace for rent in the area.
  • Talk to your host or landlord of your short term lodging. Tell them what you’re looking for, they might be of some help. But if they are fellow expats, just be aware that they may only know of places for rent that are owned by other expats, so you might be paying “gringo prices.” Also, they may want you to rent one of their properties, even if it isn’t suitable for you.
    However, since your host or landlord obviously already lives in the area, and if you like the general vicinity, he or she may be uniquely situated to be well-informed as to what is available in the neighborhood.
  • Don’t talk to a realtor, real estate agent, or property management company unless paying the gringo price is what you want. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen prices doubled and sometimes tripled when you go this route.
    Realtors and agents, this is just my opinion and everybody needs to make a living, so feel free to chime in here to let us know why your services are so valued. Comments are welcome!

Now that you have a couple-three places identified, here are some more tips:

  • Walk the area at different times of day and different days of the week. You might find the place quiet on a Sunday afternoon but Friday night might be a whole different story!
  • Hire a Nicaraguan to go and scope out the rental(s) for you.

Note: You may also have to hire a translator for this part if your Spanish isn’t up to snuff. If they are one and the same, all the better! We’ll call this person your helper.

  • Show your helper the places in which you are interested. Let him or her know where the places are located that you want to look into, (maybe do a drive-by first to familiarize your guy/gal with the area) and ask them to go to the locations later, preferably on foot, and make phone calls and knock on doors.
  • Helper goes alone and asks questions. When your helper gets ahold of the owners/landlords, have them ask about the availability, the price, terms, and what the neighbors are like.
  • Helper reports back their findings. Schedule a meeting later that day or the next day so that your helper can tell you what they found. Take notes!

These steps can be very helpful in that you will find out what the “real” rental price is, and a local will be better equipped to find out the real deal with both the specific location and the larger neighborhood.

For example, it’s good to find out ahead of time:

  • If there is an evangelical church nearby, there will be lots of loud singing and music several evenings a week in addition to Sundays.

    Rental in Nicaragua

    A village evangelical church near Merida on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua. 
    © Uncorneredmarket.com, 2009

  • If there is a “cantina” “taverna” or bar in the area, there will be music at night, especially on weekends, and probably drunks staggering about and possibly peeing in your front yard.

    Rental in Nicaragua

    Bars get full and rowdy, especially during big football (soccer) matches.

Once you get this “inside scoop” information, you’ll be in a much better place to make an informed decision. Good luck finding the perfect Rental in Nicaragua for you and your family! Please add any of your tips or comments below.

Easiest nice beach to reach by bus from Managua for a weekend – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Vancouver Island…
Level Contributor
579 posts
41 reviews

Easiest nice beach to reach by bus from Managua for a weekend

Jan 13, 2016, 4:45 PM
Good day. The headline says it all. Looking for recommendations for a nice beach close to Managua suitable for a weekend break and reachable by bus without too many hassles.

Thanks in advance.

1 reply

 

Managua, Nicaragua
Level Contributor
717 posts
17 reviews

1. Re: Easiest nicebeach to reach by bus from Managua for a weekend

Jan 13, 2016, 9:06 PM
Greetings wix:

Two come to mind. The easiest and closest is Masachapa/Pochomil and the other would be La Boquita in Carazo department.

The first you would take the bus from Israel Lewites market. The second you would take an expresso from la UCA to Diriamba, then a local bus from Diriamba to La Boquita. Both have restaurants, hotels, and a tourism infrastructure.

You’d probably actually get to the beach quicker going to La Boquita as the Pochomil bus is a real “Ordinario” chicken bus that takes at least two hours to get there! The bus from Diriamba continues onto Casares after stopping in La Boquita, so that’s another option for you.

Cheers and enjoy!

Mike @ Farmstay El Portón Verde, Managua

Source: Easiest nicebeach to reach by bus from Managua for a weekend – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Yes there are definitely some nice beaches just an hour or a bit more from Managua that are easily accessed via public bus. This post lists Pochomil/Masachapa and also La Boquita. I remembered at the end there that the same bus that goes from Diramba to La Boquita also continues on to Carares beach, which is another nice beach to go to from Managua.

Your golden sand colored beach awaits!

Your golden sand colored beach awaits!

 

Retire Nicaragua: Where to Retire Overseas in 2016 – US News

Granada, Nicaragua. A Spanish-colonial city can be a great choice for retirement, and Granada is one of the best options. This city has a great variety of classic and charming Spanish-colonial homes with high ceilings, painted tiles and private courtyards that you can own for as little as $40,000. Granada is among the most carefully restored and preserved colonial cities in the Americas. This city of 120,000 has a sizeable expat community and attracts many international travelers with its upscale hotels, fine restaurants and well-kept buildings. Many parts of the city are walkable, and the nearby airport in Managua provides many connections to the United States. However, Granada maintains an authentically Nicaraguan feel. You will be able to sample local delicacies and pottery is made by hand. You may even see old oxcarts in the streets. The city is a blend of native Nicaraguan life with modern amenities. You can qualify for Nicaragua’s retiree residency visa program with as little as $600 per month of retirement income. But you’ll probably need a budget of at least $1,200 per month to live here comfortably.

Source: Where to Retire Overseas in 2016 – US News

International Living really does a proficient job in selling the dream of retiring overseas and this is a good “get” for them to be published in US News. However, they do omit lots of very important details but once you’ve sold up back home and plopped down in Granada, they don’t really care about what troubles and travails you will experience once you are actually living here! And yes, I am a wee bit jealous of their success! :)

Government warns of new eruptive activity on Momotombo Volcano – Metro

 Government warns of new eruptive activity on Momotombo Volcano

by ACAN-EFE December 26, 2015

Source: Gobierno advierte nueva actividad eruptiva en volcán Momotombo – Metro

From El Porton Verde we see two volcanoes on a clear day, neither of which is this one, Momotombo Volcano. We see Masaya Volcano and in the background we can sometimes also see Mombacho Volcano.

We drove up to see Momotombo Volcano a couple of weeks ago after the initial eruption had died down and were amazed by its beauty. There is a lovely little port where artesanal fisherman head out to Lake Managua to fish. We might go again as seeing the actual eruption would be really cool!

Luckily for us this volcano is some eighty kilometers away from us, so we are safe for the moment! Cheers everyone and here’s to living on the edge!

 

Available for Christmas & New Years: Beachfront House, Great Deal!

NIO75 / 2br – Available for Christmas & New Years: Beachfront House, Great Deal! (Masachapa/Pochomil)

24 Steps to the Sand! Pochomil

Available for Christmas

2BR / 2Ba available now furnished no smoking wheelchair accessible house carport Casa Ayers in Pochomil

24 Steps to the Sand!

If 24 short steps to a golden sand tropical beach sounds like a good location for your upcoming Nicaraguan vacation, consider booking a stay at this beachfront home which offers two bedrooms and two baths. Perfect for accommodating a couple or family,

Casa Ayers is located in the beach town of Masachapa/Pochomil and offers easy access via paved roads; it is an easy one-hour drive from the Nicaraguan capital of Managua and the international airport.

This home offers good value for your hard-earned vacation dollar. Both bedrooms are air conditioned, there is a nice palm-thatched rancho structure that affords a fresh breeze and sunset views. Imagine yourself in your chaise lounge with a cool drink enjoying a lovely tropical sunset every night of your stay!

The Space

True beachfront, with modern amenities and a great airy rancho with awesome sunset views. Whether on a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation, the sounds of the Pacific surf will lull you to sleep and the sunset views from the upstairs Rancho will provide many hours of relaxation and enjoyment.

Guest Access

Whole house, rancho, beach. Onsite secured parking. Interaction with Guests Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde will normally be the one to take you from either the MGA International airport, or from our other listing, Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua, so we can get to know one another and have a chance to pick up groceries and change money when in Managua. I’ll show you how everything works, introduce you to the onsite 24 hour caretakers/security, and in general make sure you are oriented on what you need to know to have an enjoyable vacation.

The Neighborhood

Casa Ayers is located within walking distance of local restaurants, discos, and bars. A variety of types of food offerings are available, including pizza, seafood, Nicaraguan and international cuisine. Both swimming and surfing beaches are nearby. Just to the north of Casa Ayers is a channel naturally cut into the reef affording a safe sandy swimming area suitable for children and toddlers during the lower tides. Just south is the surfing beach of Pochomil Viejo. Nearby are several other attractive destinations. In the early mornings, you can walk up the beach to the fishing village of Masachapa to meet the fisherman as they come into the beach with the day’s fresh catch. A local public market, supermarket and other amenities are on offer at the nearby town of San Rafael del Sur and right in the village are basic stores offering groceries, clothing, etc. For $2 per person, the taxi will take you into town. The Barcelo Montelimar resort is also located nearby, where there is a gaming casino and all-you-can-eat and drink restaurant.

Getting Around

Buses run daily every half-hour to both the nearby town of San Rafael del Sur (banks, grocery stores, etc.) and to the capital city of Managua. There are taxis and bicycle taxis to take you to bars, restaurants and discotheques. Other Things to Note Casa Ayers is located one hour away from the capital city of Managua, where the international airport is located. Transport via bus, private shuttle, or taxi is readily available. For those arriving at the Managua (MGA) airport late or departing extra early, see my other listings for Farmstay El Portón Verde, Managua, where we offer our famous “soft landing” service, which is specially designed to take the hassle out of the arrival process and is great for first-time visitors to Nicaragua. We can provide transportation between the airport, Farmstay and/or Casa Ayers. Also local tours can be arranged to visit volcanoes, Colonial towns, lakes, and artisan’s markets.

House Rules

Have a great time! Be respectful that this is a vacation home for the owner, so try not to break things :) We have pets onsite, so your pets are best left back home. Outdoor smoking is okay. Security There is 24 hour onsite security and the property is fenced. You’ll have the keys and it’s perfectly safe to go walking in the area.

Source: Available for Christmas & New Years: Beachfront House, Great Deal!

This could be you!

This could be you!

Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom and air conditioning.

Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom and air conditioning.

Ask about our surf and turf package deal!

Ask about our surf and turf package deal!

kitchen

Roomy living area.

Roomy living area.

masterbedroom

The rancho is a great place to relax in your chaise lounge and enjoy the sunset!

The rancho is a great place to relax in your chaise lounge and enjoy the sunset!

Center for Extreme Tourism Opens on Nicaragua’s Tallest Volcano

Center for Extreme Tourism Opens on Nicaragua’s Tallest Volcano

CHICHIGALPA, Nicaragua – A new attraction for fans of extreme tourism has been inaugurated at the foot of San Cristobal Volcano, Nicaragua’s tallest, in the northwestern region of the Central American country.
Volcano San Cristobal in Nicaragua, taken from an upper level of the sugar mill at the Ingenio San Antonio in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. Ryan Ballantyne --ryos 01:28, 18 June 2006 (UTC) - Own work

Volcano San Cristobal in Nicaragua, taken from an upper level of the sugar mill at the Ingenio San Antonio in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua.
Ryan Ballantyne –ryos 01:28, 18 June 2006 (UTC) – Own work

The site, with its inn, dining hall, visitors center, tourist service facility and trails for climbing the 1,745-meter (5,721-foot) high volcano, was constructed with a budget of 250,000 euros ($276,125), funded 80 percent by the European Union and 20 percent by the Chichigalpa city government.

Its construction is aimed at promoting the comprehensive development of the tourism value chain based on the Route of the Colonial Cities and the Volcanoes, the EU said.

“We used to think that all this volcano could do was erupt, but now it’s on the national route of tourist attractions,” Chichigalpa Mayor Victor Manuel Sevilla told EFE.

Cool story from the LatAm Herald Tribune about the opening of a new tourist center located on Volcano San Cristobal, located near Chichigalpa, which is in-between Leon and Chinandega, Nicaragua. The volcano is consistently active, and is the tallest in Nicaragua at 5,725 ft. It’s part of a chain of five volcanoes in the area.
The funding came mostly from the EU with a portion paid for by the city of Chichigalpa. This new center is expected to boost sustainable tourism.

Surfing beaches near Managua or Granada – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Gazelle1 London Level Contributor 100 posts 29 reviews

Surfing beaches near Managua or Granada

Sep 13, 2015, 7:22 AM

Hi there, Can anyone tell me the easiest good surfing beach to get to from Managua or Granada? Thank you

Re: Surfing beaches near Managua or Granada

Sep 16, 2015, 12:09 AM

Greetings Gazelle1: The best surfing beaches near Managua are Pochomil, San Diego (Gran Pacifica), and Playa Quizala. More here, “Top five Managua-area Vacation, Surfing, and Fishing Villages” elportonverde.com/2014/…

From Managua, the beaches are about 1 hour away while from Granada, the beaches are about 1 1/2 hours away, plus they aren’t really that great for surfing with possibly the exception of La Boquita.

Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

Source: Surfing beaches near Managua or Granada – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Mundial de SurfSurfing is definitely more accessible and with better quality waves from Managua than Granada IMO. There is one world-class surf spot and three or four other good surfing beaches near Managua. Granada on the other hand, is further away from the ocean and the only real surfing beach is La Boquita, which is okay but definitely neither world-class nor is is it a good beginner’s beach.

I replied later on to the same thread on TripAdvisor that if they are leaving from Granada, they’d be better off going down to the Tola beaches, which are lovely and have fantastic surf! They’ve even held World Surf Championships in Tola!

Overall, there’s an embarrassment of riches as far as surf spots go, as you can see illustrated in this post. I posted there four different Google maps images of just a handful of the known surfspots in Nicaragua. But there’s probably a good twenty or thirty more spots besides the ones I’m posting.

Retire to Nicaragua’s Crown Jewel – US News

Granada is built around a bustling town square anchored by a neoclassical cathedral.

Granada is built around a bustling town square anchored by a neoclassical cathedral.

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.

Source: Retire to Nicaragua’s Crown Jewel – US News

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.”

The restaurants have a good variety, albeit are overpriced compared to local spots. The isletas are fun to visit too. It’s near Mombacho Volcano and Laguna de Apoyo, both beautiful spots.

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!

$40/night Beachfront Eco-Casita in Salinas Grandes near Leon, Nicaragua

Beachfront Homes and Lots Tola | venta | PLAYA SANTANA $12,500 : USD 12500.00

Tola | PLAYA SANTANA $12,500

  • 10/04/2015 4:30 pm
  • Beachfront Homes and Lots

Property Information

Location: Tola
Price $12,500.00
Price/m2 of land $20.59
Construction size m2: 0
Lot Size in m2: 607
Benefits: Near School, Near Transit, Mountain View, Plane, Electrïcity, Easy Acces

Description

ROADFRONT. 350 MT FROM BEACH. CHEAPEST LOT YOU WILL FIND THIS CLOSE TO THE BEACH.

Tola | PLAYA SANTANA $12,500 10/04/2015 4:30 pm Beachfront Homes and Lots Property Information Location: Tola Price $12,500.00 Price/m2 of land $20.59 Construction size m2: 0 Lot Size in m2: 607 Benefits: Near School, Near Transit, Mountain View, Plane, Electrïcity, Easy Acces Description ROADFRONT. 350 MT FROM BEACH. CHEAPEST LOT YOU WILL FIND THIS CLOSE TO THE BEACH.

Source: Beachfront Homes and Lots Tola | venta | PLAYA SANTANA $12,500 : USD 12500.00

DISCLAIMER: NEITHER THIS WEBSITE NOR THIS AUTHOR HAVE ANY INTEREST IN THIS PROPERTY. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION FOLLOW THE LINK AND CONTACT THE OWNER DIRECTLY. thank you!!!!

I haven’t lately posted any of these real estate ads that I find might be interesting to my dear reader(s), so here is one that popped up that looked good. This is actually near Playa Santana aka Playa Jiquiliste, which is where one of the three ISA surf championships was held; actually the contest was held here two years ago.

Playa Santana is near Popoyo, and the whole area is undergoing sort of a growth spurt, what with the new Costa Esmeralda airport opening up nearby. It’s a region of Nicaragua known for its excellent surfing and is a fairly tranquil and rural sort of country feel of a place.

This property is a bit back from the beach, but 350 meters certainly is within walking distance. Also, not being that close to the beach is good in the sense of WHEN we get another tsunami there might be a bit less chance of your house being carried away along with various lives. What you say? You haven’t heard of any tsunami’s in Nicaragua? Well, look it up folks!

There was a tsunami in 1992, so a bit more than twenty years ago and it wiped out the homes along this stretch of beach and one hundred or so lives were lost too, so it’s something to consider when you buy property in Nicaragua. You might want a bit of elevation!

So with that pleasant thought I’ll sign off now. Enjoy!