The culture of Nicaragua is Latin based. The majority of Nicaraguans are Catholic and life revolves around the family, typically with multiple generations living in the same household. Raising the family and subsistence farming or fishing is a way of life for many. Consumerism is out of place in this region of the world.
If Nicaragua has been on your radar for a while, it was probably the year round sunshine and beautiful beaches that inspired you to make the move. But real life down here isn’t always a holiday. Mistaking permanent vacation for relocation is a mistake if you’re planning to call Nicaragua home. Here are a few tips to get you started on your new life in Nicaragua.
For starters, you should commit to learning to the Spanish language. While it is possible to get by with a few passing phrases when you’re staying in hotels with English speaking receptionists and bartenders, an active expat life in Nicaragua requires communication in Spanish. You’ll also need to speak the language to make friends with locals. There are plenty of great Spanish schools to choose from. Volunteering is also a great way to learn.
To fit in, you’ll need to understand the “mañana mentality”. Mañana means tomorrow in Spanish and more often than not, things that you want to get done today, will not get done until “mañana”. Time slows down here. It’s best practice not to fight it. But that doesn’t mean that you have to let down your own sense of productivity. One of the gifts of living in a foreign country is that there’s always something new to learn on any given day, so be patient with it.
Getting connected to the expat social scene in Nicaragua is critical for long term survival. There’s so much to learn from the experiences of others. And expats living abroad know the importance of helping one another, whether it be in cross promoting tourism related businesses or just helping each other out of a jam.
Reading the local newspapers is an important way to connect with the local residents. If you’re going to live in their country, you need to understand the current events impacting their daily lives and yours. Google translate has gotten so good that you can you can easily and instantly translate any of the local online publications to get your daily news feed.