Nov 17 2014

Retire for Less Goes to Nicaragua

After 24 days traveling in Nicaragua, we’re back home in Costa Rica.

Why Nicaragua, you might ask?

  1. First, they are Costa Rica’s neighbor to the north and it’s inexpensive to travel there.map_of_nicaragua
  2. Second, it is a country that developed very differently from Costa Rica and we wanted to get to know it’s history, culture, and people.
  3. And third, it is popping up as a popular expat destination and we wanted to investigate.

Are we planning to move to Nicaragua and leave Costa Rica?? No. We love our lives in Costa Rica and have no plans to leave here. But at the same time, never say never. One of the reasons we have always rented is it gives us the freedom to move should we decide to do so — to another part of Costa Rica or even to another country in Latin Amerca, like Nicaragua, Panama, or Ecuador.

So, for our Nicaraguan adventure, we started out with six days in Matagalpa at a hostel, then continued on to Estelí. We chose those two towns because both Matagalpa and Estelí are in the northern highlands of Nicaragua, with weather similar to our town of San Ramón in Costa Rica, though with less rain. We took private Spanish lessons at Spanish School Nicaragua in Estelí for just under two weeks, and then ended our trip with a glorious four days in Granada.

So, can you “retire for less” in Nicaragua? The answer is absolutely yes! Take a look at our October cost of living expenses below to get an initial idea of what things cost. We’ll be writing more about this in the near future, so stay tuned!

And in the meantime, here are a few photos from our trip:

Cascada Blanca, near Estelí, Nicaragua

Cascada Blanca, near Matagalpa, Nicaragua

One of the many murals in Estelí, Nicaragua

One of the many murals in Estelí, Nicaragua

View of Granada from top of La Merced Church Bell Tower

View of Granada from top of La Merced Church Bell Tower

Us, at the top of the La Merced Church bell tower

Us, at the top of the La Merced Church bell tower

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  1. One thing that I have observed while traveling are the people. So, what are the people like? Not the ones that are polite as you are doing business with, but the ones on the street. Are they smiling, seem happy, clean, healthy looking? It is well and fine to move someplace to save some money, but you will be living with these people, so how are the people?

    Thanks for your articles. Don & Nan, now in Platinillo.

    1. Hi Don and Nan,
      We agree completely that the well-being and happiness of the people are hugely important when choosing a place to live. And while saving money is important, that should never be the main factor when making such a big decision.
      That being said, we found the people in Nicaragua to be much like the Ticos — very warm, friendly, and helpful. We also didn’t feel any anti-American sentiment which was surprising to us, considering the U.S’s. involvement in their revolution. In general, the people get by with much less in Nicaragua, and they do what they need to do to earn money and survive. They are very resourceful. There were very few beggars on the streets that we could see. The people seemed to have pride in their appearance and the appearance of their towns as we saw very little trash in the streets. And most people we talked with feel safe and grateful that their country is on the up-swing. We were told on more than one occasion that the people are tired of war and violence and just want to live peaceful lives. We felt very safe there as well.
      Thanks for such a great question!
      Gloria & Paul

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