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Parque Central Square in Leon, Nicaragua

Retire in Nicaragua

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: What is it like to retire in Nicaragua? Retirees share their experiences living in Nicaragua.

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

What is it like to retire in Nicaragua?

"This country attracts people who can put up with it, or have no other choice. There are so many better 0laces, but none are as cheap if you are willing to forgo everything but basic requirements for living," said another retiree in living in Global.

"We do miss the symphonies, plays, golf, tennis, etc. but not so much that we would return to the states. And some of that exists here and certainly in different forms. The community activities are increasing here as the expat community grows. With the low cost of living, we don't always get the cream of the crop from other countries but more and more normal couples seem to be arriving. Nicaragua has a rich culture and there are so many outside activities. It is not far to other Central American countries and Miami or Houston is only a 2 hour flight away. There are many foundations here if you wish to help the people of Nicaragua," explained a retiree in Granada.

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What advice do overseas retirees have for others considering retiring abroad?

"I do have a website to help expats considering Nicaragua at www.nicaragua-guide.com. Needs updating but it is a wealth of information. We love being overseas," said another retiree in living in Granada, Nicaragua.

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What are the most challenging aspects of retiring in Nicaragua?

"Language has been a challenge though it is getting better. It is harder to teach an old dog new tricks. Bank ATMs and the Internet has certainly made living overseas easier. It is a challenge to get documents sent from the USA reliably. Expats that move to third world countries tend to be type A personalities so relationships are a bit more difficult to develop," added another person in Granada.

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What are the most rewarding aspects of retiring in Nicaragua?

"Living here has been a rewarding experience. We work with several foundations to help the people here and are very active in the developing expat community. I think just knowing we actually moved away from our home country has provided a positive aspect," said another retiree in Granada.

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What are healthcare services like in Nicaragua?

We asked retirees if they have access to good medical care in Nicaragua. They wrote:

"One of the most modern hospitals in Central America is 45 minutes away. We do not have health insurance which will shock many people but the USA is one of very few countries without universal health care. We love our doctor who we feel is better than any doctor we have had in the states. He speaks English and we trust him completely. The office visit is $15. Medical costs are low enough to pay as you go. Our prescriptions are less than the co-pay amount was in the states. How can that be? They are the same drugs," commented one retiree living in Granada, Nicaragua.

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How do I meet people in Nicaragua?

When we asked people living in Nicaragua about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"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," explained a retiree in Playa Miramar.

"Online sites, if you are an American citizen, go to the Town Hall meeting in your area," explained one retiree living in Mechapa.

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What is life like in Nicaragua?

When we asked people living in Nicaragua what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"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," said another retiree in Playa Miramar.

"Mechapa is a very small fishing village in a remote part of Northwest Nicaragua. It can be considered the polar opposite of San Juan del Sur, Granada and points South. Life here involves the same mix of priorities that we found in Chicago - work hard, spend time with family, an occasional party or gathering and time spent on the weekends for a sports game or special sporting event (Superbowl, World Series, etc.) This area doesn't have any tourism so very little time is spent peddling goods and no time is spent opening tourist shops and the like," commented one retiree living in Mechapa, Nicaragua.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What do I need to know before retiring in Nicaragua?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Nicaragua, they said:

"Standard advice is to visit Nicaragua before committing to anything - that is even more essential in your case. Visit areas you might want to live, local stores, etc," said another retiree in Managua.

"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," commented one retiree living in Playa Miramar, Nicaragua.

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What type of recreational activities are there in Nicaragua?

"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," said another retiree in living in Granada, Nicaragua.

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Where will I buy groceries and do other shopping in Nicaragua?

"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," remarked another retiree in Granada.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Parque Central Square in Leon, Nicaragua

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