Retiring on a budget? Head to Nicaragua in its natural state
Most will be surprised at my first choice when it comes to retiring to Nicaragua on a budget: The colonial city of León.
To be sure, I love the Pacific coast, and the relaxing, luxurious, lifestyle that many have found in the planned communities on the water. And I also am particularly fond of Granada, with its old colonial center, markets, restaurants, and thriving expat community.
But León is different. It’s Nicaragua in its natural state. If you want to experience Nicaragua without the expats—or the false economy that follows them around—then León is worth your attention.
Filled with original colonial architecture and charm, León sits about an hour north of the capital of Managua astride the Pan American highway. The climate is hot but humidity is generally low and evenings are usually comfortable. Founded in 1524, it is home to about 110,000 people.
Always a center for Nicaragua’s liberal and progressive thinkers, León is home to a large number of bookstores, coffee shops, museums, and a generous cadre of university students. It was the heart of the Sandinista movement during the civil war, and of the Liberal Party during the 1800s.
Wandering the streets of León, you’ll enjoy the colonial architecture, the impressive cathedral, the markets, and most of all, the relaxed, non-hurried ambience and friendly people.
even though it’s an “inland” colonial
city, León is very close to the Pacific
coast. Las Peñitas is less than 15 miles
to the west, when you’re in the mood for
swimming, seaside sunbathing, or some fresh
seafood in an open-air restaurant. Frequent
bus service runs between León and Las Peñitas,
making the trip easy and inexpensive.
Allow $1300 per month if you’re planning on renting
All things considered, a budget of $1300 per month should keep you pretty nicely in León. The $500 rent allowance will allow for a fairly high-end property, and HOA fees are not common for apartment renters, as they are in Ecuador.
León has most of what you’d need right in town, so walking should not be a problem in most cases. If you’ve got more than walking distance to cover, the buses or taxis should do the job.
in most countries, you could “live like a
local” for considerably less.
For those who own a home (or plan to do so)
I think the budget would look more like the
one below. To be conservative, I’ve
assumed that the house is in a community
that has Home Owners Association fees, and
that you’ve purchased homeowner’s
If you’d like to own a car in Nicaragua, here’s what a friend of mine is spending in the capital city of Managua:
Owning a Car
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