Moving to Nicaragua - Lots of Questions
My wife and I are planning early semi-retirement and then full retirement in Nicaragua. We have been to the country, familiar with the pros and cons, and my rusty Spanish will come back with use. In that respect, we know what we are signing up for (well you never really know until you're there)
We are planning on buying multiple properties as rentals for an income stream. We are going to rent for our residence until we figure out where we want to live. We are looking at a spectrum of properties, one luxury home, and then progressively smaller properties to a single room converted garage.
We've explored Leon, Granada, Ometepe and San Juan del Sur. (other areas, but these were areas we looked at closer)
I loved Leon, my wife enjoyed it but not as strongly as I. Leon felt more "authentic" to me, a blending of the old and new.
We liked Granada, but it felt touristy in its central core and felt like a city in transition. Not touristy in a good way (read on). Best way to explain, we were eating breakfast outside and must have 20 or 25 vendors stop by selling us stuff.
Por favor no me molestes. No he tomado mi café
We both LOVED Ometepe, but the challenge of being dependent on the ferry stuck in our mind. We are still agonizing over a property we are interested in on the island, but managing it remotely sticks out in our mind as a big issue. Ometepe felt to me like Hawaii with no development.
We both loved San Juan del Sur, but can see that this is a city deep in transition. Cost of living is clearly higher there, almost all services were in USD, and some prices were just nuts. 45 cruise ships coming this year. To me San Juan del Sur must feel like Cabo San Lucas circa 1990 or 1995.
With all that said, the allure of easy access to Granada and Ometepe and Pacific Ocean sunsets has us settling on San Juan del Sur.
1) We have concerns about the NICA Act going through the US Congress and potential economic impact. Any input on this?
2) We are looking at starting a business in Nicaragua along with the rentals. Clothing manufacturing (wife has a small line). Have others come in on an investors visa? Any input on this?
3) We both want to give back to the community in a big way. We are interested in supporting Nicaraguan artists in particular, providing an artist in resident program, and promotion - up and comers, students, etc. Any input on this?
4) Wife is a physician, and initially Russian trained (now a doctor in the US) and as we understand it, the Russian training is likely a plus in Nicaragua. She might be interested in per diem work to pick up a few shifts and make some money. Any input on this?
5) Should we be looking at other areas? We love the San Juan del Sur climate, location, and think we can have good turn on the rentals. On the other hand the infrastructure is already taxed (roads, sewer, water), costs are pretty stunning, living infrastructure is meh (basic grocery shopping there is pretty terrible on a good day).
6) We've been given differing advise on moving our "stuff." We plan to significantly downsize no matter what. We've been told by some don't bother moving our stuff, just buy stuff here. Others have told us move what is dear to us e.g. furniture pieces etc.. Some have told us don't move our truck (common vehicle, common parts, dealer network in Nicaragua) others have told us no issue. Interested in hearing your experiences!
One other attraction to San Juan del Sur, we discovered there is a small, but very active Jewish community that welcomed us with open arms. I love my wife (happy wife, happy life) and for her, San Juan del Sur brings back happy memories of Israel because of climate and the Jewish community we found.
We've basically been told between partial and full retirement, we'll have to be clever and work to carve out a life for ourselves. Short of World War III, we will have enough assets to have a comfortable full retirement in Nicaragua.
We definitely do not want to be part of a problem, real or perceived, of expats coming in like locusts, we want very much to be fair employers, give back to the community, and help Nicaragua grow.
Interested in hearing about your experiences. We have a good real estate agent, lawyer, starting our economic visa process (just starting) and have a translator here in the states.
As for motivation? We are both pretty burned out in our work, demanding jobs and good careers that many would envy that come with long hours and massive pressure. We're not happy with the direction of the US (can we please just leave it at that), our last one is out of the nest this June, and just feel it is time to go, downshift, downsize, and live a quieter life where we have to answer to ourselves.
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