Central America’s Best Kept Secret Is….

central america secret

Emily Owen

One of the least visited countries in Central America, many expats still find their way to Nicaragua for the solace it offers. Nestled between Honduras to its north and Costa Rica to its south, Nicaragua is a palm tree dotted safe-haven, and is seen by many of its residents as a recluse from the mass tourism that overruns other more traditionally popular destinations. The outdated image of Nicaragua as a war torn country has, despite its inaccuracy, limited the number of travelers that have chosen to visit the country. The vast expanse of dramatic, untouched coastlines meet lush rainforests on shore, a sight anyone would be sorry to miss, but outsiders seldom bare witness to this wondrous elemental beauty.

Perceptions are quickly changing, however, as the country grows in popularity among tourists as well as expats looking for an ideal place to relocate in Central America. Nicaraguan officials are allocating significant funds toward improving the country’s infrastructure and making it more attractive to tourists from North America

Nicaragua’s diverse features and dynamic history make it one of the few global destinations that truly does offer sights and activities that appeal to nearly every personality. Upon arrival, travelers quickly discover the hidden charms of Nicaragua’s quaint fishing villages, and savor the picture perfect elegance of colonial towns such as Granada and Leon. In recent years, a growing number of luxurious eco-lodges and high end restaurants have served to increase the number of tourists and expats who frequent the country and are especially appealing to those in need of some prolonged rest and relaxation.

Keen adventurers visit Nicaragua from all over the world to take advantage of the secluded surf at San Juan del Sur, and these thrill seekers take further advantage of the country’s invigorating hiking, scuba diving and mountain biking trips. Fishing is another popular pastime, and the country boasts the largest lake in Central America, Lake Nicaragua. Some of the country’s most adventurous guests give volcano boarding a try, reaching speeds of up to 80 mph as they plummet down the slopes of the volcano Cerro Negro.

Some expats are intrigued by Nicaragua because of the rich opportunities the country offers for growing organic produce. Those interested in becoming organic farmers often set up camp at the base of the twin volcanic peaks of Isla de Ometepe, where the nutrient-dense volcanic soil supports a diverse range of crops. The hospitable climate and fertile soil enable the vast majority of organic farmers to experience successful harvests, and farm-to-table restaurants have grown increasingly popular in recent years.

Another factor that attracts many expats to Nicaragua is that like many other Central American countries, the cost of living is exceptionally affordable, especially in comparison with most North American and Western European cities. To put this in perspective, a couple will live comfortably on an average budget of $1,000 per month, and simply for about $750 dollars per month. A luxurious lifestyle that includes a spacious home with a maid is within the budgets of many retired expats and could be afforded for about $2,000 dollars per month.

Most expats choosing to settle in Nicaragua can be found in one of the country’s most popular colonial cities, Granada. Equally popular locations for expats include Leon and Managua. Although most expats don’t expect to find employment during their time in Nicaragua, the prospects for those looking for work in real estate or housing development remain favorable. This leaves plenty of time for expats to get involved in the surrounding community, work for volunteer organizations, and enjoy the country’s abundant natural beauty. Opportunities to celebrate the tranquility and beauty of nature and to savor time spent with friends and loved ones abound in this small, largely undiscovered nation. It’s no wonder Nicaragua has experienced a surge of newcomers in recent years.