Best Places To Retire In U.S. And Abroad –

A Search for Best Places

Bonnie Hayman, an International Living correspondent who lives in the coastal town of San Juan del Sur, found a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with an ocean view for $132,000. “I would never have been able to live in an ocean-view home in the States,” she said in International Living’s report. “I pay real estate taxes of just $151 a year.”

Debbie Goehring and her husband, who spend $1,089 a month to live on Ometepe Island, joined the Vivian Pellas Metropolitan Hospital health discount program in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital. “Built to U.S. standards, this hospital provides excellent services to expats at about a quarter of what it would cost in the U.S.,” she said.

Source: Best New Places To Retire In U.S. And Abroad –

Isn’t it about finding your best places to retire?

Hey reader(s) and robots! Here is another article about how Nicaragua should be on the list when considering low-cost with quality-living places retirement spots overseas.

There’s also a bit on low-cost cities in the US to live, which is good, I mean there are places in the the US that are perfectly appropriate places but maybe just don’t have the romance of moving abroad to some? I’m asking here folks, let me know what you think.

They went to a couple of the “go-to” expats here for the money quotes, in this case literally, and more power to ’em! If you click through to read, what stood out most is Peru, that a single person could live there for $500-$600 per month in a nice pleasant situation.

Could you live like this? (Ko Pha Ngan)

Could you live like this? (Ko Pha Ngan)

Here’s my comment I put on the story’s website:


Well Scott you do have a point there, don’t you? Peru looks pretty good here too, I wonder if it’s so? As usual readers are urged to do your own research and spend lots of time on the ground before making any major decisions, including buying property overseas.
But really this is a very standard “retire cheap in Latin America (with one SE Asian country thrown in) that relies heavily on outfits that promote the “sizzle” like IL steer you towards Gringo Accumulation Zones (GAZs). As mentioned about Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur, Granada and now also, Ometepe Island. Those are all lovely places but there is a lot more to the country (and the people!) than that!
The sometimes (or oftentimes) challenging aspect of actually living here is sort of another story not told by most of these sorts of articles, however informative they may be as one small aspect of living abroad, which is cost and quality of living.
If readers decide to visit Nicaragua, get in touch for our “soft landing” service.

Cheers, Mike @ El Porton Verde, Managua

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

Cobb Family Enjoying Nicargua. Copyright

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 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 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. 
    ©, 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.

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! 🙂

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! Nicaragua Residency Guide

How Do I get Residency in Nicaragua?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get here at the Farmstay, and I’m VERY happy to report that now I can give one simple recommendation that I feel very confident can help ANYBODY seeking to move down to Nicaragua on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. GO BUY THE Nicaconexiones Nicaragua Residency Guide!


THE Nicaragua Residency Guide

Author Casey Callais has done a great job in explaining not only the general process, but also the specifics of how to gain residency here in Nicaragua. Every possible form that Immigration or INTUR requires is shown to you, it’s meaning explained to you, and the reason why the Nicaraguan government would even want to know some of the information is also provided. This gives you a specific path to gain residency, an understanding of the requirements, and a context for why, how, and when that I haven’t found in any other source.

The cost is nominal for the basic edition, $29.00 and even includes a personal consultation with the author! There are two other options besides the basic edition, the Plus Edition and the Personal Edition. See Casey’s website for further details.


Bang! Mic drop…another five-star review!

Folks looking to relocate to Nicaragua enjoy a great start to their adventures with a Farmstay!

Yes, we give thanks for our fabulous visitors!

Yes, we give thanks for our fabulous visitors!

Man, it’s gonna be tough to not get a big head with our recent visitors providing us with such lovely reviews like this one from Jeff, a recent visitor from Arizona that came to us via Airbnb. He and his wife Karla and their cute puppy came in using the VIP Service at the airport, so a “soft landing” was almost guaranteed! Turns out they are relocating to Nicaragua and will likely be neighbors of mine at a beach property down in Playa Guasacate, Tola, Rivas so we expect to see much more of them in the near future! Thank you for the five-star review, we appreciate it.

Click here for more Airbnb reviews.

Leaving Nicaragua, Have a Vehicle to Store? Park & Fly Special

Leaving Nicaragua, Have a Vehicle to Store? Park & Fly Special

(km. 10 1/2 Carretera a Masaya)



If you need to come to Managua to fly out of the country but don’t know where to park your car, and if your flight is early in the morning, why not take advantage of our Park and Fly Special?We offer lodging for two persons with transport to the airport and up to 14 days parking for $70 total. If you are out of the country for longer, the parking charge for each day after 14 days is only $1 per day.We have secured parking on our tranquil farmstay property that is only ten minutes from Galerias but feels like it is a hundred miles away from the noise and pollution of Managua.If interested in the Park and Drive Special, please contact Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua



Si usted necesita llegar a Managua para volar fuera del país, pero no sabe dónde aparcar su coche, y si su vuelo es temprano en la mañana, ¿por qué no tomar ventaja de nuestro Aparcar y Volar especial? Ofrecemos alojamiento para dos personas con el transporte al aeropuerto y hasta 14 días de aparcamiento por $ 70 USD total. Si usted se encuentra fuera del país por más tiempo, el cargo de aparcamiento por cada día después de 14 días es de sólo $ 1 por día. Nos hemos asegurado de aparcamiento en nuestra propiedad farmstay tranquilo que está a sólo diez minutos de Galerias, pero se siente como que está a cientos de millas lejos del ruido y la contaminación de Managua. Si está interesado en el Aparcar y Volar especial,  por favor póngase en contacto con Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

Source: Leaving Nicaragua, Have a Vehicle to Store? Park & Fly Special

This is our latest advertisement in Craigslist, aimed at expats and Nicaraguans who are leaving the country via air, have a vehicle, and would prefer to drive themselves close to the airport, stay overnight in a place so quiet and tranquil that it is way better than spending more money to stay somewhere else, get taken to the airport to catch their flight, leaving their vehicle to rest in a nice shady spot where it will be well looked after and safe.

We’ve had three guests come in this way, so my ever so astute marketing sense tells me this must be some kind of a need folks have that the Farmstay can and does provide. If you would like to take advantage of this deal too, just get in contact with me by filling out the form below:

Nicaragua: It Just Feels Like Home

Living in Nicaragua is different than the USA

Street in Granada, Nicaragua Author Adalberto.H.Vega

Street in Granada, Nicaragua Author Adalberto.H.Vega

By Suzanne Maxey — My son advised me that Granada, Nicaragua was nothing like the United States. And I thought that I completely understood – that is, until I had lived here for a few months.

It’s a lot like living in the good old days

If you are old enough, think back to the USA in the 50’s and early 60’s.  Then slow the pace down.  Horse drawn carts compete for space on the streets with all the taxis. A small herd of cows and the bull pass by my casa every morning and evening on their way to graze. Ladies older than I am walk the barrio with huge baskets of fruit, vegetables, bread, you name it, balanced on their heads, selling their wares, the bread still hot from the oven. Men walk by all day selling anything you can think of from their carts. Ceiling fans, sewing machines, pots and pans, window glass, you name it.

Living with minor inconveniences

At least once a week either the water or the power or both go out. Usually it is back on by 5 p.m., but now and then it is a 24 hour marathon of no water or no electricity. Not so much fun when it is 95 degrees outside and there is no breeze. Hardly anyone in Nicaragua has air conditioning but a fan usually keeps us cool enough…until the power goes out. Then we spend a fair amount of time standing under the shower.
Hardly anyone here has hot water, either.  But honestly, we don’t need it. The showers are lukewarm to slightly cool, and they sure do feel good.  If you insist on hot water for the dishes, just fill up a bowl with tap water and put it in the microwave. Works fine.

No deprivation required

Most anything you can get in the U.S., you can get here. Can’t say regarding Canadian foods or goods. The grocery stores here carry the more expensive U.S. brands of food as well as Latin American brands. The LA brands of food are just as good, and a lot cheaper. Once in a while I splurge and buy a can of Spam or jar of Jif, but stick with local brands for the most part. In the mercado, any and everything can be found. Be careful in the mercado though; pickpockets love the gringos.

A comfortable life

It’s a slower pace but it is a comfortable pace. I don’t miss the congested interstates or the crowded, overpriced convenience store on every corner. Here, there are pulperias on every block, small convenience stores being operated out of someone’s living room. You can get eggs, chips, milk, soft drinks and homemade frescos, even detergent just a few doors down from your casa. In the evening, ladies set up tables outside their homes with home cooked meals, ready to buy for your supper. Delicious!
Granada, Nicaragua feels like a soft, well worn old shirt and pair of jeans. If I want to go to the mall or a movie then Managua is close by, but the slow, easygoing pace of Granada fits me like a glove. It can be frustrating when the power goes out and then the water cuts off for a few hours, but in the evening when everyone comes outside to walk and visit and gossip, Nicaragua feels like home.
Suzanne Maxey lives not too far from her son (and grandkids) in Granada. Her son, Casey, wrote the NCX Guide to Residency in Nicaragua, a must-have for anyone considering moving down to this beautiful country. 

5 Depressing Side Effects No One Tells You About Moving Abroad

Is it worth the risks?

5 Depressing Side Effects No One Tells You About Moving Abroad

Manon de Heus
During the past 10 years, I’ve lived in five different countries.

It’s been an amazing journey that has taught me more about life, love and fear than any education or self-help book ever could.

To build a new existence far away from everything you know and believe in is the most powerful feeling in the world.

People who have moved abroad will nod their heads in agreement.

They will tell you that traveling has broadened their horizons, made them more open-minded and has shown them what truly matters in life.

What they won’t tell you is it’s also the loneliest, most alienating and most guilt-ridden thing they have ever done.

In expat land, fairytales don’t exist. Here are five things that are bound to happen if you decide to leave your home behind:

Source: 5 Depressing Side Effects No One Tells You About Moving Abroad

Totally worth clicking through to read more. While the author may be stating the case a bit strongly and certainly not all expats experience these feelings or more likely, admit to having them, they are there to a greater or lesser extent depending on your life circumstances. For those not sufficiently motivated or lacking time (come back when you do have time if you are for real about relocating abroad), here are the top five depressing side effects no one tells you about moving abroad:

1. Your loved ones will be devastated.
2. You’ll feel guilty all the time.
3. You’ll feel really, really lonely.
4. You won’t fit in anymore.
5. You’ll lose dear friends.

I can definitely relate to each one of these points. Relocating isn’t for wimps in general and I’d say especially so to move to Nicaragua! You have to really love it here and form your own life that is totally distinct from your old life, and that’s not easy. At all.

Of course, one can take a different approach to this issue. Let’s assume that to a greater or lesser extent current expats have one or more of these feelings. But let’s get something clear here, haters gonna hate as far as folks back home giving you guilt trips for not being there for them.

Guess what friends and family back home, we’re not here to live according to your standards of what is right and proper. Just because you think going to Hawaii every year and attending the same darn luau is the coolest thing ever doesn’t make it so for everybody!

There’s a reason there are 30 or so flavors at your local ice cream store, we all don’t like the same thing! Sure chocolate, vanilla or strawberry are all tasty but just because you like it best doesn’t mean everyone else has to love it! (Note to self: mmmm ice cream…)

Without getting too much in the trenches here dear reader(s), I can say that it is worthwhile to think about some of these issues BEFORE you decide to be an expat and see if you think they might affect you. Especially the stuff about the friends and family back home. Just realize that some of these folks are very JEALOUS that you got out of the system back home and have a chance to make a new life for yourself in another country so take their sometimes passive-aggressive mannerisms with a compassionate understanding that part of them would love to be able to do what you are doing, but their life circumstances and lack of an adventurous spirit might be a couple of reasons why that AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!

Let’s Get Real about Working in Nicaragua | Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua

Let’s Get Real about Working in Nicaragua


2 Votes

Since my post, Lets Get Real about Retiring to Nicaragua, was a big hit, I am going to have a monthly post on Let’s Get Real about…

This month’s post is Let’s Get Real about Working in Nicaragua. It all started with a post on a Facebook forum for expats in Nicaragua.

Hey, how much money will I need to support myself for the first couple of months? When I arrive I am going to travel to a few places (i.e Leon, Granada) and choose the place I like best and then look for work as an english teacher there.

Recently, I have noticed an increase in the number of alarming posts, such as the one above. I say alarming because many foreigners looking for work in Nicaragua haven’t done their research.

So let’s get real about working in Nicaragua as a foreigner.

read the rest at–> Let’s Get Real about Working in Nicaragua | Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua. See my related post: Relocation to Nicaragua on a Shoestring Budget: Fact or Fiction?

Great post and fantastic comments, kudos to all…sounds like “Let’s Get Real About Health Care in Nicaragua” is already halfway written. Ditto on the Metropolitano discount plan. Been saying for years to anyone who asks that it is not an insurance so do not count on it!
As for my comments…First, I’d say take a look at how most Nicaraguans live and earn money and learn from that. Most regular folks have two or three jobs, maybe one formal full- or part-time and the rest informal. Just to make ends meet, most will need to have a few different gigs so I’ve tried to model that program with varying degrees of success. It’s quite difficult to really make money in Nicaragua in my experience so think of the whole adventure as a “lifestyle choice” and maybe you won’t mind (so much) the hassles and general challenges that you undoubtedly WILL encounter.
Second comment is that I’ve seen more folks coming down with a sort of fly by the seat of your pants approach and honestly I only know one success story so it’s possible to accomplish but very rare.
And finally, yes you can teach English and it is possible to earn under the table (I do not…) I teach at a school in Managua just a few hours a week to get another little bit of $ but mainly to get health insurance through INSS.

Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Portón Verde, Managua

Can you relocate to Ometepe Island on a shoestring budget? Well, don't count on it!

Can you relocate to Ometepe Island on a shoestring budget? Well, don’t count on it!