Where to Relocate: San Juan del Sur or Granada?

Looking to relocate to Nicaragua? You’ll find the two most popular destinations for foreigners are the magnificent beaches of San Juan del Sur and the historic city of Granada. The two towns are only 90 minutes drive from one another, but in many aspects they are worlds apart.

Relocate to Nicaragua San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur is active…

To say that San Juan del Sur offers opportunities for an active lifestyle is an understatement. In the mornings it’s normal to see the long bay full of joggers, walkers and dog owners enjoying the refreshing cool morning air before heading to the market for fresh fruit and yogurt. And of course a world-class surf session is just a short drive away.

But San Juan del Sur is more than just beach and surf. It has a lot more to offer those looking to relocate. Many of the long-term ex-pat residents own their own business and are always on the move. The tourists keep coming, the place keeps evolving and this provides ample opportunities for creative spirits to find their niche. San Juan del Sur is a friendly place where the locals and long time ex-pats are happy to help newcomers get their footing and even provide ideas on the needs of the town.

The real estate market in San Juan del Sur has something to offer a variety of budgets. If you are relocating to live in your dream house overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean with an infinity pool and nightly sunsets, San Juan has it. Or if it’s a one-bedroom apartment, fully furnished with cable, wifi and water that you are looking for, you can find that as well.

About the only time you will find San Juan del Sur sitting still is at sunset when most everyone takes the time to find a cold drink and watch the sun sink into the ocean and the sky turn a multitude of glorious colors.

Relocate to Nicaragua

Granada is busy…

Granada is not to be forgotten. A historic city – arguably the oldest continually inhabited town in the Americas – that sits on the banks of Lago Cocibolca (also known as Lake Nicaragua) in the shadow of the grand Volcan Mombacho. It offers a completely different lifestyle for those looking to relocate.

San Juan is active, but Granada is busy. The streets are teaming with people. Vendors and taxis are always right behind you and available. Everything you might want is here; either in the large market or the large grocery stores with North American standards.

Granada has a large ex-pat community, mostly made up of retirees looking for a lifestyle where they do not have to work as hard as they did in their previous lives. So for many residents the days consist of going for coffee and breakfast with other ex-pats before finding a local watering hole and enjoying the shade of a interior courtyard. The nightlife in Granada is extensive, especially on the Calzada, where you can find an array of restaurants and bars. It seems there is always a party going on somewhere.

Granada is the perfect location for those interested in renovating houses; the city being famous for its Spanish Colonial architecture. Many properties have been restored to their former glory, but there are always more looking for a little TLC or a complete make-over. The market ranges from large 5,000 square foot homes to smaller places that are just a shell of what came before. It all depends on your level of dedication.

There are a million factors to consider before relocating, more than possible to mention here, so do your research. Take the time to visit, consider booking a vacation rental, and think about the type of lifestyle you are looking for before jumping in.  Living in a new country is much different then visiting one. Making sure your new destination fits your dream is well worth the time and expense.

If you have moved to Nicaragua, we’d love to hear from you.  Sound off about your experiences in the comments below.

About Rebecca Teeters

This is a guest post by Rebecca Teeters. Rebecca grew up outside of Washington D.C. before eventually moving to New Orleans to attend Tulane University. She moved to Nicaragua over two years ago with her husband and two dogs and now lives in San Juan del Sur. She works as a freelance writer and recently completed her first novel available on amazon.com


  1. Hello,

    I am very interested in moving to SJDS and am not sure where to begin. Where could I find out about job opps out there?

    • Editor SanJuanDelSur.Org says:

      Hi Gen P. How about coming for a visit and starting to network with people in fields that interest you. Let us know if we can help you with this.

  2. Like GenP I’m very much interested in relocation, starting with a visit. Which brings me to my questions: what airport is best to fly into (some sites have suggested flying into Costa Rica)? Are there any hotels in SJDS? (I’m finding a lot of home rentals)? Are there heavy travel/tourist seasons to maybe avoid, or is anytime a good time for a visit? And lastly, I’m guessing a vehicle rental is necessary?
    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Toby, Great to hear that you’re planning a visit and considering relocating here.

      We’ve put together a page with information for first time visitors that should help with some of your questions. You can find it here: http://sanjuandelsur.org/practical-information-for-new-arrivals/ As it’s always warm here any time is a good time to visit. Things do get a little busier during the height of the tourism season in December and January.

      There are a wide range of hotels in SJDS. I’ll send you some details over the email, so please look out for that.

  3. Luis Rafael Chavarria says:

    Thank you for the very helpful information you provide for all of us. I’m looking to relocate from Northern California to SJDS in exactly 5 years. I was born in Nicaragua (jinotega) but raised in San Francisco. I served 10 years in the U.S Marines and I have 10 years in Public Service. I’m schedule to be in San Juan December 27th.
    I would like to meet with someone that can give me some advise and start preparing for my move. I was in SJDS in January of this year and I really like to be part of the community. Thank you


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