How to Reinvent Yourself in 2017

photo credit// @pineapples

photo credit// @pineapples

As 2016 fades away behind us, I’ve been reflecting on ways to reinvent myself, my business and my non-profit (again) in 2017.  I find myself nearly overwhelmed with a combination of both grief and gratitude.  How can so much good and evil co-exist in the world? Can any one of us make a difference? Is there still hope remaining? 

I need to believe that the new year provides an opportunity for self and communal reinvention.  I have faith that humanity has the capacity to forgive, heal, change and grow.  I believe that in the end, love and peace will eventually win.  

So while new year’s resolutions may simply be a man-made impetus to start over, this year’s resolution feels extra important. Here are 4 intentions to reinvent yourself in 2017:

1. Be an advocate for a good cause. 

There’s never been a better time to support a grassroots organization in San Juan del Sur. Non-profits are feeling the financial squeeze left over from lingering feelings of fear and scarcity. And yet, the town continues to develop while the cost of living for locals rises.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we encourage you to make a financial contribution this year to improve the quality of education that locals have access to.  In 2017, let’s make it our mission to empower these Nicaragua non-profits year-round.

2. Live in the moment.

The power of now is one of Nicaragua’s greatest life lessons. Time is measured differently in a region where entire communities lack access to electricity, running water and private transportation. Subsistence farmers and fishermen know there are no guarantees for tomorrow.  Let’s make it our intention to make the most of today. 

3. Simplify

In a society that glorifies wealth, minimalist living goes against the flow. We are inundated daily with advertisements that promote consumerism and a lifestyle of abundance. Making a conscious choice to spend less money, own less possessions, create less waste and commit to fewer obligations can be wildly freeing. Change your priority to time with loved ones and see what that does for your perspective this year. 

4.  Do something brave. 

Maybe you want to learn how to surf or finally book a plane ticket and learn what life is like in Nicaragua on one of our relocation tours. It could something big like buying real estate in Nicaragua, or something important like simply having a hard conversation with a loved one.  

For me it’s being more vulnerable in my writing. What’s yours?  We want to hear it!

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Give the Gift of Hope This Holiday Season

photo credit // Thomas Kelley

photo credit // Thomas Kelley

The time is now and it’s all happening!

This holiday season we are walking along side non-profits that serve our community in San Juan del Sur.  We supporting Rancho Chilamate as they deliver much needed Christmas buckets filled with food and household essentials to rural communities south of town.  We’re helping Escuela Adelante buy new school books for local children. We’re paying for the school bus for people with disabilities at Manos Unidas. And we’re providing 7 scholarships for students in the Carizal Community through Comunidad Connect. 

These non-profits are doing incredible things and we need your help.  We realize there’s a lot of wonderful causes pulling at your pocketbook this holiday season.  But if you’ve enjoyed vacationing in Nicaragua or purchased real estate here, we hope that you can invest a little more in improving the lives of the locals as the town and country develops with tourism. 

We still need 27 more people to donate $25 each in order match our fundraising goal of raising $1,000 for these 4 great non-profits at work in our community of San Juan del Sur.  


Here’s our Festive Funding Wish List:

photo credit // Rancho Chilamate

photo credit // Rancho Chilamate

1. Rancho Chilamate Christmas Bucket Drive – $250

Each December, Rancho Chilamate delivers Christmas buckets filled with food and household essentials to rural communities south of San Juan del Sur. This year we’re buying blankets, towels, cooking oil, sugar, flour, salt, toothpaste, detergent, soap, candles, matches, soup mixes, baby formula and kitchenware to buckets for these families in need.  You can buy a family a bucket for $25. We’re looking for cowboys to step up and buy a bucket.   You can donate directly to Rancho Chilamate here. 

2. Books for Escuela Adelante – $250

Escuela Adelante provides high quality, alternative education in Spanish and English to students in San Juan del Sur. With over 110+ local Nicaraguan students attending the supplemental education program, they need additional funding for school books. Supplying books for the students in this program is critical to the success of the students. Help us buy books! You can donate directly to Escuela Adelante here.*501(c)3 certified donation.

3. Manos Unidas co-op for People with Disabilities – $250

Manos Unidas is a cooperative for adults with disabilities in San Juan del Sur. The program empowers people with disabilities through a cooperative where students learn how to craft stylish tote bags out of repurposed rice bags which are sold to support their families.  This program holds a special place in our hearts since Brooke is the co-founder.  You can contribute to ongoing needs of this program by making a donation via San Juan Live’s Festive Funding page here.

4. Scholarships for Students through Comunidad Connect – $250

The Casa Llanta Fund has partnered with Comunidad Connect to offer scholarships to students in the rural community of El Carizal. We are currently raising money to give 7 students the opportunity to go to a university or trade school in 2017.  Please help us send these kids to college.  You can donate directly to Comunidad Connect here.*501(c)3 certified donation.


We believe that together we can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and lift up our community. If everyone just gives $25 each, we can make a HUGE impact! This holiday season, please consider supporting one of these causes.

The Festive Funding Flash Mob is here!

FESTIVE FUNDING FLASH MOB POSTIt’s that time of year again. We’re ringing the bell on the holidays early this year to provide much needed financial support to NGO’s actively working to empower the lives of locals in San Juan del Sur.  These NGO’s work tirelessly to improve the wellbeing and contribute to the development of the local community.  You’ll find a program with a heart for just about every need here. 

At San Juan Live we believe in helping our neighbors, which is why this holiday season we’re hosting another “Flash Mob” of festive funding and everyone is invited to join! 

Here’s how it works:

[Read more…]

Keep Giving Thanks

November has been an emotional month.  The recent presidential elections in the United States and Nicaragua have stirred up emotions and feelings of uncertainty about the future of both countries.

One thing is clear, we’re experiencing a season of change. And in times of change, it’s often helpful to name and rededicate ourselves to the causes making a positive impact in our local community.

So this Thanksgiving I’m giving thanks to these grass roots organizations dedicated to educating and empowering locals. [Read more…]

Key Steps to Purchasing Real Estate Safely: Interview with Eduardo Cabrales Cuadra

The process of purchasing property as a foreigner in Nicaragua is not the same as in North America. For starters, there’s no multiple listing service or easy access to public records on recent sales prices.

Hiring a local attorney is critical in order to check the title history, ensure there are no liens or encumbrances on the property and to register the title in the local registry. Miss one step and the consequences could prove costly and time consuming to resolve.

In an exclusive interview with Eduardo Cabrales Cuadra, managing partner with Garcia & Bodan Law Firm, Eduardo explains the key steps to purchasing real estate in Nicaragua.


Understanding the process of purchasing property in Nicaragua is critical

In this video Eduardo breaks down the five key steps to purchasing property: (i) private sales agreement, (ii) designation of a third-party to escrow the funds, (iii) legal due diligence by an independent attorney, (iv) closing and finally (v) title registration.

For more detailed information on the main conditions included in a typical purchase and sale contract, check out this article in our Seller's Learning Center.


The 4 Steps of Title Research

In this video, Eduardo dives further into the details of the title research process for property investigation. These 4 critical steps of the title research process could impact your ownership rights, uncover potential conflicts of interest and ultimately save you a lot of time and money. Have a look at his exclusive interview below.


Pair these videos with the answers to frequently asked questions in our Buyer's Learning Center.

Next step: Sign up for our Free Insider Tips Series for Nicaragua Real Estate Investors.  And track the most up-to-date real estate listings in Nicaragua on our owner updated real estate marketplace.

Sharing Rainbows and Spreading Smiles

IMG_0330Against the backdrop of beautiful beaches, colorful wildlife and world class surf breaks, it can sometimes be hard to remember that Nicaragua has the highest poverty rate in Central America. Studies show that 47 percent of Nicaragua’s 5.7 million people survive on less than 2 dollars a day.

Despite the poverty level, Nicaragua is transitioning into one of Central America’s most popular vacation destinations.  And in an effort to bridge the gap, we’re constantly coming up with new partnerships and innovative ways to give back to the local community.

[Read more…]

5 Secrets about the Green Season in Nicaragua that all Locals Know (But Never Talk About)

photo credit // Debbie Bruin at Together Tours

photo credit // Debbie Bruin at Together Tours

Nicaragua’s climate is defined by two seasons, the dry season and the rainy season.

The driest months run from December to May and there is little or no rain. The season is known locally as verano (summer) and it’s reliably sunny and hot.

The rainy season is invierno (winter) or “green season” and spans between June and November. The rains tend to be heaviest in September and October, which is when most tourists avoid travel to the region.

But what most people don’t know is that there are a ton of compelling reasons to plant yourself in Nicaragua between September and November.

Here are 5 secrets about the Green season in Nicaragua that all locals know (but never talk about):

1) Lush Green Jungle – Everything grows in the green season. From the trees lining the coastal headlands to the flowering pitaya cactus flowers, it’s a time of blossoming and re-birth. Nature is dramatically more colorful during these months.

2) Unoccupied Beaches and Empty Waves – Nicaragua isn’t exactly known for crowded beaches, but these days it’s a rarity to find yourself alone on a picturesque beach without other tourists or surfers (unless you’ve managed to time it right).  Since visitor numbers are down over the green season, you’re likely to get the romantic privacy you’re dreaming about. Surfer’s can expect slightly smaller waves, but won’t have to compete so it’s also a good time for beginners.

photo credit // Debbie Bruin at Together Tours

photo credit // Debbie Bruin at Together Tours

3) “Green Season Prices” – It’s actually an official term in the tourism business here. Some hotels and vacation rentals discount their prices as much as 50% to 75% during low season travel months. If you’re looking for a budget friendly vacation, be sure to time your trip to avoid the summer months and major holidays.

4) Midday Showers and Evening Thunder Storms – The biggest misconception about the green season in Nicaragua is that it rains all day ruling out activities such as beach trips, surfing and sailing excursions. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most days get nothing more than a 15-minute rain shower and a thunderstorm at night, which comfortably cools down the air. The actual temperate doesn’t vary much making it ideal conditions for ocean activities.

5) Dramatic Sunsets – If the last 4 reasons weren’t enough to convince you to book a plane ticket, then the sensational green season sunsets should. The clouds painting the sky over this period reflect spectacular color blends and patterns as the sun falls towards the horizon.   The sky often gifts rainbows as well.

So what do you think? Are you ready to travel?

Don’t get scared off by a few raindrops. Nicaragua’s natural beauty shines during green season.

And if you do end up getting stuck in a storm, just do what the locals do: Pull up a rocking chair, order a beer or a freshly squeezed fruit juice and wait for the sunshine to shine.

It won’t take long.

Our Free Coupon Book gives you amazing deals on places to eat, drink and have fun in San Juan del Sur – whatever the season. Don’t miss out on the savings. Download it here.

5 Choice Granada Hotels

I’m a beach person.

I’m crazy about the surf in San Juan del Sur which is why I’ve lived here since 2007.

But I do enjoy sneaking away to the nearby colonial city of Granada on occasion because of its diverse selection of restaurants, art galleries, buzzing night life and close proximity to Laguna de Apoyo – a precious Volcanic crater lake.

If you’re planning a visit to Granada, here are 5 choice hotels to consider: [Read more…]

Residency Questions Answered: Gloria Pérez Esquivel

In an exclusive interview with Gloria Pérez Esquivel, an associate with Garcia & Bodan Law Firm, we got answers to the most frequently asked questions that expatriates have about getting a residency in Nicaragua.

If you’re considering retiring in Nicaragua, or thinking about opening a business in the country as a foreigner, you’ll definitely want to browse through these videos. [Read more…]

The Casa Llanta Fund: Hear their voices, see their faces

photo credit // Jessica Gildersleeve

photo credit // Jessica Gildersleeve

For many, San Juan del Sur is all about the beach experience – with surfing, fishing and sailing as the main attractions.  Others are drawn to the undeveloped landscape and jungles.  And some find that the easy going lifestyle is a reminder to slow down and refocus on the substance of life that really matters.  The substance that prioritizes relationships and community service over quarterly reports and deadlines. [Read more…]