Perhaps you’ve decided you want to move to Nicaragua and you’re wondering just what you should bring from home and what you should leave behind.
First, congratulations on your choice to relocate to Nicaragua. It is a wonderful, warm country that is mostly undiscovered by your fellow Americans (or any other country for that matter).
The truth is, you can find just about everything you need in Nicaragua. There is no need to bring anything at all, if you don’t want to.
In fact, you could simply throw on a backpack and go, picking up the necessities and more upon your arrival. Of course the idea of paying again for something you already have is likely not very appealing to you. But you may find that the cost of buying an item the second time is more attractive than paying the cost of shipping the original.
Then there are those personal items that hold sentimental value to you. You’d likely move them at just about any cost.
What we’re getting at is that there is no right or wrong as to what you should bring with you when moving to Nicaragua. It’s a very personal decision and it very well should be. Different people will choose differently and for many reasons.
That said, here is some specific advice on what to take for your move to Nicaragua.
As we’ve eluded to, just about everything you’d need you can find in Nicaragua. But it may not be exactly the same as you’d find back home. If you’re set on certain brand names of clothing for instance, chances are you’ll not find them in Nicaragua. Indeed, items imported from the US are typically more expensive in Nicaragua. Often 40% or more than you’d pay back home. If you’re after those items at any cost, there are malls that cater to the Nicaraguan upper crust. These malls have stores you’re likely very familiar with, at least by name if not by personal shopping experience. Names like Kenneth Cole and the Gap are among those familiar to most Americans. Because Nicaragua is economically challenged, you can easily find a local to custom tailor a whole new wardrobe for you very inexpensively. So you may want to store or discard most of your clothing back home.
Oddly there are very few department type stores in Nicaragua. So if you’re on the hunt for housewares, you’re going to have to do some detective work. But if you’re willing to put the effort in and you’re not fussy about a particular brand name, you’ll find what you need much cheaper than back home.
Most Expats bring electronics and computers from home. They’re easy to bring with you and would be very expensive to replace in Nicaragua.
Of course, medicine is something you don’t want to play guessing games with. Bring enough of your prescription drugs to last a significant time and have a plan to get more from the US in case you’re not able to find what you need in Nicaragua.
[More on costs of medical treatments and supplies]
Another consideration when bringing your belongings into Nicaragua is import duties and taxes. Fortunately, the Nicaraguan government has put incentives in place to attract foreigners, particularly retirees. If you’re a retiree, then you can import US$20,000 of your personal belongs into the country completely tax free.
You can also bring your personal vehicle too if it’s less than 10 years old. So, for most people, you could bring just about everything you’d need and want for everyday life – without fear of paying duties and fees.
Of course, you still have to get it there. And that’s where personal choice comes in. Do you want your own stuff bad enough to pay the exorbitant cost for shipping it?
Bringing your belongs to Nicaragua is not going to be cheap or easy. The basic process is this: you arrange for a shipper to ship a container full of your stuff to Nicaragua where it will sit for an indeterminate amount of time in customs clearance.
Shipping costs generally go by weight and/or dimensions (size of container) so providing a cost estimate here is not practical.
The fees are also higher if you live further inland in the US and/or in Nicaragua since the container has to be transported to and from the ship that brings it.
One last thing regarding shipping. Please do your homework. There are a lot of sharks in the shipping business – from people who will unscrupulously overcharge you to those out to steal your belongings.
That’s not to say that you should be fearful about relocating your belongings to Nicaragua. Not at all. Just decide carefully what you need to bring and what you can live without. Then choose a qualified shipping company with a great reputation and they’ll help you sort out the rest.
There you have it. You are all set to make your move to Nicaragua!