The cost of living in Nicaragua
Everyone wishing to retire somewhere in Nicaragua wants to know what the cost of living is in their desired retirement destination. The press has listed Nicaragua as one of the top retirement destinations for many reasons, including the quality of life you will have and the cost of living. Adding to this are the benefits the Nicaraguan government has promoted to assist people retiring in Nicaragua.
Like any other place in the world, the cost of living varies from city to city and area. If you wish to live in Managua, your cost of living is going to be higher than, say, if you went to live in Matagalpa, Granada or San Juan del Sur. Housing or rent will be cheaper or more expensive depending on where you want to live. Of course, you can live for as cheap or as expensively as you want; it all depends on your pocket book. Many retirees surveyed say they live on an average monthly budget of $500 to $1,000 per month. Many Nicaraguans don’t earn much money and live on substantially less than this, but they are forced to live off the land and have very, very basic lifestyles. On average though, expect to pay about $800 a month for your expenses. If you need air conditioning, it will push your cost of living in Nicaragua up a few dollars more (electricity is very expensive in Nicaragua).
In some of the smaller towns of the north, you will pay only $100 to $400 US rent per month for a single family home. In the larger cities or beach communities, expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per month for the same type of living accommodation. It all depends on your needs, your budgets and your tastes. The real estate market always changes, so it’s a little difficult to predict exactly what your rental payments will be. To rent a place in Granada will be about $400 for a small place. Whatever way you look at it, the rent is definitely cheaper in Nicaragua than in Europe or North America.
Food is definitely cheaper in Nicaragua and you will find an abundance of fresh tropical fruit and fresh seafood. This goes without saying, unless you want to buy imported foods. Your groceries will cost you about $225 a month for one person unless you want to eat imported foods. However, you can decrease your food budget if you only eat locally grown foods. Dining out will add to your food budget. If you stick to Nicaraguan cuisine when going out for dinner, this can be quite cheap. For example, seafood meal might cost you as much as $12.00 US.
The biggest cost of living expense in Nicaragua would have to be gasoline for your vehicle and electricity. Gasoline expenses are very difficult to predict considering the current events in the world. Taxis will cost you about $3.00 a trip, buses, including express buses between cities will cost around $1.50 to $2.00. Public transportation here in Nicaragua is definitely less expensive than elsewhere.
Telephone charges are higher than in North America.
Internet cafes will charge from $1.00 to $2.00 (5 cordobas) for an hour of internet access. Dialup internet is about $12.00 a month, high speed internet costs anywhere from $40 to $100 per month.
Entertainment is rather cheap compared to standards in North America. A movie ticket will be about $4.00. Drinking local beer and liquor is much cheaper than drinking imported brands of alcohol. Beer is about $0.50 and rum will fetch you $5.00 for a bottle. Budget yourself about $100 to $175 a month for entertainment and you will enjoy your leisure time in Nicaragua.
Hiring a maid or cook will cost about $100 a month. However, you then take on the responsibility as an employer for an employee and your employee has rights which you will have to abide by.
Medical care and medicine is cheaper in Nicaragua, something to consider, especially if you are American.
Overall, the cost of living is about 20% cheaper than in North America which is something to consider if you decide to retire in Nicaragua.