No Regrets, Expats in Nicaragua

expats-in-Nicaragua-enjoying-lunchTalk to any of the expats in Nicaragua you’ll meet and you won’t find one who regrets their decision to move to Nica.  Rather you’ll find them leading very relaxed lifestyles, happy with the choice they’ve made for their life.  The reasons for moving abroad are varied.  Ask some, they’ll say they’ve worked hard all their lives, they’ve been taxed to death and they became fed up.  Their savings took a beating during the recession.  They became tired of the politics.  Healthcare in America was eating into their savings and they thought if health insurance costs and medical care keeps rising, there will be nothing left of their savings for retirement. These are some of the more serious reasons for their decision to retire in Nicaragua.

They traveled to Central America.  Some went to Panama, some to Costa Rica, but many ended up in Nicaragua. It was Nicaragua’s low cost of living, the low crime rate, the warm climate that helped direct their final decision.  Add to these influencing factors was the low cost of healthcare and the ease of integration into Nicaraguan life.  There’s one other reason too these retirees settled here.  Ask anyone and they all praise the friendliness of the Nicaraguans.  Everyone says the same thing.  Nicas are friendly and polite.  You’ve got to come here to experience it.

expats-in-Nicaragua-enjoying-leisure-by-the-poolMost things in Nicaragua are less expensive than in North America and Europe.  There are two things in Nicaragua that are currently more expensive though.  Electricity and gasoline.  There are reports of electricity only costing about $50 a month.  That’s just not true.  Need an air conditioner regularly?  You’ll find your bill will run about $200 – $300 during the hot months, depending on the size of your home.  Most retirees and expats get used to not using air conditioning and rely on a fan during the hot nights.  Don’t think it can be done? Well, it can, once your body has acclimatized to the different temperatures.

Gasoline is the same price as gas in Canada.  Americans pay less for gas so they may find the cost of running a car more expensive than they’re use to.  But in reality, you’ll find that you won’t use a car as much.  Eventually, you’ll do what others do.  Walk everywhere, buy a motorcycle, hop on a bus, grab a taxi.  There are lots of options and you’ll find that you don’t use your car as much as you think you might.

expats-in-Nicaragua-enjoying-leisure-timeWith high cost electricity and gasoline, you’ll find savings elsewhere in Nicaragua, so it balances out in your favor.  What’s cheaper in Nicaragua?  Food is cheaper, fresher and usually organic unless you buy imported food products.  Freshly caught fish, local tropical fruits, the best tasting beef you’ve likely ever had (it’s without the chemicals, the hormones and antibiotics they add to cattle in North America.  There’s a lot of advantages when you decide to pack up and retire in Nicaragua.

Water is cheap.  Property taxes are unbelievably low.  Our dentist who lives in Managua owns a three bedroom house in a nice suburban neighborhood.  His property taxes per year?  $50.  Yes, you read that right.  A whole $50 a year.

Dining out?  You’ll find it cheaper.  You can enjoy a fish and lobster dinner, dessert, beer and wine – for two – for under $50.  You can even dine for less than that.  Living in Nicaragua, you’ll eventually find your own restaurants with great food at even better prices.  A beer is about a dollar, but a glass of wine will cost you $4.00 because – it’s imported.

Real estate prices are generally lower in Nicaragua, especially when you’re able to buy something without the gringo price added to it.  Rumor has it that several property developers are finding there’s a niche market  in creating more affordable housing rather than beach side villas.  Realizing that people want to downsize for their retirement but still live the beach lifestyle, they are now in the planning stages of smaller, more affordable homes and condos.

Finally, healthcare costs are one of the main reasons people decide to retire in Nicaragua.  Most expats and retirees sign up for the health club plan at Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas in Managua.  Hospital Metropolitano offers a plan with low rates in the $26 (approx.) a month which entitles you to have anything from a complete checkup to full surgery at an incredibly discounted price.  This is the health club plan at Managua’s Hospital Metropolitano, most used by expats and retirees.  But there are other hospital and medical facilities throughout Nicaragua you can use.  You’ll also find that some expats don’t even sign up for the healthcare plan and pay a doctor when they need to see one because the price of visiting a doctor is so low.  Doctors here still make house calls.  Don’t get me started about the low cost of prescription drugs in Nicaragua – they are unbelievably cheap and you don’t need a prescription for most medications.

Retirees and expats all say they love their chosen lifestyle.  They wouldn’t change it for anything.  Life is different they say, simpler, they need less things.  Stress has disappeared from their lives.  There’s a definite change in lifestyle.  One friend of mine who’s over 50 sees nothing wrong with hopping on the back her husband’s motorcycle, wrap her arms around his waist and off they’ll go on for a ride to a nearby beach, Nica-style, no helmut.  Another lady whispers to me, “all your aches and pains disappear when you retire in Nicaragua.”  That probably has a lot to do with the climate and the reduction of stress levels, the healthier food and the laid back style of living.  However, no matter whom you talk to about retiring in Nicaragua, they all say the same thing about life here:  “the people are so friendly.”

People from the “old country” probably will never understand why you packed up, lock, stock and barrel and headed to Nicaragua.  No doubt, they “worry” about you, but that’s only until they come to visit and “sample” your life.  They might ask you if you “regret” moving south to Nicaragua.  You’ll probably answer that your only regret is that you didn’t move here soon.  Don’t be surprised if they start asking you where you got the courage to pack up and retire in Nicaragua.

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