Last updated on Feb 03, 2023
Summary: People describe Granada, Nicaragua as a vibrant, colonial city with a rich cultural heritage. Expats love the city's laid-back atmosphere, its friendly people, and its proximity to the beach and other attractions. The weather in Granada is typically warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-90s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living for an expat is estimated to be around $1,500 to $2,000 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is typically around $400 to $600 per month, while a two bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $500 to $800 per month. The approximate population of Granada is around 130,000 people.
What do I need to know about living in Granada?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Granada, they said:
"Before retiring in Granada, it is important to research the cost of living and the quality of healthcare in the area. You should also consider the weather in Granada—the average temperature is mild, with occasional snowfalls in winter and hot, humid summers. Additionally, Granada is a very popular tourist destination and can be quite crowded during peak seasons. It can be beneficial to explore the culture, customs, and language of the city—Granada is mainly Spanish-speaking and has a vibrant culture derived from its historical roots. Researching the various neighborhoods is also worthwhile for finding the best area for housing and amenities. Finally, inquire about the availability of services such as transportation and taxes that may affect your lifestyle in Granada," commented one expat who made the move to Granada.
"Always live in your chosen location for 6 months to a year before settling down or buying any property. Nicaragua has everything from hot, humid weather to beachfront to cool mountain living. What do you want? Learn the culture and language is part of the culture. English is not widely spoken here outside the expat community. Expect frustrations. This is their country and we are the guests. The rules are different and you are the minority," remarked another expat living in Granada, Nicaragua.
What do I need to know before moving to Granada?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Granada, they said:
"Granada is a city in southeastern Spain that is well known for the Alhambra and many other cultural attractions. It has a mild climate and a vibrant lifestyle. Languages spoken in Granada include Spanish and English. The city is full of history and culture as well as a wide range of activities for visitors. A good way to get to know the city is to explore its neighborhoods and learn about the city's many culinary specialties. The cost of living in Granada is generally more affordable than other Spanish cities. The city also has a great public transportation system, with buses and trams connecting various points of interest. When it comes to accommodation, there are many options ranging from student dorms to private rental apartments. As you get ready to move to Granada, make sure to obtain a visa and obtain a health insurance policy that covers the entire duration of your stay," added another expat who made the move to Granada.
How do I find a place to live in Granada?
We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:
"Granada is a great place to live. There are many options for finding a place to live, from long-term rentals to university housing and furnished apartments. For long-term rentals, there are a variety of websites, classified advertisements, and local estate agents who can help you find the property that best suits your needs. University housing is another great option for students or those looking for a shorter-term stay. The University of Granada offers various accommodation options, including fully-furnished apartments and dorms. Moreover, there are a number of short-term rental companies that offer furnished apartments, which can be an ideal solution for those who don’t want the commitment of a longer stay," added another expat in Granada.
What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Granada?
"Expats in Granada typically live in comfortable apartments or homes that have lots of natural light, spacious living areas and plenty of outdoor space. Apartments are usually attractively furnished, with modern fixtures and appliances. Many apartments also come with balconies or terraces, providing lovely views of the city and the surrounding hills," explained one expat living in Granada, Nicaragua.
What is the average cost of housing in Granada?
If you are thinking about moving to Granada, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:
"The cost of housing in Granada varies depending on the location and quality of the property. Generally, rent for one-bedroom apartments in the city center can range from €400-800 per month, while rent for a three-bedroom apartment can range from €600-1200 per month. Long-term rental prices outside of the city center are usually lower," explained one expat living in Granada, Nicaragua.
How do I meet people in Granada?
When we asked people living in Granada about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:
"Granada is a great place to meet people, whether you’re a student or a visitor. Join a language exchange group to find people who share similar interests. Visit local bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants, join a club or a tour group, or attend events such as music concerts and art workshops. Participating in activities offered by local associations, volunteering in the community, or studying at local universities are other great ways to meet new people in Granada," commented one expat who made the move to Granada.
"The expat commmunity is just starting to formalize groups and organizations though many expats work with the various non-profits to help Nicaragua and its people. Here in Granada we have Amigos de la Policia (to improve the rapport with the local police), Care Granada (works with city and mayor for improvement projects), Calzada Centro de Arte (people learn to paint or paint with other artists), Book Club (the usual monthly group to discuss books) and monthly luncheons to just get together," remarked another expat living in Granada, Nicaragua.
What should I bring when moving to Granada?
People living in Granada were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:
"Clothing appropriate for the climate, comfortable shoes, necessary toiletries, sun protection, insect repellent, a Spanish/English dictionary, passport, driver's license, and any necessary medication. Pack basic kitchen items such as dishes, utensils, pots and pans, and small appliances such as a microwave, toaster and coffee maker if bringing them. If bringing furniture, check with the airline or company you are using to move it to make sure you size and weight of pieces are acceptable. Consider bringing decorative items and family photos to make the home feel more comfortable. A laptop and home entertainment items such as a television and video game console may also be desirable," remarked another expat living in Granada, Nicaragua.
Where should I setup a bank account in Granada?
We asked expats in Granada what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:
"Setting up a bank account in Granada is relatively simple and there are many reputable banking institutions to choose from. For a full list of banks with branches in Granada, you could search online or seek advice from Granada's Tourist Information Office. Once you’ve chosen a bank, you'll need to bring proof of address, a passport, your completed bank application forms and any necessary documentation or identity papers (foreigners may require a NIE number for certain transactions). Many banks offer online or telephone banking services and also provide debit cards and lines of credit," wrote a member in Granada.
Will I be able to find a job in Granada?
When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Granada, they reponded:
"Yes, it is possible to find a job in Granada. Granada is a bustling city and with the right resources available, you can make an effort to search for potential job opportunities. There are numerous job websites that list job openings in Granada. You can also network with people in the local community and ask about potential job openings," said another expat in Granada.
"Other than starting a business and volunteering for a non-profit, there are few career opportunities for expats in Nicaragua. Your competition makes $1 an hour unless you have special knowledge or have niche skills. There are a lot of opportunities for starting businesses especially in the tourist sector. On the social side, there are many opportunities to teach skills to the people here from agriculture to running a business. Don't expect a high salary or a highly profitable business but then again, money is not everything and you can live here very inexpensively," added another expat who made the move to Granada.
What is life like in Granada?
When we asked people living in Granada what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:
"Living as an expat in Thailand generally comes with a lot of advantages, such as access to great food, affordable living costs, warm weather, and friendly people. Expats living in Thailand can enjoy beaches, fruits, and seafood year round, while still having access to basic conveniences and necessities. Most expats in Thailand are able to find jobs in the Thai government, international business, or a teacher in an international school. While the cost of living can be low, it is not as inexpensive as some people think. Expats need to understand the local culture and dress appropriately in order to avoid being misunderstood. Healthcare is good, especially in larger cities, but can be expensive and it is best to secure a private health insurance plan. Speaking Thai of course helps, but most expats living in Thailand get by just fine without it as most locals also speak English. In general, living as an expat in Thailand can be a wonderful experience," added another expat in Granada.
"Many of the expats are retired yet work on many projects especially with non-profits. Some have the usual restaurants, B and B's, bars, hotels and other types of business. For the locals, life is about work and family though it is a poor country with very high unemployment and even higher under-employment. Baseball is the most popular sport followed and futbol (soccer) is the most popular for the children to play," remarked another expat who made the move to Granada.
What do expats in Granada appreciate most about the local culture?
"Expatriates in Granada appreciate the city's vibrant energy, which is infused with a rustic yet modern charm. This unique atmosphere is reflected in Granada's architecture, which blends classic Moorish and Andalusian styles, while showcasing some of Spain's most beautiful plazas and gardens. Furthermore, expats can explore the city's rich cultural heritage, which includes the magnificent Alhambra Palace, churches, and museums. The locals are friendly, and offer a mix of traditional Spanish customs with their own unique culture. The city has a high standard of living, relatively low cost of living, and a great selection of fresh local produce, making it an ideal location for expatriates. Additionally, Granada is an incredibly safe, walkable city, with a reliable public transportation system, which many expats enjoy," explained one expat living in Granada, Nicaragua.
"I guess the depth of the new culture is what I appreciate most. Especially in the states you are conditioned to think the USA is number one in all aspects and that everyone wants to be like an American. Even in a small country like Nicaragua you find they have just as much national pride, historical richness, musical and artistical creativity, etc," said another expat in Granada.
What do expats find most challenging?
"Expats often find adjusting to a new culture and learning new languages to be challenging. Other difficult aspects of living as an expat include understanding the tax system of the country one is living in, assimilating into the local community, managing the cost of living in a foreign country, and maintaining connections and support back home. Additionally, expats may struggle with feeling isolated and homesick," added another expat in Granada.
"Learning the language has been a challenging but fun task. Nicaragua being a poor country, you are challenged to see things in a new perspective. You first learn there is a huge difference between being poor and having no money. You appreciate how many people live well without money and those that just seem mired in poverty. The average education level here is around the third grade and the education system is so lacking that many people just don't have a lot of common knowledge. The expats know the history here often better than the locals. Once in a while I just want to have a deeper conversation with someone without arguments. The language barrier and level of education often prevents it," remarked another expat who made the move to Granada.
Is there a lot of crime in Granada?
We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:
"No, Granada generally has a relatively low rate of crime. Most visitors feel safe and secure in Granada, and crime levels generally do not pose a risk to travelers," added another expat in Granada.
"It is relatively safe and we have experienced less crime here than in the states. We use common sense such as using taxis after dark, not driving at night, etc. Having said that, Nicaragua is a poor country and there is more common theft. For example, if you lay your phone, IPod, laptop on your table at a restaurant and turn away, it will be gone. It is important to have good neighbors and to form friendships with them. Our home has never been robbed in the past five years here," remarked another expat who made the move to Granada.
Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Granada accepting of differences?
"Granada is a very diverse city, with people of many different nationalities, religions and cultures present in the area. People are very accepting of difference, and this diversity is seen throughout the city and its people. Granada is known as one of the most tolerant cities in Spain, and its multicultural character is widely celebrated and respected," said another expat in Granada.
"The vast majority of the locals are Catholic as are most Spanish countries. Economically a very poor country with the top 5% having almost all of the wealth. Culturally the locals are not that diverse yet very aware of what is going on the world stage. They do have their own rich culture. The expats are very diverse with the largest group being from the USA but large numbers from Canada and Europe (especially Holland). Being a Central American country, the people that move here tend to be adventuresome, open minded to other cultures, caring and aware of global events," added another expat who made the move to Granada.
What are the schools in Granada like?
"The schooling system in Granada offers a variety of educational options. Schools in Granada range from language academies and universities to public and private schools. For primary and secondary school education, public schools are free and provide quality curriculum and teacher development. Private schools are often more expensive but offer highly personalized classes and extracurricular programs. Most universities in Granada are public institutions, offering quality academic programs that draw students from around the region. For more specialized studies, there are several private universities that focus on specific fields such as medical, technological, business, and fine arts. Granada also has a wide range of language academies to provide instruction in Spanish and other languages," said another expat in Granada with children at .
"My Spanish neighbors, mostly people between 30-50 were very kind and helpful. Couldn't have survived without their offers of assistance," said another expat.
What advice to expats in Granada have about housing?
"Many homes are not equipped with ovens,heating,air conditioning and other things we take for granted in the US. But living in a beautiful city with a lovely view compensates for a lot," added one expat living in Granada.
What are medical services in Granada like?
When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Granada, they replied:
"Very efficient,accessible and definitely inexpensive compared to the nightmare of the US money machine that is healthcare," said an expat in Granada.
Is the cost of living in Granada high?
We asked people about the cost of living in Granada, they wrote:
"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," said one expat living in Granada.
What are the visa & residency requirements in Granada?
"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," remarked another expat in Granada.
Why do people move to Granada?
When we asked people why foreigners move to Granada, they responded:
"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," commented one expat who moved to Granada.
About the Author
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.
- What do I need to know before moving to Granada?
- What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Granada?
- What is the average cost of housing in Granada?
- How do I meet people in Granada?
- What do I need to know before retiring in Granada?
- What should I pack when moving to Granada?
- Where should I setup a bank account in Granada?
- Will I be able to find a job in Granada?
- What is life like as an expat in your area?
- What do people like (and dislike) about Granada?
- What type of social life can someone expect in Granada?
- What is the social scene like in Granada?
- What advice to expats in Granada have about housing?
- What are medical services in Granada like?
- Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Granada?
- Is the cost of living in Granada high?
- What are the visa & residency requirements in Granada?
- Why do people move to Granada?