Cautionary Tales of Nicaragua: Basic Don’t Do’s When Moving Here

Cautionary Tales

Basic Don’t Do’s When Moving to Nicaragua

So this happened…

I’m not completely certain how to best convey to you lovely reader(s) the type of feelings one gets when you see a really bad thing happen to someone, but part of you says, “yeah, I can see how they got themselves into so much T-R-O-U-B-L-E in such a short amount of time.”

What I can promise you is that I’ll try to tell this as one of many cautionary tales of Nicaragua, especially as regards moving and relocating. In fact, I’m creating my master opus on this very topic; I’ll be asking the tough questions that will give you an idea as to what is real here so you can try to avoid those (costly) rookie mistakes. As it happens, a whole series of these could be written, many from my own book of newby errors.

Is a swimming pool with a tropical view in your future?

Is a swimming pool with a tropical view in your future?

Here’s a quick rundown on some of mine:

  • I bought property based on an architect’s plan, not what was on the ground.
  • Paid an amount based on that plan becoming a reality.
  • Proceeded to change course entirely and ended up not doing anything with said property for over ten years now.

I’ll save an indepth discussion of my personal relocation errors and mistakes that I made for a different day. This cautionary tale will focus on basic do’s and “don’t do’s” (sic) when moving to this country based on a recent experience I had with someone I don’t know that well. The family moved here, purchased property, brought their five school-age children and five little dogs and ended up having a way too challenging situation that unfortunately could not be overcome.

Do you want to know more? Subscribe to Nicaragua Insiders

Retirees eye lower cost of living in Latin America

Retirees are attracted to the warm weather, good medical care and proximity to the USA.


Tanya Hartill, owner of NicaTour Group (, estimates that retirees can live well in Nicaragua for about $900 a month. Many people on her tours have visited other countries and are being very deliberate in their decision-making, says Hartill, who offers an eight-day tour for about $1,375 a person, excluding airfare.

via Retirees eye lower cost of living in Latin America.

Friend of the Farmstay, Ms. Tanya Hartill, got a nice mention in USA Today in a personal finance/retirement article. Congratulations Tanya for getting some recognition for the excellent, well-priced tours that you run specifically for people looking to retire and invest in Nicaragua. Keep up the good work! If anyone wants to know more and get a personal recommendation from me, please contact me.

The NicaTour Group’s tours include site visits to some new housing communities, meet and greets with actual locals (like me!) who have been there and done that as regards making the transition, experts in areas such as Residency, Real Estate, Healthcare, Medical Tourism, etc.

Her prices are very fair considering you will probably save yourself from making some potentially costly mistakes if you go in on your own without the knowledge and contacts that you get from the organized tours.

Relocation to Nicaragua on a Shoestring Budget: Fact or Fiction?

Goals, Aspirations, and Dreams vs. Truth, Reality, and Fact

MY OPINION: First in a Series

The difference between aspiring to move to Nicaragua and the actuality of moving to Nicaragua.

In this post, I will attempt to differentiate between the hope and wish to move to Nicaragua and the reality of moving here and trying to make a living.

First off, if you are planning to move to Nicaragua and have either substantial assets, a regular monthly income from investments such as dividends, rental property, etc. Or perhaps you have some sort of pension or Social Security coming in. If so, then this post, while it may be of interest and have some valid points that resonate with you, ultimately may not be on point as your situation will be a bit different.

That is not to say that moving here with income and/or assets makes your future life in Nicaragua stress- and worry-free! Far from it actually. The point is that you should at least have the opportunity to enjoy a life here based on those assets and incomes. Sure, you might lose it all in a bad investment, buy a property without doing your due diligence that turns out to have a bad title, start a business that will fail, etc. But at least you have the green light to go for it, whatever your dream might be.

But what about if you aspire to move here, but don’t have much in the way of assets and income and want to shoestring your way to a brighter future in Nicaragua? Ah, that is the much more difficult path, a critical path one might say, fraught with a high potential for failure.

That’s not to say that it hasn’t been done. There are examples where someone comes down to Nicaragua, makes the right connections, gets their foot in the door, and works their butt off to make a successful livelihood here in Nicaragua. But those few examples are by far the exception. The rule is, whatever meager assets you have you will probably lose as you attempt to fill that niche, outsmart the local competition, and use your superior skills to gain market share, build customer awareness and loyalty, and ultimately to be a success in your endeavor.

What I’m saying is that even filling that need, addressing that customer base, providing a unique service or product, etc. may not be enough to make it here. Its just really tough. You are going up against local competition, or introducing something that has never been tried here before, or you may have an incorrect assumption that the local Nicaraguans are not as bright as you are. Let me tell you, that is not so.

What is so is that there are market niches, there are untapped markets, there are underserved demographics, and ultimately there are opportunities in this country. But once you identify those things and begin to implement your ideas, technology and work ethic to be a success, then the real work starts.

Questions? Comments?

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!

Retirement Tours in Nicaragua – NicaTour Group

Retirement Tours in Nicaragua – NicaTour Group.
Retirement Tours in Nicaragua

We offer three retirement tours of Nicaragua which are most suited to people considering Nicaragua as their retirement or relocation destination. These tours offer a great opportunity for North Americans to learn about and experience first-hand the beauty, the people and the advantages of living and retiring in Nicaragua. We are the first company to offer retirement tours on the internet.

For for those looking for a place to live, we have included some tours to a variety of properties by different developers.  On our tours, you will be given a broad overview of this beautiful country.  For retirees and people who wish to relocate to Nicaragua whether for personal or business reasons,  there’s the chance to attend either our “Nicaragua Lifestyle Conference™” or “Meet the Experts: Roundtable Forum™” – one of which is included in the cost of your tour. On our retirement or real estate tous, our knowledgeable and experienced tour guides make it their mission to show you the lesser known areas as well as areas preferred by ex-pats who have chosen this country as their newly adopted home.

Read more here–>

Tanya at Nica Tour Groups runs what is probably the best, most thorough, and definitely most independent and straightforward tour of Nicaragua that focuses on investing, relocating and retiring in Nicaragua.

As owner and operator of Farmstay El Porton Verde, I see a trend where more and more of my guests are visiting Nicaragua with the idea to relocate and invest here. Even first-time visitors are coming down here with that idea. Well, as someone who has been living in the country for over three years now, I usually stress to those interested to be very careful, to take small baby steps, and most importantly, get to know the country and its people, customs, and especially language before making any real decisions.

Not everyone follows such sage advice of course 🙂 (you know who you are and we love you for your impetuousness!) But for the great majority of people, it just makes sense to take it slow. Taking Tanya’s Nica Tour is probably the most cost-efficient way to get the information you need, talk to the real experts, people who don’t have an axe to grind, get to see some of the different areas of the country, etc.

If you end up signing up for one of their tours, do me a favor and please mention that you heard about it from Mike at Farmstay El Porton Verde!

Nicaragua grows as a destination for retirees / El Nuevo Diario

January 13, 2014 | 14:31:44

Granada, Nicaragua | Google translate of

Nicaragua grows as a destination for retirees

Darrell and Amy Bushnell, are an American couple who live in Granada for eight years and why they have made this city their home

By Andrea Sepulveda | National

Nicaragua grows as a destination for retirees
The colonial city of Granada is also one of the main tourist areas of Nicaragua. STOCK / END


Nicaragua has been growing as one of the preferred destinations for retirees.

Like last year, this 2014 magazine International Living Nicaragua selected among the 15 best places for retirees. A nomination is confirmed to see how increasing Americans, Canadians and other foreigners who have chosen Nicaragua as their home after retirement.This is the case of Darrell and Amy Bushnell, who live in Granada for eight years.

The couple has been integrated into the city through some cultural activities such as art classes, working in libraries and even through the website www.nicaragua reporting on Nicaragua who want to settle in the country.

“I think the initial interest to come to retire here is that the cost of living is low. Proximity to the United States is also a factor, but I think the people who visit do it because people liked Nicaragua, “said Darrell Bushnell.

“One of the good things that we see especially in Granada, is that we accept the premises. When we have difficulty with a word in Spanish are friendly and help us and even if you know nothing of Spanish can make yourself understood in the city because the people are so friendly and easy to communicate with them even with gestures, “Amy said.

While many look for cities like Granada, Leon and San Juan del Sur to be installed, there are foreigners who opt for a luxurious retreat in housing developments such as Gran Pacifica or Guacalito the Island

“We have about 15% or 20% of foreign investors who have bought homes, apartments or lots for their homes and in the future to move here,” said Andrew Valldejuli, Regional Sales Manager of the resort on the island Guacalito

This luxurious complex offers first class services in an idyllic landscape for prices ranging from $ 500,000 and $ 4 million.

“Our customer is a special customer. You are looking for that nature that man is not made as elsewhere in Latin America and are looking for a safe place where it can invest and invest some of your time. In our experience the customer will not live here 100% of the time. This is their second or third house, “said Valldejuli.

The Retirees and the Volcano (Nicaragua) | Retirement and Good Living

The Retirees and the Volcano (Nicaragua) | Retirement and Good Living.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013   10:25 am |  Category:   Retirement locations   
Author:     bio

My husband and I retired to Ometepe Island, Nicaragua in 2010. We have an enormous fresh water lake, Lake Cocibolca, in our front yard and an active volcano, Vulcan Concepcion, in our back yard. Most of our family thought we were crazy to move to Nicaragua. “Isn’t there a war going on over there?” they would ask. “What will you do if the volcano erupts?”

Retire in Ometepe Island, NicaraguaActually, we never gave much thought to the volcano erupting because we bought a kayak and we figured we could escape easily by paddling rapidly across the lake. You see, we are risk takers. We always have been…and probably always will be. We chose Nicaragua after we delivered school supplies to an impoverished school in Granada, Nicaragua. The people sold us immediately on their vivacious culture, their generosity, and their simplistic living.

Nicely written short story from Debbie Goehring about her and her husband’s life on Ometepe Island. Three years in and they are starting to really get the hang of it, it appears to me. Bravo!

So Many Reasons to Love Nicaragua…

So Many Reasons to Love Nicaragua….

There’s a lot to be discovered in Nicaragua… A country bursting with opportunity, culture and magnificent wildlife, it’s a place that’s been overlooked by the majority of tourists and expats. But as more and more people hear about what this diverse destination has to offer, that’s beginning to change.

No matter your taste, interest, or budget, you’ll find a lot to adore in Nicaragua.

.So Many Reasons to Love Nicaragua…

Considering Nicaragua as a Retirement Destination

Considering Nicaragua as a Retirement Destination.
Considering Nicaragua as a Retirement Destination?

ou are not alone if you are considering Nicaragua as a retirement destination.

The New York Times lists Nicaragua as one of the must-see tourist destinations of 2013. Forbes Magazine calls Nicaragua “one of the top five retirement destinations” for American citizens.

What’s New?

We’ve got a newly designed website and logo but that’s not all.  We’re offering more tour packages with more travel date options to Nicaragua. We are also facilitatingmedical tourism packageswith our partners in Managua.  Nicaragua is now a key player in the medical tourism industry,  a  destination conveniently close to home for North American clients.  Also, a first for Nicaragua: we’re offeringall inclusive vacations to Nicaraguafrom Montreal, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Atlanta and Dallas.

Nica Tour Group has consistently been upgrading the breadth and depth of their Nicaraguan tour offerings and this article makes clear that they continue to be the leader in relocation and retirement tours. Get in on the wave before it is too late (haha just kidding…a little!)

Nicaragua Infographics: 10 Reasons to Live in Nicaragua

Nicaragua Infographics: 10 Reasons to Live in Nicaragua.

10 Reasons to Live in Nicaragua

My comment would be that this is a great use of the infographic medium, and that most of the points made are true. Not sure what kind of a house you’ll get in Granada for 40k though…

I wrote on the International Living website that folks might want to consider the Managua area too as it has lots of things that the outlying smaller towns and cities don’t have. Best hospital, shopping, access to government offices, etc. If you live up in the hills like I do at 1,000 feet elevation it makes the heat pretty bearable too. Granada, Managua, Leon, those places are just too hot for me.