19 July 2017

Darrell Bushnell - Expat in Granada, Nicaragua

Darrell Bushnell - Expat in Granada, Nicaragua

We’ve had the chance to talk to Darrell Bushnell, 67, an American expat who has moved to Nicaragua with his spouse. Mr. Bushnell who has been living there for 11 years, is now a pensioner. 

Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Born on a farm in northern Illinois but last 20 years before moving to Nicaragua, Charlotte, NC, USA.


Q: What made you move out of the US?

A: A more interesting life.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Granada, Nicaragua. We had travelled a lot all of our lives then concentrated on the Latin American countries and decided we liked Nicaragua the most.


Q: How long have you been living in Nicaragua?

A: 11 years.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: With spouse, no culture shock for either of us.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: No, would be bored to death.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: One of the primary reasons for choosing Nicaragua. Kind and gentle – the majority.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Nicaragua? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: Very easy since I write the community newsletter, my wife has an art studio and we work with several foundations.


Q: How does the cost of living in Nicaragua compare to your home?

A: At least 60% less.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: Depends where but usually around $1.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: $2.50.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: $50.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine $6-20. Cigarettes $1.60.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Nicaragua?

A: Just need reference from home bank and a couple local references.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: High experience since I have a website to help Nica expats or those thinking about coming here.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Nicaragua is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: 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.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in the US or Nicaragua? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: After nine years we started a catastrophic policy with $5,000 deductible just in case we had a protracted issue such as terminal cancer.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Nicaragua? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: We brought very little with us though we did bring our vehicle. Just used a local company in Miami. We always recommend to everyone to leave everything behind that does not fir in your suitcases.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Expats trying to rip you off and learning how to spend 24 hours a day with a spouse since we had separate careers in the states.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Nicaragua?

A: Positive – cost of living, the locals, great food, different enough to be interesting yet not different enough to be bizarre.

Negative – some parts of the bureaucracy can drive you crazy, some of the expats are a little weird.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Well, we have a farm with many animals so that keeps us busy and Amy has the art studio where she teaches art 5 days a week. Foundation work is always fun and much of my time is on the weekly community newsletter and website.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: No.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Keep calm, all is well and usually better than in the states.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Nicaragua?   

A: www.nicaragua-guide.com and www.nicaragua-community.com