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Expat Advice: Moving to Leon, Nicaragua

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Central Square in Leon, Nicaragua

An expat who moved to Leon, Nicaragua talks about how she chose Leon, finding her first place to live with the help of a local real estate agency, getting advice from other expats before she moved and much more. She advises others to bring more sheets and towels, more pots and pans and to leave fancy, warm clothing and shoes at home.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Leon

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

More pots and pans - quality cookware is not easily available. More sheets and towels - cotton sheets are impossible to find. More hair products - it is impossible to find the products that my hair type needs. I could have left all of my high heeled shoes, my jackets and most of my jewelry. My life here is simple and I don't need all the "trappings" I am used to, and it is too hot for jackets at any time of day.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

I encourage anyone serious about relocating to reach out to the ExPat web site group before you move here. They are full of sound advice on what is necessary to bring and what you can buy here. My kitchen and bedroom would be in sad shape if they hadn't advised me, as I'm advising you above. Also, spend a week or more visiting before you fully commit to the move. You will find that what you thought you knew was just the surface of what your new town is about. I spent 4 days here before making the decision to move and I fell in love with the vibes of life I got from the people around me. Leon is a lively town with very active people and I wouldn't have known that. Work with a realtor on finding your first place to live, they know what is safe and what isn't. Once you're there, you can discover your next place to live on your own. Bring someone with you going to the airport because Managua changes their luggage allowances with no advance notice. I had to leave one of my suitcases with my daughter.. If you are bringing pets, that is another whole ordeal, so make preparations months in advance. Good luck!

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

I currently live in an apartment within a community. It's a one bedroom with hot water, washer-dryer and air conditioning, which is very unusual for Leon. This is another reason why I chose this neighborhood, the houses have more amenities. Next year I plan to move to a small home in the community because I miss having a yard and patio. ExPats here live in a variety of areas in the city, there is no one spot heavily populated by ExPats, in fact, Leon itself is not heavily populated by ExPats, which is why I chose it.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

I worked with a realty company that I had found while at a conference. I went on the web to narrow down some choices and then spent a day looking at my short list. It quickly became apparent that I would not feel safe in all neighborhoods as a single female and so I chose the best and safest neighborhood in the city. This was a good decision as I can walk my dog at night with no fear.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

My housing costs are 1/4 of what I would pay in my old state of PA and 1/2 of what I would pay in the lower cost area of the southern US. You can rent a decent house in Leon for $300 a month. If you want air, a dryer and hot water, you will pay more. Also, when the listing says unfurnished, it means there is absolutely nothing in it but 4 walls and a toilet and sinks.

More Expat Advice about Moving to Nicaragua

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