Why are "we" here?

About 25% of the traffic on NL is from people in Nicaragua. The majority is from people in the US but there are also readers from all over the world. I thought it might be interesting for those who are considering Nicaragua but don't currently live here to hear why we are here.

Some of that 25% are Nicaraguan citizens returning home. Their reasons may be different but still need to be known/counted. For us non-natives, there are also going to be an assortment of reasons we have chosen to live here. For those who have not yet moved to Nicaragua but have decided you will, your reasons are also welcome here.

I would like this to just be a place where we all can offer our own reasons as a comment rather than turn into a debate.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Why I am here?


Why "we" are here

Whoa! This started out short but did not end that way. I’m in Nicaragua because I met a beautiful Nicaraguan lady in California, fell in love, and got married. After a Las Vega wedding we flew to Nicaragua for a second wedding in the Cathedral in Esteli in 2002. There were hundreds of family, friends and town people and a band playing and singing songs. Afterward we had a reception at a hill top restaurant overlooking the city called El Diamante (the diamond). It is appropriately named because the stars look like diamonds set in the black night sky. The lights from the city were beautiful and we danced next to the pool under that stars till 2 AM the next morning. Our honeymoon was high in the mountains at Selva Negra (black forest). We rented cabin next to the lake filled with white swans. At sunset and early morning you could hear the howler monkeys and birds calling. There were rumors that panthers still roam the forest at night. After this my wife took me on a tour of Nicaragua. My first trip to Nicaragua was a dream and I thought I was in a movie the whole time. I was hooked! I not only fell in love with my wife but her family, the country and its people. In 2005 we finished a house in the mountains near Esteli where we visit often. We are up at about 3,200 feet so it’s not hot and humid and we get a nice breeze from the mountain. We don’t even have air conditioning. We also have a cattle ranch and coffee farm near Las Praderas. I will be retiring from the Aerospace industry at the end of September so we will have the opportunity to spend a lot more time in Nicaragua. Before I met my wife I would be hard pressed to find Nicaragua on a map. I heard about it in high school and seemed remember something about a revolution but that’s about it. All my life I have been dreaming of finding my little piece of paradise and thanks to my wife I found it! As to why else I’m in Nicaragua besides my wife? For years I have been carrying around the list below. It’s a list of things to consider when looking for a place to live or retire. Not sure where I got it but here it is: 1. Housing Affordability 2. Low Taxes 3. Climate/weather (Do like tropical, arid, wet, dry, humid, marine, tundra?) 4. Recreation and Cultural (Do you like golf, amusement parks, museums, hiking, nature?) 5. Post retirement work or volunteer opportunities 6. Proximity to health care 7. Location (Do you like big cities, small towns, country, oceans, desert, river, tropics?) 8. Amenities & services 9. Proximity to family and friends 10. Safety In Nicaragua I found 7 of the 10 on the list immediately. Housing is affordable; taxes are low; it has a warm tropical climate; I love the rivers, oceans, volcanoes, tropical plants, nature and animals; my ranch and house will give me all the work opportunities I need; the location of our house is in the mountains with a million dollar view with breath taking sunsets; and it is near to family and the friends I’ve made. The three I was not too sure about were health, safety and amenities and services.

After some research I found the Metropolitan Vivian Pellas Hospital in Managua. The facility is up to US standards, the costs are very low and the doctors world class. Of the 323 hospitals worldwide accredited by the US Joint Commission International, 4 are in Central America. Three of these are in Costa Rica and 1 in Nicaragua which is the Pellas. As far as safety goes Nicaragua consistently rates low in crime. It is the second safest country in Central America after Costa Rica and has a lower rate than booming Panama. In my 10 years of visiting Nicaragua I have never had a problem. As for the amenities and services go it’s not up to par with the US but not unbearable.

I have had too many wonderful experiences in Nicaragua. Way too many to mention here but here are some high lights. I’ve been to the top of a volcano and looked in and saw the fire and smoke; slept in a 300 old convent turned hotel; swan in beautiful lagoons and beaches; took a jungle cruise in lake Nicaragua, home to 365 islands; took a ferry to the largest island, in a lake, in the world, the only lake in the world with fresh water sharks, and the only island in the world with twin volcanoes, to see pre-Columbian stone statues made by natives around the time of Christ; saw 2000 year old footprints of a family (said fleeing a volcano eruption) hardened in stone; took part in a cattle round up; got stuck in the jungle (a la the movie “Romancing the Stone”) and had to hike out at night in the pouring rain crossing rain swelled rivers; stayed at Bosawas Reserve, the largest continuous expanse of virgin cloud forest in Central America; road horse’s on the beach at beautiful Montelimar (home to the second largest pool in Central America); visited the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere, Granada, that was sacked and burnt to the ground by the pirate Henry Morgan; took a dugout canoe ride down the Rio Coco toward the Mosquito coast; and met the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega.

I have come to love Nicaragua but it may not be for everyone. I hate leaving and can’t wait to go back. But come see for yourself. Come see the country I have come to call…. home.

My husband and I are at a point that we can do anything

we want. My brother had spent time in CA and loved Nicaragua! He planned to purchase property and have a place to hang out. He said we must go, we started in Costa Rica, traveled south to Panama, back to Costa Rica, and then to Nicaragua. It kept calling to us, having traveled through Canada, the US, Mexico, Asia, Iceland we came back many times. We love the weather, people, beaches, we want to see it all and more, we want to be able to travel south and travel in CA is cheap. Soon we will make it our base home. and I believe you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.

I think of myself as being in Jinotega more ....

...than I think of myself as being in Nicaragua, though I've been to other parts of Nicaragua by now.

Here because it repels expats visually (and almost repelled me), yet works as a city. The politics are neither loony left (we do seem to have an active CP here that leaflets against Ortega from time to time) or the media distraction that all politics in the US are above state or county level. But being a leftist or an atheist or queer isn't the kind of problem in Jinotega that it would be in many parts of the US.

The Nicaraguans who try to talk religion with me accept "Yo soy agnostica" with "Gracias, adios." If people can't put their religions back in their pockets after hearing I'm not interested, I am under no obligation to be more tolerant of them than they are of me. If my neighbors invite me to a Purisima celebration, I go because it's neighborly. Catholicism here is much more laid back and less intrusive on people's lives than the little Baptist preachers were or the various white people showing up on my door to invite me into their interactive role playing games that they believe are real. Big points for religious tolerance and the white missionaries simply exist to remind me how wonderful Nicaraguans tend to be about religion.

I like here because there's enough hustle and enterprise that it kicked me back into writing, though I do less of it than I did in my forties and early fifties, and less than my neighbors imagine I do.

I like here because it has enough expatriates that I can have an English-speaking social life without having to like or speak to all of them.

I like here because the cost of living is cheap enough that what I have is a transparent amount of money -- I can afford what I need to live on and some toys. It would take $30K to $40K to have that in the US.

There's resistance here to the work gobbling up all the brains and life, at least among people who can afford to resist the zombification. Stores and my dentists close for two hour lunches, and take breaks to play with the babies. It's a place where who your friends are matter more than what you do.

The television announcers dress down rather than up -- very subtle, very cool.

Politics tend to make sense here and, except for some of the up-scale FSLN, aren't a status symbol or identity token politics (poor people who are right wing because they want to identify with something more powerful).

Rebecca Brown

I go back and forth...

Have my home in Miami and also my house in Managua.

Plus a boatload of family down there spread between Granada and Leon/Chinandega. I usually come on this forum when I'm feeling a little homesick.

But every four to six months I'm "home" for a couple of weeks and do my best to stay as far as possible away from a computer..

I appreciate the effort involved in maintaining this site.

It helps keep me connected on a different level from just reading news reports.



Porque si !!!

Eternal summer! I hate the snow, ice and cold on my bones. Cheap living. No real estate tax to speak of. The music, language and food. The beautiful smiling eyes of all the gorgeous children. All the people who say "hola, va pues, oy y adios" to me each day and wish me well. Proximity to the US for visits to my kids and family. The ease of making friends. The love of a beautiful woman! The daily opportunity to do some good for somebody! The way Nicaragua has opened my eyes to the true value of life which lies in "living it" as it comes, rather than waiting for "someday"!!!

Just don't ask me why I hate it! Because there's that too! haha

I Was Looking

for a place to retire, and spent quite a bit of time in Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica. I had actually bought a place in Trujillo, but the seller backed out at the last minute. I had avoided Nicaragua because I had heard all the negative stories about the country, some at an International Living conference I attended in La Ceiba. Of course, they were keen on selling me something in Honduras, so that was part of the sales effort. Even so, if you Google Nicaragua a lot of unfounded negatives appear.

There are positives about all three, but I felt uncomfortable with the heavy military presence in Honduras (although polite, and never seeking a bribe); CR was too much like living in the US (although modern, sophisticated, with excellent medical facilities); and Guatemala was looking potentially unsafe at the time. All of these perceptions could probably be debunked with more time in country, as many of the perceived Nicaraguan negatives are.

I flew into Managua one summer mostly because I happened to be in Miami, had a bunch of AA miles that were going to expire, and had never been to Nicaragua. I arrived in time for the (29th, I think) celebration of the revolution. I stayed at the Crowne Plaza. I walked around as I always do, and was greeted only with smiles. A few boisterous drunks, but no one tried to rob me or molest me in any way.

At the celebration I crawled up into the framework that supported the platform erected for the press corps. I was about 100 feet directly from, and almost at eye level with DO, his wife, Hugo, and I believe, one of Fidel Castro's daughters. I remember thinking, "This would NEVER happen in the US", but I was shortly joined by innumerable young boys, some of whom secured their position by holding onto a shoulder, leg, or my head.

I remember calling Shelley at one point ($2 /minute) so she could hear the crowd singing in Spanish, "All That We're Asking, Is Give Peace A Chance". It was a huge crowd, like a sea of black and red that stretched in all directions. People were dancing, singing, generally having a very good time. Once the speeches started, they went on for a very long time. My butt fell asleep from sitting on a 4" wide metal beam, I eventually disengaged myself from the urchins holding on to me, made my way down, and back to my hotel on foot.

Shelley and I had avoided Nicaragua because of what we had heard about the country. When I got back to the hotel, I called her and told her we had to spend some time here. We did, liked what we saw, and decided to purchase some hill property, grow some great coffee, together build the last house we will live in, and in general, have one last big adventure before we died. Despite some unfortunate detours along the way, this is what we are doing.