12 Tips for Living in Granada, Nicaragua
An expat who retired in Granada, Nicaragua appreciates the low cost of living in Nicaragua, walking along Calle la Calzada, hanging out with other expats at the Cacao Pool Club and year-round warm climate.
Expat Life in Granada
Many foreigners either visit or move to Granada, Nicaragua because of the year-round warm climate, low cost of living and the novelty of a distinctive foreign country that is accepting of travelers and easily within reach of the US and Canada.
Cost of Living in Granada, Nicaragua
As in most foreign countries when it comes to the cost of living, you can pretty much find what you're looking for. Nicaragua is no exception. You can find moderate to expensive pricing options on most things from food to lodging, but the LOW cost items are more easily found in abundance here than in most places.
Food is obviously less expensive here. It is not difficult to find $2.00 USD lunches. There are many hostels and hotels that seem to cater to the budget-minded traveler as well.
Even retiring in Nicaragua is very low cost and stress-free: In order to qualify for Nicaragua's "Pensionado Visa" you must prove a monthly income from retirement or a pension or from any investment of only $600 USD and you're good to go! That's the LOWEST retirement income requirement of any country in the world!
Local Clubs and Organizations
As far as expat clubs go, if you were to search Facebook or Meet Up groups, you may strike gold, but If you go to Calle la Calzada near the Cathedral of Granada, you will find a mostly pedestrian street lined with restaurants, pubs, hotels and other expat-friendly hang-outs where you will bump into other travelers, locals and expats while enjoying a wonderful meal or your favorite beverage under an outdoor table with umbrella.
People-watching is infectious and seems to be a favorite past-time too.
International Schools in Granada
Granada International School is on Hiway 4 just blocks west of the downtown area of Granada. It is a dual-language school for kindergarten through primary-school. There are also volunteer opportunities.
La Esperanza Granada also located in Granada is all about providing educational opportunities for the poorest children in the area. There are volunteer opportunities available there as well.
Shopping in Granada
In Granada I found small mom and pop stores as well as decent grocery stores all within walking distance of central Granada.
As a bonus, a car is not needed in Granada. It's very easy and fun to be able to walk to everything you need here. A small backpack is all that's necessary to take to the store and load up with a week's worth of items.
A horse-drawn carriage is perhaps the most fun way to see the sights of Granada along Calle la Calzada all the way down to the lake! Of course there are plenty of taxis and buses going to neighboring towns as well as Managua or Leon.
Granada is hot and humid but not as much as Leon. It is quite bearable. Living in a home with only a fan is do-able too as I found. But A/C is a much nicer option.
Restaurants and Nightlife
I found that just about everything I could ask for was either along Calle la Calzada or within a few blocks of this most popular street. Restaurants owned by expats and locals, as well as bars and nightclubs with live entertainment were all very easy to find.
What are local hospitals and emergency services like?
At last count there were about 5 hospitals and a few clinics around Granada. At least 1 is private.
Recreational Activities in Granada
Going swimming in a nice clean swimming pool is an option open to anyone in Granada. At least 2 hotels I know of offer this. For about $5 you can spend the day at the pool or pool-side bar and enjoy the company of other expats or locals.
The ChocoMuseum in Granada is one of my favorite places to do this. The Hotel Granada on Calle la Calzada down by the lake is another great option. It has a beautiful pool.
Residency and Visa Requirements
As mentioned earlier in this report, retiring in Nicaragua is very affordable: In order to qualify for Nicaragua's "Pensionado Visa" you simply prove a monthly income from a retirement, pension or any investment of $600 USD. That has proven to be the LOWEST retirement income requirement of any country in the world!
Crime in Granada, Nicaragua
In the 3 months I spent in Granada, I never experienced or saw any crime beyond one attempted pick-pocket which was unsuccessful. A man appeared to be drunk and bumped into me as he passed me on a crowded street. Being aware of your surroundings and not wearing any flashy jewelry is always advisable no matter which country you travel in.
Also, wearing pants or shorts with cargo pockets on the legs and button up is a fool-proof way to go.