Living in Nicaragua: Pros and Cons

There is something so exciting about visiting a new destination—the sights, the sounds, the new people—it’s all so vivid and fascinating!

Nicaragua is one such vibrant place with volcanoes, rainforests, beaches, and friendly people. Still a developing country in Central America, Nicaragua is slowly gaining popularity among Westerners, not only as a tourist destination but also as a place to live.

Here’s everything you need to know about living the Nicaragua way.

Embracing a Nicaraguan Life: The Good and the Bad

Staying in Nicaragua for a week or almost the entire year will allow you to experience the country’s good and bad sides.

Westerners who have lived here for a while now are the best sources of information on the pros and cons of living in this Central American country.


  • Nicaraguans are warm and friendly

Once you’ve settled in Nicaragua, you’ll never feel like you’re trying to belong in the country. The people are warm and friendly. They are willing to extend an invitation for meals or have you join them in their daily activities to help you get familiar with their community and way of life.

International relocation can be pretty stressful, but once you are already in Nicaragua, expect your neighbors to go the extra mile to make you feel comfortable and welcome.

  • Nicaragua is an affordable place

US citizens would agree that their monthly income, when spent in Nicaragua, goes a longer way than it would in the US. You don’t have to compromise on your lifestyle because you can have almost the same comforts you had in the US but at a lower cost.

Real estate is also cheaper here, so consider Nicaragua if you want to purchase a second home that you can use in the future or rent out.

  • Nicaragua promotes a laidback and family-oriented life

With the daily demand and pressure of day-to-day life in the US, it’s common for parents to come home tired and be less involved in their children’s lives. Spending quality time with your family is almost a silent rule in Nicaragua.

And finding activities to do with your family is easy because there are plenty of beaches to explore and spend the day on, mountains and lakes to discover, and outdoor activities like snorkeling, island hopping, and bonfires to experience.


  • Nicaragua can only offer the most basic of necessities

Essentials are often enough for many people, but Westerners often find it difficult to adjust to not having easy access to Costco or Walmart. If they want to use the same brand of products they do in the US, they’d have to order them from the US.

They also have a limited number of choices when it comes to hotels and restaurants. And since tourism in Nicaragua is still a work in progress, not all places and systems offer English translation.

  • Nicaragua is not too keen on hot water

Hot water means hot baths anytime you want them, but in this country, you’ll get them only if you pay extra or stay in 5-star accommodations. However, given Nicaragua’s hot climate, you’ll likely grow accustomed to it and eventually prefer taking cool showers.

However, having to endure the shock of taking cold showers for the first few days and weeks can be difficult.

living costs in NicaraguaCost of Living in Nicaragua

One main factor that draws Westerners to Nicaragua is its affordable but high-quality lifestyle.

Because Nicaragua’s costs and prices are more economical, Westerners can enjoy more comforts than they can in the US. Some couples can live comfortably on a monthly budget of $1,500. A social security check of $800 can easily support a single expat.

Rent a Nica-style semi-furnished apartment with a single room on the beachfront or one with a mountain view for $200 to $300 a month. These properties are located in secure neighborhoods and are equipped with fans but no air conditioning.

You can rent a three-bedroom property with the usual amenities, like a pool and gym, for about $700 per month.

As in other countries, utility bills depend on usage. But usually, electricity and water cost $50 to $75, and the internet costs an additional $45. Cable TV costs around $45 a month, so utility bills can amount to a maximum of $180 per month.

Visiting the Top 3 Cities of Nicaragua

A trip to Nicaragua for an initial taste and feel of the country can make you look at this landmine of beautiful forests, volcanoes, and beaches differently.

Visiting and exploring the most exciting and beautiful cities in Nicaragua is a must because you can experience the true Nicaraguan essence here.

1. Granada

Pegged as the Expat Colonial City, Granada is probably one of the prettiest. You can enjoy the town square with its gold church and follow the church spires to get around the city.

This city is home to almost 150,000 locals and foreigners and can offer the bare essentials you’ll need with a touch of modern conveniences like hardware stores and supermarkets.

What makes Granada interesting is its location. It is nestled on the shores of the 19th largest lake in the world, Lake Cocibolca. During the windy months, the lake appears to have whitecaps. The lake boasts 300 tiny island dots you can tour by boat.

Most of these islands are uninhabited, but a few have properties and some restaurants. If you want to experience renting an island, you can easily do so here in Granada.

Granada also offers locals and guests exciting nightlife. At night, the entire Caldaza transforms into a European-like setup that is very familiar to Westerners.

2. San Juan Del Sur

There is something inviting and homey about beach towns, and San Juan Del Sur is one quintessential beachside city you can’t miss.

Charming, colorful, and crazy to some extent, San Juan del Sur is a melting pot of different people from all corners of the world, so the locals are some of the most welcoming Nicaraguans in the country.

And if the people are not enough, you can also enjoy the city’s 22 beaches, with one being more beautiful than the next. Some beach islands are slightly modernized to accommodate visitors, but virgin islands still await exploration.

Westerners who want to settle in San Juan del Sur will have a seamless experience integrating with the community because it is so easy to find someone with common interests. Every local and new resident of this beachside town has a unique story to tell.

3. Matagalpa

Matagalpa is cooler and greener than other cities. This city, dubbed the land of the eternal spring, requires you to be in a jacket most days.

Since Matagalpa experiences more rain and boasts overall nicer weather, it also maintains its green environment all year round, allowing you to take regular hikes to the forests and swim in cool waterfalls anytime.

Matagalpa is also hailed as Nicaragua’s most picturesque city and has established a name for its annual parade of horses called Hipica. During this event, the main thoroughfares are closed to allow the most beautiful horses to display their talents, and one of these includes horse salsa.

The city relies heavily on eco-tourism, making destination places like Selva Negra Wildlife Sanctuary extremely popular since they promote the conservation of the country’s flora and fauna.

Nicaragua as a Retirement Place

Nicaragua accepts foreigners with open arms, and they take pleasure when US retirees decide to settle and retire in the country.

And for Westerners, retiring in Nicaragua is a seamless and hassle-free process because the process of citizenship is straightforward. Additionally, all the retirement funds you have been raising will go a long way in Central America than in any other country or state in the US.

It is a beautiful country with warm weather and a warm, hospitable community that has grown to adapt and coexist with Westerners. With affordable investment opportunities, a low cost of living, and a better quality of life, expats can’t get a better retirement place than Nicaragua because it will help escape the financial crisis so familiar to the US.

And with Nicaragua being hailed as one of the safest places in the entire Central US, you can chill and relax every day, bask in the must-visit destinations around the country, and enjoy life, taking it one day at a time.

Today, many Westerners have settled in some of the most popular retirement destinations of the country, like Granada and Leon, and the southwestern area of the Pacific coast close to San Juan Del Sur.

These beachfront locations are always a win for retirees, but lately, Matagalpa, a beautiful, small town in the mountains, is also becoming a prime option.

Wrapping Up

You can consider Nicaragua your future home or somewhere you can retire and enjoy life. Like any other country, you must embrace Nicaragua with all its pros and cons. Still, you will get the best end of the bargain, settling down in this friendly and one-of-a-kind Central American home.


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