Today is our second anniversary of living on Ometepe Island permanently. I have never done a cost of living analysis. Please keep in mind that Ometepe Island is a small, rather primitive island in the middle of a huge lake, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America. This breakdown of costs on la isla varies from the cost of living elsewhere in Nicaragua.
Our monthly expenses:
a. Electric – anywhere from $20-$50 monthly. We don’t have an air conditioner. We do
have a washing machine, a refrigerator, ceiling fans, and floor fans.
b. Water- $7 a month. This is an estimate, because our water meter is covered with 2
feet of sand from the flood 2 years ago. They can’t read our water meter.
a. We have a 3G Claro dongle. $23.30 a month.
a. Sky Satellite TV- $37 a month. We purchased a satellite mainly to watch the Steeler
a. We have a huge garden and a vegetable truck that comes to our house every Friday.
But, we do like some of our favorite gringo foods like peanut-butter and chocolate
chips. As an estimate $200 a month on groceries.
5. Propane and Gas
a. We bought a new Pulsar 180 motorcycle for trips around the island.$2,500 We only fill
up the tank about once every 3 months. $25
b. We have a propane stove/oven and we love to cook. Our tank lasts 3 mo. $16
a. We walk, kayak, or take our motorcycle around the island. When we travel off the
island, about once a month, it depends on where we are headed. If we go to
Managua, we usually hire our favorite taxi driver $60 round trip. I would estimate
monthly transportation $100 and that’s on the high side.
a. We don’t spend much on entertainment. Our entertainment is visiting friends,
swimming or kayaking, and the rare times we eat out. $30 a month
a. This is probably our biggest cost because we love to travel. We try to
take a trip once a month. $500
a. We have 10 free-range chickens, our neighbor’s dog ( who has adopted us because
we feed him), and soon we’ll add 3 kittens. Cost of food for pets- $20 monthly.
10. Health Insurance and Medicines
a. We are rarely sick, but when we are, we try holistic methods and natural teas and
remedies, first. You don’t need a prescription to go to the pharmacy. If we need
antibiotics or other pills, we go to the pharmacist, explain our symptoms, and receive
one pill or a packet of pills. Then, we return home, research the medicine before taking,
and start the regimen. $5 a month
b. Vivian Pellas hospital in Managua caters to expats. They offer two types of health
insurance for their hospital. The silver plan is $26 a mo. per person. The gold plan
is $46 a mo. per person. Our expenses: $52 for both.
11. Housing Costs
a. We bought a manzana of land that had an old beach shack on it. We have beach front
property. We remodeled our house- $12K and added a small two-story guest house/
garage for $6K.
b. The average home rental on Ometepe Island is from $150-250 per month.
12. Miscellaneous Expenses
a. Gifts and volunteer projects- $50 a month
b. Repairs and costs for other things we need don’t happen on a regular basis. For
example, I am researching gas-powered weed eaters because I am sooo tired
of using a hand sickle or a machete to mow our lawn. I can’t find what I want
in Nicaragua, so I have to order it online and have it sent to my mother’s house.
Then, when we return to the states to visit, I can pick up my purchases and bring
them back to Nicaragua. Yearly cost is about $500
13. Nicaraguan Residency
a. This was a one time cost. Overall, I would estimate that we spent $2,000 on
getting our residency. That includes lawyer fees, translations, and all costs in the
states and Nicaragua. It does not include flights to the U.S. to gather documents.
With our monthly teaching pensions, we figure that we can spend $55 a day. We rarely spend that much daily. When we are able to collect our Social Security, we will have double the income…which means more traveling for us. Our goal was to have a home base in Nicaragua and travel for several months of the year, especially during the wickedly hot months of March and April.
Overall, as an estimate our monthly expenses are: $1084. In reality, they are usually much less. We’ve lived comfortably on $500 a month with no entertainment and no traveling. It just depends on our wants and needs. I hope this gives you a better understanding of the cost of living on Ometepe Island.