Best Cities to Live in Nicaragua

What are the Best Places to Live in Nicaragua?

There are many fine towns and a few real cities to choose from when deciding where to live in Nicaragua. Some of the factors influencing whether one town or city works best for your personal situation are:

  • lifestyle preferences
  • Spanish-speaking abilities
  • financial situation
  • personal health
  • desires to live with or without other expatriates
  • weather
  • transportation
  • amenities

There are many more factors in addition to those named above. We’ll tackle this topic on a broad level now and in further posts will break it down into some detail. If you have enjoyed this post, please comment below and encourage me to continue with this series!

Let’s get started with some broad strokes as to what whould be the best Nicaraguan city for you to live in.

Do you want to live in a city, town, village, or? Would you enjoy being in the center of the pueblo just a couple of streets off of the plaza? Or, do you prefer living a few minutes drive or bus away from the downtown? As with all things, there are pluses and minuses to each of these options and you need to find out for yourself what is best for you.

What about your Spanish-language skills? If you already have a fairly good handle on Spanish, then you are likely much more open to living wherever you want to in Nicaragua. Folks with limited Spanish and little-to-no ability to learn the language will probably be best suited to live in an area with a large existing expat community where you can speak English most everywhere you go.

Are finances a major consideration? If living on a fixed budget, even though your money goes much further in Nicaragua, you will still need to watch your spending habits and keep a reserve handy in case. Obviously, if you have a much more comfortable financial situation, then you can forego thinking about strategizing on money-saving schemes and live you life as you desire.

What about your health? Your age? Anything requiring regular checkups, medical specialists, tests and exams? That will affect your decisions too. Excellent health care is available in Nicaragua, but is not evenly distributed throughout the country. For the most part, Managua is where the best doctors and hospitals are located.

Do you prefer to live in a real Nicaraguan community or one with a sizeable expat population? Some people, usually those with limited Spanish skills, find themselves drawn to expat communities, of which there are not a lot to choose from in Nicaragua. Do you want to join the Kiwanas club or the American Legion? If that is the sort of social life you envision then your options are limited as regards Nicaragua. Or, do you want to live as completely as possible with Nicaraguans in a Spanish-speaking community? This question also speaks to your needs for a social life. Some folks are just fine by themselves or the occasional meetup with friends, and some are real “joiners” that want to be part of every bridge club, charity event, volunteering at the schools, hospitals, orphanages, etc. Which are you?

Weather is another important consideration. Luckily, in Nicaragua one can choose what kind of weather they like. Warm and hot is the norm here, but there are mountainous areas that are great for that “perpetual spring” climate. As you get to live here awhile, a slight change in temperature can make the difference between sweating and being miserable or quite comfortable.

Transportation is important too. It is not too difficult to live without a car in Nicaragua and in some places it offers a distinct advantage to not drive! Buses and taxis are usually very available and mostly inexpensive. Driving here has its challenges, but of course offers freedom of movement that relying on public transportation just does not offer.

Finally, what amenities are important to you? For example, are you a shopaholic? There aren’t too many shopping malls in Nicaragua and most of them are in Managua. Are first-run movies in brand-new theaters your thing? Again, the capital has those but are not very well distributed outside of Managua. What about nightlife? Culture? Art? Poetry? Live music? A variety of different types of restaurants? I always recommend you be clear with yourself that if you feel you need these amenities, don’t go moving out to the coast where it takes an hour or two to find some of these things. Be real with yourself and admit you like eating sushi and seeing a musical play live once in a while!

Okay, that is the end of this edition. I plan on writing more of these and going into further detail on each and every consideration to help make your move to Nicaragua a good one! Please share, Like, or comment!

Top Four “Off the beaten path” Nicaraguan Surfing & Fishing Villages

Your author, surfing Pipes

Your author, surfing Pipes

Top Four”Off the beaten path” Nicaraguan Surfing & Fishing Villages

I had someone contact me via TripAdvisor in a personal message asking about where one might look for a nice surfing family beach vacation for a group of five that might not be located in San Juan del Sur, as they were perhaps aware that SJdS can be a bit of a Nicaraguan version of Key West. The family is looking for something different. Here are my suggestions.

  • Zone 1: Tola, Rivas area.
  • Zone 2: Carazo
  • Zone 3: Leon
  • Zone 4: Chinandega


Some places to look at for an off-the-beaten path surfing vacation with a cultural element of a small fishing village in Nicaragua would be Playa Gigante and Las Salinas/Popoyo in the Tola, Rivas area. Each of these beaches has a local evening scene.

Gigante has a few beach bars with live music and DJ/techno playing on weekends. Gigante also has a good learner’s surfing break, and is a short panga boat ride to the top Tola area surfing breaks. There are a few nice looking homes for rent in this area:

Las Salinas/Popoyo/Guasacate has three names because they often get confused and are all right next or if you look on Google maps, on top of one another. I believe it is correct to say what is usually called Popoyo is really Playa Guasacate, while the area slightly south and inland of the beachfront is called Las Salinas. Anyway… Popoyo the surf break is across the estuary mouth to the south of the tip of the end of a  sort of peninsula running towards San Martin at the north end of Playa Guasacate.


Huehuete and La Boquita are nice beaches, with some neat rock formations that create some interesting little pools and act as breakwalls against the surging Pacific surf. But there are some beachbreaks, and you can also rent panga boats to take you to some nearby surf spots that are not very frequented and you might have the spot to yourself and your buddies. La Boquita is a more organized tourist spot, with beachfront restaurants and small simple hotels.


El Transito, Playa Hermosa, Miramar and Salinas Grandes are all surf and fishing villages. Not too much to be said for their nightlife (little to none) but the surfing is good and they are not that well traveled by most surfers. There’s a great little off-the-grid beach house I know of for rent in Salinas Grandes that is perfect for a romantic couple’s getaway or a few guys and gals on a surf trip.


Los Asseradores, Aposentillo, and Jiquilillo is a stretch of very nice coast up in the furthest northwest of Nicaragua. The Asseradores/Aposentillo area has a few up and coming restaurants like Al Cielo aka “The French Guys” which is an outstanding restaurant considering its remote location. Jiquilillo is Baja-Nicaragua, a real end of the road feel, with a simple fishing village atmosphere and sometimes excellent surf. Again, not much nightlife, but there are a few hostel bars that can be fun, and a couple of local dives that may be interesting if nothing else.

I hope you enjoyed this overview of some of the overlooked, lesser-known, off-the-beaten path areas of Nicaragua for the surfing enthusiast who would like a bit of local exposure, not just be in a tourist trap.File:Las Penitas Beach Rock 3.JPG

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.

Beachfront Homes and Lots Nagarote | venta | SELL HOUSE IN TRANSITO BEACH : USD 95000.00

Beachfront Homes and Lots Nagarote | venta | SELL HOUSE IN TRANSITO BEACH : USD 95000.00.


Property Information

Location: Nagarote
Price $95,000.00
Price/sq meter $158.33
Size 600
Lot Size 600
Rooms 4
Bathrooms 2
Benefits Near School, Near Transit, Ocean View, Mountain View, Ocean Waterfront, Plane, Water system, Electrïcity, Easy Acces



This is a prime example of a beach area property that is off the radar for most buyers as it is located in the department of Leon. El Transito is a small fishing village located in-between Managua and Leon. It is a somewhat isolated location but that might make it appealing to some buyers. Good surfing nearby too!