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Living permanently in SJDS

Charlotte, North...
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Living permanently in SJDS

Hey guys!!! My wife and I have been doing combination vacations and scouting missions for the last few years for a retirement place in Central America. So far we have been to Belize and Honduras. We understand that these places are not the US.

We will be retiring in 2016. Both of us are active and open to new places and cultures. Also if the stock market does not crash we should have a decent retirement income.

Our plan was to rent for at least 3-4 months before we make a firm decision on any place we go. And even after that time I don't think buying a house will be in the cards for us. We'd like the ability to move if the urge hits us. Our budget allows for housing (rental), service, utilities, eating, and entertainment of about $3,000 per month.

We would also most likely bring my wife's Subaru down with us. We would also like to travel back to the US twice a year. We are estimating the US travel to be about $4,000 per year.

Can anyone give us some ideas on what life would be like in SJDS for that budget? Thanks so much for the help.

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Managua, Nicaragua
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1. Re: Living permanently in SJDS

importing a car is very expensive. If i had to do it all over again, i definitely wouldnt. Id just buy a car down here.

Granada Nicaragua
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2. Re: Living permanently in SJDS

Unless you get residency the duty on importing is close to 60% of the assessed value. Plenty of good used cars and SUVs here.

I think you are wise to rent first….or maybe forever. 3,000 a month will be plenty…..to do about whatever you like down here. well, not anything but live a good life.

Honduras is not a good choice anymore because of safety issues. Belize…some places OK, but i think Nicaragua better and I do think Belze is quite a bit more expensive.

RT air to USA is typically 550 to 800 bucks so you are OK there with two people and two trips.

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3. Re: Living permanently in SJDS

Greetings Ben:

Your prospective retirement income is quite adequate to live well in Nicaragua. Of course, in an expat area like San Juan del Sur or Granada, you pay a premium to be in that location, so costs, especially for renting, will be more than in other areas of Nicaragua. There is a scarcity of homes and apartments in SJdS that meet US standards that also rent for a low to moderate cost. The going rate is about $600 a month for a small house, mas o menos.

In reading your comment/question, is it correct that you haven't yet been to Nicaragua or San Juan del Sur? The other clarification point would be if you are seeking Residency here in Nicaragua or not?

Since you will be flying back and forth to the USA a couple of times a year, you really don't have to bother with Residency although the rules may change and some day soon the government may try to weed out the perpetual tourists somehow.

Regarding the first point if you've been here before or not, I would recommend you don't just look at SJdS but think about other areas too. But being open to other areas requires a couple of decisions: you will want to be clear with yourselves as a couple a couple of things: especially whether or not you are both committed to "doing this" being very important IMO. Also, how much Spanish you know currently, if you plan to become fluent, and a related issue, if you want to live in a place with a large number of other expats or not.

So in other words, if you choose to live in an expat area then expect cost of living to be a good bit higher.

Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

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Granada
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4. Re: Living permanently in SJDS

I never thought also, about how if you are bringing your wifes car down, are you looking to import it, or are you just looking to drive it back and forth between the states and here.

A vehicle is not like a person, so while a person gets 90 days in the country, technically your car only gets 30. You can keep it in longer, but you pay a fine, for overstaying, which is about $2 a day plus a flat rate fine of about $20.

Also, unlike a person, you cant continually drive it across borders and back to "renew" your time in the country. You are able to do that once or twice, but from what i found out by personal experience, your car cant be in the country for more than 60 days in a calendar year without having to be imported. You can write a one time letter to the director general at aduana to ask for more time, but only if you have a good reason.

It becomes a big hassle when you are dealing with vehicles here.

You can live well for 3 grand a month, but "well" is relative. My wife and I currently live on less than 1/4th of that (though not in sjds). i feel we live quite well, in fact better than we had it in the states. But we have friends that come visit and are weirded out by things that we dont have/do/use that they consider "standard". Some friends of ours recently complained that their $2,000 monthly budget was too barebones and simple for them.

Especially if you have never been before, its a good idea to keep your options open, in case you decide you want to move to a different location, or even if you decide the country is not for you at all completely.

Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: Living permanently in SJDS

Thanks for all the replies. Our plan is to establish residency in a country. In the research I have done it looks like we can import a vehicle duty free by being a permanent resident. Our plan is to import it on a boat/plane/train.

I have travelled to South Africa, Central America, Nepal. So I have seen and partially lived the "not US". So I at least partially understand what living without US standards is about.

My Spanish is 2 years of high school and both my wife and I and enrolled in community college Spanish and our goal is to be proficient in Spanish by 2016.

I would like to be around some expats from the US but I would also like to be able to have the ability to meet and establish local relationships. We would also like to do volunteer work...especially with kids and teaching school.

We have not been to Nic yet. But it is on the hit list for 2015. Does anyone have recommendations on areas to look at other than SJDS?

Thanks

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Chichiriviche...
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6. Re: Living permanently in SJDS

Hi I would look on any villages with about a population of 5000 exept SJDS....I dont think you can find a worse place in Nicaraga to live like this. Party drunk poeple year round nor realy a nice beach y personally would never swim there...The bay is getting a Cancun, Puerto Vallarta etc...its really sad...

I know some people will no agree with this......This is my personal opinion..I live in Nicaragua and have been a few days there but will never go back....

Salta

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7. Re: Living permanently in SJDS

As far as recommendations for "where else to look", is going to be difficult, because everyone is so different.

The only consensus would probably be to come visit yourself and spend some time looking around. Especially if you are looking for a major move with permanent residency and importing goods/vehicles, etc.

The northern beaches are very different than the southern ones. The mountains are different than the lowlands. The caribbean is different from the pacific.

Maybe spend the first 2 or 3 months down here living out of hotels, or renting short term housing in a few different areas of the country and do some exploring. That will help you get a feel of what parts of the country you like best, as well as getting a feel for even if this area/country is for you at all before such a major life change.

Maybe rent a house for a month or at least a couple weeks in each of the major tourist/ex-pat areas of the country (San Juan Del Sur, Granada, Leon, maybe the area outside of Managua if you like to be near a city), since you want to be around an expat community and then you can do little trips and explore each area of the country around there. That way you can see the southwest, center, and northwest of the country. The only part that would really be missing is the caribbean side and the northeast wilderness, but very few expats make that their permanent home.

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8. Re: Living permanently in SJDS

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9. Re: Living permanently in SJDS

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