My Journey to Nicaragua Was Well Worth The Effort


This is a guest post from Ross Campbell who relocated to Nicaragua from the USA. If you would also like to write for San Juan Live, click here for more information on guest posting.

Nicaragua is a country of unparalleled beauty, and it’s so affordable to live in as well. After taking a couple vacations here, I finally decided that it was the right place for me and where I wanted to settle down after retirement. When the day finally came, I was overjoyed, and nervous all at once. I began planning the move and started working out how it was all going to happen. The planning process spanned over many months, and even now I’m still trying to tie up a few loose ends here and there from my life in the United States, but I don’t regret the move one bit.

Making the Move

Deciding to move to Nicaragua was a point of great excitement for me, but it was also the main cause of some serious stress. I’ve spoken to a few others who have moved or retired to Nicaragua and hearing about their love for the country helped ease my stress a bit. I had to consider what belongings I would bring along and what I would leave behind. After much careful deliberation, I decided to leave behind most everything, other than my clothing and a single laptop computer. It’s costly to import most things into Nicaragua and I knew my carry-on space and luggage space would be limited when making the move.

I took the flight over to Nicaragua on a chilly Tuesday morning, and arrived in a warm and welcoming climate with two luggage bags carrying all my worldly possessions. From there I headed to the local hostel that I booked for the next three weeks. That was my place to stay until I could find a long-term rental, and I ended up having to extend my reservation an additional week before coming across a good rental that I was ready to commit to.

Finding My Rental

One of the most difficult things about moving to a new country, is finding a place to live. This is doubly true if you don’t have any family members around to help you learn the local market or to connect you with a reliable real-estate professional. While I could find a place to rent over my first few weeks in Nicaragua, I knew I would have to do a bit of research to track down a long-term rental at a more reasonable price.

I relied on two methods at the time to finally come across my beautiful studio apartment rental that I currently pay about $400 USD for each month. The first thing I did was regularly take long walks around Playa Marsella and surrounding communities. During my walks, I regularly came across for rent or Se ALQUILA signs that seemed to be posted up on a weekly basis. I also looked at community bulletin boards and local classified ads for homes. I prefer to rent, although buying a home in Nicaragua is an option for many living in the country.

What I soon realized was that the properties with posted for rent signs were almost always cheaper than the locations that were being advertised by other means. By taking the time to locate these properties myself, I could see much more affordable options overall and snag my very affordable studio apartment. The apartment comes with security, cable TV, parking, cleaning and it’s partially furnished, giving me everything that I’m looking for.

Bringing My Car Over

There is a decent public transportation system, and I picked a rental near enough to the city center to make biking or walking comfortable, but there are plenty of opportunities throughout Nicaragua that are just better when you have a car of your own. That’s why I committed to shipping over my 2012 Nissan Altima. I love my car and didn’t want to sell it off before leaving, even though I knew it would be a good bit of work to import it into Nicaragua. Fortunately, I found a great overseas car transport company to help me through the process with A1 Auto Transport Inc.

The first step was to get the title and all my US paperwork around for the vehicle. Then I had to clear it with U.S. Border Customs to make sure it was good to move outside the U.S. Finally, I filled out a huge selection of paperwork around the vehicle, showed off my identification and payed taxes and the shipping company to get my vehicle to Nicaragua. After working with an Expat insurance company to secure local insurance, I could register the vehicle and start driving it around, and boy did it make exploring the local towns more enjoyable! I used my car to find some favorite new beaches, and a cool shopping town nearby that I didn’t even know about. It was a lot of work to import my vehicle, but it was worth it for all the perks that I enjoy by having a vehicle of my own.

Overall my journey to Nicaragua has been an exciting one, and it amazes me how little money I need to live comfortably here, but there is work involved when moving here from the U.S. You’ll have to fill out paperwork, deal with unfamiliar customs, like month-long leases and it will likely take some time to settle in, but it’s all worth it, or at least it was to me.

Questions? Comments?  Sound off below.


  1. Brandon W. Hargis says:

    Thank you for the great post.

    What Visa did you settle on and what are your future goals for Visa’s? I am going down to Nica in March just to look at some places and if it is as good as I hear I would like to fully relocate down there in the future and buy some property. Any insight, tips, and information is greatly appreciated