An Expat Talks about Living in Playa Miramar, Nicaragua

Jan 08, 2019


Nicaragua

An expat in Nicaragua talks about life in the small fishing village of Playa Miramar. The village has 5 surf camps and about 1000 locals. If you're considering a move to Playa Miramar, you may want to start a business or non profit that gives back to the community.

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

Playa Miramar

How long have you lived there?

7 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Miramar is a small village of about 1000 locals and the town plays host to 5 surf camps because of the proximity of good waves. This close knit community of surf camp/hotel operators means we all know each other and we all collaborate on our business and the community in general. At the same time, there are some resources for expats, but most of those resources are focused on the Rivas/Tola areas which are 3.5 hours south of us. There a much (much) larger ex-pat community exists.

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Expats living in Nicaragua interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get quotes our partner, International Citizens Insurance, a trusted expat health insurance broker. They will provide you with comparison quotes from some of the biggest expat health insurers: Cigna, Aetna and GeoBlue.

In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Having lived here for 7 years, there's hardly a face I don't know. There exists though, an invisible barrier, an almost inherent racism in the culture. Given a long history of foreign intervention, particularly by the United States, it's a common assumption that foreigners don't deserve the same rights as Nicaraguan nationals, there's no other word for it than racism/nationalism, it can be a culture shock, but you get used to it and it's an opportunity to start to enlighten those you can about having a more worldly mind;-)

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Miramar is a fishing village, but also has a small port (Puerto Sandino), three power plants, a solar plant, and a fuel refinery. While this presents jobs, often those jobs are filled by outside residents. The locals, having been such a small talent pool and mostly very uneducated, don't have the human resources needed to fulfill the needs of these larger scale industrial operations. Opportunities do exist though in serving those employees that commute in for work. Starting a business that serves locals, unless its a non-profit startup, is probably not a good idea. The locals are in more need of philanthropy as they have no disposable income.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Miramar is a subsistence community in that most of the population lives day to day. They've been at such a low economic level for a century and that has led to a socio economic belief that there is no value in investing in the future. Often children are encouraged to leave school early to begin looking for work, as an education is not a valuable investment in the future. So day to day life here is finding whatever small resources can be gathered to feed the family for a day and they worry about tomorrow, tomorrow!

With that said, there are those locals that see the influx of foreign investors as an opportunity for stable work and see it for the possibilities of climbing the economic ladder. The business owners foster this thinking and we do our best to encourage and support the families development and especially the idea that education is the most important opportunity for their children.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

I would suggest to come with an idea of how to help the community further itself. Creating a business is an obvious start, but a business that is centered on giving back to the community would be the best way to progress the area. A community farm, a non-profit school, a manufacturing plant, any of these would bring growth and positive investment to this quietly suffering community.

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