Moving to Nicaragua on the Cheap

I am an 18-year-old student moving to Nicaragua (in August) for one year. I'll be in the ministry work while I'm there. My hopes are to find some sort of employment and a place to live while I'm there.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how I should go about finding employment and a dirt-cheap house to live in (with another guy that's also going)? I don't care if I live in the nastiest slum in town.

Also, our treks will begin in Managua (where we fly in). Where do we go from there? What towns are cheaper to live in? What towns are dangerous?

And how hard is it to get my car into the country?

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Thanks for the help!

Other info I should mention:

After looking into it, I have decided that the car is a bad idea. I'll rely on the public transpo. Or hoof it on the two-shoe express.

And what's this about bringin' the ol' guitar? I've got some guitar skills up my sleeve...

Also...I have a (two-year) college degree and by June, I will be a certified personal trainer. Are there rich-tourist-laden health spas or other resort facilities that might hire me? I realize the tourism is barely budding in Nicaragua, but the resort-goers and/or wealthy gringo residents might need to get in shape...

Thanks for all your advice! -Tyler (I'll be there, soon.)

Massage therapist

Knew someone who set up a massage table couple times a week at an expensive hotel in Costa Rica and made enough in 2 days to cover a week. Probably had to kick back to the hotel or bar people. In Austin Texas, the massage people set up in the local supermarket.

Personal trainer would probably work in SJDS or Granada if you can find some way of circulating in the rico gringo society. Please note that your desire to sleep in slums may result in you not smelling too good and your clothes may not look all that neat. Nicaraguans with even a small amount of money like to look smart and the rico gringos are Miami Beach Smart. I wouldn't dress that way, personally, but they are a lot better groomed than your average barrio resident.

The spas and resorts will almost certainly NOT hire you but may permit you to operate independently on their premises. If they hire you, it will be pennies an hour.

If you can play an instrument and sing Lady In Red or some Phil Collins stuff, you can probably at least get some free beer in a bar. The old upside down hat may attract a few cordobas. 95% of the bars in Nicaragua are NOT places to try this but the touristy and classy bars might work.

Good decision on the bus / no car.

Uncle Bob and Uncle Tony

Oh..To be 18 again. Not! I think it's a great Idea about the Guitar, or, if you play something and sing. Buses are a more practical idea and a great way to chat up the locals. I have to contradict Tony, on one point, I think Grenada is a great place for Hostels, I was there recently and if I were you I would go to the "Zoom" Bar, everyone knows it....this is not a plug..just a reference point and ask opinions. Then. Go across the Street and there is a great Hostel, good mix, Family and singles, down the same street other side is an Eyetie (Sorry Gino) Italian Hostel, I have been in Both, although did not sleep there. You should budget least, but not much more (Assuming few bad habits) than $90 U.S.dollars a week. One thing. Watch out for jealous boyfriends.

Like I tell many

Forget about the car. If you come here I will help you if I can.

Canta no LLores


Working for money without a work permit: Illegal

Making money by running a micro-business: legal but you are up against all the other people who sell vegetables door to door or shine shoes. Best of luck, thats some serious hard work for pennies. Now if you had a guitar, the worlds your oyster - live music is all but unknown.

Working on the black market: I have heard in the past that some people found black market work in bars in the tourist trade. Good way to get deported.

Staying somewhere cheap / somewhere safe: Usually 2 opposing requirements, the really cheap places are unlikely to have walls except cardboard which makes locks and doors a waste of time.

Hospedajes can run 3 bucks a day, you can find them all over the place but at those prices, don't expect illuminated signs - they cost money. You may find hourly renters making amorous noises at odd hours.

After you have been here a day or 3, you may find a finca with a chicken house. I know one peace corps person lived like that for 200 cordobas a month. Pee in the yard, water from the well, no electric. Give us your spending limit per day and we can be a bit more accurate.

Dont know of any dangerous towns. Its a bit more expensive to live in Granada and Managua because its a little harder to find unoccupied squalid accomodation.

Drive your car down OR pay an arm and a leg to get it shipped. Contact John Kelly drives down convoy format about 5 times a year. Whichever you do, there will be some paperwork but its not all that hard. But its dead easy to get wrong.

Your expressed desire to live in squalor and desire to have a car here seem to be in serious conflict. Most people here consider living to be more important than driving. You could buy a volkswagen bus and do the hippy thing living in the back. Ah, those were the days.


Lots of information

On previous under "How To", do a little research. You should mention to what extent you speak Spanish, and where your Ministry is located. Most comments I have seen give warning about bringing a vehicle in AND suggestions not to drive in the City of Managua.

I'll see you there

I am planning on visiting during July/August

See the HowTos

Take a look at which will give you some clues but you do have other questions.

Thanks, BTW, for actually asking that this forum be created. It belongs in a forum.