I’m dining in a thatched roof restaurant right on the beach. I can hear the rhythmic rush of waves on sand. In front of me is a lobster dinner, fresh from the fishing boats anchored a few meters away. The cost: 230 córdobas (about $10.00). I order a cold beer – Toña is the local favorite – which adds just 30 córdobas (about $1.25) to my bill.
OK, this isn’t a Michellen star restaurant and a world famous chef has not cooked the food. But my goodness it tastes great. Some might even argue that the scenery alone is worth the price tag.
How much does it cost to live in San Juan del Sur?
This is one of the most common questions that I’m asked. But answering it is not always straight forward as everybody’s situation is different. Your costs will depend on a number of factors, such as where you live, how you live and whether or not you need a car. But I can tell you this: you can get a quality of life here that is all but impossible in the US.
It’s not just restaurant meals where you’ll find great value. Head to the vegetable market and for less than $10 you’ll be able to buy fruit and vegetables to last the week. A bottle of world-class Nicaraguan Flor de Caña rum is $4.50 and fresh chicken from the local supermarket costs $1.50 per pound.
You can hire a maid who will cook, clean, and do your laundry for less than $150 a month; have a consultation with a US-trained doctor for $35 and enjoy a first run movie for $3.50.
Here’s a sample of monthly costs for a couple:
Sample monthly costs for a couple
- Water and Electricity – $200 (depending on a/c)
- Propane gas (tank for cooking) – $20
- Telephone – $20
- High speed Internet and cable – $50
- Cook/maid full-time – $150
- Groceries – $200
- Entertainment – $150
- Gym membership – $30
- Health plan at Vivian Pellas hospital – Between $11 – $28 for silver and $25 – $61 for gold plan
If you rent, you’ll have to factor in a monthly payment. If you own a house, it’s property taxes, maintenance and possibly HOA fees that need to be included in your budget. But whether renting or not, we’ve factored in a high standard of living into these prices. If you want to “live like a local” your costs will come down considerably.
The cost of living advantage that the San Juan del Sur region offers is one that few other places can match (even when counting neighboring countries). It makes you feel that the opportunities here are endless. So if you are looking for a place where you can upgrade your lifestyle while at the same time drastically reducing your cost of living, it’s worth trying San Juan del Sur on for size.