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, 69, an American expat who has moved to Nicaragua with his spouse. Mr Bushnell who has been living there for over 12 years, is a pensioner. Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Charlotte, NC


Q: What made you move out of the US?

A: Looking for a higher quality of life at a lower cost with a sense of adventure.


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

A: Granada, Nicaragua


Q: How long have you been living in Nicaragua?

A: A little over 12 years.


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

A: Amy and I are living together here after 45 years together. No problems with adjustment or culture shock.


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

A: No, we prefer it here as compared to the USA.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: One of the major reasons to move here was the kindness of the people and their culture.


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: We are active in the community having a website for expats thinking of moving here, and we started a community newsletter. We have many local friends though we need some expats around us of similar educational and cultural level.


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

A: It is easy to live very well on your pension or social security.


Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: Usually endless coffee included with any breakfast.


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

A: $2-3


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

A: $25


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

A: Wine $6-$20 Cigarettes around $1.50


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

A: No, very simple process though must be registered with IRS if a USA citizen.


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

A: Initial process can be taxing but renewals very easy.


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

A: Very reliable and not having to rely on FDA approval opens other possibilities. Our doctor is Cuban trained and easily the best doctor we have had in our lives. Many hospitals and local clinics available though the best and most expensive are in the capital city of Managua. If you choose to live in the rural areas or small towns, medical care is sparse.


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: We did decide to secure an international health care policy a couple of years ago for catastrophic occurrences. $170 a month for the two of us with $5,000 deductible and even covers us in the USA.


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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: The fact that you should not bring much with you since everything is pretty much available. I think we used Maersk Lines out of Miami to bring an SUV vehicle and a trailer full of goods we did not need.


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

A: Learning that a big paycheck was not necessary to feel secure. The expat community was a challenge since people move from the states for various reasons not compatible with our values.


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

A: The positives overwhelm the negatives. Just adapt.


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

A: Nicaragua offers all levels of life style. We have our favourite places to visit, but we continue our hobbies and Amy has an art studio/gallery. You can still play golf and tennis if in a major city.


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

A: No, unless political consequences require us to leave we plan to die here.


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

A: Adapt, learn some of the language, help others less fortunate.


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

A: No