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Nicaragua is Central America’s largest country, bordering Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. Decades of economic difficulties, political instability and the 9 year Contra War in the 1980s have cause many travelers to be weary of visiting the country.  

The lingering negative perceptions have preserved Nicaragua from mass tourism and development, but all that is changing is changing now.  After 25 years of peace, this land of lakes and volcanoes is now acclaimed by many to be “the next Costa Rica” due to its rich natural resources, undeveloped coastline and low prices on everything from beers and ceviche to health care and real estate.  Even Lonely Planet named Nicaragua as #4 in the top 15 travel destinations around the world to visit in 2015.


The climate is tropical. It’s always warm in Nicaragua. The seasons simply vary between rainy and dry. The rainy season runs from mid-May to mid-November. The heaviest rains reliably come in October.  The wet season is referred to as invierno (winter) or “green season”.  The driest months are December to April when there is little or no rain. The dry season is known as verano (summer).

Popular Cities at a Glance:

Managua  – Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua. The city has been witness to the rise and fall of political powers throughout Nicaragua’s history and suffered a devastating earthquake in 1972, from which it still has not completely recovered.  The main international airport in Nicaragua is located in Managua. Population 1M.

Granada – Granada is one of the first cities founded by Spain in the New World in 1524 and is Central America’s oldest Colonial city. Its well preserved colonial architecture is attracting foreign real estate investors.  Granada is located along the banks of Lake Nicaragua (or Cocibolca), the largest fresh water lake in Central America and 19th in the world. The lake contains 365 islands that were formed from an eruption of nearby Mombacho volcano.  Population 120,000.

San Juan del Sur –  San Juan del Sur is located approximately 90 miles from Nicaragua’s capital city Managua and the international airport. It’s one of Nicaragua’s most desired beach towns and tourist destinations due to its vibrant surfing scene, growing number of recreational opportunities and seafood restaurants on the sand.  San Juan del Sur is becoming the leading destination for vacationers and real estate investors. Population 19,000.


Cost of living & sample monthly costs for a couple to live in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

  • 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

Fast Facts:

  • The capital city is Managua.
  • The official language is Spanish.
  • The official currency is the Nicaraguan córdoba.
  • Baseball is Nicaragua’s most popular sport.
  • International dialing code: +505
  • Nicaragua’s time zone is UTC (GMT)
  • Electricity is supplied at 110 volts in Nicaragua. Plugs are the same as in the US, having two flat pins.


Guest post by Brooke Rundle, blogger at San Juan Live and co-author of the Insider Guide to San Juan del Sur electronic guidebook.


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