Moving to Nicaragua



Due to Nicaragua’s favorable tropical climate and biological diversity, it is increasingly becoming a famous destination for international travelers. Expats moving to Nicaragua should expect a tropical climate, with high humidity and high temperature. The thriving tourism sector of Nicaragua, which has experienced positive growth in the recent years, has helped improve the country’s economy.

A paper released in 2008 revealed that one in six Nicaraguans had emigrated to two countries, the US and Costa Rica. The Nicaraguan Diaspora is relatively recent. Many fled the country as exiles after former dictator Anastasio Somoza was ousted in 1979. The more recent emigrants, however, are motivated by greener pastures abroad.

Nevertheless, Nicaragua welcomes hundreds of expats each year as the economy flourishes into a viable investment destination. The country is a significant investment choice for property buyers as beachfront and colonial real estate are inexpensive. The Nicaraguan government also imposes one of the lowest property tax rates in the region. Consumer prices are 20% to 60% lower than the US, enabling expats to afford luxuries.

The major drivers of Nicaragua’s economy are agriculture and tourism. Agriculture, particularly coffee production, constitutes 60% of the total annual output. Tourism in Nicaragua has expanded 70% over the past seven years, growing by 10% to 16% each year. Income from tourism and hospitality has tripled in the past decade and has boosted other industries including agriculture, commerce, finance, and construction.

Tech giant IBM has recently named the country as one of its top 25 destinations in 170 countries.Foreign direct investment rose by 79% from 2007 to 2009. A number of multinational companies are operating in Nicaragua including the British American Tobacco, Standard Fruit Company, Kimberly Clark, Telefónica and IBM. Bank of America, Citibank, and Lloyds Bank also maintain the presence in the Latin American nation. 

Most expats in Nicaragua are retirees from the US, Canada, Taiwan and other European states. There is also a small community of Syrians, Armenians, Palestinians and Lebanese and an East Asian population, mostly composed of Chinese and Japanese nationals. Most expats reside in Granada, San Juan del Sur, and the capital city of Managua.

The largest country in Central America has a universal healthcare insurance, which provides coverage to all Nicaraguans and permanent residents. Expats who opt for private health coverage pay a minimal annual premium of USD $460 to USD $500.

"Health care is very good for expats, not so much for the locals. Only the larger cities have good clinics and the capital has the best."- Darrell Bushnell, Expat in Granada, Nicaragua

Basic medical services are available across the country, but treatments for severe health conditions are only offered in Managua. Some of the recommended medical facilities for expats include the Hospital Alemán-Nicaragüense, Hospital Bautista, Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas and American Medical Center SA. Hospital Bautista is considered as the best hospital in Managua for its modern healthcare facilities and English-speaking staff. German expats opt for Hospital Alemán-Nicaragüense, which employs German-speaking healthcare providers.



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