Cost of Living in Nicaragua



Maintaining a low cost of living in Nicaragua doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the best things in life. In fact, expats in this country can enjoy luxuries that they are accustomed to back home because most of the prices in the local market are economical and affordable.

The growing expat community in Nicaragua enjoys one of the lowest costs of living in the region. Consumer prices are 20% to 60% lower than the US. Nicaragua is also the second-safest country in the continent; it has a lower reported crime rate than the US and France. The country is a major 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. Expat looking for a cheap second home with warm temperature while experiencing Latin Culture will surely love the idea of staying in Nicaragua.

Average Rental and Utilities Costs

Rental costs in El Salvador, another prime Central American destination, are 2.95% higher than in Nicaragua. Generally speaking, decent accommodations in this country start at around NIO 22,200 or USD 750 per month. But if an expat decides to live in upscale residential areas such as Managua, the capital and Santo Domingo which is the home of Nicaragua’s largest shopping mall, then he should expect a higher rental cost.

There are many attractive areas outside of Managua including the colonial town of Granada, one of the most expat-friendly and safest cities in the country. Below are some of the average monthly rental costs that newcomers can use as a benchmark for their housing budget in Nicaragua:

  • One bedroom apartment in Managua – NIO 8,700 or USD 300
  • Three bedroom apartment in Managua – NIO 15,800 or USD 550
  • One bedroom apartment outside the city centre – NIO 5,300 or USD 200
  • Three bedroom apartment outside the city centre – NIO 10,540 or USD 355
  • One bedroom apartment in San Juan del Sur (right across from the beach) – NIO 17,700- 23,650 or USD 600-800

Electricity is a bit pricey in Nicaragua that’s why most residents choose to use electric fans rather than air-condition to lower down their consumption. Utilities are seldom included in the rental cost so expats in this country should budget at least NIO 2,320 or USD 80 to cover their water and electricity. Monthly internet connection with a speed of up to 10mbps costs around NIO 1,860 or USD 65 while local mobile prepaid calls are billed at NIO 12.70 or USD 0.43 per minute.

Cost of Food

Grocery prices in El Salvador are 13.82% cheaper than in Nicaragua which means that food is a bit pricey in this country. Nicaragua has three large supermarket chains: La Union, Palí and La Colonia. These major grocers shelf imported products but the prices are more expensive than their counterparts in the United States. Pali sells the cheapest goods but those who want to maximise their monthly food allowance are advised to purchase Nicaraguan products or to buy fresh produce from the local mercados (markets). Below are some of the foods in Nicaragua along with their most recent prices:

  • One litre of milk – NIO 28.55 or USD 0.95
  • Loaf of fresh white bread – NIO 47.60 or USD 1.60
  • A dozen eggs – NIO 53.65 or USD 1.80
  • One kilo of local cheese – NIO 97.65 or USD 3.30
  • One kilo of white rice – NIO 32.30 or USD 1.10
  • One kilo of boneless chicken breasts – NIO 128.50 or USD 4.35
  • One kilo of apples – NIO 270.60 or USD 9.15
  • One kilo of oranges – NIO 36.70 or USD 1.25
  • One kilo of tomatoes – NIO 35.65 or USD 1.20
  • One kilo of potatoes – NIO 35.95 or USD 1.25
  • One kilo of onions – NIO 37.70 or USD 1.30

Cost of Household Help

Domestic help in Nicaragua is cheaper than in Europe, Canada or the United States that’s why many expats hire help who renders housekeeping and gardening services at least three times a week. The typical cost of household service in this country ranges from NIO 4,150-7,400 or USD 140-250 per month depending on the experience and whether the helper is fulltime (sleep in home) or part time.

  • Weekly household maid rate – NIO 1,770 or USD 60
  • Per visit rate of household maid – NIO 590 or USD 20
  • Monthly household maid rate in San Juan del Sur (including social security) – NIO 5,900-7,400 or USD 200-250
  • Weekly rate of a gardener – NIO 1,770 or USD 60


Continue reading:

Cost of Living Abroad

Expat Services in Nicaragua