Monthly Archives: August 2013

Nicaragua National Zoo

Planning a trip to Nicaragua with children?  The National Zoo – home to over 650 different animal species – is definitely worth checking out. From tiny hummingbirds to awe-inspiring African lions they have it all!

The Nicaragua National Zoo is located at Kilometer 16 of the Managua-Masaya road.

It is closed on Mondays, but open Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM. The entrance fee is C$15 for adults and C$10 for children. 

Entrance fee to the butterfly and orchid garden (my favorite place at the zoo) is an additional C$15.

Learn about Nicaragua National Zoo.

7 More Reasons We Love Living in Nicaragua

7 More Reasons We Love Living in Nicaragua#1
For $4.10 USD we can get for 1 watermelon, 1 pineapple, 6 green mangos, 1 very large carrot, 1 cantaloupe, 1 avocado and 1/2 dozen bananas!

#2
After enjoying a cold Tona at sunset at one of our favorite beach bars we went to pay the bill. They couldn’t provide change for 100 cordobas so they said we could pay next time. Funny thing is C$100 is equal to $4.12 USD.

#3
In April our Nica neighbor who has been in the same house for all 39 years of her life – and is now finally able to build a kitchen and indoor bathroom in her home – gifted us with a six pack of Guatemalan beer during Semana Santa! So, so sweet and kind of her!

#4
We have time to cook!

#5
We can take our dog everywhere, including our favorite bars and restaurants.

#6
Lola, our favorite vendor at the fruits and vegetable market gifted us with a big juicy mango one day – just because!  We weren’t even making a purchase.

#7
The kind policeman that pulled Elisha over for not wearing her seatbelt (only to find out that her license had expired) allowed her to pay the C$600 ($24.79 USD) fine onsite for only C$200 ($8.26 USD).

Volunteering with World Vets: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Sweeping the floor, assisting with registration, replenishing cold drinks and snacks along with crowd control were some of the tasks I performed as a volunteer at the recent World Vet clinic that was held here in San Juan del Sur. 

A total of six veterinarians participated in the program. Three from Nicaragua, two from the United States and one from England.  There were fifteen volunteers in total.

Over the course of three clinic days  – in two different communities – the team performed 119 sterilization surgeries. 344 consultations and preventative health treatments (including flea and tick application, vitamins and deworming) were also administered.

All at NO CHARGE to the pet owners.

As I helped with clinic tear down at the end of an exhausting day I felt a complete sense of satisfaction. What an honor it was to be a part of such a worthy cause while helping make a difference in my community.

Thanks to World Vets and their amazing team of volunteers these animals will live happier, healthier lives.

MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS to you all!

To learn more about World Vets click hereTo make a one-time or recurring donation that will help animals around the world that would otherwise have no access to life-saving care click here.

5 Money Saving Tips for the Nicaraguan Expat

5 Money Saving Tips for the Nicaraguan Expat

We moved to Nicaragua nearly two years ago. Along the way have discovered a plethora of ways to save a buck.

We now live in a nicer home and own and maintain a vehicle.  Overall of our quality of life is better. 

The interesting thing? Our budget hasn’t really changed.

Here’s how we do it!

#1

BUY BEVERAGES FROM THE LOCAL DISTRIBUTOR
No matter where you buy it in Nicaragua beer and rum is cheap, but purchasing it at our local distributor allows us to save more than 50%.

To put things into perspective…

A can of Tona purchased at the corner store costs $1 USD, while a bottle purchased at the distributor rings it at just 0.53₵. If you want even more bang for your buck you can purchase beer by the liter – at the distributor – for just $1.14 USD per unit. 

Another plus purchasing from the distributor? They’ll deliver the goods right to your door … for FREE!

#2

EAT OUT LESS
When we arrived in Nicaragua the food was new and impressive, but within a couple of months it became very unexciting. 

With access to fresh ingredients and more time to cook we prefer to eat most of our meals in. Eating more meals in allows us to save a decent amount of money, which in turn means we can afford to splurge on a special dinner out now and again.

#3

BUY CELL PHONE MINUTES ON PROMOTIONAL DAYS
For the first few months after moving we shared a cell phone. During that time we were spending an average of $20 USD per month and we were constantly running out of minutes.  

With a bit of research and some trial and error we now average $12 per month for two phones and we rarely run out of minutes.

We purchase minutes on promotional days where the carrier sometimes gives us up to six times our minutes. And instead of paying for individual text messages, we purchase packages. 

#4

PURCHASE FRUIT & VEGETABLES FROM THE FRUIT TRUCK
In Canada we bought most of our fruits and vegetables from the grocery store. Occasionally we would go to a Farmer’s Market for better quality produce. Ironically the prices were even higher.

Here in Nicaragua fresh produce is available at our local Pali (grocery store), but the freshness and quality of our local vendors is far superior, not to mention much cheaper. We actually prefer to support our local entrepreneurs – and 9 times out of 10 – that is exactly what we do.

Depending on what we buy and where we buy it, it’s possible to save as much as 50% on produce.

Here’s an example:
At the grocery store one medium avocado is 40 cordobas or $1.66 USD.  At the local market the same sized avocado can be purchased for 25 or 30 cordobas. If we purchase from the fruit truck that visits our neighborhood daily we can get an avocado for 20 cordobas.  And if we’re lucky enough to be around when a vendor comes to our door an avocado may cost as little as 15 cordobas.

#5

LIVE THE LOCAL LIFESTYLE
I sometimes crave familiar brands from home, but have learned to limit myself to one or two treats (pretzels, peanut butter, chocolate chips and extra sharp cheddar cheese) now and then. 

I’ve given up my Redken shampoo for a brand I can buy here. We snack on Ranchitos, instead of Doritos and when we want a little spice in our life we use Chilero instead of Sriracha.

By learning to live without some of our favorite and familiar brands we’re able  to stay on budget. 

BEWARE:  If you insist on buying imported products from your home country you will significantly increase your living expenses.


These are just a few of the ways we’ve learned to save while enhancing our lifestyle.  
We’d love to hear from other savvy expats who’ve found additional ways to save.  Leave a reply in comments section below.

What We Ate Today: Buñuelos

Our neighbor Candida was dishing up some tasty treats in our barrio this afternoon.  A dough mixture made of yucca and cheese is deep fried and then drizzled with a sauce (made with honey, cinnamon and sugar) before serving.  

Although we’ve been in Nicaragua nearly two years this was our first encounter with this popular Nicaraguan snack known as buñuelos

– Priced right at 3 for C$10 ($0.40 USD) were all over the chance to try something new!

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