Moving to Nicaragua
Expats moving to Nicaragua will be treated to a laid-back lifestyle in a beautiful country with an interesting and complex history. Visitors to Nicaragua are in awe of the country's soaring mountains, beautiful beaches, luscious tropical forests and mesmerizing volcanoes.
Nicaragua is primarily an agricultural country, but other sectors like construction, mining, fisheries and commerce have been expanding over the years.
The expat population in Nicaragua is relatively small as there is still stigma attached to the violence this country experienced in its recent past. However, more and more foreigners are starting to see the potential of this geographically diverse land and choosing it as a destination for their expat experience.
Most expats living in Nicaragua can be found close to Leon, Granada or the country’s capital, Managua. Foreigners generally relocate to Nicaragua to retire or to set up a business. Teaching English is another a popular choice. It's not the best destination for those seeking employment as the country has a high rate of unemployment and wages are incredibly low. However, job prospects are good for those with a background in real estate or housing development.
Expats will find that the cost of living is very low, especially when compared to North America and Western Europe. The fact the domestic help is readily available in Nicaragua also leaves expats with lots of time on their hands to enjoy all the activities the country has to offer. From surfing, hiking and mountain biking to relaxing by the Caribbean Sea or volunteering at a local charity, there is something here to keep every expat entertained.
Spanish is the official language of Nicaragua and those who make an effort to speak it will make better headway in interacting with the locals and embracing the culture. The Nicaraguan people have a reputation for being friendly, warm and welcoming to foreigners.
Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in Central America and crime rates are low. However, expats shouldn’t become complacent; crimes tend to be petty and opportunistic in nature. Those who exercise caution, keep valuables out of sight and don’t draw unnecessary attention to themselves should not experience any problems.
Nicaragua is home to some of Central America’s most modern medical facilities and many of the country’s doctors have been trained in the USA and speak fluent English. Private hospitals are still the preferred choice among most expats, but these are only found in selected cities.
The public education system in Nicaragua is underfunded. Expats tend to send their children to private or international schools. Be warned: waiting lists at international schools are very long, so it's best to make applications well ahead of time.