“I wanted to live well with less,” says Judith LaRoue of what drew her to a new life abroad. “I wanted to enjoy the life I love and believed I could do that better here in Nicaragua.”
For Linda Pothoff, every day in Nicaragua is an adventure. You can find her horseback riding on the beach, or perhaps catching a ride on a catamaran and drinking Mai Tai cocktails all afternoon. On Tuesdays she goes to water aerobics.
I sat with a friend on the beach in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, marveling at the most spectacular sunset I had ever seen…gold, purple, orange, pink, and blue. I made the decision right then and there to live in this unbelievably beautiful country. And I wasn’t going to wait for retirement.
Nine years ago I bought an ocean-view home in Nicaragua and have lived here ever since. It was the best decision I ever made. I could never have afforded a house like mine in the U.S. My French doors open onto my patio, where I can watch the ocean waves crash over the rocks. My yard looks like a jungle—coconut palms, fruit and avocado trees, a herb garden, and so many colorful flowers: plumeria, hibiscus, marigolds... Thanks to the bargain price of real estate in Nicaragua, I own a slice of ocean-view paradise on an acre for just $132,000.
Since arriving in the beach town of San Juan del Sur this year, Marisa Francis has come to appreciate life’s simple pleasures. She loves riding bikes with her kids to the pulpería (convenience store) down the street to buy candy. “I have such fond memories of my sister and me doing the same thing when we were kids and visiting our grandparents,” she says. “I love that Nicaragua feels like the ‘old days.’” Nicaragua opened up a whole new world for Paul, Marisa, their two kids Owen, 11, and Abigail, 8, and their three dogs…not least in slashing their cost of living.
Lying in the northern mountains of Nicaragua, at the heart of coffee country, the city of Matagalpa is green all year round. With temperatures ranging from 59 F to 74 F, the cool breezes are a welcome break from the warmth of the lowlands. And even by Nicaraguan standards, Matagalpa is highly affordable: Figure $1,200 a month for a couple, all in. But these advantages aren’t all you’ll find here.
Life here is just easy,” says 66-year-old Ira Stephenson of his new life in the mountain town of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. “I lived in many other places around the world before I came here, and Matagalpa felt like home from the very beginning.” Back in Sacramento, California, Ira worked in drywall construction. But after a severe work injury, several unsuccessful surgeries, and plain bad luck, Ira found himself unemployed, disabled, and with very little money.
Justin and Sarah Fahey did everything the way you are “supposed to” in the U.S. They focused on their educations, both ﬁnally getting Master’s degrees at Boston universities. They got married. Justin landed a sales job for a large research company and Sarah worked as a counselor in a private Massachusetts school. The road to the American Dream stretched out before them. Everything was perfect. Or was it?
You notice the difference the minute your vehicle starts lumbering up the excellent road that circles the city. You suddenly feel a cool breeze through the window; everything is green and fresh. You’ve left the hot lowlands behind. You feel like you are somewhere else as you pass acres of coffee beans drying out in the sun, trees that you’ve never seen before, mountain vistas at every turn, and horses and cattle on their ranches eyeing you curiously. Miles and miles of thick forest beckon you to explore.
Adrienne Greenwood had a choice. Stay in wet and rainy Whistler, Canada, close to the poverty line or go elsewhere. That’s when she discovered the tropical beach town of San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. “Nicaragua has everything I need: warm, friendly, family-oriented people and a good yoga-and-wellness community, full of colorful and quirky individuals who have also chosen an off-the-beaten-path existence, and a sunny tropical climate all year round. I love that,” says Adrienne.