So, you want to work in Nicaragua

We always have a trickle of people with little Nicaragua experience that want to "drop out", move to Nicaragua and support themselves. It can be done but let me offer a quick reality check.

  1. If you have first world debts, don't even think about it. Pay them off and then come back here for the next step.
  2. Labor in Nicaragua is close to free. If the only "skill" you have is a strong back, forget it.
  3. Still reading? Ok, do a skills inventory. What can you do that the average Nicaraguan can't.
  4. Look at your skills inventory and figure out who could afford to pay you to use those skills. Being a computer programmer that can work on-line with customers in Germany is good. Being the best person on the planet to teach English to Spanish-speaking rural farmers is not.
  5. Do you have the business sense to actually use your skills to make money?

Now you are getting close. You still need good Spanish skills, the ability to adapt to a system (government and business) that will likely be very different from what you are used to and, generally, you will need to be ok being an outsider. If all that fits, you are heading in the right direction.

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Another factor which I rare see people mention or consider BEFORE they make the move, is that if they intend to live in and off the local economy, and have no outside constant support (a pension of some sort, life insurance annuity, large savings set aside specifically for this venture, etc.), making a trip back to wherever you are from, can be out of your reach without using your savings, which is often held for a potential medical emergency or legal problem.

Once you enter the local economy, that $600 or whatever price ticket and the resulting travel costs can be as hard on you as they are on local middle class people, even with that little business you started. Many retired people and ex-military people are immune from much of this, since they derive one income off the pension and another of their small business. Most young(er) people do not have this back-up money.

All over Central and South America you can find younger people with a bar or hotel or guide company, and they are living there an enjoying it, no doubt about it, but it really wears on them that they cannot afford to go back for much of anything, even a wedding or funeral or to help care for elderly parents, etc. (nor can they often find a reliable person to handle their business, if they leave the country for a few weeks). Many of the younger people I have met, who have businesses for sale in the region, are selling not because the business wont pay the bills there in that country, but because the best they can ever hope for from that business is that it covers their in-country bills. After several years or even a decade they realize they are not creating any savings, and are actually using it every time they do anything unconnected to their new home country. It is a factor to consider, especially if you have several or many obligations back in whatever country you are leaving. Mature people might have just as many reasons to go home, but they often have added resources to cover such things, or at least seem more prepared, on a personal or psychological level, for the fact that they can not or will not go for such things.

Forever Young

When you are young you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from the experience.

Young and with debt

Many of the young people I have met who haves money problems are people who came with students loans from the U.S. government. FYL is definitely correct above when he says you need to fix such things before you leave because the economy what it is you cannot fix them once you get there. There might be some charities which can defer loan payments but most can not and most young people are not tied to an approved charity like that anyway.


Well, I would assume they have something to lose (their claims, almost always, refer exactly to what they are losing and missing out on), and are not gaining enough, which is perhaps why they sell and go back. Anyone with a degree or credentials may have that much more to lose, since they will have nothing on their resume, and being out of any serious field for years makes a job hunt that much more complicated. If someone was young and had no real career, then they might have nothing to lose. But, then again, they might also not have any resources to really do anything abroad - except backpack around (nothing wrong with that, I did it year after year and highly recommend it, but this is a far cry from starting a business in and living outside your home country).

High tech....

Be sure your website, address, bank, and vonage phone are all based in the US, so you can keep your rock star billing rates! Maybe fyl can fyl us in - if they know you are are in Nicaragua, do the programming/consulting rates go down?

It is not an easy life...

It definately is not an easy life for a Nicarguan living outside the country to come back and start a bussiness, when you know that a gorverment that nearly destroyed the country's economy is in power again. Many insecurities and bad memories come back to life. I , like many Nicarguans, would wait before starting a bussiness in Nicargua. Nicargua's future is uncertain.

starting a business ANYWHERE isn't easy.

If I wanted an easy life I wouldn't chose any country that I have ever visited. I wouldn't start a business. I'd probably take up drugs and sponge of my mom. There is NO intersection between EASY and ENTREPENEUR. What are you smoking?

If you are a Nicaraguan scared-of-Daniel business wanna-be, go open your business somewhere else. But don't come here to this web site whining about what Daniel might do based on your biased viewpoint. I live here and opened a business here and I am FED UP with whiners and gripers and moaners abut what Daniel did 20 years ago, might do, may do, could do. I could be wrong about Daniel and Nicaragua, I may go down in flames, I may get shot, I may drown in a vat of Scotch whiskey, the sky may fall, a previously unknown volcano may erupt at my feet. I CAN'T LIVE LIKE THAT. I make decisions and live with the consequences.

Entrepeneurs take risks and go where others falter and lose their nerves. ed33, you appear to have lost yours.

Your advice is bad, misleading, biased, and wrong.


It must be ever so nice to be un-biased (oh, wait, hold ons a minute, are you not the most bias person on the whole website?). Come to think of it why would one businessman in Nicaragua even waste time telling a probably non-competing businessman not to come there or to stop giving information or his opinion on prospects there? Why care? Does it have impact to you? Could it be your business depends on people packing up and coming here and wouldnt that need to you make your opinion rather biased given yours self-interest in the answer? It does not matter if you cant work like that. It is not about you. It is about others.

whether ed33 comes here or not, competes or not...

... IMHO he is merely using this forum as a dumping ground for 20 year old emotions. Its the AETRADO syndrome. Any Excuse To Rant About Daniel Ortega. Its all be said a thousand times. Boring. Futile.


Someone opened the second machine laundry in Jinotega this week. The local keychain vendor has gotten supplies of wooden "Jinotega" key fobs. Someone has started producing postcards. The local architect is producing Jinotega posters. One of my protogees is running a decent language school. ... my work here is almost done :-)

If ed33 wants to come to Jinotega, he can take over my businesses.

BTW I dont recall ever saying I wasn't biased. I have a POV and fight hard for it. And I am always right (or left, if you wish)


Go Easy Tony

Everybody has a bad day now and again...Right? By the way...may I suggest the Talisker, even Bells if you can't afford a malt.

I was having a bad hair day

... and its FDC, gracias, those others are dang Scottish drinks and I dina ken.

Tony X Robins

Hey Mr Jinoausten

Posters, postcards, and key chains. Wow! I mean it's a great leap forward ye ken, I'm only trying to pull your leg, by the way..You don't have any hair according to your photo. Do they have a chamber of Commerce where you are?

We have CANTUR here but largely symbolic

CANTUR gave me the idea of the tourist office - well, actually, I stole it right off their powerpoint presentation. Every single one of the other points in that presentation went, as far as I know, nowhere. CANTUR never assisted me with the development, never visited my office (their president lives on the next block), and never asked me to help them. They sell me their only publication, the Jinotega tourist guide, at full list price. They have never invited me to a meeting or asked me to become a member. Since that meeting 'way back in August, they have had 1 meeting - nothing came of it.

I am somewhat less than impressed.

How the hell can this country even pretend that tourists are important with that kind of performance?

On another thread, Phil talks about INTUR and a shakeup. The tourist industry in this country needs to be sub-contracted to the Costa Ricans - they know how to do it right.

BTW, I was in San Jose CR and asked the tourist officer there what she thought of Nicaraguan tourism chances. She said "30 years". That was in November and I thought she was being ridiculous. Now its February and I think that, without dynamite, she was probably being optimistic.

I aint dynamite, but I'm no damp sqib either.

Tony "no hair" Robins

Now Now

I was only kidding about the hair. There seems to be Tourist Publicity, Real Estate Hype, that still centres on mainly Granada(Colonial) Ometepe (Volcano's), SJDS (Beach) probably the Mainstream. Atlantic Coast is Corn Island(s) (Caribbean)-quite a few other spots are almost unknown-like where you live! I have never heard of Cantur is that the name for the local Chamber of Commerce? It is early days yet for Nicaragua, seems no shortage of Hotels eager to fill beds-maybe organisation is just around the corner. Talking about Squibs. When I was in Nicaragua, I thought there was a war going on! nearly everywhere I went we heard all this bloody banging going on. Reminded me of Guy Fawkes night. Every Night!

CANTUR stands for : Camara

CANTUR stands for : Camara Nicaraguense de Turismo. It's a chamber of commerce-like organization for the tourism industry. Each city also has their own chamber of commerce. You generally have to reach out and apply to these types of organizations if you want to be a part of them.

my advice

Yes, get internet skills. That is where you can possibly make some money possibly buying and selling cultural items on ebay or something. Not many buyers on ebay at this time except for stamps coins and currency from the 80's. You might be able to find "bargains" here but it will take alot of work!!!!!!!!!! Or possibly as FYL says programming or as a web master for sites in the first world. Dont forget though many third world people are already doing this.

Canta no LLores