Where (in Nicaragua) Do You Want to Live?

The current poll is about what kind of environment would you like to live in. With 56 responses, I am surprised by the results. They are:

  • Gated community - 5%
  • Larger city - 7%
  • City - 13%
  • Small Town - 34%
  • Rural - 30%
  • Other - 4%
  • Don't know yet - 7%

Almost two thirds picking Small town or Rural is what surprised me. I just don't see that many English-speakers that want to move to Condega or even Somoto. Now, maybe most of those answers really mean "San Juan del Sur" or "my own private beach". I'm not sure.

So, let's find out. For you Small Town, Rural or Other people, what locations do you have in mind? For you Don't know yet people, what are you thinking about?

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opinions are like belly buttons...

Living in a medium (?) size city is not urban, I like to think of it as quasi-urban. Utilities suck, noise is horrible, air quality is poor, petty crime is rampant, cultural level is zero, property is grossly overpriced for what you get, etc. You could get the same amenities in a small town (with occasional trips to MGA for shopping) with half the problems and a whole lot more peace and quite.

In my wanderings for the last year, so far i´m found 3 small to medium towns fit for human habitation: Jinotega, Somoto, and Copan Ruinas, Hond. I,m sure there are more, I just havenn´t run in to them. I certainly hope that these towns aren´t destroyed by rapid growth, either by foreigners or by poor people. Fat chance.

"Poverty is the best recycler"

Not in a hole

One of the biggest problems I see with most cities and towns here is that they are in a hole. That is, they tend to be surrounded by mountains. I am sure this happened because of water supply issues long ago but it also creates what I will call "the Los Angeles effect". Hotter, more pollution, ...

On your list (and mine) for a town that doesn't seem to have this problem is Somoto. While there are mountains nearby (which would probably be where I actually would want to live), the area around the town is fairly open. If Somoto becomes the victim of Estelí-like growth, maybe it will suffer less.

Small Town - Small City

I voted "Small town" but it is not based on experience in Nicaragua, so "Don't know yet" would have been a good choice, allso.

My experience living in the US ranges from rural with no electricity or plumbing to working in a big city (Chicago) and many choices in between. My memory of no electricity is not great, and I was only 3.5 years old when we got it. Plumbing I got when I left home for college. Both of those things are high on my list of priorities for a long-term residence.

I don't usually spend much time thinking about the essentials of infrastructure of a good place to live, but here is a list to start with: fairly reliable electricity; plumbing and sewer; medical care available within a reasonable distance; abundant affordable food supply.

Then there are the next level of wants that can be worked around to some extent: telephone service; internet service (DSL or better); access to transportation; potable tap water (or at least safe for washing dishes); and a decent climate (open to interpretation, but after watching the weather reports for awhile now, it looks like Jinotega area has reasonable weather).

Things I do not want: isolation from locals; crowding; protracted hot-humid weather; ocean or lake front.

Maybe all these things are moving me from "Small Town" to small "City" and if so, so be it. But I really won't be able to tell without visiting, will I?

The pastoral ideal

I think most people voted in an ideal sense, with the suburb "with a small town feel" or a small town usually emerging as the ultimate scenario in the American mindset. Most of us are, after all, only a generation from the farm. The Mayberry mindset is a huge part of the North American psyche, whether we will admit it or not is another matter. Also, small towns in Nicaragua tend to have drastically less infrastructure than counterparts in the states? Wonder if people were voting from experience?

Where (In Nicaragua) Do You Want To Live?

Shack on a beach,Rural/Small Village,(Lake or Sea).Home:Rural/Small Village,Upland,1->2 hours from Managua/Leon.

Jinotega real estate report

300 acres, north side lake, lived in Alaska before.

70 acres, 20 miles N of lake, worked coffee farms in Kenya

400 acres S of lake, developer with 4 properties in SJDS

50 acres S of lake, lived in Zimabwe before

42 acres at 1500 meters, 10KM S of town

All purchased in the last 5 months. It looks like people who have lived in the boonies before are comfortable doing it around Jinotega.

I moved here in July 2006. Nothing was sold until February then it was bonanza time. One property was a little more expensive but the other 4 went for around 1,000 to 1,500 an acre.

Personally, I rent in the middle of town. When my job is done here, I'll move 40 miles North East and start over. I'm very comfortable in a small town.

Tony X Robins, Jinotega


Hi Tony,

I haven't posted much here lately, just been reading all the different posts. We thought we would be in Nicaragua before now, but certain situations are keeping me here in Florida. The situation is that my youngest daughter is living with us while she completes her doctorate at the local university and I really can't afford to keep both places going if I live in Nicaragua and I can't leave her without a place to live. Wouldn't seem right. My retirement doesn't stretch that far and one can't plan on making money in Nicaragua. I told my wife she could go, but she doesn't want to go without me and it is a long way to commute.

Anyway, I digress, but we would really like to check out the area around Jinotega, we are going down next month, but I don't think we will have enough time. We have a small house in SJDS, but looking to the future, would really like to check out your area. We have a lot in Masatepe, which is nice and has trees, but maybe Jinotega would be better for us. We did get to Selva Negra one time, we were supposed to stay there, but didn't as the place just seemed too touristy. But the area was nice. We will try to get up there, but don't think we can make it this trip.


a dream, a target, a life goal

Dream of misty, cool, Jinotega. That mysterious nirvana in the mountains; remote, peaceful, waiting, eternally waiting for you, for your family.

Tony X Robins, Jinotega

Small Town

Cities and I have just never really gotten along well (in any country). Too many people, too much hustle and bustle, too much noise, traffic, and crime. I tend to prefer smaller, quieter, more personal towns. But not so small that I can't get electricity (whenever they decide to turn it on, that is), high speed internet, and preferably a cell phone tower. The town I live in here in the US has a population of less than 5,000 people. I'll probably pick something a little bigger in Nicaragua. If my information is accurate, someplace like Somoto would qualify very nicely.

The first time I visited Nicaragua, the thought of living in a small town far, far away from the nearest McDonald's or anything else familiar would've scared me to pieces. Hmmm...actually, now that I think about it...the first time I visited, the idea of stepping off the plane scared me to pieces. But my comfort zone has grown quite a bit over the last 10 years, and now I'm not really concerned at all. And if I want English-speakers, I know where to find them. :)

Comfort levels

This transition from "is it ok to step off the plane" to "no problem wherever" has been my experience and has been described to me many times by others. I remember driving around little towns near Alajuela, Costa Rica when I was first there and thinking how "foreign" they seemed. A little later I realized the only thing foreign was they were speaking the language that people in Miami or Los Angeles speak rather than English.

If I think back to the various places I lived in the US, Benton City, Washington was really the nicest. There were problems (the weather being a big example of a problem) but it was a town of about 1000 people within about 20 minutes drive of a population center big enough to offer about any store you might want. We lived on 7 acres--some with apple trees, some with alfalfa.

That was over 30 years ago. The "changes" I would have liked were that having more land would have been a good thing and not having to work in town to pay the bills would have helped a lot. It seems that these considerations plus climate are easily addressed by many choices in Nicaragua.

Where (In Nicaragua) Do You Want To Live?

We built a house about 10 minutes south of Esteli in a valley called Santa Cruz. It's in a rural area on the side of the mountain overlooking the valley on about 6 acres. We only have 3 neighbors.

The house faces west (on purpose) so I can lay in my hammock and watch the sunsets with my wife, some Solis music and a bottle of Flor de Cana.

Most of the thunderstorms roll in across the mountains on the other side of the valley so we see some gorgeous sights. Sometimes it will be sunny on our side but you can see huge cloud formations billowing up 30 thousand feet with thunder bolts poking thru to the ground. They are so far away you can't hear the sound. At night the storms are really spectacular. We like it because it is out in the country, beautiful, away from dusty towns, yet close for markets, family and disco's. We get a nice breeze so we don't need airconditioning.

My plan is, when I really retire, to also buy/build a house on the beach in the San Juan del Sur area. We can then spend half time at each house.

can you add

a gated cliff in a small town overlooking a beach with a cool wind and solar/wind/geothermal/cistern/wireless category?

rural nica

i bought on the rio san juan just outside el castillo . no roads no cars paradise

I like Huehuete, Casares or that area

Its only 45 mins. from managua and when the road get redone, it will be 25 min commute.

Jorge Giraldez-Benard Latin American Advisors Company Ltd Texaco El Cortijo 1/2 C al Sur Casa 300 Res. El Cortijo, Managua, Nicaragua C.A.. e-mail JGiraldezB@yahoo.com Skype, YahooPager & MSN User name: JGiraldezB Managua Office: 011 505 2682874

El Castillo

After traveling through Nicaragua a few times since the 70s’ on my way to CR I finally took some time to explore the country. For people and the beauty, Rio San Juan is my favorite area. Hope to spend more time there soon.

I was wondering if you might know the e-mail address of the guy that has the Internet café there. I’d like to ask him to deliver a message to a friend that lives near by. If so, maybe you could PM me. Thanks.

you right

Just got back from RSJ--it is gorgeous. Item one is getting away from the automobile society!

Don't know if I'd like the climate in the long haul, but it was very pleasant last week, with afternoon showers cooling it down . No internet service in El Castillo. I asked and was told "mal administracion". Land land service is also flakey, the hotel had a phone but I never found a public one. Cels work. If anyone has been thinking about checking out RSJ but have hestated because of the remoteness, just get in touch with Intur and pay attention to the bus, boat, plane timetables. The CR route is good, too, if you have things to do in CR.

Note on buses--I was told that there are 2 Marco Polos and that currently the road is not too screwed up, so inquire about which times the Marco Poos run and avoid the schoolbuses. Better yet, take the ferry. If the wind isn't blowing it is a smooth ride according to 2 Germans I met.

"Poverty is the best recycler"