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Location, location, location!

Lately we’ve been receiving a lot of emails from followers with questions regarding real estate in Nicaragua. We are far from experts on this subject, but we have learned a lot in the last sixteen months that we’ve been here. 

One thing in particular we’ve learned is that locale is paramount for us being happy long term.

Prior to making the move to Nicaragua our home was in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We were a one hour drive from the beautiful snow-capped Rocky Mountains, but a ten hour drive from the ocean. 

Rocky Mountains

Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Our plan when arriving in Nicaragua was to move around a bit in the first year, so that we could get a feel for where we wanted to settle down. And that’s exactly what we did. 

Our first rental home was situated on the tranquil beach of Poneloya. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore was amazing. 

This way to the ocean...

– Having the sand right at our steps was even better

But unfortunately it didn’t take long to learn that life in Poneloya wasn’t for us. This lovely little beach town was too tranquil for our liking. After a couple of weeks there we were already craving more stimulation. 

We also learned that owning a beach house doesn’t come without drawbacks. Salt air does major damage to a home. It causes electronics to expire long before they should. And, unless you paint it multiple times throughout the year, metal will rust.  Wood work also needs to be stained or painted annually.

After one month in Poneloya we moved into a guest house in the bustling city of Leon. 

Dining Tables

– An affordable and comfortable housing option in Leon

Although there’s a lot to do in Leon, there aren’t many expats living there. Getting to know a few locals was great, but we soon realized we needed at least a couple of friends with similar interests, outlooks and life experiences. 

Another downfall of Leon is the unbearable heat. 

During the last month of dry season temperatures soar upwards of 40 degrees Celsius (that’s 104 Fahrenheit for y’all Americans) with nearly 100% humidity and no breeze for relief.

When there is wind, it comes from the inland volcanoes rather than the ocean. It blows across the dry, dusty fields and into the city.  There were days in Leon when we felt like we were standing in a giant hair-drying sand blaster.

Granada was the next city we called home.  It’s similar to Leon in size and pace, but offers cool lake breezes. 

Granada, Nicaragua

We loved the location of Granada. It is close to Managua, the airport, Laguna de Apoyo and the National Handicraft market in Masaya.

Granada also offers more westernized options to coincide with the plethora of expats. But unfortunately for us, our parents fit in much more naturally with the age group of most expats who are currently living there.  

Mojito Friday at Grill House

– Mojito Friday with the gang at Grill House was always a good time!

Next stop? The coastal town of San Juan del Sur.

The Bay of San Juan del Sur

The Bay of San Juan del Sur

Originally we thought San Juan del Sur would be too small a place for us to settle down in, but boy were we wrong.  Within a very short period of time the town had won us over.

Even though San Juan del Sur is touristy, there is a great mix of locals and expats in all age ranges. The expat community here is very diverse. 

Location, location, location!

– Here in San Juan del Sur we have many great friends from all over the world

The house we currently rent is located in town about three blocks from the beach. We are up on a hill so we can take advantage of the cool breezes from Lake Nicaragua. 

Sounds great?  Right? 

Well, it probably would be if dogs and roosters weren’t barking and cock-a-doodle-doing all day and night. Last week they were competing to be heard over parades, firecrackers and the techo beats of Semana Santa. It seems as though every second week there is a holiday accompanied by a celebration, that can sometimes last for days.

After sixteen months of moving around we think we finally have figured out it. 

The San Juan del Sur area is definitely where we want to settle down. We have been (and still are) passively looking for a property to call our own.

In a perfect world our ideal location would meet the following criteria:

  • Close to town
  • On a hill (so we’ll have breezes)
  • Ocean view
  • Jungle-”esque”
  • Close to a beach
  • Priced right
  • Away from dogs, roosters, parades and fireworks
  • Flexibility and options for house construction

Our list is long, but amazingly enough we think we’ve found something that gets a check in all the boxes. 

We are super excited to be meeting with a friend (and developer) later this week to learn more about his plans for his 100 acre development located just outside of town.

12 Things I Love About Living in Nicaragua

In no particular order…

1.  A 1 hour pedicure costs less than $5Now that’s good value!

2.  The People – Gord and I are constantly meeting (and making friends with) new and interesting people from Nicaragua and other parts of the world.  

3.  Eskimo Ice Cream – At C$12 ($0.52) per scoop Eskimo ice cream always makes for an inexpensive sweet treat.  My favorite flavors include coffee, pistachio and caramelo.  Mmm!

4.  Time Doesn’t Matter – I rarely know what time of the day it is or what day of the week it is and I’m totally okay with that!

5. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice – Although it takes a bit of effort to make, having fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning is such a treat.

6.  Retirement at 37 – Yes, it’s true. I’m 37 years old and I’m retired.  Unless the cost of living increases drastically here in Nica (or I move back to Canada) I don’t have to work…ever…again!

7.  Mojito Fridays – Gathering with the Granada expat community for Mojitos (and Macuas) every Friday night on the Calzada is always a good time.

8.  Cold Tona – There’s nothing like a cold Tona (or two) to quench your thirst on a super hot day.  Did you know that it’s pretty much super hot (and sunny) here every day?

9.  Alarm clocks are a thing of the past – I absolutely love not having to wake up to an alarm clock every day.  I’m also happy “snooze button” is no longer part of my vocabulary.

10.  Rain Storms – They often come on fast and fierce, but only last a short time. I love the smell of the rain and the cooler temperatures storms bring.

11.  Not knowing what tomorrow will bring – Every day, every week, every month comes with the possibility of a new adventure.

12.  Hammock Chairs – Whenever I’m lucky enough to find one, a hammock chair is a great place to curl up and read a book, watch the sunset or just relax while enjoying a cold Tona.

Signed,
Elisha in Nica

Are you too a fan of Nicaragua? We’d love to know what’s on your list of loves!  Leave a reply in the comments section below.

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