Moving to San Juan del Sur | Relocating to San Juan del Sur

If you are thinking about moving to San Juan del Sur you'll have lots of questions. In this section we cover a wide range of topics from cost of living, education, residency, retirement packages and other factors that will help you decide about relocating here.

But to really discover if relocating to Nicaragua is right for you, you should join one of our Relocation Tours. The tour follows an intensive schedule over 9 days. You'll visit residential communities in cities and neighborhoods around the country, get insider introductions to locals, expats and business owners and get a real feel for the country with your boots on the ground. We've packed in far more than you would be able to on your own. Click here to learn more.

My Journey to Nicaragua Was Well Worth The Effort

journey-to-nicaragua

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.

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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Planning to Retire Overseas: Is Nicaragua Your Best Choice? An Interview With Author Margit Streifeneder

retire-overseas_nicaragua-bookOwner of Retirepedia and author Margit Streifeneder took time out from her busy schedule to talk to me about her new book Planning to Retire Overseas: Is Nicaragua Your Best Choice?

My goal for the interview was to pinpoint exactly who should read her book, why and exactly what they would get out of it.

Take a look:

Why did you decide to write a book on retiring in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua is a wonderful country to live or retire in, but it’s not for everyone. I wrote my book to help people make an informed decision whether Nicaragua is the right choice for them. I also wanted to give them a proven roadmap to test-drive and finally move to this country, if they decided that Nicaragua was indeed the right country for them.

My book is packed with the experiences and the information I gathered since coming to Nicaragua in 2010. It also includes an FAQ section where I am answering the questions I received from my website’s readers over the years. [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…]

On waiting for permission.

photo credit // Jessica GildersleeveIf you are waiting for somebody to give you permission to move to Nicaragua, then it may never happen.  If the change that you want to experience in your life is contingent on somebody else, than there may be no end to your waiting. Nobody is going to give you permission.  

And by the way, you don’t need their permission anyway.  Your life is your own and you can just do it. 

There will never be a perfect time to quit your job or move your family.  You will also never get to the end of your to-do list. 

The time to manifest your future is now.  Or never.

7 Signs Nicaragua is Right for You

Is Nicaragua right for you1. You’ve always wanted to learn Spanish.

There’s no better way to learn another language, than to completely immerse yourself in the culture.

2. You want to make a difference in the world.

Listen to your heart and lend a helping hand. Invest in people that can never repay you.

[Read more…]

It’s Time For Resolutions

hammock timeIt’s New Year’s week.  Which means it’s time for resolutions. Why not go take care of one of these this week and start the year strong?

Here are 5 suggestions to help you succeed in San Juan del Sur in 2016.

[Read more…]

What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of? | Travel, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua | photo credit // Jessica Gildersleeve

photo credit // Jessica Gildersleeve

Almost every time I meet a new person, sooner or later I hear these words: I’ve always wanted to live in another country, but ____ (fill in the blank).  

Once they learn that I’ve spent the majority of the last decade living overseas, their minds seem to fantasize about what it would be like to quit their job, detach from their routine, sell their belongings and travel without an agenda. 

The dream: meeting new people from difficult cultures, background and ethnicities, carving out a new career path, learning a new language, exploring new horizons and finding (or remembering to value) your true passions and relationships.  

The fear: being alone, running out of money, not having a job to return to, not speaking a foreign language, getting lost, or even being forgotten.

On top of each of our fears, we add many layers of excuses to why we can’t take the leap of faith, but the biggest obstacle always comes down to fear. 

So what’s stopping you? 

What’s the one thing that ex-pats living in San Juan del Sur have in common?

QUIT YOUR JOB AND TRAVEL, SAN JUAN DEL SUR, NICARAGUA They quit their jobs to travel.

All expats living here now lived somewhere else before they starting referring to San Juan del Sur as home. It’s the common thread among expats of course. And in some way, it creates a camaraderie among people living in a country that once felt foreign.

Some enjoy reflecting upon this ‘past life’ experience, while others would rather forget it. Either way, there was a calculated decision that weighed the loss of familiarity against the unknown. A decision that took courage, sacrifice, strength and faith. In most cases it was a choice in favor of a better quality of life, at the expense of higher income, job security and the closeness of family and friends. [Read more…]

4 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Moved Out of the US

San Juan del Sur Nicaragua | Moving Overseas | Expat Living [Photo by Lauren Stocker]

Photo by Lauren Stocker

You’ll know what to do when the time comes. Just follow your heart and what will make you happy” wrote my grandmother in an email to me three months before I made one of the most defining decisions of my life: The decision to quit my job with a Fortune 300 company and move to Nicaragua.  

My mind was a wrestling match between excitement and fear.  Fortunately the lure of adventure beat out the fear… just barely.  

I didn’t leave California and take a 75% pay-cut in my salary thinking I wouldn’t return for years, or maybe ever. I left thinking that I could come back home at any time.  That I’d return just as soon as I checked off a few personal goals – such as volunteering in an orphanage, learning to surf and speak Spanish.  That mindset was enough for me to take the next step and buy a one-way ticket to Nicaragua. 

That was back in 2007, and to this day I can honestly say that I have never, not even once, regretted that decision.  Note to reader: That does not mean there haven’t been moments over the years when I’d miss my friends or crave first world conveniences like super fast internet and fancy restaurants. It just means that the highs always outweigh the lows.  

So given the choice to do over, I’d choose a lifestyle of freedom and service again and again. Here are a few things I wish I’d known before I made the leap of faith. 

[Read more…]