Our original plan was to move to New Zealand and we are supposed to be there now having sold our house a few weeks ago with a fast 3 week closing but cannot travel anywhere. I have looked at SJDS in the past, maybe 3-4 years ago. And we are actively relooking at Nicaragua for various reasons but are a bit concerned with the huge drop in some prices of properties and are curious to know the reason why. It's great for buying of course but is it due to political unrest? Is this something that happens periodically? Are people selling due to the worldwide economic problems with closing everything? It takes a long time to sell a property there and people just want to get it sold? Or some other reasons?
Our only other concern are the amount of mosquitos (allergic person and horse, and diseases) and wondering about the humidity level being very high, it isn't today at 47%-59% humidity with 31C and the range is 50-60s% for the next while seems like it wouldn't be too bad - we would be looking at slightly up the hillside, a 20 minute drive from SJDS on the north side off the main 'Chocolata' road. Is there a distinct temperature change at that level or would that only be farther and higher up? We would be there right now to check it out if we could!
2018 April there were riots in the streets. Completely out of control. Brutally put down. That is when real estate value lost 5-10 years. The next election is Nov 2021. If it is clean, NI will prosper. If it is dirty, we are screwed. H2O 212F
There is no reasonable indication that Nic. will ever be a winner. Go to NZ or maybe Tasmania. Portugal was a possible good choice but until the chicomvirus settles down (2022?) much will be up in the air and best bet is stay where you are.
Never been to NZ, but from what little I know it seems completely different in most ways from Nicaragua.
I have been a resident of Nicaragua for five years now. In that time I have lived in both Granada and San Juan del Sur.
In just the last couple of years Nicaragua has been hit by two crises that have seriously impacted tourism and the market for the kind of houses most people from North America would want to purchase. First in 2018, the attempted right wing coup, then just as things began to recover, now we have this virus thing. But even before that it was a pretty good buyer's market for houses in the cities popular with expats. Older people would move here, buy or build houses, and then a grandchild would be born, or someone would become ill, or they become frustrated with the language barrier: for a variety of reasons they leave. On average, expats who move here tend to stay only about 5 years. And it's true that such houses are often on the market longer than you might expect in the US.
As to the weather, I'm sure you would find it warmer and more humid here than wherever you are now, unless you live in Florida. I have lived in the hills outside SDJS for a time and I found it quite pleasant without AC because of the breezes and the added elevation. The higher you go, the fewer mosquitos you will encounter, and the cooler the weather will be.
I will end by giving you the standard advice that is given to everyone thinking about moving here: Come here and stay for at least three months before making any decisions and taking a big leap. Maybe even stay in SJDS a few months renting, then give the higher elevations of Matagalpa, Esteli, etc., a few months. I guarantee you, the first few weeks it will seem "perfect". Only with time will you be able to see the things you may or may not be able to live with long term.
NZ immigration is in more of mess now and it was already in chaos before this; completely shut down as they have never had plans in place to work from home, and just previous to this the permanent visa time frame went from 5 months to 15 months-2 yrs to get it approved and they have currently closed that visa for applications so not looking good. We need to move somewhere as soon as travel opens as we are homeless. It took a year to sell our house in Canada so not concerned about time line for that, we are patient. Just want a quiet, warm, simple life.
A British friend very much recommends the Canary Islands, in particular for its Mediterranean climate. You would have to qualify for EU residency. Close to Europe but out of the main stream.
They are one of the first Spanish provinces to start coming out of the lockdown but who knows when they will be up to a functional new normal. Since they have a tourist driven economy they will probably push hard.
CR just announce that they are extending their border closures till June 15 and Delta announced that they are permanently ending their Nic routes from Atlanta and L. A.
My Brother and I own a house in SJDS in a Eco Friendly Development , Las Fincas , we have our house up for sale ...my brother owning the majority ...He just Turned 60 , the original plan was to retire there .He has now decided against it as he bought another home in Oceanside Ca ...He lived there for 2 years and just plain ran out of money ...As far as Mosquitos I also am highly allergic but did not have an issue in Nica , Costa Rica they ate me alive .Having the breeze from Lake NICA seems to help .
We made a day trip from Carazo to Esteli, Jinotega, & Matagalpa......Esteli is a real city. Matagalpa looks like an Italian village stuck on a hillside. Jinotega looked nice enough to re-visit. That is all we know. H2O 212F
A consideration most expat advisories never address is 'friends and family"; they will be left behind, mostly forever. They will not come visit or communicate like one might think. Unless you have a very mobile family and you pay for their travel, they will not be coming for vacations and holidays. They will become your past. To build new fulfilling relations in a foreign country, in another language and cultural order is not an easy task, and most end up leaving over that very issue.
We live in Costa Rica but I really enjoyed our trip to Nicaragua for 6 days in 2017. We are legal residents here but at the time we even considered to divide our time between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. We spent 3 nights in Granada and 3 nights in San Juan del Sur. I want so much to explore other areas. I hope this Covid-19 will be gone soon. The locals were very kind to us.
There are many who think that NIcaragua is close to herd immunity. Deaths have slowed dramatically.
Herd immunity doesn't mean that you could not be infected,, there will be pockets forever until a vaccine is available. It does mean that the spread of the vaccine is slowed significantly, as there are fewer and fewer hosts.
This is where Sweden is now. Interestingly, NIcaragua is almost exactly where Sweden is in deaths,, if you adjust for population differences.
Costa Rica chose a different form of mitigation, so the population will suffer frequent outbreaks until the population is vaccinated. As the Nicaraguans sneak across the border to pick coffee next month,, they will bring the virus with them.
More interestingly, if you extrapolate Sweden's deaths to fit the US population, you come up with about 200,000 deaths,, close to where we are. But, we do not have herd immunity. The Swedes have got on with their lives,, no one wears a mask.
In the US, we have been "masked" now for weeks, but still had 891 deaths on Friday (8/28)
KeyWestPirate It's very interesting what you are saying because here everybody talks about how bad the situation is in Nicaragua and how the borders won't open anytime soon. There are many refugees here and they talk with their families still living there and hear horrible stories. The same concern you mentioned about those picking up the virus here and taking it back home, is the same concern people have here about those coming here from Nicaragua and bringing the virus. Actually I think that Costa Rica did a very good job trying to control the virus. You must wear a mask to go to the bank, stores, pharmacies, etc...even restaurants. You only remove the mask to eat. The restaurants are still holding 50% of their capacity. Starting Sept. 9 everybody has to use a mask outside at all times. Not easy for me but I have to do it. So on this side of the border we heard that in Nicaragua there was no social distancing and people didn't have to wear any masks. If this is true how come that the death rates are decreasing?
I already mentioned here that I like Nicaragua and I'm not trying to put the country down but when you say that Costa Rica chose a different pathway like if it was a bad thing, I can't agree with you. Here is the BBC article which is huge, huge, huge. I only chose it for the headline.
The Citizens Observatory has maintained a count. This was as of August 10:
Overall, the independent group saw a rise to 9,436 suspected cases and 2,591 deaths related to the pandemic in Nicaragua, including 139 who died from pneumonia. These statistics cover the period of the pandemic that started in the middle of March.
MINSA's server was hacked by Anonymous last week, and the data they retrieved shows that MINSA knew all along the true counts,, but was simply hiding the information.
A good source of information is Havana Times' Nicaragua page:
There are two ways to deal with the virus. One is to protect yourself with mask and social distancing,, various hygiene methods. With a vaccine in the near future,, that was probably a good choice.
The other is to just assume that "everyone" is going to get the virus initially,, and go balls to the wall. Now that we know more about teh virus,, and who is vulnerable (more, who dies), that might have been a solution.
Sweden did that, and although criticized, seems to have pulled it off. They haven't had any deaths for the last few days: See attachment
The UK considered this route initially, and it was briefly considered in the US,, but the political cost was considered too high.
The advantage that Nicaragua will have over CR is,, CR will suffer ongoing outbreaks until the population is vaccinated. Nicaragua,, like Sweden,, will have the odd death, but the virus will be contained simply because of the lack of new candidates for the virus to infect.
CR is making a big deal of the tourists that are arriving by plane,, but, as you know,, Nicaraguans do all the heavy lifting in CR, from agriculture to tourism. They pick coffee, but they also cook,, make beds, clean rooms, and sell souvenirs. The majority are (were) not in the country legally,, simply walked across the border.
It will take only one Nicaraguan, perhaps not even symptomatic as many younger people are,, to cause an outbreak in a still vulnerable CR population.
My impression was that the U.S. - where I live - was far closer to Sweden, given the particular state one lives in and its reaction to the virus. I don't think it is a given that herd immunity is a succesful and preferred strategy. Is Sweden a failed experiment or a success? I'd like to see some figures for Sweden's economy, esp compared to its neighbors. They have a couple of vaccines in Mexico now, I've been told, one from Russia. No reports on effectiveness. Let's see what happens this fall and winter. I believe our best hopes are an effective vaccine.
Also Sweden is a country with a low population density compared to the U.S. or, perhaps more appropriately, Denmark. Keeping that in mind, it might put the number of deaths there - in a country where it is arguably easier to social distance, in a different light.
Sweden is neither a failure nor a success. Depends on point of view.
They had about the same number of deaths/cases as all but the worst countries in Europe. Without locking down the economy or social life.
But compared to their Nordic neighbors which is a more valid comparison they had 5 to 15 times the causualties,
Have to compare apples to apples...Sweden has 1/10 population density of UK, France, etc, a contributing factor in spread. Sweden also while not under mandate, did a lot of voluntary social distancing and mask wearing...it's in their culture to be compliant. They had medical facilities to treat the numbers they had. Some of the USA strategy is based not on long term reduction is casualty, but distributing them over a longer term so they can be treated..and also to get a look at the most successful treatment regimens. That has beed working.
Their economy suffers about the same (a bit less) as other in Europe as what happens all around them affects them...tourists, parts, etc.
Gauging 'success or failure" based on economic factors is certainly far below a standard based on quality of human life, suffering, pain and death toll. The American capitalist system will judge based on how long a pandemic and how much uncomfortable restrictions restrains your ability to have a bigger tv or new car.
Herd immunity is what happens when a vaccine is successfully implemented. ........
It is probably what happens every year when the seasonal flu finally burns itself out.
I watched some reporting on NPR about the Sweden experiment. They lost a lot of old people, but of course so did we in the NE US states. At one point,, just three states (NY, NJ, and Mass) accounted for a full third of US Covid deaths.
Sweden had four deaths yesterday,, Mexico (which also didn't lock down although mask wearing is common),, had 700.
So,, the vaccine WILL be here by year's end, and possibly sooner. There seems to be a concerted effort to deny Trump a "win" by rolling out the vaccine sooner than Nov 3,, , or perhaps, it IS due to an overabundance of caution, but it seems to me that the successful Moderna trial could be "expanded" .
I had the virus, as did my wife, the first week of April. It was a super nasty case of the flu for both of us. I'm 76, so not ALL old people die.
There have been 6.5 million reported cases of the virus in the US,, There are probably in reality some significant multiple of that, as most are not reported unless hospitalization is required.
Yes, its GlasRey, made in Mexico,, available at Sinsa and Halcon.
The stuff is indestructible,, it's been exposed to the elements for over three years now. Sun and constant rain I'm planning on extending the house to the west,, that's why it's never been stuccoed.
I seal the edges with polyurethane varnish so it can't absorb moisture. Fast work, only minutes.
Maybe next near I'll get it finished. So much stuff CANNOT be done when you are not there. The house is off the ground on steel pillars, Five feet. I WAS supposed to be able to walk under it. I'm six feet. I laid it all out,, explained it all,, when I came back,, it was a foot short.
"We were afraid that the wind might blow it over " was the lame excuse.
It's available at Sinsa or Halcon, Sinsa sometimes discounts.
You are starting to see some pretty spiffy work, mostly commercial , Nicas coming back to Nicaragua after learning construction trades in the US.
In the city of Esteli itself there is construction, new, take down or renovation on almost every block. With new construction and new Hilux's everywhere it tells you the economy up North here, not being dependent on tourism, is healthy. There seems to be no shortage of labor at typical Nica value. Time frames vary, but much is being done rapidly and others seem to be at cash access availability; 'when we get the money to continue' schedules. We have done construction and renovation for years on the family compound. We find best reference for labor and special projects come from a few professionals, as they know the other specialists, who have one particular trade, electrician, roofer, stairwell, plumbing, etc, not a 'jack of all trades'. Family or neighbor references tend to be 'handy-Andys', most have turned out to be nice guys, but not reliable/experienced enough as to the level of skill required, just hungry for work and will slowdown when other opportunities arise and leave you waiting. In one case I had to have a stairway rebuilt 4 times until I got the guy who built the one in the cathedral to come do it right. Obviously, the further away you are from the city itself, the less chance of getting skilled labor at your beck and call.
Zin plastico. I used plastico blanco to cover some windows. 10 years later it was dry and cracked and would probably have been worse on a roof. At the same time I used zin fibra de vidrio for a small greenhouse. When I took it down recently the sheets were weathered but reuseable. One advantage to fibreglass is you could probably paint over it and make it last forever. I did a large skylight in our kitchen with zin policarbonato blanco and it looks like the way to go. Transparent is available but a bad idea for roofs because it is too bright and hot during the summer. My wife complains as it is on the white, another item on the to-do list to remove 2/3 of the sheet and replace win zin metal.
Recently I extended the eaves on one side of the house to protect some potted plants from rain runoff. the first 2 stores only had policarbonato transparente and I wasn't in the mood to chase all over town looking for blanco which is the better option for plants. Need to check with el Halcon to see if they stock blanco.
Shop around, price varies. Maybe is is getting more competitive as it gets more common.
Lotta construction in Esteli, much of it remittance driven or people building for relatives working abroad. Local professionals who didn't eat it in 2018 or with the virus are also doing well. 2 of 4 relatives working abroad still claim they are coming back.
Ditto on comment above to the affect of not hiring neighbors, relatives, etc. They are learning on your nickel and many will never learn--on your nickel.
Yeah, we put clear on a roof, that was a mistake. The room was really dark and needed a skylight. Now you have to wear a hat when you go in there to keep the sun out of your eyes and it is hot. We’ll fix that if I can ever get back down there. We might try painting part of it silver and see if the paint sticks.
You might be able to leave the skylight plastic in place. Pull all the lower nails, slide metal under it then put the nails back in.
LOL. Ah, the gringo arrives and changes the world! So many still carry the gringo gene: I can change the world because I think more creatively than the locals. Sadly you don't. Look around you and realize, without your education and privilege, the neighbors already know what works.
If you look more closely, you see that the locals ape the Gringos, at least the ones with money do so.
I don't see this necessarily as privilege, or greater creativity,, but more a matter of experience and familiarity.
Nicas with money shop at PriceSmart,, order goods shipped in from Miami. .
Some of the rest is,, well,, just preference. I prefer a corn field with straight rows, rather than a willy nilly planting. Makes it much easier to weed and fertiilize. Curiously,, you see that in Rivas and Chinandega.
Little things can be important: Nicas have embraced drywall and steel studs, but don't lift the drywall off the slab. Then they lay ceramic up to the edge of the drywall, and wonder, why the bottom of the drywall goes to mush ???
Is this privilege or creativity,, or simply the experience of having worked with drywall, and knowing some of the commonly accepted techniques ? .
Square, level, and plumb, are not words in the vocabulary of many Nica Albanils. Nor are the necessary tools in their tool bags.
.My point: There are good Nica workers, but many need careful supervision to ensure the job comes out to your satisfaction. I've been there twelve years,, and have seen have enormous changes, in materials used,, work habits, and technique.
I've learned the hard way,, if I'm not there,, I just quit building. Nicas are proud,, do not like a Gringo describing a better way, nor do they like to admit that they are wrong.
Picture of straight corn rows. But I had to fight for it. This is sweet corn, has to be planted up by the house or it gets stolen. If I could post two pics,, you would see corn planted Nica style.
Campo corn planting,, this is typical where I am. This corn planting has a lot of beans in it. There is some nitrogen fixing by the beans,, most Nicas where I am do not use fertilizer because of expense.
. . If you look at this planting carefully , you will see a lot of grass and other weed that you just have to live with.
. . So, I would argue that someone,, not necessarily a Gringo,, can offer suggestions for better practices, that would improve the functionality of a house, the yield of a corn field.
So,, this is what i got. About two weeks after planting. The rows were supposed to be a meter apart, and the seeds planted 10 inches apart. It looks more like four feet and a foot. And the rows are ALMOST straight. It's as good as it gets without being there to supervise
I sent a carefully drawn out plan via WhatsApp. The seeds came from the US. Peaches and Cream Hybrid. No Campesino would ever BUY seeds, they just use something from last year. . . . Yes, Virginia,, there is a better way.
I believe there is a big difference between being a good worker and being a good at what you work at. Those things are conflated in this discussion. Let’s just stipulate that the vast majority of Nicas are good workers. But as KWP gets at they are very often not very good at what they do. Most of it comes from doing what they learned and having no coaching, training or whatever to show them a better way. It is not just the gringo way, it is commonly accepted stuff..like in building ...that makes it better than what they would do if left to their own devices. I also think there is confusion about how they make things work with what they have (which many times is admirable) and building something without the constraints of not having materials or the proper tools. There seems to be people who take issue with anything said about any deficiency with Nica work. That attitude does more harm than good. Even the best builders or farmers learn something every day. For me, this is not theory. I have built six substantial buildings And done extensive rehabs on two others. You need to provide guidance and even when you think they have got it, need to be there to get it done right. And there are many ways to get it done without insulting them.
Yes! ...and I quote you,,,"Nicas are proud,, do not like a Gringo describing a better way, nor do they like to admit that they are wrong."...and I may add...'and they take great pride in being hot-blooded." Some do learn, but will never admit to it. I find pizza and a couple Tonyas at the end of the week works well for the morale and the Amistad.
Bravo! So well said. I like you find great privilege in being a part of seeing this culture grow. " Even the best builders or farmers learn something every day. For me, this is not theory. I have built six substantial buildings And done extensive rehabs on two others. You need to provide guidance and even when you think they have got it, need to be there to get it done right. And there are many ways to get it done without insulting them."
My Nica family has fincas in the north with frijoles and some vacas. I want to invest there in land with ojos de agua and plant chocolate, cocao... (and lots of avocados) I understand it takes ten years for them to produce. I may not live to see the produce, yet I think it is the best bet for a produce market in the future,,,chocolate keeps going up in price without 'pc' concerns. Maybe my legacy is those trees I want to plant for my boys.. 'Chip's Nica Chocolate'....invest now!
I might add to my last post that it is not only in Nicaragua where you have to be there to get it done right. In USA unless you have an extraordinary GC or farm manager and pay a lot for it as opposed to hiring out tasks yourself you need to be present to have things done "right". Not just in the right number of nails per studd, but to fit your particular vision, not the builders. If you let them interpret that, you get what you get.
“... more a matter of experience and familiarity.” Yes.
Ok, I exaggerated a little for comedic effect, you don’t need a hat in that room, sunglasses are usually enough.
Creativity is nice but it helps if you can afford a $10 piece of plastic to make a skylight. With that plastic we changed the world, there is now light where before there was only darkness (a little dramatic but we’re changing the world here). Now it needs some adjustments and maybe swapping out the clear for white.
If they had known what works they could have said something and saved a little effort. I think the neighbors are working things out as they go just like the gringos.
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