Who are YOU, new friend?

I hate one-sided conversations. I’ve blabbed about my life in Nicaragua and tried to spread the word about how cultural immersion has changed our lives. But, who are YOU, and why are YOU here?

WordPress tells me how many daily hits I have on my blog. They tell me how many people subscribe, where the referrals come from, and which posts are the most popular. They are very good with statistics! Statistics are not my thing. They are cold and hard…no heart in ’em. I barely passed a statistics course in grad school. In fact, if I recall correctly, I had to retake the course to try to improve my grade.

So, please tell me who you are, where you are from, and why you are here. WordPress is secretive about those kind of things. I do respect your privacy, but at the same time, being the curious (or nosy) person I am, I would like to have more of a two-way conversation.

If I can answer any questions about Nicaragua, let me know. If you would like to see more posts on a certain topic, let me know. I’m totally flexible, probably because I was a teacher and anyone who knows anything about teachers, knows that we go with the flow. Life is unpredictable.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

900 thoughts on “Who are YOU, new friend?

  1. Hi!

    Found your blog researching ways to get mail and packages to Ometepe Nicaragua! You posted your article about mail a while ago, have you found a better solution yet?


  2. Hello.

    I have not been in Nicaragua, but in some South American countries, like Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil. In Central America only in Guatemala. I live in Finland and speak Spanish and my blogs are also in Spanish.

    ¡Que disfrutes de una estupenda jornada!

  3. Hi Debbie, I’m David and odds are extremely high that I will sell everything and move to Nica in a short 6 – 8 weeks. I’m driving.
    I live in Sacramento CA. I knew Spanish pretty well once, long time ago. I’m good w languages! Also a long time ago I lived in a village in Tanzania for 2 years in the Peace Corps – I have a very good idea about slower everything. I’d love to have a conversation with you. I’m especially interested where to land, first few days, look around a bit, then settle for a month or 2 and decide where to live.
    I’ve read a lot online. No substitute for getting first hand experience.
    Hope this message finds you well and happy

    • Hi David. Thank you for writing. My husband and I left Nicaragua last July. We will not be returning any time soon. We cannot live in a country where the people are heavily repressed, tortured and killed for marching for their basic human rights, and denied their freedoms. Nicaragua will never be the same. We continue to support our closest Nicaraguan friends and families, my children’s library, and my librarian. Our hearts are broken for the people. It is unbelievable to me! I am so very sad.

    • We are US citizens who have lived in rural Panama since 2008 and are alway interested in what is going on in neighboring countries. Thank you for your insights in to Nicaragua and returning the states.
      It is unlikely that we will relocate …. but we did not think we would move from our last home either. Things are not always as one would wish.
      Panama is stable and prosperous, for now, but in small countries have little inertia and things can change rapidly. What is happening in Honduras and Nicaragua is worrying to us. There but for the grace of God and all that.
      The flight of people and money form your area has actually helped us here. People complain about all the foreigners moving in but the foreigners have brought money and skills to help build Panama.
      Many of the people we do business with are recent immigrants from near by countries that are being destroyed by greedy, corrupt, incompetent governments.
      The government here is certainly greedy and corrupt but not yet incompetent. The powerful here still believe that if they get too far out of line the people will get rid of them.

      • Thanks for your insight, Ray. I am happy to hear that the people of Nicaragua and Honduras are accepted and providing skilled labor in Panama. It is fascinating to me to see the migration patterns from corrupt, war-torn countries in Central America. Unfortunately in the states, we have a nationalist president who doesn’t take kindly to immigrants unless they personally benefit him and his golf courses and hotels by providing cheap labor.

  4. Hello Debbie and Ron, I just found your website. I’m sorry about my bad timing as I have missed many years of lovely posts on Nicaragua living. I found your site while looking for information on international health care policies (I have contacted Robert per your recommendation and will work with him), and then just started poking around, interested in what your current experience was there, assuming it was not good. I appreciate your thoughtful comments and personal take on the situation there, and it was very helpful for me to understand how it is affecting everyone. It makes me very sad that we are living this way in the world today, so many people directly negatively horribly altered due to the egoic ravings of a few (mostly male, sorry) megalomaniacs. I was bolstered by the midterm election results here in the states, and can hope that the world pendulum will swing toward kindness and healthcare and equality and civility and decency in the near future. Anyway, my husband and I are retiring after this year and plan to do some world exploring, mostly just to see what is out there to experience, with the hope that we find somewhere outside the states to settle thereafter. If not, we are keeping our house here and can return if we don’t find that ‘better’ place. I look forward to your future posts. If there is news on Nicaragua in the future I will look to your blog for the scoop, as well as following this next phase of your lives. All the very best to you both, Andrea

  5. Hi Debbie, I commented last week on your Ometepe touring post about how much I’ve been enjoying your blog. I’ll be on Ometepe for a few days next week starting this Saturday, March 10. We will be staying at Xalli. I am bringing a few good Spanish children’s books (mostly used) and a couple bilingual books with me which I would love to donate to your library or to one of the other schools on the island. If there is anyway that we could drop by and read a short book to one of the classes, possibly next Tuesday morning March 13 which is the day we are leaving, that would be great but I realize it is short notice so I am not expecting anything. My Spanish is on the mediocre side but I could practice reading a book if it worked out. We are not renting a car so would need to take public transport/walk. If the book donations are not convenient for you, we can bring them somewhere else. Thank you!

    • Hi Mary,
      We are going to miss you because we leave on Wednesday for Uruguay and Argentina. I am so sorry! It seems like every time we leave, people who I would enjoy visiting are here! Darn. Since we are on the other side of the island, maybe it would be easier to donate some books to one of the schools near Santo Domingo. Ask the owners at Xalli. Rosalyn will know where the books will be loved and appreciated. Have a wonderful time on Ometepe. We love Xalli and they have really good food, too. ❤️ Thank you so much for sharing your love of reading.

  6. Hi Debbie
    thanks for your excellent blog. I’m visiting Nicaragua with my wife & 8 yr old daughter for 2 weeks in February and have found your writing really interesting and quite inspirational . My wife and I were born in England but have lived in Spain for nearly 20 years so we speak pretty good spanish but our daughter is bilingual and would love to meet some of the school children and if possible read a story to them and donate a few of her spanish books , so i’d like to know how we can do this. We’re only staying for 4 nights , 3 at Finca Mystica and 1 at Charco Verde. Let me know what you think , we arrive on Feb 11th and leave the 15th. Thanks 🙂

  7. Hi Debbie
    My husband and I are investigating how to bring our family (we have 2 little girls) to Nicaragua for a year (or longer). You blog has been so informative! We have been researching opportunities running guest lodges and volunteering – hoping to find something with at least room and board included. Ometepe is at the top of our list. If you happen to know of anyone we should talk with, would you let us know? I’d love to email you with some questions if you have the chance.

    Thanks so much! Here’s hoping our paths cross sometime in the near future!

    • Hi Anna,
      Thanks for the sweet comments. It sounds like you have been doing your research, which is important. A year abroad with your family will be a wonderful experience. The biggest hurdle will be a work visa, if you plan on working in Nicaragua. I will keep my eyes and ears open about volunteer positions. Most of the volunteer positions that I am aware of are shorter-term and don’t provide free accommodations.
      You have to be very careful volunteering. Only volunteer with a legal and reputable business in Nicaragua. Some foreign run businesses are not legal and they only operate with foreign volunteers, which is illegal. They don’t pay taxes to the government and volunteers work illegally on tourist visas. You don’t want to get involved in volunteering for an illegally run foreign business. The government is cracking down on these businesses, and it is unfair to Nicaraguans looking for work.
      Nicaragua is always looking for skilled volunteers in healthcare, technology, and other skilled professions. But, most of these positions do not provide room and board.
      Have you thought of long-term housesitting? Expats always need housesitters and pet sitters. I will be in touch with you soon.

      • Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply and all of the information. And I appreciate the warnings about disreputable volunteer programs -I had no idea. Housesitting would be a wonderful option – even if it is short term while we get our bearings. Please keep me in mind if you hear of anything. Is there a particular resource you might be able to recommend to link up with expats on Ometepe (or elsewhere) who may need housesitters?
        Thanks again! Have a wonderful week.

        • I hope you don’t mind me jumping into your conversation. As I read this thread I too thought about house sitting for you. I’ve done it for the past few years as a Canadian snowbird and it’s taken me to many places in the world. Unfortunately, from my experience, few come up in Nicaragua. No doubt you’ll hate to hear this but a long-term one was filled quite recently. If you want to contact me I can give you links to various house sitting sites. Now I’ll stop straying and I’ll introduce myself to you next, Debbie:)

        • Hi Anna,

          I wish we had a place to link up with people on Ometepe who need housesitters. I would start by posting on our Facebook forum Ometepe Exchange. You never know! We have a small population of expats on Ometepe, but they need housesitters when they leave, too. Good luck and stay in touch.

  8. Hi Debbie, I got your link from Robinson. My name is Margaret Owens and I am a math teacher in San Francisco, teaching mostly immigrants from Central America. This summer I hope to travel to Nicaragua again. One part of my grant would be interviewing teachers at local schools. Robinson said you work with local schools, so I was wondering if you could help put me in contact with local teachers. Any help would be appreciated !

    • Hi Margaret,
      What a wonderful grant you received. I know the elementary school teachers in the La Paloma Elementary school because that is where I have my library. I can also put you in touch with some other teachers, maybe secondary school, too. Do you want contact information now? Sadly, none of the teachers use social media or email, but I can check.

  9. Hi Debbie,
    I thought I posted a message here last week, but alas it looks like it has disappeared into the Interwebs!

    Hello and Happy New Year! We are two teachers from Atlantic Canada who will be visiting Nicaragua for 3 months with our kids, aged 3 and 5. We hope to make it to Omatepe around the middle to end of February and suspect that we may fall in love and spend our last month there. I’d love it if we could meet for coffee if you’re around. Any links to the local schools would be fantastic too.
    Janelle & Andre

    • Happy New Year to you both, too! We would love to meet you, too. I can tell you more about the schools when you arrive. Thanks so much for your comments on my blog. By the way, do you know where you will be staying on Ometepe? Let me know when you arrive. I am looking forward to meeting you and your family.

      • That is great, we’ll be in touch!

        About accommodations, we aren’t exactly sure when we will arrive so we haven’t booked anything yet. We found a few places on AirBnB that look great, and we figure we’ll check things out when we arrive. If you have any recommendations, we’d be happy to hear them.

  10. Hi Debbie Thank you for keeping this BLOG up … I live in CALIFORNIA but am working really hard to go back home and buy a place and take all my ENTREPRENEURAL PROJECTS to NIcaragua …I was born in Managua and came to the STATES as a baby….

    • I am so happy to “meet” you. Surprisingly, I have many Nicaraguans living in the states on my blog. You should be very proud of your country and your people. The Nicaraguan people sold us on moving here and they are the loveliest people on the planet…in my humble opinion. Thanks for your comments and I hope to see you soon.

  11. Hi Debbie,
    Totally love your blog. 15 years ago, my husband Chris and I worked for four months on Little Corn Island. In January 2018 we’ll arrive for a 3 1/2 month visit to see all the places and meet all the people we missed the first time around. We appreciate all the information you share and your insights into this beautiful country. I holds a special place in our hearts. We will be on Ometepe from February 1-10 2018 would love to meet you!

    Below you’ll find the link to our last adventure… on and off for the last 12 years we’ve cycled around North America.

  12. I have been in Nicaragua for about 7 weeks now. I was in San Juan del sur for a month. I just came from Panama and Costa Rica where I was for 2 1|2 years. I will stay here for another month or so and then I would like to explore Ometepe. I am looking for a low-cost rental. Somewhere between $300 and $400. I am a no-frills person. A Nica casita or cabana would do fine. Is there anyone that has the scoop on rentals on Ometepe? Finding something on-line is proving difficult.

  13. Hi Debbie. My name is Mary and my husband’s name is Dave. We live in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. I’ve been enjoying reading your blog in anticipation of our trip to Ometepe in February 2018. We’ll be staying in Santa Cruz for 11 nights, then three nights at Laguna de Apoyo before heading home. I love your informative articles and terrific photos. It would be nice to meet you while we’re there, if you have time.

    Take care.

    • Hi Mary. Thanks so much for your lovely introduction. When you arrive on Ometepe send me a message on my blog. We have company coming for most of February, and we will probably take them to the other side of the island where Santa Cruz is located. Let me know and we can meet for lunch at El Compestre in Balgue, one of my favorite restaurants on the island.

      • Thank you Debbie. That sounds lovely! We’ll be arriving on Ometepe on Feb. 19th and leaving on Mar. 2nd. I hope it works out to meet with you and your friends for lunch 🙂

        • Hello again Debbie. Dave and I arrived on Ometepe on Monday evening. We’ll be here until Friday, March 2nd if you’d still like to meet for lunch sometime.


  14. Hi Debbie, love the blog and I have only looked a little bit of it! My wife and I are planning a trip to Nicaragua in April 2018. We are mainly going to surf and explore but also start researching retirement ideas as we plan on heading out of this part of the world in about 5 yrs.

    Just a little bit about us as I can be long winded. She and I grew up in Southern,Calif (about 45 minutes outside of LA) but are currently living in Savannah, GA. I joined the US Coast Guard after high school, spent 7 yrs in the USCG (Air-Sea Rescue Teams) and eventually ended up in Savannah about 25 yrs ago. I coaxed my now wife out here about 3 yrs ago and life is mellow, fun and just life. She being a long term breast cancer survivor adds just another level of positivity to my life!! Most of our kids are grown and doing their life thing.

    Thank you so much for putting your time into this resource. It really is awesome.

    Bill and Kirsten

    • Hola Bill and Kirsten,
      Thank you so much for your lovely introduction! It is great to “meet” you. Surfing and exploring is what life is all about, right? 🙂 Ahhh…reading about your career experiences, now I see why surfing is on your to-do list in Nicaragua. There are many good surfing spots here, from beginner to advanced. No doubt, you will enjoy Nicaragua. Since you will be here in April, just a word of advise, plan early because Semana Santa is the busiest time of the year and hotels fill up quickly, especially on the coast or anywhere near water. Thank you for your sweet comments about my blog. I truly appreciate knowing when I can help others. Enjoy your exploring and let me know if you have any questions.

  15. Just want to say how much I appreciate your blog which I have followed for several years. Susan and I (John) visited Nicaragua during the 80’s and early 90s on a number of occasions for weeks to a few months at a time on various projects. We came back and visited Nicaraguan friends a couple of times in the past few years in Esteli and Matiguas. I retired from medicine 4 years ago (we live in Oakland, California) and had been thinking about the possibility of moving to Mexico or perhaps Nicaragua but for various reasons seems like we probably won’t be doing so. Nonetheless Nicaragua has a special place in my heart.

    You write with clarity, thoughtfulness, tenderness and insight about your experiences. Thank you.

    Best, John Roark

  16. Hi Debbie! I’ve been reading your blog for months and I always look forward to your posts!

    I’ll be visiting Nicaragua October 11 for short of 3 weeks. Ometepe is on the list but not sure when I’ll be there! Would love to meet you and will wash hands non-stop to prevent pink eye. Being a nurse, I loved your article comparing US v Nicaragua healthcare. It was objective and I especially liked that you mentioned that care was more personalized in Nicaragua. Healthcare here runs like a well oiled machine but that’s the thing, our patients feel like they are in a conveyer belt and leaves them feeling like a number. Most of the time that’s what hospitals see them as-a census and revenue.

    So my dilema is do I wait to retire (30 years from now) or decide that I’m tired and want to really live a meaningful life making meaningful difference instead of being part of an institution?

    After the hurricane we’ve been left exhausted (working 30+ hours with no relief) and at first I thought my trip would be about looking for places to posssibly call home but now I just want to relax, not plan a whole lot and eat a lot of fresh fruit! Would love to meet you if I can and you have the time and energy. I think there is a hostal called ‘life is good’ so will try to stay there but I’m pretty flexible.

    Thank you for your insights and your well thought out posts!


  17. HI Debbie,
    I currently am an expat living in Indonesia. I’m selling my business here ( small hotel) and am thinking about relocating to Nicaragua. I will visit in December & would love to meet up & pick your brain about regarding the good, bad & the ugly aspects of living in Nicaragua. I’m an avid gardener & would love to hear about your garden.
    This thread is really old so I hope you find this comment.

        • Yes, it is a good idea. If you are renting a car anyway, make a reservation for the ferry first. It will cost around $24 to bring your car over on the ferry. Just stay on the main roads and you shouldn’t have any problem, unless you are renting a 4 wheel drive, then you can go most anywhere.

  18. Hi Debbie, my name is Daniel and I live in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada. I just found your blog through the we love Costa Rica.com site. I am recently divorced and looking forward to early retirement. Not sure if I can manage financially yet, but the first year is covered! The markets will decide my fate after that. I am going to be in Costa Rica for October and November and I’m not sure whether to go north or south from there. I would like to visit Panama but it is more expensive and I am interested in Nicaragua, but not as sure about the infrastructure or safety. Your blog is very helpful and I appreciate that you take the time to share your experiences with us. Eventually I would like to also have a blog, not necessarily about travel but personal experiences and my spiritual journey through some of the most difficult times of my life. I look forward to reading more, as I have just discovered this site with 30 top blogs for travellers and retirees. Thanks again, looking forward to reading more of your blocks. Daniel.

    • Nice to “meet” you Daniel. We have traveled extensively through Costa Rica and Panama. You are right about Panama being more expensive than Nicaragua, and Costa Rica is very expensive. However, their infrastructure is much better than Nicaragua. We are making improvements in infrastructure, but it is slow. As far as safety, Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in Central America. I look forward to your visit to our lovely country. And thanks for the sweet comments about my blog. I think if you read my Let’s Get Real about…series of posts on Nicaragua, it will help you have a better understanding of Nicaragua. Good luck with your move and let me know how I can help you.

  19. Hi Debbie,
    We purchased land on the island and plan to visit in October 27 through 11/3/17. We would love to meet you and Ron and perhaps have a bite together. Your blogs have been so informative.
    Your future neighbors.

    • Would you be interested in renting your new place? I am a recent retiree on a limited budget and this will be my first experience in Central America, but I have lived in Mexico. I am a single male in his 50s, non-smoker and very quiet and respectful and clean. I don’t expect that your answer will be yes, but it never hurts to ask! Have a great time in Nicaragua! Daniel

  20. Hi Debbie
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and our family fell in love with Ometepe on our recent visit to Nicaragua. We would love to find an excuse to spend more time there as a family during our time living abroad, but need a strong WIFI connection to be able to work while abroad and a school for our elementary-school aged kids to attend (they are learning Spanish, but not fluent). Do you have any recommendations for elementary schools on the island?

    • Hi Megan. Ometepe Island has a way of grabbing you, right? As a retired teacher, I have tried my best to create a culture of reading in my local elementary school by developing a children’s library and hiring a librarian. I find that expats with young children enroll them in local elementary schools only for socialization. For a basic education, homeschooling is a must. Some of my friends enrolled their children in Israel(sp)School in Moyogalpa. Others who have preschool children go to local preschools, but again only for socialization. A quality education is sadly lacking in public schools in Nicaragua and expats with young children must supplement and provide the basic foundations for their education. On the wifi, we have speeds of 5-7 Mbps, enough to stream and work online, but it depends on if we have power. A solar panel can be installed if you need a reliable source of power for working online. Thanks for asking.

  21. Hey Debbie and Ron,

    I was stumble up your article about Housesitting. I am part time travel journalist and part time IT Consultant. I did some Housesitting before. I was wondering about where to find sits in Nicaragua… The website trustedhousesitters don’t give me a lot of options for august-october. In Panama (Bocas) they had a lovely FB group.

    I can share my profile with you and happy for any advice. I don’t depend on housesits, but love to stay longer at a place and have some animals around me. I do travel alone and speak spanish (more than basic, but not fluent).

    Kind Regards,

    • Hi Chris,
      We usually find house sitters when they post on Nicaragua Expat forums on Facebook. They say that they are traveling though Nicaragua and are interested in house sitting. Along with their post, they include their website with their experience, recommendations, etc. Good luck.

  22. hello hello!
    i’m a college student, interning this summer for an organization in La Concepción (Masaya) in Nicaragua… i’ve been keeping up with your blog for a while now (i found it when i started blogging about my time here, although my blog is more of a casual journal deal than a Real Blog), but i hadn’t thought to introduce myself until just now! thank you so much for everything you write — it’s been nice to know that there are lovely people in the Nicaraguan blogosphere, and it’s been doubly pleasant to be able to read your posts about Nica life and travel and markets and culture.
    it’s also solidifying my determination to come back to Nicaragua sometime in the future… at this point i’ve fallen in love with the country and the people and it’s so hard to think about leaving!

    anyway, my sisters just came down to visit the spanish school where i’m working, and we’re hoping to go to Ometepe this weekend. if you have time to meet up, that’d be lovely, but if not, would you mind giving us some tips on what to see/do in a very short amount of time? we’re hoping to stay in a cheap hostel in Balgüe and see the San Ramón waterfalls and the Ojo de Agua, at least, but have been warned by Nicaraguans that transportation can be somewhat difficult, especially for students on a budget.

    • Hi Hannah,
      It is so nice to “meet”you! I think your ideas are great. You can also take a hike to Finca Magdelina and see the petroglyphs, as well as drink some tasty coffee grown on the finca. You should have no problem catching buses around the island. Just ask anyone in Balgue when and where the next bus arrives. They are cheap and plentiful. Since your time is limited, you will probably want to stay on the Maderas side of the island. If you enter through Moyogalpa, there is always a bus waiting to take people to the other side of the island. I hope you have a great visit.

  23. Hi Debbie,
    Thanks for the website.
    We’re George & Bobbie. A couple of old searchers who have lived in lots of places, but not Central America. Yet. Wondering if there are plenty of places around the island there to swim? Or is it only at the $4 place? And, could you get by without a car there if you lived near the town?

    • Hi George and Bobby. There are swimming spots all around the island. We live close to the port town and we haven’t owned a car for 7 years. We have a motorcycle and a dune buggy, but mostly we like to walk to town and take a tuk tuk back home. Come visit sometime!

  24. We come from Oklahoma to Nicaragua every year since 2011. We do missions work- jail ministry, orphanage donations, adopt a school and work food lines. … and we explore different places each time. It’s a wonderful adventure and we love the people.

  25. Hello, I am from South Carolina, between Charleston and Savannah, Georgia. I am married to a beautiful Nicaraguan woman and am residing in Masaya. I appreciate your articles. I stumbled across them this morning. I feel that I have gone back in time here. The new Colonias and shopping centers are nice but I do like my neighbors and trading with them. It seems they love my ice machine. Kindest regards, Bryan

  26. I have been in Panama for almost 2 years. I am Canadian and because of the low CAD to USC exchange, I fall short of the amount needed for the pensionado. Four years ago the exchange was good and I would have qualified. I was crossing the border, but now they have stopped this and I have to leave. I do, however qualify for the amount for Nicaragua. I’m currently looking at different areas there and where the lowest cost of living is. I plan to apply for residency when I get there.

    • Hi Gail,

      Sorry it has taken me so long to respond, but we have been in Cuba and I have been in internet withdrawal. Now, we are traveling through Mexico and I have fast, free internet..thank goodness. My friends in Panama were telling me about the changes in the immigration rules. Nicaragua is cracking down on perpetual tourists, too. So, it will be best to get your residency as soon as you can. Let me know how I can help you with any information about Nicaragua. Best wishes.

  27. Hi. I’m Vicky. I’ve been reading your blog for almost a year. I am a HS and my husband is a linesman. For some reason God has put Nicaragua in my heart. I have this obsession with living there for the rest of my life. My husband was in Managua a little over a year on a missions trip to build houses for some families that lost theirs due to some flooding. I have always wanted to be a missionary and help out the world. Although I have never been to Nicaragua, I would sell what I have to move there. For many reasons, I am so tired of the hectic life here. I’m 45 and have only taught for 12 years and I know I cannot work another 20 years to wait for retirement age.
    My husband would be willing to move but he is afraid of the finances. He is 52 and not eligible for retirement for another 12 years. We are not rich by any means, but I still feel wasteful and that I could be doing more to help people in the world. I have a strong feeling in my heart and Faith that God has put this in my heart for a reason. We don’t have money to be able to afford this house and go live in Nicaragua, so we would have to buy something that can generate money to be able to survive. I looked at some farms. My heart tells me that there are many business opportunities, I just have to take a leap of faith. It’s difficult to take a leap when you are trying to convince your husband to jump with you. I would love to ultimately have enough land and resources to have a place where I can help abused and single moms to live and flourish. I have many ideas, but I need to find out about business options so i can convince my husband. I am thinking about going in June during my Easter break but I am afraid that everything will be closed. Any help or info would so much be appreciated,

    • Hi Vicky,
      Thank you so much for the lovely introduction. It is nice to meet you. So, Nicaragua has grabbed your heart,too. We jumped into Nicaragua when we were in our early 50s. We quit our teaching jobs, sold our cars, and left our house with our son and moved to Nicaragua to run a hostel. Although, it didn’t turn out as we expected, we learned everything we needed to know to return 5 years later. After a year experimenting with retirement, we returned to the states determined to become debt free. We worked at least 3 jobs each to pay off our mortgage and saved enough money to retire early and move to Ometepe Island.
      So, it can be done. Our year in Nicaragua experimenting with retirement was invaluable. I recommend visiting first and if you can spend at least 6 mo. here, you will have a better idea of where you want to live, and what you want to do.
      It is a challenge, but there is potential to fulfill your passions.
      Are you thinking of coming over Easter break in April? It is a very busy time of the year. The beaches will all be full, but you shouldn’t have trouble finding a place to stay in the cities like Granada. Everyone leaves the city to go to the beach for a week long party.
      Keep researching and reading and asking questions. Your passion will guide you in making choices that will fulfill your quest. It takes a lot of planning and commitment to make life altering changes, but we know it can be done. Keep your dreams alive. Come visit. And feel free to ask questions. Best wishes.

      • We have actually just decided this weekend to make our Dream a reality. We are selling out house and everything we will not take and going to open up a mission. My church is thinking of sponsoring us. I know this sounds crazy but I feel like I dont need to live there first to decide where to stay. God is the one with the plan and we are just following. I am thinking of going in April. I was looking into the area of Leon.

        • Hi Vicki,

          I don’t really know much about Leon. There is a good blog about Leon but I can’t remember the name of it right now. We are traveling for several months and my internet is very slow, so I will write more at a later date.

      • Hi Kathy, enjoying your insightful blogs/articles… I’ve printed up a few for planning our upcoming trip to Nicaragua for my wife’s Birthday May 4th and our 30th Anniversary. We are catching a shuttle May 3rd from the airport to stay a few nights in Granada and then we are thinking about catching the Ferry over to Ometepe. We’d like to stay on the island near the water and be able to drive around at our leisure (I gave up motorcycles after a truck ran a stop sign and sent me flying across 5 lanes!)… there must have been a big angel watching me that day because I never touched down until I hit the grass on the other side of the road and rolled so many times I was dizzy when I stood up but otherwise unharmed – not even a bruise or a scratch on me – just a few holes in my shirt and jeans and my bike was destroyed/totalled… so I stay off them now. Having said all that, can I rent a car in Managua and ferry it over or is the public transportation on the island good enough to get around? I want to see as much as we can on the stay there and visit the “Four Places on Ometepe Island to Study, Love, and Stay Close to Nature” that I read and printed from your blog. I have lived in 8 countries and travelled to about 45+ so love adventure but I do like it to be “planned” as much as possible being a professional retirement planner by profession. I really don’t plan to drive much around Nicaragua – we want to relax as much as possible after a few very stressful years with taking care of ill family members – this is a much needed break for Christine (she did medical relief work for almost 2 years as a volunteer on a remote island in the Philippines from 98-2000 when I was working there. We loved it and hated to leave – a Typhoon destroyed our jungle bungelow after we left so I guess our timing was ordained!). Anyway, we look forward to any tips you can share with us. If I rent a 4 wheeler it would only be for the 3 or 4 days we are on Ometepe and we would Ferry it across from Granada. I have a travel blog attached to my website but it is just a side-line and not as robust as your blog 😉 We would come over to Ometepe May 5th and stay to the 7th or 8th, go back to Granada on the 8th and on to Managua on the 9th to catch our early flight out back the the US on the 10th.

        • Hi Doug,
          My suggestion is to take a taxi to San Jorge, then get the ferry to Moyogalpa. There are numerous quads you can rent in the Moyogalpa area. You won’t have any problem finding quads, scooters, motorcycles, or bicycles for rent. I hope you enjoy your trip. We are traveling for several months, but if you need any help, please feel free to contact me on my blog.

  28. R&RinN, I have read a wide variety of your posts and have gotten much more useful information from them than from the “official” stuff plastered over the ‘net! So, thank you for that. The primary reason i have been looking is that I have a friend who has a friend (ya. I know quite a cliche..lol..) who owns a business in Nicaragua, just outside of Managua, and he has offered me a position in the company if I want it. He has stated that he needs an outsider to come in and manage the facility when he is not around as he doesn’t fully trust the locals. I am very concerned about what sounds like an adversarial relationship with the indigenous population and am wondering if that is common among foreign business owners or if this gentleman simply hasn’t taken the time to cultivate that type of relationship. I would not want to enter into an arrangement where I am seen as some colonial invader type, subjugating the locals to make money, my conscience would not allow that no matter how good the opportunity was for me personally! On the flip side, the prospect appeals to me greatly in that I would love the chance to live, work and interact with Nicaraguans and experience everything that the country has to offer! I would love to hear what you think on this matter. Thanks so much for the information received thus far with the blog!

    • Hi Travis,
      Thank you so much for your kind comments. You have asked some great questions. Let me begin by saying that I don’t believe this is all about an issue of “trust”, but more an issue of responsibility and understanding how a business works. Nicaraguans are generally new to business ventures, marketing, accountability, and the training they receive is sadly behind standards that we set abroad.
      I am not sure what kind of business it is, but generally speaking with all businesses, it is important to have trustworthy employees. Nicaragua is no different in that aspect than most other countries. Sometimes you have to fire employees because they are not trustworthy, or abuse their relationship with their employer.
      I think the most important thing is the training. If you as a foreigner start a business and hire locals to work in your business, you can’t assume anything. An example of this is my children’s library. I hired and trained a local librarian, who is excellent at his job. One day, we had a teachers’ meeting and were explaining how to use the document reader, the projector, and the computer to develop programs for the students. I assumed they had some technology training. Then, my librarian asked them a simple question after they all had a shell shocked look on their faces. He asked, “Do you know how to turn on a computer?” They all shook their heads, no. They had never used a computer, so how would they understand how to develop programs for their students using the document reader and a projector? So, my point is, don’t assume that employees know anything and train them to meet your standards.
      There is local B&B and restaurant on Ometepe that was started by foreigners. They left the island and instead of selling the business, they hired their local employees (a family) to run the business. They spent a year training them in every area. They showed them the accounting system, and installed an iPad on the counter that connects to the bank for all their financial needs and accountability. They send weekly reports to the owners and after 2 years, the owners are giving them more and more responsibilities including a share in the business. It is a grand success and a wonderful opportunity for a local family that never would have had the resources to start their own business.
      Are there untrustworthy people in Nicaragua? Sure. But, you will find them everywhere in the world. We’ve been scammed several times by people we hired. Sure, it is disheartening to find out that an employee is untrustworthy. We all want loyalty and want to treat others with kindness and understanding. But, we’ve learned from our mistakes.We’ve learned to establish respectful boundaries between employer and employee. That is the key! Respectful boundaries.
      Personally, I think you should take him/her up on the offer. The people of Nicaragua are what sold us on the country. If you establish boundaries within the workplace, establish a system of accountability, and training for the job, you will be rewarded with lifelong friendships. I hope this gives you some food for thought. Let me know what you decide.

  29. Great blog, love reading your posts. I have been to Nicaragua a dozen times and every other Central American country several times and just purchased a lot in Gan Pacifica on the pacific coast. I’ll be building a vacation, rental and future retirement home in the next year or two. It great to read up on all things Nicaragua.

  30. Hi! I am visiting Nicaragua for about 10 days and just can across your blog. I’ve only been in the country for about 36 hours, but I’ve been quite mesmerized this far. I’m enjoying reading about your experiences here.

    I live in Brooklyn, NY and work in IT for a fashion company. However, I enjoy escaping as often and whenever I can. I’m plotting an escape from my current life and I’m not sure when or where I’ll end up, but Nicaragua is a strong contender so far!

    • Hi James,
      Thanks for introducing yourself. In my experience, Nicaragua can be quite mesmerizing. When we first visited in 2003, we fell in love with the people. It felt like the place we wanted to call home, so we worked hard to make it happen. I hope you find your place in the world. Nicaragua is a great place to start your quest. Thank you so much for your kind comments. I hope you get a chance to come to Ometepe Island.

  31. Hola! I just discovered your blog from Expats of Nicaragua. My husband and I are planning a visit to your lovely country late Summer to look at retirement locations. We live in Wisconsin, and this will be our first visit. Any and all tips you have would be greatly appreciated. We may be moving sooner more so than later depending on what’s happening in the U.S. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Cornfedcontessa. Love that name, by the way! I think the best place to start would be to read my Let’s Get Real About Series. I tried to cover most topics of interest to people considering living in Nicaragua. After you read through those posts, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I love sharing our lives in Nicaragua with everyone.

    • Dear Debbie, I am a Nicaraguan woman who met and married an american man so many years ago. Now, my husband and I are planning to retire and live in Nicaragua most of the year. Since I discovered your blog I have thought about you as a good friend — just a friend that I haven’t met yet in person. For now I will keep on enjoying your writing; but if you come to Los Angeles or we can contact you in Nicaragua in one of our trips I would enjoy to finally give you a hug and thank you in person for your amazing, human and informative blog.

  32. Hi Debbie, thanks for the response!

    Steve here, Wanda and I are actually at Corner House right now having a late lunch or early supper.

    We will meet you here tomorrow morning around 11:00, look forward to meeting you.

    Steve & Wanda

  33. Hello Debbie!
    Wanda and I are just finishing our first week in Nicaragua, we’ve had a great time so far.
    Tomorrow morning we go by shuttle to San Juan del Sur, we’re booked there for four nights, and then we head over to Ometepe.
    Can you tell me if we’ll be able to rent four wheel scooters, or “quaddies” as we know them?

  34. Hi Debbie, I found your blog when I was researching information about housesitting in Central America – my boyfriend and I are actually already housesitting in the region ourselves, we’ve been in Costa Rica for 2 months now and we’ll move on to Mexico and April. Before, we also housesat three times in Europe. We love housesitting because it gives us the opportunity to be immersed in the culture and live like locals, interact with the neighbours etc. So I found your articles on the housesitting topic very useful for me as they are written from the view of houseowner and they confirmed my thoughts on what divides great housesitters from the rest of the pack. In fact, I was asked to write articles for local Czech travel magazines to describe our experience with housesitting and I would love to mention some of your thoughts, from the owners’ point of view in there (linking of course to you as the author and your site) – would that be possible? Also in case you’d be searching for housesitters, let me know – we will be in Nicaragua the whole month of February and Ometepe is definitely on our list 🙂 Thank you for the great blog, I read almost all of the articles yesterday late at night! Veronika

    • Hi Veronika,
      Thanks so much for your kind thoughts. Of course you can link my housesitting post. That would be wonderful. It is great to hear from house sitters. It is an amazing way to travel, right? We will be on Ometepe in February and we have house sitters lined up for March through May, but I have lots of friends in Nicaragua, so I will pass on your information to anyone needing house sitters. Thanks again and come visit us when you are on Ometepe.

      • Debbie,
        Thanks so much for you incredibly fast response 🙂 and your approval to link to your post. I agree with you housesitting that is an amazing way to travel – I think it’s the best one actually. Most people think of housesitting advantages only from the economical point of view, saving costs, but for us, the best part is the people we meet (all houseowners have always introduced us to the neighbors) and the type of life it allows to live – cooking for ourselves, shopping at local markets…That’s a completely different travel experience than staying in a hotel – even if for free. And above all, then there’s the company of the animals 🙂 That was actually our first reason to start housesitting, or petsitting, as both my boyfriend and I have grown up with pets around and we’re missing them so much during our travels. Thank you for passing our information along to your friends! We would definitely love to come visit you when we are in Ometepe, I will get in touch again once we are in the area. All the best, Veronika

    • Hi, my name is Mike King and ai have a friend who lives in Miami FL and is now retiring with small pension. He wants to become a house sitter wirld wide …what does a house sitter charge – if any – for the services in general, please? I live on the main ..I live on the mainland in Rivas across from Debbie’s Ometepe ….and I owned a tiny hotel called Hotel Julieta ,,,mike

      • Hi Mike,
        all the housesitters I know (including us) don’t charge for their services – they do it in exchange for the free accommodation. I know that there are sites where you can get paid gigs in the US, but I have never used them – the main ones that we are using and that are offering housesits worldwide (TrustedHouseSitters, Housecarers, MindMyHouse etc.) all operate on the exchange basis. Hope that helps. Veronika

    • Just found your blog on Nicaragua. Currently researching areas there for retirement in about 2 years. The biggest issue for my husband and I is that we will no longer be covered by Medicare (we are both in late 60’s) and he has pre-existing cardiac conditions. I can’t seem to find any insurance companies that cover pre-existing conditions for expats. Is there a hospital I could call or someone I could speak with just to see what costs would be for cardiac care around the Managua or Granada areas? Thanks in advance.

      • Hi Mary,
        Thanks for your comment. We have WEA Signature International Health insurance, but we got it before we turned 65, so that we didn’t have to have extensive medical exams before coverage. It covers pre-existing conditions and we can use it at Vivian Pellas hospital in Managua. Vivian Pellas hospital has discount plans, but I don’t think they cover heart conditions under their discount plans. Here is a link to Vivan Pellas Hospital. It is in Spanish, but you can request to talk to an English speaker if you call. I hope this helps. http://www.metropolitano.com.ni/

  35. Hey there two more weeks and we will be arriving!!!!! We’re so excited! I was just wondering if you would be able to answer a few questions… like if there’s places to buy cast iron flat pans to use over fire, mosquito nets, mattresses or cots, tools like shovels and drills etc… a place to buy a used bike or scooter and sun block?? Thank you so much

  36. I am a 69 yrs old Engineering planing to visited Matagalpa, my problem is that I have inflamation reumatoide in my lungs, and I need oxigen part of my day, my question is: will be easy for me to get oxigen , in the home where I will stayed, in Matagalpa?

  37. I’ve had lots of people tell me NOT to drink any water there… does this apply to Ometepe? Have you heard of foreigners getting sick from the water there? I’m bringing two toddlers and really want them to stay safe and healthy. Do u know if there’s a source of raw milk and a source for animal skins so my husband can make some drums. Do u have any tips and suggestions for us while we’re there? Our heart is to come help anyone however we can so if you know if places near the middle of the island. Thank you so much!

    • Audrey, we all have filters on our water. The biggest problem is that it is hard water and leaves a film on everything. If you really want to keep your toddlers safe, you will avoid drinking the raw milk on Ometepe Island. My husband was deathly ill and had to be hospitalized from drinking a glass of our neighbor’s raw milk. I would not take a chance unless you see the conditions of the milking process and can guarantee it is sanitary. There are several butchers on Ometepe Island. I am sure you can find skins from the place where the cows are butchered.
      There is a new community near Los Ramos, on the Santa Theresa beach. When the landslide occurred 2 years ago, the community of Los Ramos had to move to new little government houses. Let me know how you would like to help and I can put you in touch with Ever Potoy who is the tourism director of the community. They have educational programs, recycling, and lots of things you can volunteer to do to help the kids in the community. It isn’t too far from Urbaite.

      • You’re wonderful! Thanks for your advice! We are staying on our friends land who don’t have a filter yet.. so is the water coming from the main land or is it from the mountains or lake?

        • I think the water comes from the top of Maderas volcano, but I am not positive. On our side, it is pumped from the lake and treated, but I think they only dump chlorine in it. I sure would like to get a water tester to see what’s in it. We had a handheld little gadget that ionized a quart of water and purified it. It was the greatest little thing until it broke.

  38. Hello Debbie, I am glad I found your blog and find it very interesting. My husband and myself plan to retire this fall, have never been to Nicaragua although we are planning to retire in Nicaragua anyway (pensionado). We currently live in Canada on a hobby farm, my husband is a sales rep and I am a homeopath. I would like to volunteer as I am the type of person that needs and wants to keep busy and the thought of giving back to the community makes me feel good. My only concern is the heat and I have to let go of living here, leaving the children and grandchildren, my dog and dwarf Nigerian goats behind. Jinotepe seems like the area we are looking from a distance but who knows where we will decide to live. Any direction and help of any kind would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Frances,
      It is nice to “meet” you. There are many diverse areas of Nicaragua. You are wise to start looking in the northern part of Nicaragua. Matagalpa is a growing destination for expats, along with Esteli. I have only been to Jinotepe once, but from what I hear and see, it is growing, too. The heat, for me, is unbearable in March and April. That’s why we decided to travel for those two months. When are you planning on visiting? Let me know if you have any specific questions that I may be able to help you with.

      • We are not planning on visiting, we are planning to sell and give all our winter stuff away and take the leap to move to Nicaragua and go from there. Plan is for October/November of this year.

  39. Hi Debbie, This is Mike King and Julieta. We are owner operators of Hotel Julieta in Rivas and you just recently helped us locate dependable taxi and van service provoiders for our guests who want to visit Ometepe.. .. thank you very much…… as a result of the interest we received from our guests for an extended visit arranged by us, we are preparing a budget, no frills tour for any of our guests who care to take it while staying here.. \\we stay busy and word of mouth has worked well for us. we do not sek a profit or at l east only a very small fain as it is more to increase our hotel bookings as a added value. The idea is to keep the cost low yet provide value. Our theme is built around photography and I call the three night, four day trip, ”Walk and Shoot, Bring Camera” ……. I’m debating whether to begin in Moyogalpa but find it an extra cost and maybe unnecessary step as I think Balgue and Finca Magdelina accompanied by Charco Verde and Oyo de Agua visits to be a focus of the tour – maybe add in a yoga commune like inanitah or such …. which is a lot in three nights and four days for a photo tour – and stopping in Moyogalpa may be way too much of a time drain within that time frame and not offer any real interests for photo enthusiasts… hopefully you have some interests and ideas to offer us, which is a twist of your message ….?
    best regards, mike and juliets

    • Hi Mike and Juliets,
      I agree. Some of my favorite places for photos are: Charco Verde for butterflies and monkeys, Punta Jesus Maria for the shots of Concepcion and sunset, Finca Magdalena for coffee process and petroglyphs, and Balgue for lunch at El Campestre. Ojo de Agua is great for an underwater camera, too.
      Moyogalpa is a nice little town, but for a photography tour, you are best in thinking the other side of the island for most activities. Let me know if I can help in any way.

  40. Hello, I have been in Nicaragua a month now. It is my first time in the country, and the first time I have done a long stay. My wife and I are here until the end of April. So far we are loving it. We are “home basing” at a friend place in Rivas and doing trips out from there. Ometepe was our first solo outing so far. It was a blast, we really loved the island.

    We are the people to be very nice and friendly so far. Good hearts and always willing to lend a hand.

    Looking forward to the rest of our adventures in Nicaragua.

    Thanks for commenting on our blog. Looking forward to reading your as well.

    Glen aka El Gimpo

  41. hi there,
    I am soooo excited to have found this blog!!!! Right now me and my fam are living in Nebaraska! Its our home base. We like to travel and do permaculture/agricultural mission work. We have friends who recently bought land on Ometepe in Sinitope and they have invited us to come down and help them build on their land. Our whole family really wants to go to Ometepe, feb 1, 2017 through March. my husband is going for sure but we have become nervous about bringing our two toddlers and if they cant come then i’m not coming.. Everything you have written about Ometepe gives me confidence that our kids will be ok and us too. is this true? do you have any advice to calm and inspire us to ALL come to Ometepe or should just my husband go? And do you know if about $1,200 USD would be enough to live on for 1 and half to 2 months there? Thank you so much for your time! 😀 I look forward to your reply.

    • Hi Audrey,

      Thanks for writing. Where is Sinitope located on Ometepe Island? I have never heard of it. Is it on the Concepcion or Maderas side of the island? If you can give me the location, I can give you a better idea if it is suitable for toddlers. Most areas on Ometepe Island are wonderful for toddlers. The locals love children and they will be cherished. The island has changed so much over the years. There are many new roads, fiber optics internet, and better electricity.
      I can reassure you that you will love spending a month here with your family. Let me know where you will be located and I can give you some suggestions for that area. And your budget is perfect for the time that you will be here.

      • Yup it’s on the conception side north of Urbaite. 🙂 thank you so much for your input! It means a lot right now. My husband acts like we’re going to a third world country. He keeps going back and forth about us going with him. You see, our friends who bought land there only have the land and a bus. No house. No kitchen. No phone or internet. So my husband is concerned about our safety while camping and how to stay in contact with us while he’s at Finca Bonafide for two weeks 20 min away. We are going to email them and ask if me and my two boys can stay on the farm too while my husband takes their permaculture course, so we shall see about that. He says we can go for sure if they say we can stay with him :p

        • Audrey, Here is one of Chris Shank’s Airbnb places located right in Project Bonafide. Your family could all stay together for the workshop.https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/9624594?guests=1&adults=1&children=0&infants=0&s=IlxmMrVk
          Ometepe has some lovely Airbnb rentals in Balgue, very close to Project Bonafide, too. Check out all the rentals in the Balgue and Maderas side of the island on Airbnb. I think you will be surprised at the amenities offered on Ometepe Island.
          Urbaite is on the Concepcion side of the island. It has small pulperias for shopping. Moyogalpa has everything you would want and it is about a 25 minute bus ride from Urbanite to Moyogalpa. I hope this helps.

  42. hello!

    we were in ometepe yesterday and upon leaving we walked by a starving dog at the docks. we gave him some food and he was very friendly. unfortunately we had to leave soon after. it looked like he lived near the docks without an owner. we have no further information about he dog but made a clear picture. reading your blog about dogs and pets in nicaragua made us wonder if there is any shelter or organisation to write to to help this dog?

    • Tessa,

      I know the dog you are talking about. Let me go to the port and talk to the owners of the dog at the port. He is a sweet dog, but neglected. Maybe I can take him to the vet to have him checked. I will talk to the owners, soon. Thanks for sending me a note about this dog. I appreciate it.

  43. I’ll be visiting Nicaragua in March with my father and a friend just to take it in. We all are very interested in retiring down there and looking into purchasing some property. Any advice or things to look out for is greatly appreciated. I look forward to reading through your blog

  44. I would to retire and move to nicaragua on my social security.the question is if I do can my 27 year old son come with me and get a Visa to stay with me

    • Hi Luis,

      I am not sure if there are age limits for dependents. But, when we applied for our pensionado visas, I put my husband as a dependent on the application because we only needed one income to fulfill the requirement. So, there is a good chance that it would work for your son. Each dependent is an extra $100 needed for your monthly retirement fund required.
      I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.

  45. Hi Debbie:

    We just discovered your blog today, and I’ve enjoyed reading a bit. My wife Wanda and I are coming to Nicaragua in January 2017, plan on being there for about 7 weeks.
    While there, we hope to visit Leon, Masaya, Granada, San Juan Del Sur, and Ometepe.

      • Hi Debbie, and thanks very much for the quick reply!!
        Wanda and I plan to spend the first week of our visit in and around San Juan del Sur. From there we will head to Ometepe Island. Do you think we’ll have any trouble spending a full week there?

        • Ometepe is laid back and tranquil. I think a week will be perfect because there are many different places you can explore. It depends on what you like to do. You can hike, kayak, swim, climb the volcanoes, and enjoy the beauty of Ometepe Island.

  46. Hello Debbie !
    I have been reading your blog for some time now, and I really enjoy reading your posts !

    My husband Flavio and I are coming to Nica this October. He has decided he wants to live there, and it will be my first time going there. We are retired Canadians.

    We plan to spend some time there looking at different places to live.

    I have a couple of questions that I would like to ask you via email if possible ?

    thanks Linn

  47. Hi

    We re travelling In Nicaragua at the moment and are currently on Ometepe island which is so beautiful! We want to get a flight from Ometepe to San Carlos but both my children use wheelchairs and we have been unable to find out if this may cause a problem, baggage wise, as the plane appears to be a small 12 seater Cessna. Any advice you have would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Cheryl,

      I believe they will make exceptions for wheel chairs, but I am not sure. How close are you to the airport? Can you go to the airport and ask them? They don’t have a phone number, only cell phones. Can you lift your children into the plane? There is only a narrow flight of stairs to get into the airplane.
      I was wondering the same thing because currently I am rolling around in my wheelie office chair due to a dislocated kneecap and if I had to go to the hospital in Managua, the easiest way would be for me to fly.
      Let me know what you find out. The planes leave on Sunday and Thursday, and sometimes on Tuesday if there is a demand. Best wishes. I am curious as to how you are finding Nicaragua with two children in wheelchairs. There isn’t much that is handicapped accessible, especially on Ometepe Island.

    • Hi Whysall, Ometepe grabbed you, right? I have several favorite places that I recommend. Hospedaje Soma in Moyogalpa, Finca Mystica near Merida, Hotel Xalli in Santo Domingo, Puesta del Sol Association for authentic home stays with host families, and Charco Verde. I like these places because I know the owners and most of them have beautiful beaches. Where did you stay when you were here?

  48. Hello
    I just found your website and really loved your idea of “Who are YOU, new friend?” it made me comfortable; the human connection.
    I have been researching about Nicaragua and planning to visit this September. I have visited only few remote islands around the world but this is my first time visiting Central America. And as you know there are lots of websites and online info but all are different point of views.
    In short, I’m an inclusive designer. I work as digital accessibility remediation and as an accessible home consultant (for people with disabilities – diverse abilities)
    I like to consider myself as the citizen of the planet but by passport I’m Iranian-Canadian, living In Toronto. I have been living in Toronto for the last few years and as much as I love Toronto but I think I have had enough of the modern life and like to distance myself from it. I have been traveling since I was 8 years old and have been living and traveling as a student since age of 20 (soon to be 35- life goes so fast (smile face)).
    I am hoping to open a mini resort (with accessibility and inclusion in mined), it will also be ideal for me to teach children, and be involved with community. Hence, I would like to visit and experience things first hand. I believe I would need to spend some time there to find the proper location, and do onsite evaluation, plus improving my Spanish.
    I would appreciate your suggestions and advice for: preparation and places to visit when I get there. I would also love to know more about opening a business, legally and professionally, but more important your valuable personal experience.
    Thank you again for your great website and info.
    Looking forward to your reply
    Moisen M

    • Hi Moisenm,

      Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog and introduce yourself. Nicaragua is a diverse country with many, many different areas to explore. If you like city living, make sure to visit Leon and Granada. If you enjoy the beach life, then visit San Juan del Sur and the beaches outside of Leon. If you like the island life, there is Ometepe Island ( my home) and Big and Little Corn Island on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua.Then, if you like cooler temperatures, visit Matagalpa and Jinotega in the northern part of Nicaragua. Each place offers a unique vibe. Most of the expats live in Granada and San Juan del Sur.

      I cannot answer your questions about opening a business legally because I am retired and have a Pensionado Visa. But, if you join some of the Facebook expat sites in Nicaragua, I am sure they can help answer some of your specific questions. The most important thing is to come and visit, first. Take your time in deciding where you would like to live depending on your needs. Nicaragua has something to offer for everyone.
      Thanks again, and let me know if you have other questions I can answer.

      • Thank you for your reply, I love them all! but I think more nature and less city would be ideal.
        would you recommend renting a motorcycle or car? and do you refer anyone/company?
        I’m hoping to stay in Managua for first few nights and go to all of the places that you have suggested. hopefully I will get a chance to visit your island as well.

      • Wow…I also love that this blog is current, what a treat! My husband and I are from USA and Canada, but are living currently in Lima, Peru, traveling and learning Espanol 😊 But we’re thinking maybe live more full time in Nicaragua after we leave Peru in July, 2017. So many things sound “right ” about Nicaragua, weather, people, prices etc. Could I please ask you numerous questions re moving there Debbie? Via email please? Thanks so very much!

        • Hi Estella,
          I try to keep my blog current. I enjoy writing and telling stories about our lives here. Thanks for you comments, Estella. I will be offline for a few days because we are installing a new internet tower, but when I get back online, I will contact you.

  49. I live here in the states .Orlando I went to Nicaragua in 2011 for the first time and am married to a Nicaraguian woman her name is Juana we have four chikdren we have a house in Managua.I have my wife and youngest daughter here with me in the USA. I we are interested in the cheapest way to fly back and forth from Nicaragua and Florida USA. e have always floned from Managua tothe states but am interested in the info you shared about flying from Costra Rica can you please share any info you have to help us with this thank you

    • Hi Gene,
      We used to fly from Liberia, CR to the states in 2004-2005. It was cheaper than flying from Managua. Then, Liberia built a new airport and it became more expensive. I guess they had to pay for their new airport. So, we flew from Managua. Recently, though, Liberia has cheaper flights to the states. We always start searching several months ahead using Google flights. I like Google flights because it gives you the prices and the options for different airlines.
      Actually, it is easier for us to fly into Liberia because we live on Ometepe Island and it is only a 20 minute ride to the border from the mainland. We recently found a great flight to Fiji and New Zealand from Libera, for $920 round trip using Google Flights. I check everyday when I am looking for flights, and I use a private browser so they don’t know that I am searching everyday. It is such a game with the airlines, isn’t it? I hope this helps.

  50. I just found your blog. I will be searching through it!

    My family and I just returned from a trip to the Tola region. We went to visit the village of Limon where our two sons lived and worked for a couple of summers in an outreach program. The family that housed my sons have become dear to us. They are poor as church mice but rich in love.

    I’ve been involved in empowering impoverished women in the states and am being compelled to help the women in Limon.

  51. Debbie,
    My husband and I have lived in Nica previously during 1990-92. Then we went on to live in Bogota, Colombia, and lately have been residing in our passport county (US). We are dreaming of early retirement and plan to make an exploratory trip to Nica next year. Excited to see your blog and read your thoughts.

      • Thanks, we are tentatively planning to come visit in Feb of 2017, and hopefully connect w/ some young friends who live on an old coffee farm in Diriamba.
        We loved our time in Colombia, we were there 11 years, however the last visit to Bogota the pollution, traffic, noise were magnified! even with our life in Philly. We had a marvelous little mini vacation in Cartagena, a place outside of the town, that was so peaceful and restful. Colombia is an expensive place to retire otherwise we might be thinking of that! les

        Incidentally we arrived in Nica back in 1990 the week or so before elections! A story to tell about that. We also had a difficult time with water getting to our home and at one time were without water for 7 months during which time my husband contracted Hep A, most likely from visiting a house in the rural area where a wake was occurring!

      • Looks like we will be visiting Nica in March, some in Matagalpas. We have long term missionary friends who work in Honduras but bought property in Matagalpas for their retirement home. A little trip to explore retirement options. Not sure we would get out to the island or not. BTW, these friends say one has to have $40,000 in a bank account to apply for the retirement visa? Any updated info on logistics would be much appreciated, can reply to my direct email if preferred. Thankyou

        • Hi Les, to answer your question about retirement visa, called Pensionada visas, you do not need to have any money in a bank account. You only need to prove that you have a lifetime pension or social security benefits, which can be proven by a letter from the pension or social security office. When we first received our Pensionado visas, we used our lifetime teacher pensions. You have to have proof of $750 monthly income and $100 for each dependent. My pension covered both of us, so I made him my dependent and he didn’t have to show proof of his lifetime income. Now, if you don’t have a lifetime income through a pension or social security, then you can apply for another type of visa, such as an investor visa, where you have to show proof of your financial stability through bank accounts or investments. I hope this helps.

  52. My husband and I lived in Nicaragua back in 1990 for a few years, just outside of Managua. We then moved on to Colombia. All in all, we were in missions for 23 years, and now work in an urban setting in the US (which I still have trouble calling ‘home’, but our recent trip back to Africa set in motion for me, a longing to return to a simpler, less complicated life. We have talked in the last number of years of exploring retirement in Nica, and we hope to make a trip in 2017 to see how close we can come to that dream! Today I was happy to find your website and hear your journey. Les

  53. Hi Debbie,

    My name is Mike and my wife is Valerie. We visited Ometepe about 4 years ago with our kids 16 and 12 at the time. I believe that I discovered your blog after our return. Wonderful writing and stories. I have been meaning to write and ask a few questions ever since.

    My wife was born in Nigeria, lived in Ecuador and then Germany (parents were missionaries). Me, just plain ole’ Texan with a love for people and culture. Val and I and the kids lived in Germany for several years until we moved back to Texas in 2001. The kids are leaving the nest now and we are beginning to plan for what is next and where we can be useful.

    Could I email you and ask a few questions? In the mean time, I will continue to enjoy the stories of your wonderful and challenging place and the people who live there.



  54. Really happy to find your blog!
    I am a poetry-blogger from New England in U.S. married to una linda Nica [Granadina].
    I spent a three-week vacation in Nicaragua (2000) then almost a year in ’01-’02 when I met my wife. We visited Ometepe together while we were dating.Our wedding was in 2002.
    We now have 2 children and my wife became a U.S. citizen 3 years ago. I learned Spanish in Nicaragua during my 2 visits there & I taught Spanish in public school for a while. Your perspective on the Reagan/Sandinista standoff is sensible. I used to believe in Marxism but became born-again in my 20’s so I am a Christian, however I am still interested in the Revolution and the complex motives of both sides. I invite you to visit my blog when you can.

    • Andrew, thank you so much for your introduction. I will definitely check out your poetry blog. Oh, I have so many questions to ask you. I just completed my next Humans of Nicaragua series with an Italian friend who married a Nicaraguan woman and lives on the island. I was planning on writing about his new dome home he built, but he is a philosopher and we ended up talking about cross-cultural marriages, raising children,the rapid growth of tourism and the problems it brings, and his political perspective. Next month when I publish my post, I hope you will contribute with some thoughts of cross-cultural marriages and raising your children with a woman from Nicaragua. So many complex issues, right? Thanks again, and it is great to “meet” you.

  55. Hi,
    My name is Maria (with short i, and an accent on a). I am a multiple expat since many years. Born in Poland, I emigrated to Sweden during the communist times, when my doctoral dissertation was censored. I became a citizen there and married a Swede, who, unluckily, died young (brain tumor). I moved to the USA, where I lived and worked (as an egghead) for over 30 years. Took an early reirement during the high tech bust and entered a so called encore carrier as a mostly volunteer development consultant with various promising ngos in developing countries, mostly in the tropics. I spent several years in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico. Due to health reasons a few years ago I returned to Europe, where health care is inexpensive and equitable. I now live in southern Spain. Yes, it is a tad too cold for me here, but…

    • Hola Maria. I am so glad I added a place for readers of my blog to introduce themselves. I have learned so much about my new friends. Your introduction is incredible. Thank you so much for sharing a part of your life with us. Yes, I know the temperatures are a tad too cold in Europe, but here is it a tad too hot for me…but… lol
      You have led such a diverse life with so many varied experiences. I hope that you will contribute on the comment section of my blog when you find a post that interests you. Thanks again, Maria and it is lovely to meet you, even if it is virtual.

  56. Hi Debbie

    I’m a canadian teacher going to retire in a few years. Full of a million questions of course. But I also know the world has a way of answering those questions. 🙂 I was happy to find a blog that’s current – thanks for your efforts.

    I’m thinking of coming down this summer and taking a look around. Thinking means I’m still scratching my head. I want an acre. A view. A bit of water close by. A garden. A small house,guest house.
    Dreams still. Love when dreams come true

    • Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for your introduction. It is great to “meet” you. Please come for a visit and acquaint yourself with Nicaragua. It is a diverse country with beautiful and friendly people. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and feel free to ask as many questions as you want. 🙂

  57. Hi Debbie, Love your blog, very informative! I’m a 42 year old woman from San Diego and have been living in Granada for the last 1 1/2 years. I was a travel agent for 20 years and had the opportunity to travel a lot. I fell in love with Nicaragua the first time I came here and decided to make the move without knowing a single person..it has been quite an adventure and experience! I teach ESL currently but have been thinking of starting a business of my own for a source of income. I’ve also been looking at other places in Nica to live..I love Granada, but I also feel like I need a change, I’m starting to feel restless(need more nature, peace and quiet). I went to Ometepe in December and really loved it..to me it has it all. I would like to ask your opinion on a few things. Could we exchange emails?

    Thank you for your wonderful blog, it has helped me find other resources about Ometepe! I look forward to exchanging more information with you.



  58. Hi Debbie,
    My name is Hubert & my wife is Enriqueta. We have been together since 1976. Married in May of 1980. She was born in Managua in 55′. Lived in New Orleans since 7 years old.

    My first trip to Nica was 1978. During the civil war between Somoza & the Sandanestes. Then again in the 80’s when my wife’s people were trying to flee the tyrany of a communist government. The things we had to do to get her family out of Nica and into the US could fill chapters in a novel. Ortega, Chamero, Comondante Zarro, met them all. And all good people. I especially applaud Ortega for changing his communistic ways. And Zarro for holding fast for Democracy in Nica. And Chamero for weaving dignity and respect back into society through her Presidency.
    Enough politics. But I know where the people have been compared to where they are now. I love the Nicaraguan people.

    We have increased the days and weeks we have spent in Nica each year we visited. In 2012 we stayed 3 months. In Sept of this year we are coming for two, maybe 3 years. Can’t Waite. I am 65 and my wife is 60. We are more than ready.

    • It is great to “meet” you Hubie and Enriqueta. Thank you for the lovely introduction. Oh, the stories you can tell. I would love to meet you for coffee when you come in September. I have a series called The Humans of Nicaragua, and I would love to interview you and your wife for my post.

  59. Hi Debbie! Your posts are SO refreshing and contagious! I actually just arrived in MGA last night, from Columbus, Ohio with my family for Spribg Break. This country is just beautiful and everyone is so happy, which is the exact thing I want my family to be experiencing. You are an amazing person! I’m jealous you found your path and are doing what you love, which also impacts children/community in such positive ways. We will be in SJDS but making our way to Ometepe this Thursday, so I’m anxious to see your beautiful island.

    God bless!

    • Hi Brooke,
      Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I hope you enjoy your vacation. This will be a wild week in San Juan Del Sur because of Semana Santa. It isn’t always this crazy. I think you will find Ometepe more tranquil. Have fun. Maybe we will see you on Ometepe. Are you coming for the day or planning to spend the night?

  60. Hi Debbie! thirdeyemom suggested I check out your blog as I’m heading your way in a couple of weeks, as part of a 3 week trip in the region. I love your blog and am really looking forward to visiting Nicaragua and Ometepe Island xx

      • That’s so kind of you! I should be there at the very beginning of April for a couple of days. I’ll be in touch then….it would be great to get a local insight into the area xx

      • Hi! I’m currently in Granada for a couple of days but will be heading to Ometeppe Island tomorrow afternoon. I can’t quite remember the name of the place I’m staying but I know it’s not in the main town. Do you have any recommendations for things to do for a couple of days? Any yoga classes?

        • Hi Vix. It depends on where you are staying. If you are on the other side of the island near the Santo Domingo beach, there is Ojo de Agua, a refreshing spring where you can swim in crystal clear water. Charco Verde has nice trails and many Howler monkeys you can see along the trails. I am not sure where you can find yoga, but you can ask at your hotel and I am sure they will know. Have fun.

  61. Hi Debbie,
    My name is Kerry Jackson and I live in Moyogalpa with my husband, John. In fact our house is about 500m from the La Paloma school and our neighbours children both go there.
    After living here for a couple of months, I set up English classes at my house for my neighbour and his kids which has snowballed somewhat. I now do classes three times a week not only at home but elsewhere in the village, (including a hotel and even a bar!).
    We took some American friends to see the school last week and they returned to the States determined to help La Paloma and other schools in the future.
    Hopefully, we’re making a difference.
    Best regards,
    Kerry and John

    • Hi Kerry and John,
      I heard there was a group that came to the school to visit several weeks ago. I think I know where you live. Anytime you want to volunteer your time in my little library at the school, you are welcome to help. Stop in and see us sometime. We live on the beach just beyond Puesta del Sol community center. It is great to “meet” you. Now, we will have to meet in person. 🙂

  62. Hello. My name is Vicky. I enjoyed reading your blog and have spent the last hour reading thru as bunch of your posts. I am very interested in going to live in Nicaragua. My husband was just there on a mission trip and was near Managua. We have this dream to leave the US and move to Nicaragua for several reasons. I want to help. I want to make a difference. I want a change of NYC life. I have been doing so much research about properties, jobs and organizations to volunteer in but I would love to ask you some questions. My intent is to move closer to Managua to the church where my husband volunteered. Can we exchange emails?

    • Vicky, I will get in touch with you soon. I really don’t know Managua very well. I live on Ometepe Island. It may be a good idea to join the Facebook expats of Managua forum, too. They all live in or near Managua and may be able to answer your questions much better than I can. Thanks for your comments, Vicky and it is great to “meet” you.

    • Buenas dias, y hola! My esposa and I are in the process of (possibly, probably, likely) relocating from Ohio U.S. to Boquete, Chiriqui Panama. No mas nieve para nos! We’ll spend 2 months there starting soon, and make a determination based on that time in Boquete whether it’s our new home or not. We were there last fall for a short visit and really liked what we saw & felt & sensed, and now we’re going back to see for sure. I enjoy your blog, especially the realistic, non-touristy aspect of it. Keep it up, and hasta pronto!

      • It is great to “meet you” both. Boquete has the perfect climate. We’ve been there several times and now we have to return because we have many friends who have moved there. I am a believer in the intuitive feeling you get from a place. If it feels right…that is the place to be.
        I have an eclectic blog, kind of like my life. But, my favorite posts are on the topic of cultural immersion. Thanks for your sweet compliments. Hasta pronto mis amigos.

  63. I myself am walking through a somewhat surreal transition zone between “still-pat” and “ex-pat.”

    Hello, Debbie and all!

    My name is Ruth, and Debbie: I just want to wildly applaud and THANK YOU for how your blog turned me around, today!

    It’s been nine weeks since I flew out of Ometepe on my way back to Michigan… and the smells and sounds and feel of Nicaragua ground under my feet… They have been F A D I N G 😦
    Even the pictures all over my apartment walls aren’t doing the job.

    But today, your blog did!

    Last November, I concluded my second visit to Nicaragua (this time earning TEFL certification and roaming a bit) with a firm “knowing” I’d soon return for good.

    Lately though, back in Michigan, with snow melting and just-grown sons within in reach and a few fresh English and Spanish students to pay the “meanwhile” bills …. is been harder and harder for me to remember how “it” feels and how I feel, there.

    And then today, I remembered “Rewired” and after 10 minutes with you, Debbie and Theresa … my ears and nose and mind and heart remember and are glad!!!!

    It takes long legs to live these months, straddling, with one foot in Nicaragua and the other in Detroit! But after 20 minutes with your blog, I’m on my way back to grateful and excited.

    God bless you and hope to give you a hug, someday soon!

    Ruth in Michigan

    thank you thank you thank you!

    Amazing, Debbie, how widely and truly your personal blogs are touching the lives of individuals on so many continents!
    Hope to meet you soon! Hope to meet you soon!

    • Ruth, I am honored by your lovely comments. Thank you Ruth. I cherish moments like this when my thoughts and feelings about living in Nicaragua are understood and remembered. I just want to reach out and give you a BIG hug. Why have we never met??? When you return you have to promise me that you will stop in to visit me. Again, words can not truly express how appreciative I am for your eloquent thoughts. I get a big kick out of your “meanwhile” bills. I think I am gong to start using that expression. lol Hugs from Ometepe. 🙂

      • Debbie:
        One week ago today, here in Michigan, I was sitting on a plastic customer “waiting” chair at a local tire store last week, when I decided to use my phone to see if my letter to you had been posted on Rewired.

        SURPRISE! I saw only my letter but your beautifully warm response.

        Amidst the linoleum and massive amounts of street rubber, my eyes filled with heart-happy tears, and I thought that was so funny I wrote a long thank-you for that moment. Then I snapped a picture of my surroundings to include in my post, somehow — the linoleum and monstrous tire displays — and (aaaagh!!) my “unsaved” post somehow auto-deleted.

        Then my name was called and paid at the counter and a whole week flew by. (!?!)

        But here I am, now, back to hug you with words and thank you for how extra-extra joyful your up-close-and-personal Ometepe greeting felt right there in the tire showroom (and still feels) to me.

        thank you, amiga

        we will meet

  64. I am Lim (Surname) Soo Peng (Name) from George Town, Penang, Malaysia. Great and different captures of the life in Nicaragua as being Asian. What we need is a Peaceful and Prospering World for the good of all mankind ! Wishing a belated Happy New Year 2016.

  65. Hi Debby. So happy to come across your blog. What a wealth of info I have stumbled upon. I’m sure I will continue to enjoy my reading. Anyway, I was wondering if there was a way I could email you, or vice versa? I would love to ask you some questions about Nicaragua and Ometepe specifically. Thanks!

  66. Hello,

    In a whirlwind of discussions in recent days, I am speaking with someone about an opportunity in Nicaragua, a bit of a departure from my north Texas home. It would be on one of the Corn Islands. Have you been to Little or Big Corn? Any thoughts? My impression is that they are basically about beach, snorkling, scuba and chill. None of this, by the way, is a complaint. Any insights would be welcome. – PDM

    • Hi Paul. Thanks for your comments on my blog. Yes, we have been to the Corn Islands and we have friends who live on Big Corn. My thoughts about living there? First, you are correct…there are beautiful beaches, snorkeling, and it is very chill. You have to be ready for a simple, laid-back lifestyle where the availability of services and goods from the mainland are limited. We almost felt like it wasn’t Nicaragua. The atmosphere is very different from the mainland. The locals speak a form of Creole with a mixture of Spanish, which honestly was very difficult for me to understand. If they could speak Spanish, I asked them to do so because it was much easier for me to understand.
      I have several posts on my blog about the Corn Islands. Feel free to explore my posts and pictures. We loved the life-style there and I would say if you have the opportunity to live there…go for it. Let me know how I can help you.

      • Love the blog, and indeed I’ve read the posts on Corn and Little Corn Islands. As there is a chance I may move there (Little Corn) shortly to live (things moving fast here), i wonder if there are any resources for funding rental housing before I get there? Every listing I’ve found is for vacation lodging. I’ll be there long term. Appreciate the help!

  67. Hi Debbie! I’m Emily, 26 from London, but currently living in Oaxaca, Mexico. Someone posted your blog on a local expat forum we have here and i really enjoyed reading it! I love Nicaragua, and we plan to visit early next year, and of course Omotepe is on the itinerary! I’m keeping a blog myself whilst living here and working with local NGO’s, i’m really enjoying writing my musings about Mexican life! Look forward to reading more!

    • Hi Emily,

      Thanks for the nice introduction. Isn’t blogging fun? I learn so much about my adopted country and culture through blogging. I hope to see you on Ometepe next year. Let me know when you plan to be here. Thanks again and it is great to “meet” you. 🙂

    • Hi Debbie. I’m Melanie, currently living in Los Angeles, CA. My husband and I are moving to Ometepe (around Feb 2016). We are driving from California. Because of the violence in certain parts of Mexico we’re planning our route, which will go through Oaxaca. Do you know anything about your surrounding roads? Have you seen a lot of issues or dangers? We have friends along the way that has told us to stay away from certain areas. I’d love to follow your blog. See you all in Nicaragua! 🙂

      • Hi Melanie, i can’t speak for roads outside of Oaxaca, but maybe try and check your route before you travel. Oaxaca is famous for it’s road blocks which can pop up pretty much any time, any day, and cause major disruption!! Oaxacan roads can be pretty curvey too, you can pick up anti-nausea pills on route! Make sure you stop by the city, it’s amazing!! Good luck.

        • We’re registering with the Consulate and they keep us updated on all road closures. With the unfortunate attack in Paris, countries are closing their borders. Certain areas of Mexico had a lot of shootings (I don’t think any were tourists though) and I was just told by a Guatemalan that an average of 1000 people a week are killed and everyone is trying to get out. Honestly, it will probably be a day by day thing since things change so very quickly! 🙂

      • Hi Melanie,
        Wow, that is great. Thanks for the introduction. I don’t know anything about the roads in Mexico, but once you are in Nicaragua, it should be fairly easy to just follow the Pan Am highway to San Jorge. The biggest obstacles will be the people, horses, cows, and other animals on some of the more rural roads, but you should be fine.
        Where will you be living on Ometepe? Have you been here before? Best wishes in your travels and let me know when you arrive.

        • Hi! I’m not worried about Nica, I’m worried about certain places in Mexico and Guatamala. Honduras is having issues too, so we’ll be coming through El Salvador. We’ve been to Ometepe every year and stay at La Via Verde in Balgue every time. We also stayed at Harry’s (the Italian horse guy in Merida) a few years back. I actually wrote you several years ago after our first visit! We’ve finally been able to sell the house and are getting ready to move down. We’re shooting for February. We’ll stay the first 6 months renting a casita at La Via Verde while we get our bearings, test out the local politics and look for land. We’re so very excited!!! 🙂

        • And the tickets are booked! We arrive with our circus (2 dogs and a cat) on March 1st. We’re so excited!! (Except the cat, she’s not excited at all.) 🙂

  68. Hello Debbie,

    First, I am grateful for the tons of useful information you so generously provide. Was reading your 2014 post on setting up your tower, etc. Kudos for the determination.

    I was planning to rent a small beach house in Salinas Grandes as of mid-December but have since discovered that Internet access is spotty at best. I am a freelance translator and need something a little more reliable, so I am open to settling down somewhere else. I need Internet access, peace and quiet. Any ideas or references would be greatly appreciated.

    All my best,


    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for your introduction. Sigh. Reliable internet access is difficult to find, especially in more rural areas of Nicaragua. I taught online for a university before I moved to Nicaragua and I had to give up my job because of slow and unreliable internet. My suggestion is to look closer to the larger cities in Nicaragua that have cable internet. Moyogalpa, on Ometepe Island, has cable for internet, but we are about a mile out of town and we don’t have a cable in our little community, thus the need for an internet tower and service from the mainland. Possibly you can find an area that you like and post on a Facebook forum for expats in Nicaragua that you are looking for a place to rent that is quiet and has reliable internet service. It is hit and miss all over Nicaragua. Best wishes in your search.

  69. Hi Debbie,

    You are a wealth of information. Like you, Statistics kicked my butt to the point where I decided to stop persuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business (as a Realtor, I don’t even need a degree, I was just wanting to reach my goal of finishing what I had started so many years ago at age 18 – college). When I found out that beyond Statistics, I needed a Statistics II class, I deceded to explore other options!! That lead to my current endeavor which is getting my degree in Wine Making & Grape Growing (Enology & Viticulture, if you want to be technical). Which is how I ended up on YOUR blog! My husband and I have spent the last few years trying to decide where we want to retire and are quite intrigued by Nicaragua, but I was disappointed to discover that grapes don’t really grow there. After doing a bit more research I found that several local fruits are used to make wine, and while exploring those wine fruit options, I found you. Thank you for all your great information. We are hoping to visit Nica for the first time early next year. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping up with your wonderful posts.

    Debbie & Kevin
    in Dallas, TX

    • Hi Debbie and Kevin,
      It is wonderful to “meet” you. Thanks for the great introduction. Growing different things here has been a challenge. Our grape arbor doesn’t produce fruits, but it provides a lot of shade. It is such a mystery. I suspect that if we lived in the highlands, like Matagalpa, we would have better luck with grapes. But, there is an abundance of other tropical fruits that would make delicious wines. Although, I don’t know a thing about wine making. My only experiment was with the nancites and it was too sweet for me. It is so funny how people find my blog and what they search for that leads to my blog. I am so glad that you found my blog!
      We are traveling, now through Guatemala. When we return next week, I’ll write more posts. Our cocoa tree is finally bearing chocolate pods, and I’m anxious to experiment with the fruit. Our breadfruit tree, which we planted 3 years ago, is bearing, too. It is so exciting to see all the new fruit trees bearing. I hope to see you on Ometepe Island when you come to explore our lovely adopted country. Hugs, and thanks for the nice compliments.

  70. Hi Debbie, love, love, love reading your blog too! Dee just told me about it and I’m so happy to find you. I have a company called Finding My Place, for women who want to explore living abroad. In fact, for our maiden voyage, we have a group of women heading to Nicaragua in November and we’ll be on Ometepe for a day, we would LOVE to meet you and share stories! I would further love to read more about single women living in Nicaragua, I’ve run across a number of them from San Juan del Sur to Esteli and everything in between. Their stories are interesting, to say the least. It’s important to know about the struggles and the good times!

    • Ingrid, I saw your advertisement for Finding My Place and I love your idea! I saw that you will be on Ometepe for a day, and yes! I would love to meet you and share stories. I’ve had an unfinished post about an interview with a single woman expat in my draft folder forever. I need to get busy and finish it. It is great to “meet” you. Hopefully in November we can meet in person. Let me know when you are here. And thanks for the sweet compliments about my blog.

  71. Hi Debbie-
    I visit Ometepe 2-3 x/year to do volunteer veterinary work there, and occasionally just to play and relax. I’ve been following your blog with interest for while now, and think it’s well written and informative.

    I’m going to be on the island from the 23rd-27th of this month, and would enjoy meeting you for at least a brief conversation. Would like to send you my Movistar number privately, if possible

  72. HI Debbie, I have been researching Nicaragua and came upon your blog which I’ve found to resonate with me much more than most others. I’m strongly considering visiting Nicaragua in Nov. and staying till May, perhaps to get a job teaching English, and mostly to relax, travel, and volunteer. I’ve traveled throughout the world for years, and most recently lived in India and very southern Costa Rica. I’m 60, American, not officially retired but living life like I am, and having experiences that have enriched my life beyond expectation. I’d love to talk with you (write, Skype, Facetime, whatever) about a place to call home for six months. I have a lot of reading to do on your blog, but if you have any time to write back, I’d appreciate it. I’d love to meet you in person. I think we share similar passions. Sincerely, Judi of Oregon

    • Hi Judy,
      What a wonderful introduction. Thank you so much. I have your email address, so I will be happy to chat with you about Nicaragua. Nicaragua is a diverse country and there is so much to see. It just depends on where you want to hang your hammock for 6 months. I’ll chat with you soon and thanks again for taking the time to visit my blog.

  73. Hi, Debbie. I was googling transportation in Nicaragua in preparation for a trip and came across you blog, which was very helpful. I live near Boston and will be joining my daughter, who has been living in Nicaragua. When I shared with her the safety concerns of cabs, I got the eye-roll right through the email. I, for one, will be vigilant when it comes to cabs. Next on my list will be getting a good tourist guide with maps. And brushing up on my Spanish. I went to school in Madrid, but it was decades ago and I have not used it much since. I have tried watching soap operas in Spanish, but sometimes they are too fast for me.

  74. I just happened upon one of your articles. We are on our first visit to Nicaragua. Nicaragua is on our home search list.

  75. Hi Debbie,
    Thank you so much for taking all this time to let everyone know how amazing Nicaragua and Nicas are! You really can tell that you live a life you love by how you share it.
    My name is Alan. I am 28 and my wife, Beth and I have a 1-year-old, Jaxon, and a 3-year-old, Jasper. We live in Minot, North Dakota. I was a missionary in Nicaragua about 7 years ago. I never made it to Ometepe, but heard it’s particularly beautiful. I’m planning a trip down there this september to bring to fruition a project I’ve started called project Al Fresco.
    I was watering my little garden in my backyard and was getting really excited about the prospect of having delicious vegetables for nearly free, as it costs a lot of money to try to eat healthy here. The thought came to me that in my two years in Nicaragua, I almost never saw a garden in a yard. I also rarely ate vegetables, but since I usually ate in the homes of Nicas out of the kindness of their good hearts, I had a steady diet of gallo pinto. There’s plenty of rain, sunshine, and dirt, but nobody gardens, as you have mentioned in your blog. If Nicas were to start a culture of gardening then it would alleviate so much stress on so many families that barely have enough and often have to withdraw their children from school to go work to earn money to feed the family. I knew many children that worked all week and only went to school on sundays. This continues the cycle of poverty as, without the proper education, the children grow up and don’t have many opportunities for better paying jobs and usually settle on manual labor in agriculture.
    With the support of my amazing wife, I am going to start affecting some change, even if it’s just a little bit. We are raising money to be able to start some community gardens there and train a caretaker for each one on how to teach others to garden. So far, we have about 6 people who want to come down with us in September (probably around the 10th) for a week or two to be able to help get these gardens built and planted and the caretakers at least partially trained. I have a central american agricultural expert from Guatemala who will be coming down who has done greenhouses and gardens in Guatemala for years as well as a gardening expert here who will come down to help and will assist in the training process with some instructional videos he has made over the past few years that I plan to translate. He has also contacted a seed company who said they would donate any and all seeds we would need and take care of the certifications to get them into Nicaragua.
    I am really hoping to be able to connect with you and your husband to be able to get your advice on gardening there and what kinds of vegetables can flourish and would actually be used if grown. We want to have kits that people can take home after being trained in the community garden so they can start their own garden at home, but we want seeds in them that are vegetables people will actually eat and know how to prepare. It looks like this is something Ron loves to do and something about which he has a wealth of knowledge with experience in Nicaragua to back it up. I think many people could benefit from it. Many children may get a few more years of school and break the cycle if their families were able to benefit from the year round growing season and harvest something from their garden every day.
    The gofundme page is http://www.gofundme.com/alfresco
    Please feel free to share it with anyone you would like.
    Thank you again for sharing your experiences there.

    • Hi Alan,
      Thank you so much for such an impressive introduction. It’s great to “meet” you and I hope that we have the opportunity to meet in person in September. Project Al Fresco sounds fantastic. Where will you be located? Since Ron is the gardener, I know he can share with you his successes, failures, and his attempts to help some of our neighbors start small garden plots. I also have another friend that worked for an agricultural NGO in Esteli who started a garden project in northern Nicaragua. His experiences will be helpful to you, too.
      The biggest problem is helping the Nicaraguan people understand about the nutritional value in the food that they eat. Finding vegetables that most will eat is going to be a challenge. For example, we experienced a drought several years ago. The crops of red beans withered on the vines. We suggested to our local friends that they try to grow more drought resistant black beans, but they weren’t at all interested. It was red beans and white rice…or nothing.
      Living on an island that is predominantly agriculture based, we don’t have as many problems in finding or growing food, like the larger cities. Yet, when I asked my local friends why they didn’t have small gardens, one of them said, “We like to pick, we don’t like to plant.” There are always fruit trees bearing delicious fruits year-round. When the mangoes are in season, everyone flocks to the nearest mango tree with their sling shots, long poles, and rocks to gather the fallen mangoes. Most people on the island have family plots where they plant their red beans, plantains, and rice. But, rarely do we see anything else growing in their family plots.
      I’m excited for you and I hope we can share some of our experiences with you. I’ll send you a private email, soon. Thanks so much for taking the time to write a lovely introduction and best wishes on your project.

  76. Hola, mi nueva amiga Debbie,
    I found your blog by chance while catching up with another blogger {“Mexico Bob”} to whom your blog was somehow linked {5 degrees of freedom??}. My wife and I have lived in Austin TX, since 1991, but we have traveled a bit outside the US and love experiencing other cultures. During the past few years I have realized that the Austin winter is too cloudy for me, and we are thinking of finding a home further South for the Nov-May stint. We are both retired now, and would love to escape the “cold & flu” season entirely, and hang out in the warmth–preferably with blue water and sunshine!

    With this in mind we have been putting some thought into the where and how, and have been exploring options far and wide. We had not been seriously considering Nicaragua, but your blog has put it on the map for us. — Thanks for your writing, and perhaps we will look you up someday if we come to visit Nicaragua.

    Don & Nancy W.

    • Hola mis amigos nuevos,

      I am not familiar with that blog. I’ll have to look up Mexico Bob. But, I’m glad you found my blog through that one. It’s nice to meet you Don and Nancy. I am thrilled that I’ve put Nicaragua on the radar for you. It is a country with surprising diversity, beauty, and lovely people…especially the people.

      Let me know if you have any more specific questions about Nicaragua and be sure to look me up if you make a trip to Ometepe Island. 🙂

  77. Hello, my name is Jennifer and I’m a linguist from Pennsylvania. I’ll be visiting Bluefields in two weeks to do some fieldwork on Kriol. I’ve been to the Pacific coast twice (with my boyfriend who is a native of Managua), but this is my first visit to the Caribbean Coast. I’d really appreciate any advice you could give me that might make the visit go smoothly.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Where are you from in Pennsylvania? I am from the Pittsburgh area. It is great to “meet” you. I can’t give you much advice about the Caribbean Coast because I have only visited Corn Island, and I flew there from Managua. But, here is a great website where I know you can get more info. http://rightsideguide.com/ Have an awesome time and let me know if you will be visiting Ometepe any time soon.

    • Bluefields is not like the Pacific side. It is a grimy old seaport that has seen better days. We like it, but we like old seaports. Take a seat cushion if you will be riding the boats, it is very rough. Stay in a decent hotel. We stayed in one south of the police station across the street, Hotel Jackani. Nice family run place. There is a great restaurant all the way north on the main street where it becomes a T, take a right and walk toward the water, it is not far, a short walk. Good food and great view of the port. There are many more people coming and going than you think. It is a busy town. There are two places to catch boats, very close to each other off the main street. Both places are really interesting. Bluefields is not a tourist town, I couldn’t find one post card for sale and no one could tell me where the post office is located. There are a couple of good grocery stores and lots of fresh fruit and veggies for sale on the street. The town is packed with cars and the main street has traffic jams. There are plenty of taxis and most people speak English. It is an early town and not much traffic after dark. Wear good shoes.
      There is a bank on the main street that has an ATM, it had long lines most of the time. It is a fascinating place.

  78. Hi Debbie,

    Have been reading your fascinating blog and your honest take on rewired and retired Nica Life. Wonderful stuff.

    I’ve been perusing blogs and websites for years now, trying to get a feel for the best “off the beaten track” spots on the planet to consider hanging my hat, when that time comes.

    It’s very near now.

    I’m late into middle age and about done with the North American life-style. I was a gypsy girl in my youth however I had a child in my late 30’s and well, you know… Life as I knew it changed drastically for 19 or so years.

    It’s time now to reclaim my self, and because I’m no sissy, am seriously thinking about throwing a few essentials into a backpack and making an extended trip to your neck of the woods to get the real lay of the land.

    Of all the places I’ve looked at, Nicaragua seems to be the most affordable country for a gal like me, who doesn’t have a bounty of financial resources, to eventually put down roots.

    My spoken Spanish is a bit rusty these days but it’s still plenty good enough to get around with and be well understood. I could (and would) very quickly become much more fluent via the “full immersion” technique.

    I won’t be collecting a pension for 10 more years but I want out of this rat race which I’ve never been particularly interested in keeping pace with.

    That said, I have a big favor to ask of you: do you, after living in Nicaragua for some time now, have any thoughts regarding the potential/need for any types of small businesses which a green living, out-of-the-box thinking tri-lingual gringa with all kinds of grit, energy and motivation could feasibly own and operate on Ometepe Island, perhaps providing locally sourced products and/or services to the burgeoning eco-tourism industry?

    If so, I’d be grateful if you shared those ideas with me via the email I’ve provided~!

    “Hey honey lamb, lookie here: Freshly squeezed organic mango juice!!”

    “Oooh, awesome sweetie pie, I’d love some!”

    “WOW: Locally grown, hand picked, organic mango jam and chutney too! ”

    (LOL… I’m reading your blog Debbie…)

    Thank so very much for being there, Debbie and Ron, and for providing such a great online resource for researchers like me to stumble upon.



    • Hi Millie,
      Thank you so much for your lovely introduction. I always enjoy meeting new people through my blog. I will send you an email soon, Millie. We are in the states and it’s very hectic. Once I return, I’ll have more time to respond. Your kind words are touching and greatly appreciated. I think you are on the gypsy path enabling you to explore your passions. 🙂

      • Hi Debbie,

        Thank you for responding.

        You, your neighbours and community children already feel like people I know, having watched your vids and read through your blog, beginning at the beginning. (*Am currently on your August 2014 page.)

        No worries. Talk soon!

        Be well during your travels: I wish you and Ron a safe return to your lovely volcanic island homestead.


      • Who do I run into, reading your August 2014 blog page?

        Gioconda Belli:

        ““This is the moment in which a woman can take charge of her life. She no longer must only be a mother and always give of herself, but she can now also think of herself. It’s another type of beauty – she has much experience and she has another type of sensuality. She begins to reevaluate her entire life and reinvent herself,” Belli said.


  79. Hi Debbie,

    I really like your site, the looks as well as the content.
    I am Alka, born and brought up in India but now been in Sydney for the last 20 years.
    I’ve been blogging for the last 4 months. still learning. Maybe you can have a look and suggest.
    I wish to write books sooner rather than later.

  80. : Thank you for providing so many answers to so many questions. I am planning my move, and realistically it won’t be permanent for 3-5 years. Both this blog and another informative blog I’ve encountered have given me so much information to start planning. This is my home, and I know that. I’ve researched several other countries and for some reason, Nica keeps pulling me. I just know it’s where I’ll end up (hopefully sooner than later). I have found several homes for rent on Ometepe Island and they can be furnished or not. Here is one of my questions; 400/mo rent that includes everything (I love the black and white on this) or 125 and purchase a stove and fridge, bed, tables, chairs, etc paying internet, elec,, Which is going to be best in the long term? I can’t fathom it being much less than 275/mo for water/internet/elec & cable if desired. Which way am I going to be better off? Realizing of course prices will change over time, but just as an idea for now. Do I want to bring more for initial set up or not really?
    As for where, I was actually really looking at Ometepe Island but wasn’t sure about markets/or if grocery/liquor/item runs would be by ferry or boat. It seems to come across through your blog as though it is completely self sufficient on the Island.. ? However, being isolated somewhat living rurally would be ideal. Possibly 3-10km from a near town/village.(have been searching moped/bikes 😉 ) Any thoughts or suggestions on this?

    • Hola Carm,
      I’m glad my blog is helpful. 🙂 Nicaragua is changing rapidly with improved infrastructure and accessibility. Ten years ago, Ometepe was isolated from the rest of the world, and only backpackers came to visit. We had to cross on the ferry to the mainland to get money from an ATM. Now, we have at our disposal almost everything we could need or want. If supplies aren’t available here, we can order them from our local hardware or grocery store and they are delivered to Ometepe. For example, my local grocery store goes to Pricemart in Managua once a week and I can order whatever I want and it’s delivered the next day. We are building a small plunge pool and we can’t find waterproof pool paint, so we made a trip to our local hardware store and ordered it from the mainland to be delivered to our hardware store.
      Ten years ago, I would have told you to bring everything you feel is important for comfortable living. Now, I say, bring only electronic things like computers, because they are expensive to buy in Nicaragua. Depending on where you choose to live, your internet options may be limited. Since we live 2 km out of the main town, we don’t have access to an internet cable, so we lived for 4 years with a frustratingly slow USB modem. Now, we installed an internet tower with the server in Rivas, and it is much faster, but more expensive.
      Renting a place on Ometepe Island is more reasonably priced than on the mainland, like the big city of Granada. Most rental homes do not come furnished, but if you search around, you can probably find some furnished homes for rent. It really depends on your preference… furnished or unfurnished. You may want to rent furnished at first until you know if this is the place you really want to settle. Ten years ago, we rented our little beach shack for $100 a month and it was furnished with beds, a refrigerator, a two-burner stove top, and plastic furniture. It suited our needs at the time and we lived like Nicas for a year until we knew that Nicaragua was the place we wanted to retire.
      Mopeds and motorcycles are an easy way to get around the island, and the buses run regularly. Living on an island has its advantages and disadvantages. But, we find that there are more advantages for us because it is peaceful, cooler, and we can integrate into a local community. I hope this information helps. Feel free to keep asking questions. 🙂

      • Debbie, hoping to reach you, can’t find your email address here. A writer will be visiting Nicaragua in July for undiscovered locations in Nicaragua. We are looking for a paper doll maker in Masaya, if you have any suggestions. Thank you!

        • Hola Ingrid,

          I wish I could help you, but I am not that familiar with Masaya and the crafts people in that area. When you say a paper doll maker, do you mean paper mache? One thing I would definitely recommend are the paper mache mask makers in Masaya. There is a group of artists who specialize in making paper mache masks for the traditional dances and parades in Nicaragua. Each mask has a historical story. I collect paper mache masks, and I am intrigued by the stories that surround them. I hope this helps.

  81. Hi!

    I am a nearly 35 Seattlite enjoying city life with my husband of 11+ years and 13 1/2 year old hound dog. I have studied Latin America and Spanish since 6th grade, and studied abroad in Costa Rica when I was 21. We lived in Spain for few years but I was really excited in April 2013 to take my husband to Central America for the first time. We actually had a trip booked to Slovenia (!) but 2 days before we canceled and booked to Nicaragua…and it has haunted me ever since.

    We of course went to Ometepe and loved it! (It is a sister island of Bainbridge Island next door to us). We were one of the first guests at Xalli. Ever since we have been scheming about how to get down their permanently- the husband did surf camp at Playa Gigante in November.

    Right now we are thinking: buy a house in Seattle, or use that money to buy property in Nicaragua…..My dream is to come down to be inn keepers for a while, and then eventually open a beach bar. I even have a pinterest board dedicated to it- a little obsessed.

    Well I love your blog- keep up the great work!

    Megan and David Le

    • Hi Megan and David Le,
      It is great to “meet” you. What a nice introduction. I have never been to Seattle, but my nephew works at the airport as an air traffic controller. I think we will have to come for a visit someday. In 2010, we bought our beach shack from two women who live on Bainbridge Island and they both worked and volunteered on Ometepe Island. The Bainbridge/Ometepe Island Association has strong connections and they do wonderful things for the islanders.
      For some people, like you, Nicaragua pulls at the heart strings. I wish you the best in your plans to move to Nicaragua. I definitely understand your obsession. lol Thanks again for the lovely comments and let me know how your plans are progressing. If it makes you feel less impatient, it took Ron and I five years of planning before we could finally move here permanently. 🙂

  82. Hi Debbie,
    My name is Jonna. I have read most of your blog but never responded. We honeymooned in Nicaragua in 2005, and we have come back for our 10th anniversary. I would have written sooner, but we tend to travel by the seat of our pants, and so I didn’t know if we would make it to Ometepe or not. But we decided today that we will be there tomorrow! While in Leon today, we bought a few books that I hope your kids can use.We are staying just a short distance from you, so I hope to give you the books. If not, I will leave them with someone who can get them to you.

    • Hi Jonna,
      That is awesome. Where are you staying? We will be in San Jose del Sur all day tomorrow for the 50K and 100K Fuego y Agua races. I hope we can connect. We should be home on Sunday.I am thrilled that you brought some books for the kiddos. That is so nice of you! Stay in touch. We should be home on Sunday if you are in the Moyogalpa area.

      • Debbie,

        I am not so great with maps and my husband made the travel arrangements, but he told me we are staying at a tobacco farm in Sacremento that he found on AirBnB. Looking at the map, it looks like it Is just a short distance to your house.

        Thanks, Jonna

        Rewired and Retired

  83. Hi Debbie… We just returned from a fabulous trip to Nicaragua and I can’t get it out of my mind! I was very happy to find your blog so I could keep my mind Nica-focused. My husband and I had many ideas about how to pack it up here in the US and live there permanently in retirement, which is just a few years away. Thoughts drifted towards opening a hostel, teaching english and numerous other ideas. For now, we just appreciate the time we had getting to know such a beautiful place filled with such warm and friendly people. I’m looking forward to all your blog posts!

    • Hi Allyson,
      It is so nice to “meet” you. I know exactly what you mean when you say you can’t get Nicaragua out of your mind. That’s exactly the way we felt when we first came to Nica in 2003. It is the land of many opportunities. Did you travel to Ometepe? Next time you are on la isla, you will have to visit us. Thank you for your lovely comments.

      • Hi Debbie… how nice of you to reply! No, we didn’t make it to Ometepe, which was a regret of ours after meeting so many people on our trip who urged us to visit. Next time for sure and we’d love to meet you and see first hand what it’s like to be rewired and retired in Nicaragua. 🙂

  84. Hi Deborah! I’m a nicaraguan living in France and I came up with your blog from your comment on the Huffington Post article recently written about Nicaragua being the nxt Costa Rica. I liked your blog a lot and even recommended it to an american friend living here in the same city as me. Good luck in everything you do and thanks for doing this amazing blog about my country. Hugs, Stefan.

    • Hola Stefan,

      It is such a surprise to me to see the number of Nicaraguans living around the world. I am definitely a Nicaraguan “groupie”. lol The only thing I didn’t like about that article is the comparison to Costa Rica. I would hate to see Nicaragua become the next Costa Rica. Nicaragua is unique. I’m going to have to write a post about that. I’m so glad you found my blog through the Huffington Post article. Thank you, Stefan, for stopping by my blog and leaving such a sweet comment. I try to write about our passion for cultural immersion and record the stories of the Nicaraguan people, whom we love so much.

  85. Hi…enjoyed your blog…will be coming down from NYC for 2 week vacation to Nicaragua end of January…..would like to see Ometepe Feb. 10-14….thinking Santa Cruz might be a good place to stay? Bill

    • Hi Bill,
      I just had to check the dates for the Fuego y Agua Ultra Marathon on Ometepe Island. If you were planning on coming Feb. 4-8, you would have a difficult time trying to find a place to stay in Santa Cruz on those dates. But, you will be fine. You will enjoy the Santa Cruz area. It’s close to Santo Domingo and Ojo de Agua. Enjoy your time on the island! It’s the perfect time of year to visit.

  86. Hi Debbie,
    My wife and I along with our two kids who are 6 and 9 years old are wanting to move from the US in the next couple years and Nicaragua is on the list for the next place to visit to see if it will work for us. We all went to Costa Rica last year for 30 days and really liked the culture and beach lifestyle that we had. We stayed in a townhouse, cooked at “home” shopped at the farmers markets and tried to live like we would if we lived there full time. We want to make this move for the adventure and the experience our kids would get from it. Costa Rica was too expensive and probably won’t work for us because of this so are thinking that Nicaragua might give us the same lifestyle for less $$$.

    Do you think we could live in San Juan Del Sur for $3,000/month? We want to be within walking distance to the beach for daily surfing, have enough land for a garden, chickens etc… and also be able to get to have some restaurant choices if we feel the need. From my online readings SJDS is the most expensive place in the country but seems to give us what we are looking for. Housing and schooling for the kids might be the most expensive part. What are your thoughts?

    I found your blog by googling “gardening in Nicaragua”

    Thank you for your time!

  87. HI! I’m Sabrina.

    Great blog, it has been a very interesting read.
    I am planning a trip to Nicaragua in February with my boyfriend. He is much more adventurous than I- he has travelled many different places including Africa. I have travelled around the US and my usual vacation spot is Hawaii. So I am super nervous about coming to a third world country where I read about kidnappings, etc… and I am not sure I can enjoy a vacation being totally freaked out for an entire week.

    We are going to be staying at Hotel Colonial Granada for a night and then carrying on to a condo right on a beach. It is supposedly a gated property and there are guards. I feel if we have all of our transportation planned and booked ahead of time, we should be okay. We won’t hail a random cab on the streets or anything. However, how can you be sure to avoid a roadblock? I have read about criminals setting up roadblocks to pretend they are police and then robbing everyone when they stop. Also, what are the chances of a break-and-enter at our condo? It walks right onto the beach so technically, even though the condo/resort is gated, a criminal could still get at us via the ocean/beach. I have heard horror stories from friends and I have read some things online that have really scared me. We don’t know anyone there or anything, so if something happens we will have no one to turn to- that scares me as well.

    My boyfriend is brown but I am a blonde 28-year-old chick…. so I am extra worried as I feel I may be a target.

    So with those thoughts, I am really not convinced I will be safe there, even in the place we are renting. Having lived there for a while, do you ever hear of break-ins and assaults on resorts?
    Or is it mostly in the city? Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Sabrina,
      First of all take a deep breath and relax. 🙂 Nicaragua is a developing country and the majority of the people are warm, friendly, and gracious. I have lived in Nicaragua for 10 years and we have never encountered a roadblock or a home break-in, or even a mugging. Not to say they don’t happen, but Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America. Your chances of a mugging are only increased if you walk in the wrong part of a city late at night…just like anywhere. If you are staying in San Juan Del Sur, just be sure to ask the locals or expats the places you shouldn’t walk at night. In Granada, you won’t have any problems. It is a vibrant cosmopolitan city. Granada has recently increased their tourism police force and I think they are on every corner in the city. Ask the people who work at Hotel Colonial to recommend a taxi for you for the evenings. Always take a taxi in Granada at night. They are cheap, reliable, and trustworthy.
      Honestly, just be aware of your surroundings, don’t wear any flashy jewelry, and take taxis at night. I am sure you will have a wonderful visit in Nicaragua and I hope you are pleasantly surprised with the beautiful and friendly country. Don’t let fear of the unknown ruin your vacation. Just be cautious, yet not overly cautious and you’ll have a great time.
      As far as roadblocks, you will have a reliable driver to pick you up at the airport, so that’s not anything to worry about. We ride the chicken buses and we have to stop for the police to check passports and other things, but we’ve never encountered any problems. Enjoy your trip.

    • My wife and I will miss your passing through Granada as we arrive 1st of March for a Month stay. We walk just about anywhere during the day and have never had a problem. Yes taxi in evening, so inexpensive, isn’t bad idea although I’ve also walked home in evening and never felt uncomfortable (mind you I’m well past 60). Lots of people sitting out in rocking chairs in evening but wee back allies maybe not a good idea.

      I’d be reluctant to let my daughter wander on her own on isolated beaches but that goes for anywhere in the world. There isn’t a lot of police presence.


      • We love to walk through Granada. There is always something interesting to see. We’ve walked back to our friends’ houses at night, but they are always close. If we have to go too far, we try to get a cab. The taxis are cheap and I feel more comfortable at night. I heard they hired many new tourist police in Granada. I’ll be there next week, so I’ll check it out.

  88. Hi Debbie!

    I’m looking for some opinions, from people who have more first-hand takes, regarding an upcoming trip (Dec 27-Jan 2) my pregnant wife and i have planned to Nicaragua.

    Some background about us: At the time of the trip my wife will be 11 weeks pregnant so the last few weeks of the first trimester, with our first child. We are not newbie travelers, my wife was born in Idonesia, lived in singapore for 14 years (expat parents), did various study abroads in Europe, Africa, India (where my wife’s toe was mistaken for crumbs by a rat), etc.

    We’ve been going back-and-forth on how we feel about our upcoming trip. Our main worries are Malaria and troubles that could arise from water-born bacteria, anything we’re missing? We don’t want to put ourselves into a hermetically-sealed-bubble and freak out about everything, but if something happened b/c of this trip it would obviously be devastating.

    Our fertility doctor said that if it were her daughter he would ground her, and he would worry that if something did happen “you’re in Nicaragua”. I can’t tell if this is just American exceptionalism on his part, but he also admitted he is conservative.

    We were invited on this trip by my buddy and his girlfriend, she is a Spanish teacher and has spent a significant amount of time in Nicaragua. She sent us a pretty reassuring letter. Here’s a longer excerpt:

    “There is not a very high incidence of Malaria in Nicaragua, but the highest reports are not in regions where we will be spending time. We will be in Granada and the surrounding vicinity. Additionally, we are traveling during dry season (less rain = fewer mosquitoes), we are not staying in anyone’s home or on a farm (however, I have done both for years and I’ve been fine) and we are not camping or sleeping outside. Our rooms have AC which also helps limit exposure to mosquitoes. The most “outdoorsy” activity would be the hike on the Mombacho Volcano, but that is a tourist-friendly activity so there are paths. Nevertheless, you guys could always pass up on that activity.

    Granada has become exceedingly tourist-driven, so the restaurants are much better equipped to handle the food sanitation needs of foreigners. I can also always ask and double check how the food is being prepared when we go out to eat and request that beverages not be served on ice. However, most places nowadays have ice delivered from plants where it is made with purified water. Bottled water is readily available everywhere. I personally only drink bottled water.

    There is a hospital that is very good in Managua that is used by both Nicaraguans and American ex-pats alike. It is called Metropolitano Vivian Pellas. It is about ½ hour from Granada. There are other small clínicas closer but I would recommend Vivian Pellas. I have friends that have had surgeries and many who have used their obstetrics departments.”

    I guess my question boils down to if this was your daughter or yourself what would you do?

    • Hi Brad,
      Oh, what a great father you are going to be.:-) Your concern for your wife, touched me. Honestly, Brad, if this were my daughter, I’d say come..enjoy..and experience an amazing holiday in Nicaragua. I totally agree with your Spanish teacher friend. Granada is a very cosmopolitan city. The hotels are modern and beautiful, many of them in restored colonial houses.

      You have chosen a perfect time to visit. We are beginning the dry season, so very little, if any, worries about mosquito driven illnesses. The gardens and forests are still green and lush and the temperature is moderate and not oppressively hot at the end of Dec.

      Here are a few cautionary procedures to take when visiting Granada.
      1. Always drink bottled water. It is available everywhere. Be careful of the ice in the drinks. Always ask if the ice cubes are made from purified water.
      2. Don’t take any chances and avoid eating the fruits from a street vendor. I’ve watched the vendors cut up fruits with a knife, then pick their fingernails with the knife, and continue to cut up more fruit.
      3. Use a taxi to go out in the evenings. The taxis are cheap and they will take you where you want to go and return you to your hotel. I am sure your hotel will suggest a taxi driver for short trips in the evenings.

      Really, I can’t think of anything else that should be of a concern. I know you will have a fabulous time. Enjoy Granada and the beautiful people. Let me know how your trip was afterwards. 🙂

      • “Oh, what a great father you are going to be.:-)”

        Or completely paranoid and crazy, are those things mutually exclusive? Thanks fo your response, it is very helpful.

  89. Hey Debbie,
    I found your blog while searching for expat blogs about life in Nicaragua. I just got done reading your whole blog from the beginning. It was addicting , once i started i didn t stop until I got to the last post. I love your writing and it sounds like you have made a wonderful life there. I have lots of questions if you wouldn t mind sending me an email I could send them to your email as they come up.
    I am planning a trip to Nicaragua around late Jan or early Feb.
    Hope to hear from you soon and keep up the great work on your blog.

  90. Hi Debbie!
    I’m looking at coming to Nicaragua to work for Natural Doctors International.
    I am excited about every aspect of living on Ometepe. I was told you could help me with some information though-I have 2 cats. One is 13 very healthy, the other is 5, very healthy. Both fixed. Still clawed. My older guy was with me in Peace Corps in Armenia. Any info you can give me on cost, where to get food, litter?, vet expenses and care, travel, etc would be extremely helpful. I do best with brutal honesty when it comes to my fur babies, so let er rip!
    I love your cost analysis and sharing.
    Thank you!
    Debbie R

    • Hi Debbie,

      I am thrilled that you will be working on Ometepe Island. We had 3 rescue cats from Granada. They are about 2 years old. Black Jack, our neutered black cat, had a urinary track infection, then a blockage. He recovered from the first bout with this, but several weeks later, he got another blockage. We had three vets look at him. The first vet on the island had no training, but 35 years of experience. He gave him two injections, then several days later, when we called the U.S. vet, Sara, to look at him, Ron picked him up to show Sara, and his blockage came unblocked. Sara said it was a good thing, and we put him on an IV for 5 days, and injections of pain meds and antibiotics. A week later, he had not recovered. So, Sara said to take him to the Happy Pet Clinic in Rivas and she would meet us there to see Dr. Carlos. Well, we left the morning after the horrific landslides, and Sara was trapped on the island, unable to get Rivas. Dr. Carlos tried a last ditch effort to save Black Jack, but his kidneys were shutting down, so we had to have him euthanized.
      I knew nothing about urinary tract blockages in cats. Apparently black cats in particular are prone to these blockages. Now, we feed our other two cats a mixture of canned and dry cat food.
      As far as vet care on Ometepe, things have improved greatly. We now have Sara, a U.S. trained vet, living on the island. She is opening a clinic in Santa Cruz. We can buy dry and canned cat food at the mini-super in Moyogalpa. I’ve never seen cat litter here, but when out cats were young, we just used sand from the beach for their litter box. Now, they just go outside. The canned cat food is about 35 cords, and the dry Whiskas bags are a little less than 80 cords ( I think). There is a pet store in Moyogalpa where we can buy larger amounts of dog and cat food, instead of the little bags. But, the canned food is cheaper at the mini-super. One of the local grocery stores goes to Pricemart in Managua once a week. They take orders, and if you want cat litter, I’ll bet you can order it and they will bring it back to their store.
      The Happy Pet Clinic in Rivas is wonderful. We bought all the puppy vaccination serums from them and brought them back to Ometepe in a cooler for our rescue puppy. Sara works closely with the Happy Pet Clinic, too. Costs are very low here for good vet care.
      Your fur babies will be fine here. It is such a blessing that Sara is here. I’ll send you her phone number when you arrive.
      Can’t wait to meet you.

      • Debbie!!!!
        Thank you SO much for your response. Of all the things, my kitties were creating the most worry, in regard to their health. It’s nice to know what is available. You are such a great resource, thank you for being so candid and open about your experience(s)! I can’t wait to meet you!

  91. I have never been to Nicaragua, but in Costa Rica, while travelling there we met a couple of teachers grom Germany, who went to Nicaragua and stayed near big lake (sorry, don’t remember the name). They liked it so much that they decided to stay in Nicaragua longer. Hopefully, in the future we will be able to visit Nicaragua and El Salvador, where we have friends met in Costa Rica.

    Few words about my self – I would say that the word ‘family’ defines me quite well. Last week I started community of Travelling Families, to gather the families like mine, which believe that it is best to educate kids through family trips to distinct areas of the globe. I believe that trips help kids learn diversity of people, culture and religion which in return build the foundations for good and mature adult life.

    As a first step of building the community, I decided to describe our family trips and hope that other families will want to join some day in sharing their learning through world travels.

    • Hi Tomasz,

      What a wonderful introduction. Thank you, and it is so nice to “meet” you. Your plans for developing a community of Traveling Families is a fantastic idea. If you decide to visit Ometepe, we have several communities that offer host families and cultural tourism programs for tourists. The families would be welcomed with open arms and have an opportunity to live with local families and experience the culture on Ometepe Island. Thanks so much for taking the time to introduce yourself. If I can be of any help, let me know.

      • Thanks a lot for offering your help. I would love to come! If you would like to help now, please share the news about Travelling Families community with all who would be willing to share their experience of Nicaragua. Good luck!

  92. Hi Debbie,

    Our organization has been working on Ometepe Island the past few years with a school for the Deaf. We love the communities and are sending a relief team down in a few weeks to work and bring supplies. I was wondering if it would be ok to share your pics on our Facebook page and fundraising page. Happy to give you credit but wanted to ask first.

    Thank you for all the updates, our partners who run the school there are in the states currently and we are all looking for information and updates. Feel free to email me.

    Thanks again,


  93. Debbie,

    Thank for your the link to GGnet, unfortunately they do not serve Ocotal, but I am pursuing another option and that is to install the Claro 10 mbs service on a house in Ocotal (where they have service) and to send the signal to my house via an antenna. I have one guy looking at this and he said this is possible with guarantees. (let us see).

    One more question on VPN. Do you use the VPN for the Videos only or you do you use it all the time. The reason I ask is because VPN has an overhead (I have use corporate VPN for years and the difference when not using VPN is considerable ).



    • I hope you get your rapid internet. 🙂 Sometimes it is very challenging trying to find a reliable and fast internet service, isn’t it? I have an Open VPN (from Strong VPN) configured in my router. So, our computers, phones, TV, and tablet all have wi-fi through my VPN. Before we had a router, I had to turn on my VPN, and when I did, my internet speed was much faster. Now, it is on all the time, and my speed with GGnet is fast enough for me to stream videos and watch movies with my Roku box. Buenos suerte with your system. Let me know how everything works out.

  94. Hi I am so glad to reach your blog thru Madhu’so blog. I am from India and retired from service. I now have fun taking classes for budding MBA aspirants.

    I love to understand different cultures and believe in the ‘one world concept ‘.

    Cheers and best wishes always.

  95. Good afternoon! I met you on the plane to Nicaragua last week. I was part of the mission group that sit across from you and your husband. I just wanted to say hello and let you know that I had found your blog. I greatly enjoyed my trip to Nicaragua and cannot wait to return again! Thank you for sharing your blog with me!

    Kira Godwin

  96. Hello Debbie,
    I got your name from Sharon McRae. We met her today in Granada. She spoke very highly of you. My husband, Michael, and I are travelling with our 4 children aged 6,8,11,14. We are from Canada. Michael is a chiropractor. He tore his biceps off, had surgery and is off work. We decided to sell our house and take on this adventure/journey we are on. We are trying to do some volunteer work along the way too – so if you know of any that would be good for a family please let me know. We are enjoying this quality family time, and are checking out places that we might want to retire someday.

    We are spending a month in Granada (until Oct 29) and then will be coming to Ometepe. Sharon said we must meet up with you & Ron. We would love to do that! We will be in Central America for 5 months. Sharon gave me your blog address. It’s great! I am finding so much to read!! We will be coming Oct 29 – Nov 2 to Ometepe. We are staying at La Omaja hotel. We know nothing about Ometepe but would love to pick your brain. Do you have some ideas of what we should see and/or do? Most pressing question is should we rent a car prior to coming to the island? What is the best way for us to get from Granada to Ometepe (and then from Ometepe to either San Jaun del Sur or straight to Costa Rica)? After our 4 days in Ometepe we have no concrete plans. We are planning on going to Costa Rica and down to Panama.

    I would love to hear from you!

    Thank you,
    Melanie Engel

    • Hi Melanie,
      Oh that Sharon! haha! She makes new friends quickly. Your husband tore his biceps off? Ouch! How in the world did that happen? And now you’re in Central America! I’ll bet your kids are having a blast.

      When you come to Ometepe Island, you will be staying on the other side of the island, far from us near Moyogalpa. It’s a beautiful area, and there is so much for the kids to see and do. You definitely have to take them to Ojo de Agua, a crystal clear spring swimming place. Charco Verde has a great hiking trail where you can see lots of Howler monkeys and there is a butterfly sanctuary there.
      It’s very tranquil on Ometepe Island…much different than Granada. There are many eco-friendly hotels and hostels, beautiful swimming beaches, and hiking. I hope you enjoy your time, here.
      I’m really not sure about renting a car. You can have a taxi bring you to the port town of San Jorge from Granada. From there, you can take the ferry for an hour to Ometepe and they should have a minivan pick you up to take you to La Omaja. It will take about an hour to get to La Omaja from the port on Ometepe, depending on whether you land in San Jose or Moyogalpa.
      The buses are easy to get on the Maderas side of the island. Or, you can take a taxi to wherever you want to go. When you leave Ometepe, it is about a 25 min. ride to San Juan del Sur. There are many taxis that will take you there, so that’s not a problem.
      I hope we have a chance to meet. We live on the beach about 2 kilometers south of the port town, Moyogalpa, in the village of La Paloma. Ask Sharon and she can tell you how to get to our house. Do you have a phone? Great to “meet” you. Hope to see you in person, soon.

      • Hello! Sorry for not responding sooner – oddly I got all other answers you have posted on this blog section but not ours! Thank you for the tips!

        Michael tore his left bicep off lifting a canoe – in Sept 2013 he was putting the canoe away for the winter. This happened at our cottage. We had not been to the lake for 7 months & there was still lots of snow. He drove the truck up really fast to reach the cottage door. We got there OK but the truck got stuck (snow was about knee deep at this point). He tried to shovel with no luck then took out the skidoo (snowmobile) to flatten the snow. The skidoo sunk in the snow & when he tried to lift it, the right bicep tore. The left bicep tore completely off & he had surgery right away. The right bicep tore but not completely so they waited a month to do surgery in case it would heal (unfortunately it got worse by the day). The right arm surgery was May 22. He is now off work until at least March 2015.

        We will now be in Ometepe Nov 1 – 5. We are going to take taxis around We brought our phone from home but are not using it due to the cost. We have been using Skype and Viber. Thank again for the tips & hope to meet you in real life.

  97. Hola, I’m starting the resident procedure. Can u recommend a lawyer? My Spanish is weak . I have been quoted $3000 for Nicaraguan lawyer to handle it. Does that sound right? Thank you Richard

    • Hola Richard,
      Sorry I haven’t responded sooner, but I just got back from the states. Many things have changed since we got our residency. We didn’t have to have our documents apostilled, only certified with a notary. Now that Nicaragua is a part of the Hague Convention, they require different procedures for residency. We didn’t hire a lawyer, but used a Canadian woman who partnered with a lawyer to help us get our residency. I met this sweet couple of lawyers from Managua and they speak English and specialize in residency. Contact them for more information. alexandragarcia@betetallaw.com Telephone number: (505) 2277-0034 or (505) 8850 7067 address: Registro Mercantil 75 vrs al este A-92-B Managua. I hope this helps.

  98. I’m spending the winter in Nicaragua, reading everything I can about the country. Looking for my retirement spot. Have been to Mexico , Dominican republic and Cuba. I’m still young enough to explore. The town of Leon is on my list. Any advice? Richard

  99. Hi,
    I am here on Ometepe researching for my thesis for my MA dissertation. I am looking at how local institutions can help communities become more resilient to stresses and climate change. I am based in Balgue and I am here for two more weeks. I was here four years ago for a month and know Balgue (though it has changed a lot) an dI have been here for one week thus far. I would love to hear your thoughts on this and interview you if possible….
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Hola Sophie,
      I would really enjoy talking with you about this topic. I am afraid we will miss each other by a few days, though, because we are in the states visiting family. We’ll be back on Ometepe on September 25th. Will you still be there? If not, maybe you could interview me via email? Let me know. Thanks, Sophie.

  100. Hi Debbie!
    My boyfriend, Alan, and I have been searching for a house sitting job in or around Nicaragua for November/ December of this year. We have been trying to avoid those pay per view websites and we were wondering if you had any suggestions as to where we can get into contact with some people who would like a hand looking after their house this winter? Thank you!

    • Hi Phoebe,
      We found our house sitters through the Expats of Nicaragua on Facebook. There is also a FB page of Expats of San Juan del Sur. Ask to join these forums and post that you are looking for a house sitting position. I hope that helps. November and December may be harder months for house sitters in Nicaragua because that’s when most of the expats come back to Nicaragua. But, you never know. 🙂 Good luck. I’ll ask around on Ometepe Island, too. Do you have references and have you house sat before?

      • Thank you very much! We’re looking forward to trying those suggestions. We both have house sitting experience for properties with and without animals and would be more than happy to provide references or any other information upon request.

  101. Hi! I saw the title of your blog when you posted a comment on another blog and found it interesting. My mother is from Nicaragua and I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the country several times. It’s so beautiful and you are very lucky to be in Ometepe, so pretty! Consider me a new follower 🙂

  102. Hi. I met Rosalyn and Jonathan on the ferry a few months ago. They own some rental cabanas (nice ones!) across from the wind turbine on the way from Santo Domingo to Balgue. At that time she told me she was going to get into real estate. Just ask a few locals and they will be able to point you to their place. I would suggest you rent for awhile, explore, and find the area in which you most enjoy (I think Balgue is wonderful!). The locals do indeed know what is officially and unofficially for sell. They, like all of us, are more forthcoming with information when they know your intentions and believe you would be a good neighbor and an asset to the community. I’d love to hear how it all turns out for you. Best wishes on your new adventure!

  103. Hello! About 3 years back, I posted here about information for retiring in Ometepe. We’re finally doing it! My question now is are there any reputable real estate agents covering the Ometepe area. I can only find one, Sam Bauar, which was met with not such a high standard in public opinion. I appreciate any info. (We’re looking specifically in the Balgue area)

    • Hola Melanie,

      Wow! Congratulations. You are doing it! Awesome!!! When will you be here? Sam knows the island about as well as anyone. If you are considering the Balgue area, then you might get in touch with Ben, who owns and runs Campestre restaurant in Balgue. When you arrive, ask locals and expats around the Balgue area. We didn’t use a real estate agent when we bought our property. Everyone on our small island knows of property for sale, or potential property for sale. If you find something you are interested in buying, then find a good lawyer, who can do a title search and start the transactions for you. Best wishes. It is a lovely area.

  104. Hi, I am Ivy on this blog because it’s my nickname and Croatian name is a tiny bit harder to pronounce right. That answers where I am from. 🙂 I am here because of photo challenge and I liked your blog. To be honest, I followed because I want to read more from your blog and to remember that thought. 😀
    I am ashamed that I can’t pin down from memory where Nicaragua is exactly. I will search it. 🙂

    • Oh, Ralph, don’t get me started! Actually, I’ve been following it closely for almost 2 years. I’m in the process of writing a post about it. I just haven’t decided what angle to use. I’ve been researching Wang Jing. I think I’m going to focus on him and why this proposed canal will never happen. Stay tuned.

      • I am a computer tech and my ONLY concern about living in Nicaragua is an Internet connection. Like you, the faster the better. Since you went to some trouble getting a internet connection at all, let alone a VPN, you are far more knowledgeable than the average person about the subject for Nicaragua. I am looking at Esteli, obviously a lot bigger than your location. Do you think I will be able to get a decent connection (10 mbps) there?

        I also assemble/upgrade my own computers? What are my options for buying new parts in Nicaragua?

        Thanks a lot,

        Ralph Redjou

        • Ralph,
          I really don’t know of anywhere in Nicaragua where you can receive 10 mbps for the internet. Even the cable internet only has up to 5 mbps. I’ve heard talk of a fiber optic cable for Nicaragua, but I’m not holding my breath. My microwave tower averages about 5 mbps. Esteli is a great place to retire. It’s a little cooler than the lowlands and can offer you an array of services. I really don’t know about buying new parts for computers in Nicaragua. If you do find new parts, they will be much more expensive than if you buy them in the states and have them shipped to you. Electronics generally cost more in Nicaragua. I do know that it’s hard to find a place that services Macs.
          I’m saving your other post about the Nicaragua Canal project for my post that I am writing about the canal. Interesting thoughts.

        • The price of electronics and parts has come way down.  They aren’t hard to find in Managua and it is easier to buy them there than have them sent in.  The last piece of electronics we bought in Managua cost us about $30 more than we would have paid in the states, and, we didn’t have to chance aduana tagging the package and wanting import duties.

  105. Hello Debbie, i found you blog through the Daily Prompt – and I am fascinated! I love Off The Beaten Track Adventures. My husband and I are planning some travel and maybe living overseas in the next few years so your blog is very pertinent right now!

  106. My girlfriend and I are looking to spend the first 2 weeks of february of 2014 on ometepe. Do you know of any rentals avaiable? We are looking to be as close to the airport as possible. And maybe im asking a bit much here, but we are looking for something with running water and a flush toilet and hot water for a shower. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Josh

    • Hi Josh,
      There are lots of nice hotels and hostels within a short distance from the airport. They all have running water and flush toilets, but hot water may be difficult to find. The American Cafe and Hotel in Moyogalpa has hot running water. Honestly, we never miss hot showers. It’s refreshing living in the tropics. 🙂 February is a wonderful time to visit, too. Thanks for asking. Let me know how I can help you.

    • You won’t need hot water in February. We will take a couple cold showers a day to keep cool. Ometepe isn’t that big so I would find a place that suits your style and not be to concerned about being to close to the airport.

  107. Hi Debbie,
    What an informative blog you have here! It’s very nice of you to answer everyone’s questions so promptly, that must be time consuming! My wife and I were referred to your blog from Housecarers, where we have an account. It looks like you were looking for a house sitter a short time ago. We are currently living in So. California, and are hoping to move our existing tour business down into central or south america. We hope to leave March of 2015 and start in Nicaragua and work our way down through Central America and into South America, looking for where we see the best opportunity for a new adventure tour company, and also all other factors one would consider when relocating- ease of residency, health care, education, safety, political climate, etc. In our top pics are Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica(although I’ve heard it’s gotten very expensive), Colombia, Ecuador, and Argentina. There’s a lot to explore!! I’ve done a fair share of research on the whole process, and from what I understand, the foreign investors residency requires a minimum initial investment of $30,000. We are obviously trying to keep our initial investment as low as possible, so I’m not sure if this would work. Do you know anything about the Decree 343 in Panama? Apparently, the minimum requirement to start a corporation is much less, if any, aside from the $5,000 they require to open a bank account? Anyways, since you were considering retiring in Panama, I thought you might have some knowledge of all this stuff. Maybe you can let me know your thoughts as to all of this whenever you have time. Thank you so much and I look forward to chatting with you about our move! And hopefully visiting Ometepe when we are in Nicaragua next year!

    Best Regards,

    • Hi Geraldo,
      Thanks for visiting my blog. I wish I could help you with the foreign investment residency visa. We never looked into it because we were moving on a pensionado residency visa. I have many friends in Panama. Next time I’m chatting with them, I’ll ask. It sounds like you have done your research. All of the countries you mentioned have potential for an adventure tour company. I think that is a fabulous idea. Puesta del Sol Association, in our little community, hosts GeoTour adventurers. A group of students will come for 2-3 days, stay with the host families, and climb our volcanoes. The tour groups have helped to improve the quality of life for the host families. Best of luck in finding your ideal spot in the world. If you come to Ometepe Island, please be sure to stop in and say ‘hola’. Let me know if there is any other way I can help you.

      • Thank you so much for your quick response! It sounds lovely where you live. I checked out Puesta del Sol, and it looks like an awesome program! That is very similar to what we are sort of looking to do. We want to integrate adventure tours with the local community where we settle, and help the local community through community projects, and sustainable tourism. I’d definitely like to explore the area when we are down that way. If you happen to ask any of your friends in Panama about this subject or know anyone else in Nicaragua or Panama who has started similar businesses, I would love to hear any suggestions or information! Thank you so much, and I hope meet you in Nicaragua next year! We will also be house sitting through Housecarers, so definitely give us a shout if you need a sitter next year!

        Thank you so much and I hope to meet someday!


      • GREAT BLOG!!!! Thank you for all the information and pictures!
        My husband and I are also seriously considering retiring to Nicaragua in 3 years on the pensionado residency visa. We could use any advice you have on the process of applying, hiccups you may have found, did you use an English speaking attorney, etc… We want to bring our 4×4, our 2 dogs and not much else.
        We’re actually visiting the country next month for 2 weeks (not the car or dogs on this trip) and we will be traveling around different areas including Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur, and where ever else strikes our fancy when we get there!

        Thanks so much, Val

        • Hi Val,
          Thanks so much for your kind comments. It’s great to “meet” you. Maybe we’ll have a chance to meet if you come to Ometepe next month. As far as the pensionado visa, when we applied, Nicaragua wasn’t a part of the Hague Convention, therefore, we had to get everything certified, instead of apostilled. Now, Nicaragua joined the Hague Convention and everything has changed. I’m afraid I won’t be of much help because the process is different. Our lawyer spoke only Spanish, but that wasn’t a problem because basically all he needed to do was translate our documents into Spanish. I hope you enjoy Nicaragua. Have you been here before?
          Here’s hoping a lot of things strike your fancy in Nicaragua. 🙂

  108. Rivas! Rivas! Rivas! After a week in Granada and a great bus ride that stopped anywhere anyone wanted I still laugh about how grinding it sounded to me and how amused/annoyed my travel partner was at me. I sometimes forget how absolutely lucky I am. We spent 6 weeks or so in Nicaragua in early 2010 and it included a fantastic week or so on Ometepe. I love it so much and miss it every single day. Nicaragua is home in my mind. We did get to experience much of the west of the country from border to border. Somehow I ran across your blog and am excited for you for being in the country of my hopeful future, though it sounds like you are not there at the moment. Keep sharing and best wishes to you guys. By the way. I cannot fathom the idea of an airport on the island! When we were there we talked with a guy that wanted to build a port for seaplane travel to the island from Managua and Granada but I had no idea an airport was in the works. They were just getting to laying the cobbles for the road out to Madras at that time. Time flies.

    Russ and Amanda

    • Haha, Russ. No it’s “Riva,Riva,Riva.” For the longest time, I had a hard time understanding what the bus drivers were shouting. Then, I realized they drop the ‘s’ at the end of their words. I got on the bus to go to Los Ramos one day. I kept telling the bus driver I wanted to go to Los Ramos and he just looked at me puzzled. When it dawned on me, I said, “Lo Ramo”. “Oh, now I know,” responded the bus driver. 🙂 I flew out of Ometepe to Managua and then to the states. On Thursday, I fly back to Ometepe. I’m enjoying our new airport because it is so convenient for me. I can walk home on Thursday wheeling my suitcase through the cow paddies. About the sea plane…it only came to Ometepe one time. I don’t know what ever happened to it. You need to come back and see Ometepe again. Lots of changes. The road still isn’t completed to Merida, but there is progress. Thanks for your comments. You made me laugh.

  109. I found you from WP Weekly Photo Challenge, Between. I clicked on you because of the name of your blog (it’s awesome). We will be retired in a year, but aren’t heading anywhere as interesting as Nicaragua! it is nice to meet you… I’m so glad you are finding richness and wonder in your chosen life. Kudos!

  110. Hi Debbie. Thanks for all the great information. A little about me…I’m 41 and work in the field of human resources. After a lot of soul searching I have realized that this “life” is sucking the life out of me and I’m looking to make a big change. I’m looking for a simpler life, and to learn about new culture, experiences and some humility. I have done a lot of research on Nicaragua and am seriously thinking about making the move. I don’t fit into the twenty somethings backbacking around, partying and living hostel to hostel, but I also don’t fit into the retirement crowd. I would like to set down some roots. The problem is that I will need to continue to work and need an affordable place to live. I’d really like to contribute to the community in some way. I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts about possibilities to make a living in Nica. Are there any realistic options? Any advice or thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated. You can also reach me by email at stepht@ sasktel.net

    Thanking you in advance,


    • Hi Steph,
      Thanks for a lovely introduction. I understand when you say that “life” is sucking the life out of you. Have you visited Nicaragua? There are many opportunities for entrepreneurs. The problem is that one has to come with enough money to make an initial investment in a business. I know many “young” ( it’s all relative) people, in their 30-40’s who have started surf camps, hostels, spas, restaurants, and bed and breakfast hostels. On Ometepe Island, friends bought a remote piece of land when they were in their 30’s. They gradually built a small casita, and years later, they built a larger house with 2 extra bedrooms that they rent. They have a thriving bed and breakfast,now, which keeps them busy and financially secure. Other friends saw a need for a coffee shop, and they bought an old hotel in Moyogalpa. Four years later, the Corner House Cafe and Hotel is one of the most popular restaurants on the island. There are so many needs to be filled in Nicaragua. NGOs hire supervisors, directors, and specialists for their projects. It really depends on your passion. You are on the right track by asking questions. If you come for a visit, I can introduce you to people who have made life work for them in Nicaragua. One problem facing 40 something people choosing Nicaragua as their home base, is the residency issue. Most people are too young to apply for the pensionado visa because you need to show proof of a lifetime pension. Plus, with the pensionado visa, we are not allowed to work in Nicaragua. However, there are other avenues such as an investment visa, or an NGO visa. I’ll have to post the informative PDF document about all the different types of residency visas. It is getting more difficult to cross the border into Costa Rica to have your passport stamped. They want to see proof that you are trying to getting residency. But, I always say, “Take baby steps.” You have done the research, and are asking all the right questions. It is definitely possible to simplify your life in Nicaragua. Come for a visit. Networking and reading expat blogs is a good start. Feel free to keep asking questions. It’s great to “meet” you, Steph.

      • Thank you so much Debbie! You are such a kind, generous and cool person to answer all these questions. I have never been to Nicaragua, but am planning to come for a visit when the weather gets cold here. I live in Saskatchewan so I have to take advantage of the warm weather here! I would definitely take advantage of your offer to meet some people on a visit if you’re available. In the meantime I would love to keep in touch with you. I have so many questions, but I don’t want to bombard you. Please answer them in your own sweet time. Where would you suggest I stay for an affordable visit? And how far ahead should I book? I’m curious about what’s available there….fruits and veggies, clothing, personal hygiene items, etc. I’ve read that pretty much everything is available, but I’d like to know from someone first hand. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on a woman going alone. Is there someone that would be helpful regarding real estate, or is it best to just look around and make your own deals? I don’t want to be taken advantage of. I’ll stop there for now 🙂 It’s great to meet you too, and I look forward to chatting with you. Would love to hear what your day was like today!

        • Hi Steph,
          Sorry for the delay, but I am in the states celebrating my mother’s birthday. Let me answer your questions.
          1. Where to stay in Nicaragua? Steph, there are so many affordable places to stay. It really depends on the city, town, or island you want to visit. There are many small hostels where you can meet a variety of people. I’ve found that the hostels really aren’t just for backpackers anymore. Most of the hostels have some private rooms with private baths, so you don’t have to stay in a dorm-like sleeping room. We always go on Trip Advisor to find the best places to stay and read all the comments. Wi-fi is a necessity for me, so that’s one thing I always look for. Another place you might explore is airbnb.com. We booked wonderful and inexpensive places through airbnb when we traveled through Ecuador and I was never disappointed.
          2. When to book: Honestly, there are quite a variety of places to stay, so you really don’t need to book in advance unless it is over Easter weekend. The only time we book is returning to Managua from the states, or visiting Corn Islands. We found it’s best to have a good idea where you want to stay, then go check it out to see if it is suitable.
          3. Yes, pretty much everything is available here. Each time we return to the states, we bring back less and less. I can’t find my Neutrogena face cream, good fitted sheets, fluffy beach towels, or cheaper electronic equipment…so I always bring that back from the states. But, everything else is here, although it may take some searching.
          4. Women going alone: I have many single women friends who live and travel alone. If you use common sense and always ask someone where the less than safe places are in a town, you will not have any problems.
          5. Real estate: So much depends on where you are located. Honestly, I don’t trust many gringo real estate people in Nicaragua. You are much better off finding a place through word of mouth, and making friends with a local who can ask the right questions for you.

          My typical day has not been very typical recently. I was home for a week, then I left for the states for my mother’s birthday. I am very travel weary…5 countries and 8 planes in a month. I can’t wait to go home and relax. 🙂

        • Thanks so much for all the info! Wow you’ve had a very busy month. Love reading your posts and am slowly trying to go through them all to get a sense of your journey. It’s so fascinating. The photos are incredible. I’ve always got questions but sounds like you’re busy right now so I’ll wait for another day 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your visit!

  111. I just discovered this blog and am so excited to start reading (tonight when I have some downtime). I was in Nicaragua in 2010 with my sister. She and my niece had traveled to San Juan del Sur the year before and were so enchanted that my sister decided that we needed to make a trip and now I want to go back! We spent most of our trip in Granada, Ometepe and SJdS. What a wonderful country! My husband has been to Ecuador and loved it also so I’m hoping our next trip will be to Nicaragua/Costa Rica. Do you have suggestions for Spanish immersion programs that are reasonable? I’d like to travel to other parts of Nicaragua since we were only on the Pacific side for the most part. So glad to find your blog and so looking forward to reading more.

    • Hola Karen,

      It is so nice to “meet” you. Your next trip, you really need to travel to the Caribbean side of Nicaragua. It’s like a different country. We flew to Corn Islands and I have a couple posts about Corn Islands. It is so beautiful. I don’t know of any particular Spanish immersion programs, but I’ll ask around for you. Our way of learning Spanish was just to move to a community of all Spanish speakers…and we were forced to learn Spanish. lol Thanks for telling me a little about you. Hope to see you on Ometepe Island someday soon. By the way, we have a new airport ( near our house). It’s open and transporting people from Managua on Thursday and Sunday. For $50 one way, you can fly to Ometepe and save a long bus trip and ferry ride. 🙂

      • Great blog
        My wife and I will be exploring the possibility of moving to Nicaragua as we get into retirement. From Houston

        • Thanks John! I’m glad you enjoy my blog. Let me know if you have any specific questions. We just returned from a month in Ecuador, so you’re probably wondering why my latest posts are all about Ecuador. But, I’ll have more posts coming soon about Nicaragua. There’s always something happening in Nicaland.

  112. Hello there and thank you for a wonderful blog! I am planning a visit in June – and would love to know if you or anyone you know needs someone to house sit their home. I am a single 45 yo female, family doctor by profession. I am interested in helping out in medical field so any suggestions you may have would be great. Also I have a newly diagnosed condition that I need hydrocortisone for life. There is a new medication called Plenadren that is now available in Europe that is long active and better for the body. Do you know how I could find out if this is also available in Nicaraguan pharmacies?

      • Lovely to hear from you Debbie, thank you. I am also curious to hear of your trip to Ecuador. My dates for visit are June 15-21 in Nicaragua. If you also have any suggestions on places to stay that are budget friendly that would be great. I look forward to hearing from you. Safe travels.

  113. Hi Debbie, We are to come to Granada & check it out for a couple of weeks in February/15. We
    are looking for an inexpensive place to winter. We are in our mid 60’s & live in Northern Ontario & are tried of the winters. Can you suggest website or blogs where we can contact other Canadians living in Granada Nicaragua. Any help will be greatly appreciate.
    Many thanks/Wilf

  114. Hi!
    My name is Nancy and I’m in Saugatuck, Michigan. I’ve traveled extensively thru-out the U.S and a little in Mexico. After having gone there with friends, I returned on my own with nothing but a backpack and a booking for one night in a hostel. When I had went with my friends, we were ensconced in a tourist trap so wanted to go back and really explore! Nicaruaga came into my radar after watching HGTV Island Hunters. Did a little googling and found your site!
    I’m a divorced 53 yr old. I think I was a little too much of a vagabond. We split ways so he could stay put and I could remain unstable! 🙂

    • Hi Nancy,
      Oh, a vagabond! Lol A woman after my own heart. Thank you so much for your comment. I have never seen HGTV Island Hunters. I would live to see the Ometepe Isand episode. Currently we are traveling around Ecuador for the month of May. My gypsytoes were itching for a vacation. Let me know if you have any questions about Nicaragua.

  115. Hello – I am going to Nicaragua for the first time in December. I will definately come to this island and check out the area. I used to live in Jamaica and loved living there. I am scouting to find another “home”. I just discovered your web-site and blog. Thanks for sharing information. I am 64 years young, wanting to bring with me my profession (37 years in the healing arts – Cranial and Neuromuscular Therapy) and 2 small dogs. I want to be on a semi-retired schedule, knowing I will always be available to help people. I will spend more time on your blog to learn more. I am going to staying in Granada and use that as a “base-camp” to see a few part of the countries. I have only 3 week this trip.

    I hope to move and re-locate sometime next year.

    Thank you for your effort.

    Peggy Daugherty ND CMT

  116. Hi Debbie, I just wanted to say thank you for visiting our blog and reblogging our post on Cafe Sonrisa. We’ve written our own story about how we became expats and long-term travelers in our blog on the About Us page if you’re curious about one more reader but I think our story will echo bits and pieces of the many comments listed above! I look forward to reading both your archives and new stories in the future. Best of luck! Anita

  117. Love the blog, retired, young at heart, (but not dead) Jack of All Trades, hoping to relocate in the sunny Caribbean. 60″s of snow this winter has made ne a Believer in Warmth & Sunshine. I’ve looked at Belize, Panama and now have a new interest in Nicaragua.

      • Hello, my name is Roger, sorry if you receive odd bits of msg, this gadget of mine is playing up at the moment. I have been reading your blog with fascination as I am considering a life changing move. And have thoughts of upping sticks and moving. I am in Wales UK at present, but feel I need to get out more. Should this message reach you then I shall contact you again soon. All best.

        • Hi Roger,
          It’s so nice to “meet” you. Yes, your message came through loud and clear. Feel free to ask any questions. I love to tell people about Nicaragua. It’s a beautiful, fascinating country. Thanks for your comment.

  118. Hey! My name is Kate and I’m from Saskatchewan….I was in Nicaragua last May and now I am doing a project on Agro-forestry practises in Nicaragua and use of ‘patio gardens’ in the campo.
    I’ll definitely be reading your blog from now on. I miss this country!

    • Ooo. I’m wondering what vegetables have been successful in your garden? How much management is needed in terms of irrigation, fertilization and soil/site prep? Are pests (weeds/disease/insects) a major issue?

    • Hi Kate,
      Interesting project. Patio gardens. I really like this idea, but it’s a struggle to help Nicaraguans understand about growing small vegetable plots. When I asked my friends, “Why don’t you grow small vegetable gardens?” Their answers are, “We like to pick (fruit), but we don’t like to plant.” lol I’m answering both of your questions in my comment. We have been very successful with peanuts, sweet potatoes, soy beans, black-eyed peas, chia, turmeric,chile peppers,and eggplant. We have not been successful with tomatoes, lettuce, and corn. The tomatoes get nematodes on their roots, the leaf cutter ants attack some of the vegetables,the rats eat the peanuts, and we don’t have any rain for 6 months of the year. Tropical gardening is a challenge. In the dry season, we have a small patch that we irrigate with a pvc pipe with irrigation holes in it. But, most of the garden, we just ignore until the rainy season begins. We plant our seeds before the rainy season and water them daily because when it rains it pours, so we have to get the plants big enough to withstand the strong rains. We spray the leaves with a Neem oil solution. We have Neem trees growing, and we crush up the leaves, make a strong Neem tea and spray it on the leaves. We don’t use any pesticides or poisons, mainly because we have cats and chickens. The rainy season brings lots of insects. It’s a constant battle with the insects and the rats. We have many young trees, such as avocado, banana, Bread Fruit, Jack tree,and papaya trees. We have to water them daily in the dry season because they are still young. Ron started a grape arbor and we have to water that daily, too. I was surprised that grapes grow well, here. I’ll have to write a post soon about our gardening. Ron is the gardener. I’m the landscaper. I pull weeds, plant flowers, and rake mangoes. Yes, I’m raking mangoes daily now because we have 5 huge trees full of mangoes and we can’t possibly eat them all. 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. I also have a friend, Eric, who is Canadian and he works in Esteli with an agricultural NGO. I can put you in touch with him if you would like.

      • Thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions! I greatly appreciate it :). I don’t have any questions at the time…but I am sure more will come up.

        I would love to get in contact with Eric! Could you send me his contact info?
        Thanks again for the help! Your blog is amazing


  119. We love your blog! My husband and I will retire to Nicaragua in about 6 1/2 years. He is currently a deputy, and I am a teacher. Currently, we are building in Nagarote, which is half way between Managua and Leon. We have visited Ometepe two times and love it. It has been so much fun reading your blog, and we have shared it with others that are interested in Nicaragua. We have been to Nicaragua, from Florida, about 7 or 8 times so far. Our next trip is this July. Keep blogging and teaching us all there is to know about Nica! Nicaragua is in our hearts and every time we land, I feel an overwhelming sense that I am home!

    • Hola Angela,

      Thank you for your kind comments. You are a kindred soul because I understand how Nicaragua grabs you and just won’t let go! I have never visited Nagarote. Is it on the coast? How did you choose that area to build? I’m always curious how people decide where to move abroad. I think I’ll have to write a post and include stories of all my new blogging friends’ experiences. Are you planning another trip to Ometepe in July? Come home soon. Those years in the states will pass by quickly. 🙂

      • Nagarote is 45 minutes NW of Managua on the road to Leon. We went to Nagarote several years ago on mission, so that kind of became our home away from home. We aren’t aware of any gringos in Nagarote, but you never know. We love exploring the country and looked all over before deciding where to settle, but we are always pulled back to Nagarote. This summer I think we are just doing Leon, Nagarote and SJDS. Ometepe may be the following summer…..it is one of my hubby’s favorites!

  120. Well Debbie, I just got back from Nicaragua yesterday and managed two full days on Ometepe, absolutely loved the island. We really enjoyed Santo Domingo Hotel, the beach and Ojo de Agua. Oh yes and of course the airport runway that cuts right across the road was so funny.

    We even rented an ATV and circumnavigating El Concepcion Volcano, a four hour adventure. During our adventure we came across a very determined man on a mountain bike along the unpaved section of road with a sixty pound backpack absolutely exhausted. After a few different transportation ideas to assist him we managed to strap down his backpack on the front of the ATV to lessen his load. My travel companion then held him hand in hand up and over the very bad lava rock road until the outskirts of Altagracia. An hilarious event for a passengers on the chicken bus that drove by!. I wish we would have had more time as I really wanted to visit you. I will definitely be back.

    My description of the island is; the land of peace, tranquility and the unexpected.


    • Terence, this is awesome. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Your stories are hysterical! It sounds like you are thinking like a Nica. One of my friends was in a car near Masaya at night and noticed a motorcycle with a small light on the side. At first, they thought it was a side car. As it got closer, then passed them in the opposite direction, they saw a motorcycle with man holding onto a flashlight with one hand and holding hands with the moto driver with the other. He was in a wheel chair!!! Only in Nicaragua. I’m so sorry I missed you! I was at Ojo de Agua 2 times last week. Who knows. Maybe you were there! Next time, you have to stop and see me! I’m really close to the airport runway on the beach. 🙂

  121. Hi Debbie,

    Thank you for exposing the Beauty of Nicaragua to the WorldWide Web. I am Nicaraguan by birth, for the last 3 years I have resided in North Pole, AK. Spent 33 years in Los Angeles, CA. My boss is interested in buying retirement property in Nicaragua, or Costa Rica. You know which way I’m leaning! I found your Blog interesting and informative. Your passion for Nicaragua is commendable. Thank You!

    • Michael, I am thrilled that you have visited my blog. Thank you so much for your kind comments. The North Pole???? Brrrr. Quite a change from LA. 🙂 Nicaragua chose us, instead of the other way around. It is an amazing country with wonderful people. If you ever need a break from the cold North Pole…please come back to your birth place. You can swing on our hammock.

      • I just found your blog with a comment on Kris from David Panama about water shortages in the dry season. We are a retired Dutch couple living since 2003 on Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Same problems with water over here. Most people if they can afford it have plastic 450 gallon tanks on a concrete stilt. Our house is on very steep land almost on the top of a hill. We have a 3000 gallon water tank and on top of the tank a swimming pool of 3000 gallon. The water of the pool can also go down into the tank. We just sold our house and will move to Panama, David area, in July. I worked a.o. 13 years in Spain and 3 years in Nigeria (also called a white mans grave). I worked in Spain for La Curacao and visited all their subsidiaries in Central America, Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Haiti, Colombia and Venezuela. Cordiales saludos y un abrazo. Roberto & Helena y nuestros 4 perros.

        • It is so nice to meet you Roberto y Helena. I live in Nicaragua, but it was a toss up between Panama, the David area, and our little island in Nicaragua, Ometepe Island. We often visit David, so when you move, we’ll have to come visit you. I think you will love the area. 🙂

  122. Hi Debbie! I’m retired from a 20 year career in the military and I’m sitting here right now typing this,freezing to death in Nebraska as I watch the snow fall with minus 5 degrees temps! I’ve been researching retiring to several Central & South American nations for many years. No matter where I research, I continue to have a fascination with Isla de Ometepe, much of it due to your website & blog. Definitely very affordable on my monthly military pension. As a laid back, friendly & smiling to all, non-materialistic, off the grid sort of person who is now a Natural Health Counselor on a Primal/Paleo dietary lifestyle I find Ometepe almost a perfect choice for me. I am ready to apply for my Passport and sell almost everything I own, carrying a couple suitcases and my laptop & Kindle Fire down to totally immerse myself into Ometepe and it’s people. I have an idea to give back to the island population with my health skills and natural health knowledge. I have some questions that I will put into a separate comment. I’m sure that more will arise as I get closer to making the relocation to Ometepe. “Doc”

    • Hi Doc,
      Wow! Thanks for the great introduction. It sounds like you are ready to JUMP! Ometepe Island seems to meet your needs. There are pros and cons to island living, but for us…it’s a great life. You just need to come and explore for yourself. We have a homeopathic doctor on the island from the USA. I’ll have to send you more info about her clinic. They make natural medicines, have workshops, and interns that come to the island to work with local patients. It’s a wonderful service they provide for the local people. There are many natural healers here, too. Let me know how I can help answer any questions you have. Hope to see you, soon. 🙂

  123. Love your blog, my husband and I are coming to spend a few months in Niaragua and would love to be included on your blog subscriber list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, experience, and wisdom.


      • Hey Debbie,
        I love your blog! My husband and I are both teachers from the wonderfully humid state of AL. We spent nine weeks in SJDS last summer with our two small children and will be moving in June. We can’t wait for this adventure to begin. I will be teaching part time and we are so excited. I have two students, recent high school graduates coming down this summer and I want to take them to Ometepe. If you don’t mind, I would love to ask you some questions as the time gets closer? As a teacher, I like to have things planned, or as well as can be in Nica ;). Talk to you soon!

        • Hola Alethea,
          Great news! I can remember how excited we were, more like an adrenalin rush, when we moved to Nicaragua (two times, 5 years apart). It never gets old here, that’s for sure. Thanks for your kind comments. Teachers! Awesome! Nicaragua needs more experienced teachers. Let me know how I can help you. I’d love to hear of some of your plans. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  124. Hello Debbie,

    I have to admit that I have lurked on your blog for about a year without introducing myself! My name is John, and I live in Columbia, SC, although I am a transplanted Yankee. I visited Ometepe a few years ago and loved it. So I was really happy to chance upon your blog because it takes me back to the island.

    I really enjoy your posts, your positive outlook, and your politics. Thanks for a wonderful year of entertainment and ¡feliz año nuevo! to you and Ron.



    • Hi John,
      What nice comments. Thank you so much. We were transplanted Yankees ( Big Steeler fans…so you know we’re originally from the Pittsburgh area). It’s not too difficult to be positive living here. It’s a unique island and will always hold a special place in my heart. Have a wonderful año nuevo. Maybe you’ll come back to visit again?

      • Yes, I hope to get back in the next few years! I have traveled all over the world–in Europe, Asia, and Latin America–and Ometepe was one of the few places that I have felt compelled to return after leaving. Such otherworldly beauty and a wonderful, peaceful feel. I have a really bad case of Wanderlust, so I have a few places to go before I return. In the meantime I have your great blog!

  125. Hi, I’m constantly looking for a piece of heaven to invest in for my near future. I love the images I have of Nicaragua. I was wondering are squatters a problem there? I’m thinking of buying a piece of land but should probably be prepared for knowing how to maintain it until I’m ready to move. Would you have any resources/experience about that? Thank you for your great writing!

    • Hi Jen, great question. I really don’t have any experience with squatters, especially on our small island in Nicaragua. I do know of a squatter that is a gringo. He’s squatting on a beautiful piece of land on the prettiest beach in Nicaragua because the beach property is the most contested property in Nicaragua. He’s hoping that if he can squat for several years, he’ll eventually be able to buy the property. Who knows. I do know that most part-time foreigners who buy property in Nicaragua hire a caretaker to live on their property if they are not in the country. In my experience, that is the safest way to go if you buy property, then leave. Thanks for the nice comments.

  126. Hi Debbie….I got linked to this site by Daryl. We spent 4 wonderful days on Ometepe in 2012 and loved the solitude. Nica has become our favorite country in CA after seeing a small part of every country there. We will return for the 4th time ,likely next year as we are booked to the Yucatan for this year. I will follow this blog and hope one day that our paths cross. Wonderful pics that bring fond memories,thanks !!

  127. I am Jen and traveled to Ometepe in early November. Christophe & I met you and Ron at The American Cafe while waiting for our ferry to Rivas. You two graciously shared a cab with us to Managua, but even better, shared your lives on Ometepe. Our eyes were opened by your stories of transitioning and it was truly inspiring. I hope you got to see your House Hunters episode! I am excited to read your blog!

    • Hi Jen and Christophe,
      It’s so great to hear from you again. Yes, we got to see our HHI episode. It turned out even better than we expected. I am so glad that you are reading my blog. I hope to see you back on la isla sometime, soon. Thanks for getting in touch with us.

  128. Hi. We’re building a cabana next to my brother in law. It has a thatch roof and is on the left about 3km after you leave the paved road in Balgue. I look forward to meeting you!

  129. Hi Debbie! I’m moving to Balgue, Ometepe tomorrow! I was so excited to find your blog and know there is at least one other gringa on the island. 🙂 I’ve only been in country since Sunday, but judging by my level of excitement today at hearing actual American voices from the next stall at Vivian Pellas, I’m sure I’ll be seeking out fellow English or German speaking expats, especially since I’m just now learning Spanish. BTW I love your blog and your sense of humor! I hope we can meet soon.

      • Hi. We’re moved in but it’s still a bit rustic. Won’t be hosting afternoon tea anytime soon. 🙂 My number is 8833 7110. I’d love to meet. I’m still a bit stunned I moved 3 miles down a dirt road on an island in Central America so meeting people would be great! I look forward to hearing from you!

  130. Hi Debbie.

    Came across your entry dated may 2012, last year about a seed swap for jack fruit saplings.

    Where can I get them? How much are they? I’m on the coast. I’ve been looking for the jack fruit but haven’t found any. Please help!!


    • Hi Dan,
      We got the Jack Fruit saplings at Bonafide on Ometepe Island. We didn’t pay for them, we just swapped other saplings for them. Here is their website and you can probably contact them directly. http://projectbonafide.com/
      Our Jack fruit tree is over a year old now and it’s getting big. I can’t wait until we get the Jack Fruit…but it will probably be several more years. I hope this helps.

  131. I am starting to look into the possibility of retiring abroad, either in the Philippines or Central America. Google brought me here. 🙂 I’m a ways off from actually retiring (10 years+/-) but I figure it’s not too early to start looking.

  132. Hola Debbie,
    My name is Rachel. I am currently studying in San Jose, Costa Rica and have one more month to enjoy here. That is if I ever end up leaving. I have already enjoyed two short months here and the thought of leaving is so sad. This weekend I will be traveling to Nicaragua with a group of friends and will be staying in Ometepe Saturday night. One of the classes I am taking is cultural photography. We are currently working on a photo essay where we need to tell story through five pictures on the topic of our choosing. I chose to show the story of people and the beautiful art they produce from the land and beaches. I stumbled upon your jewelry or maybe rons, made of the pottery that has washed up on the shores of ometepe. I would love to conversate with you as well as possibly get some photos of you in your natural workplace. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Rachel Hodge

    • Hi Rachel,

      Cultural photography sounds really interesting, as well as your photographic essay of the people through the art they produce.. I am so sorry that I can’t help you, but I am in the states now. Thank you for visiting my blog and I am so glad you enjoy my jewelry and other projects with the pottery shards. I hope you enjoy your stay on Ometepe. It’s a very special place… and I can’t wait to come home.

  133. Thank you for your prompt, indepth reply! You have given my wife and me valuable information. We will probably be visiting Nicargua next year.

  134. Hi Debbie,

    My family (husband, step-son and 3 daughters ages 13, 12 and 9) and I are currently visiting San Juan Del Sur and are planning an exploratory trip to Ometepe island either tomorrow or Monday. We are from the U.S. and looking for a place to live outside the States. So far we like what we have seen in Nicaragua! But like you and your husband, our desire is to live among the locals and immerse ourselves in their culture, while at the same time making a positive difference in people’s lives.

    Berry family

    • Hola Berry family,

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I agree wholeheartedly with your desire to live among the locals and immerse yourselves in the culture. Nicaragua has much to offer and the people are what sold us on Nicaragua in the first place. I am so sorry that we are going to miss you when you arrive on Ometepe. I’d love to have you come visit us, but we will be taking the ferry to the mainland on Monday and then leaving for a month in the states. Darn! Have a wonderful time on Ometepe, and if you need any suggestions for places to stay, let me know.

    • P.S. If there is any possible chance you would be willing to meet with us (we’ll buy the coffee or the diet soda if you are like me and don’t drink coffee), please let me know. We would love to meet you!

      • Oops Debbie,

        I guess our emails crossed paths! Suggestions on where to stay would be most welcome. There is a possibility that a realtor by the name of Sam Bauer (originally from Oregon I believe) might be able to show us around tomorrow, but if he can’t we will wait to come over on Monday, in which case we will miss you. Darn!!

        Enjoy your visit to the states…we wish you all the best.

        • Sam just called us today and said he’s coming to visit us tomorrow. (Sunday). Let me know what kind of place you have in mind and I can give you some suggestions. Charco Verde is a nice place, about 4 miles out of Moyogalpa. Beautiful nature trails around the Charco with lots of monkeys and a nice swimming beach.

  135. My wife and I are three years away from retiring. Both of us work for the State of Louisiana and are interested in doing mission work in Central America. We have considered taking a Food for the Poor mission orientation trip to Haiti, but my thoughts are why not take an exploratory trip to Nicaragua instead where we might end up living!
    My wife read recently about a retired couple who greatly enjoy life in Granada. I have several questions: 1) As I understand the cost of electricity is about 6x what we pay in Louisiana. How does that affect living expenses? Do expats run AC units as a luxury only on the weekend? What’s a typical monthly electric bill for an apartment for two? Any information is greatly appreciated. 2) Also, with the growing number of expats living in Granada can we expect significantly higher rental costs were we to relocate in three years.

    Thanks so much for writing this extremely helpful blog!

    • Hi Stephen,
      Thanks for visiting my blog. We discovered Nicaragua when I delivered school supplies for a Service Learning Project to Granada and it changed our lives. I think an exploratory trip to Nicaragua would be wonderful. Let me try to answer your questions:
      1) Electricity is expensive, but Nicaragua is growing in wind power and other alternative energy sources, so maybe someday the prices will come down. It also depends on where you live in Nicaragua. Granada is hot, Leon is hotter, but if you live near the beach or the lake or the mountains, then it is much cooler. We live on the lake shore, and it is always much cooler than in the little town of Moyogalpa…at least 10 degrees cooler.
      Air conditioners: In Granada, many expats have air conditioners only in the bedrooms. They run them at night only. However, friends of mine who live in Granada in a one bedroom apartment, run their air conditioner all day in the bedroom. During the hottest time of the year ( March and April), they kind of hole up in their bedroom. Their electric bill last month was $325..mainly for the air conditioner. We live on Ometepe Island on the lake. We have lots of giant Mango shade trees surrounding the house, no air conditioning, and ceiling fans and floor fans. Our electric bill runs about $50 a month.
      2) Yes, Granada is growing rapidly. There are over 1,000 expats living in Granada now compared to about 100 on Ometepe Island. I expect that rental prices will go up…supply and demand probably. But, here’s a good example of the cost of living for our friends. They pay $600 rent, $325 electric, and total expenses are about $1,800 a month. The cost of living here balances out because food and other expenses like medical are about 1/4 of the cost in the states. We own our house here and our monthly expenses are way less than $1,000 a month. Of course, we don’t have the entertainment like in Granada, instead we have a big garden and live in the country. We always have to laugh because we can easily spend lots of money when we go to Granada, but it’s such a treat to eat out. 🙂
      I hope this helps. Thanks for your kind comments. I always enjoy sharing our lives on Ometepe Island.

  136. Wow! What a neat way to get feedback from all those lurking readers. I was directed to your blog though the Expats in Nicaragua Facebook page when I was seeking a dentist. I have been working in Nicaragua (Managua) since September and I also keep a blog about my extracurricular adventures: lennisblog.blogspot.com
    Thanks for the info!

  137. How does one go about getting residency? You’ve said that it’s costly. How costly? We do not have a pension so could we even obtain residency?



      • Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. What I’m wondering, though, is if an income from the US would work. I have a business that can be operated via telephone and internet from anywhere in the world. Do you know if that would work or do you know of anyone that has obtained residency that way? I don’t have a retirement pension or social security.

        • Kathy, I don’t think an income from the states qualifies for residency in Nicaragua. One way is to form a corporation and invest $30,000 in a Nicaraguan sector such as tourism. Then, you could apply as a foreign investor. The only way you could apply as a Rentista is if you had a private income from stocks, bonds, or private investments, a salary doesn’t count. I have friends who have received Rentista, Pensionado, and Foreign Investment residency. Then, I have friends who don’t qualify for any of these residency programs who are living here as perpetual tourists and they must cross the Costa Rican border every 90 days to renew their visas. Foreigners living in Nicaragua without residency have been crossing the border to renew their visas for many years, but lately the Nicaraguan government is cracking down on perpetual tourists. They indicate that it is hard for them to control the undesirables who are living in Nicaragua. I really can’t blame them because Nicaragua used to be a haven for foreign pedophiles and other illegal immigrants. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention, with the Pensionado visa, one cannot work in Nicaragua.

  138. My husband and I read your comment on a recent article about retiring in Nicaragua. We are relatively young, not yet 40, but we plan on retiring early and are always looking for the cheapest yet pleasant places to do so. Our son is 4 and in a Spanish immersion school here in Dallas, Tx. Looking forward to reading your blog!

  139. HI, My name is Judy, I live in Northern Illinois near Rockford. I came across your blog from another story that was on Yahoo the other day about a couple from Tennessee that moved to Granada, Nicaragua. I don’t know a lot about blogs but I was able to find yours. I have some questions for moving to the area where you are. I am very interested ( It would be just me ) in moving to a tropical country, reasons are I can’t handle the cold winters any longer, I absolutely do not like not being able to go outside I would love to live where it is never cold and hopefully the cost of living would be less. This would be a permanent move. I have no idea where to even start to know what to do to be able to live outside of the states. Questions like, do I still receive my social security out of the country and my pension, what does it cost to rent a decent little place to live, health insurance, I have Medicare Part A and B, I think I did read that Medicare is not excepted there. I also have Blue Cross Blue Shield, can I live there permanently, do I need a passport? Once I get there, do I have to leave after a certain time then come back, so you can see I don’t know anything, Any information that you can provide for me would be so much appreciated. Thank you so very much, Sincerely, Judy

    • Hi Judy,
      Thanks for visiting my blog. Don’t worry about not knowing where to start. We were the same way when we started exploring alternatives and living abroad. Let me answer a few of your questions, and then if you have more, just ask.
      1. Yes, you can still receive your SS and pension. We continue to use our bank in the states and withdraw our money out of an ATM. The exchange rate is very good, and when we exchange our dollars out of the ATM for cordobas, we actually make money.
      2. What does it cost to rent a little place to live? It depends on where you go. Granada has about 1,000 expats and the rents are generally more than on Ometepe Island. Expect to pay anywhere from $200-$800 in Granada. Ometepe Island rents are much cheaper..from $100-$300. We have about 100 expats living on Ometepe Island.
      3. You can continue to use your Blue Cross Blue Shield at Vivian Pellas Hospital in Managua, the capital city.
      4. You will need a passport to enter Nicaragua. Then, you will receive a 90 day tourist visa. Every 90 days you must renew your visa by crossing into Costa Rica and returning to Nicaragua. We applied for and received a resident visa, which allows us to live in Nicaragua for 5 years. Then, we have to renew our residency visas. It is a long, complicated, and expensive process, but I am so glad we don’t have to cross the border every 90 days anymore.
      If you prefer warm and hot weather, you are in the right place. We live lakefront on Lake Cocibolca, so even during the hottest and driest months, we have a nice breeze. The cities are much hotter. Let me know how else I can help you. Come visit. 🙂

      • Hi, First of all I want to thank you so much for getting back with me sooooooo fast. Thank you. What is a expat? So if I understand you right, I don’t have to become a permanent resident to live there, and you said it is a expensive process to go through to do that. To live there I would have to go into Costa Rica every 90 days to renew my visa. It sounds like it would be cheaper to live in Ometepe than Granada. Is a visa the same as a passport? and if not how do I go about getting a visa? In Ometepe how do people get around? wondering because I won’t be getting a car and I can’t do lots of walking because I had polio as a child, I am 56 now, and I have weak legs, I can walk on my own just not a long distance. One more question for this time, I am a Christian, I do attend church, are there churches there? I just want to live a simple life, and hopefully not to complicated, enjoying the nature, the warmth, hopefully walking on beach if there is one. I’am sorry I have so many questions for you. I just want to prepare myself and know what to expect so I don’t get myself in some kind of situation by not asking. I do have questions about how to rent,and what to rent, “I’am not rich, I only have my Social Security and a small pension” but I will ask those questions next time. Again, thank you so much, Sincerely, Judy

        • Hi Judy,
          You are so welcome. I try to respond to the comments on my blog as quickly as possible. Let me answer these questions for you and ask you a few, too.
          1. When you fly into Nicaragua, your passport will be stamped with a 90 day tourist visa. That means that you can visit Nicaragua for 90 days and when your visa stamp in your passport is ready to expire, you must go to the Costa Rican Border and get your passport stamped again for another 90 days. But, a word of caution, Nicaragua is starting to keep close tabs on people who live in Nicaragua and cross the border every 90 days, just to have their visa renewed. Foreigners who live in Nicaragua on a permanent basis, really should start the residency process as soon as possible, because I am not sure how much longer the Nicaraguan government will be letting the foreigners who live here without residency cross the border again and again.
          2. An expat is an expatriate, a foreigner who lives in another country.
          3. Getting around: We have a motorcycle, but there are many people who live here without a vehicle. You can take a taxi or a bus to almost everyplace you want to go.
          4. Churches: Nicaragua is predominantly Catholic. There are a variety of churches, but the services are in Spanish only.
          5. Ometepe Island is a beautiful place, but like most of Nicaragua it is not easy to get around if a person is physically challenged. The buses are not equipped with lifts, they are actually old school buses from the states. The roads are full of potholes and sidewalks are very limited.
          Here are a few questions for you to think about:
          1. You must be able to speak Spanish on Ometepe Island. There are very few English speakers, except for the foreigners who live here. Do you speak a little Spanish? In the larger cities, like Granada, it is possible to live there without much Spanish, but it helps to know Spanish to make life a little easier.
          2. Would you be willing to visit before jumping into a new life? Nicaragua isn’t paradise. There are no places in the world where you will find everything you are seeking. I’d recommend coming for a visit for 1-3 months before moving here. You will definitely know if Nicaragua is right for you. We live with many challenges, such as electricity and water outages on a daily basis. Electricity is very expensive, and if you want an air conditioner, you will pay plenty for the electricity to run it. Some days our internet service is very slow. We have no libraries, no movies, no malls, and a few restaurants on the island. The bigger cities have those services.
          Just a few things to think about. Come for a visit if you can. We love it here, but we’ve been in Nicaragua about 10 years, so we are acclimated to the heat, the culture, and the lack of some reliable basic services.

  140. Hi Debbei;
    With all the traffic on this site I don’t expect to hear back from you in this lifetime! But here’s hoping.
    Let me preface my remarks by saying I know that a lot of what I see comes from prejudice, rumors and probably misinterpretations of the facts but it’s all I have and my mind is open,
    I originally wanted to retire in Costa Rica because my children are both half Costa Rican, mother born there but is us citizen.
    I visited there a couple of times and was alerted by all the bars on the windows and statements by police, hotel owners, and locals that it was not safe to walk on streets of San Jose after 9pm due to crime!
    Well I dont want to spend the remainder of my years on lock down, Anyway I ended up in Philippines where I have been since 2010. I dont care to return to usa unless necessary mostly because the trip i find too grueling, Sometimes I wish it were closer, like i could drive. I have driven to Nicaragua and Costa Rica many years ago. Mexico would be fine with me but my impression that it’s more dangerous there than any of the other central american countries.
    I was told that the reason Costa Rica has gotten so dangerous is because of the influx of so many Nicas who arrive with no marketable skills or education and have to resort to crime to support themselves???
    I speak spanish thus feel inclined to live in a spanish speaking country.
    Here in the philippines most speak enough english so language is not an issue, I would be living in thailand if I could learn that language..but i feel totally lost there each time i visit…so i just go for the medical from time to time,
    I have thought about northwestern Panama as I have friends that have settled there. I would love to have a couple acres with gardens etc. but don’t feel safe enough to do that here, I live on a former Naval Air Station where i find it Safe, Clean, Quiet and Beautiful… only down side is I have to live in Small Navy officers Quarters. One room effeciency.
    Anyway I’m a retired psychotherapist and have found it helpful to ramble on here on your blog and in that ramble I have realized that I could probably get most of what I want here if I’m willing to increase my expenses for living which would not probably break me.
    Thankd for hearing me out… my best to you there…I will peruse your blog to get a better sense of what is going on there for you. Who knows where I might end up.

    • Hola Peter,

      Ahhh…there is where you are wrong. I always try to respond to new comments. 🙂 Peter, rambling is the best way to help one make decisions…at least it is for me. It looks like you made up your mind to stay in the Philippines at the end of your comment. When we were searching for our place in the world to make a comfortable nest, we had two specific criteria: 1. a short flight back to the states 2. a quirky place where we could immerse ourselves with the local people. We really didn’t consider safety an issue because there is no place in the world that is entirely safe. We are common sense risk-takers and I rely on my intuitions as to the feeling I get from a place. We ruled out Portugal and Brazil because of the distance from the states. We ruled out Panama because it wasn’t quirky enough for us.
      The Ticos are always fighting with the Nicas. They blame the Nicas for everything. Actually, the situation used to be reversed, when the Ticos came to Nicaragua looking for work and the Nicas complained that the Ticos were responsible for the increase in crime. lol Quien sabe?
      We have found our home on Ometepe Island. For us, life would be valueless if we lived with fear and paranoia. For us, life is about a healthy mix of adventure and compassionate living. I suppose that could be found anywhere in the world, but Ometepe just felt right for us. Granted, it’s not for everyone, yet it suits our personalities well.
      I wish you happy trails. If you are ever our way, stop by and visit us. I love that the world can arrive at our doorsteps carried from far away places on a little ferry. Thanks for your wonderful ramblings.

  141. Hi Debbie!

    My name is Jason Ernst and I am a 25-year-old Arizona native who has been traveling and working remotely (as a copywriter and SEO consultant) since graduating from university a couple of years ago with my long-term boyfriend. I stumbled upon your blog when I was researching Ometepe and was thoroughly impressed with every post I read and the life it seems you are living there (or here, I should say–since I am on Ometepe right now). After telling Jeff about your blog, he mentioned reaching out to see if you and your husband by chance wanted to meet up for coffee and a meal and chat. We have relished the opportunity to see the world the way we have over the past couple of years, but plan to wrap our trip up in a year and return to the States to continue our educations. We already talk about living abroad at some point in the future, and think it would be nice to see what your life here is like. We are staying in Moyogalpa (I actually think I saw a picture of you in our hostel) and will be here for three or four days. If you want to check out Jeff’s blog, featuring our joint travel experiences and some of his own, here is the link: http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog/jeffwright/3/tpod.html

    Thanks for reading this, for wanting to get to know your readers and visitors to your page. I look forward to following your beautiful, inspirational blog, and hope to maybe meet you while we are on the island!


  142. Judy, WOW am I so glad that I found you. Margie [49 female] and I [Val 56 male] will be landing in Managua on ~26th of November to spend 13 days in your adopted country. Margie is an Atlanta vegan-city girl who has become recreation-ally relentless for a few years. Triathlons, runs, and biking are her passion. I am a retired engineer, born in Jefferson county AL, having a year ago relocated from Shelby county TN to Paulding county GA. I was delighted to return to GA for the recent birth of my grandson.

    I’ll be brief, in case I botch this maneuver, and lose all this typing. Margie will be making her third trip to Nicaragua. See speaks Spanish and is quite the continental. I am a late bloomer to sampling Central America, but 30 days in Belize last summer has given me the bug.

    I’ll be briefer. First six days = little corn island, middle 3 days = Isla de Ometepe, final couple of days = Granada.

    We really need to know more about Ometepe and Lord knows that woman is going to want to scale those volcanoes. Maybe you can persuade her that I might perish in the endeavor!

    • Hola Margie and Val,

      I just love reading about my new blog friends. Thanks so much for all of your information….it kept me chuckling. Margie really needs to check out the Fuego y Agua Ultra Marathon held on Ometepe Island every February. She should enter. She can run up and down the volcanoes. They have the 100K, 50K, a 25K, and the Survivor Run. Although, we don’t actually run, we volunteer every year and it is so much fun. I can’t believe how many people we meet from TN. We still have a house in E. TN. and the most incredible thing….we met a woman on Ometepe Island who actually lived in our little town for 20 years, while we lived there. We never met until she moved to Granada and we discovered we had a lot of friends in common. It’s a small world.

      Tell me what you’d like to know about Ometepe and I’ll be glad to give you more info. And Val, you won’t have any problem scaling the volcano.:-) I think Concepcion is easier to climb than Maderas because it is drier and you can choose to go half way to the mirador. If Ron can do it, you can, too. lol I have your email (didn’t post it on this comment). Thanks for your comments.

  143. Hey! My name is Alexander In from Granada, Dave, a friend of mine from detroit sent me a link and im here! thank you for you post: The Anatomy of the Cult Ecoovie, it was very helpful to know that information!

  144. Thank you for sharing. We have been trying to decide whether to let family live in our house here or to sell it. You have been very helpful.

  145. Debbie,
    Thank you for sharing your journey in Nicaragua. I love reading your insight on expat living and looking at the beautiful photos.
    I am an elementary media specialist, from Minnesota, and would love to learn more about lending libraries throughout the region (KUDOS to You!).
    We will be visiting Nicaragua (our first visit) at the end of March, so I may have a few questions to throw your way. We love Costa Rica and are thrilled to investigate the neighboring country.
    We are exploring the idea of someday relocating to that area, but are not close to retirement. However, the idea of an “early experimental retirement” is very appealing. Would you mind sharing your experience with temporary retirement and teaching in Nicaragua?
    I look forward to watching you guys on House Hunter’s International.

    • Hola Judy,

      I call our experiment with “pretirement” a wild, unexpected, mysterious, and impulsive, ride through our lives. Now, that I look back on it, it was serendipitous.In 2003, my husband and I had just accepted new teaching jobs offered by the principal who was a friend of ours. We realized a week after we had moved, bought a house, and started teaching in North Carolina, that this was a major mistake. I cried everyday. What were we thinking? Before we took our new jobs, we had visited Nicaragua and delivered over 500 pounds of school supplies to an impoverished school, made a tremendous network of friends, and explored the possibility of retiring to Nicaragua in the distant future.
      Well, in 2004, one icy January day when school was closed, I received an email from the director of La Esperanza in Granada
      (where we had delivered our school supplies). He asked if we would be interested in managing his hospedaje on Ometepe Island. The only requirement was that we speak fluent English. lol Ron and I debated for 3 seconds, and accepted his offer. We finished the school year…still crying every day, but with an adrenalin rush and a new sense of adventure and hope. We sold our house in 8 days, moved our belongings back to our old house in TN that we were renting to our realtor (who wanted to buy our house), and told our son he was in charge of our old lives, our house, and our ailing old dog. In a whirlwind of ecstasy, we sold our cars, gave away all our winter clothes, and moved to Ometepe Island to manage a youth hostel.
      Well, we soon found out that we weren’t cutout to manage a youth hostel. We never had an opportunity to leave the hostel to explore, and we felt like nagging parents to the foreign youth who wanted to climb the volcano drunk, without a guide, and in flip-flops. So, after 3 months, we said “thanks, but no thanks” to managing a youth hostel.
      But, now we had a problem. We couldn’t return to the states, we had no jobs and no winter clothes. So, we started walking around looking for a cheap place to rent and we found the little beach shack that we now own. By the way, HHI was very creative in filming our back story as to how we chose Ometepe Island. They filmed us working in a youth hostel, and teaching English lessons to students I had 10 years ago. It was like a little reunion. 🙂
      In order to acclimate to our new surroundings, we offered free English lessons to anyone that wanted to bicycle to our house. We learned everything we needed to know, including Spanish, and after a year, we returned to the states with a goal of becoming debt free, paying off our house in TN, finding new teaching jobs until we were 55 years old and could take early retirement with little teaching pensions, and returning to Ometepe Island to buy our little beach shack. The rest is history.
      Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend going through what we went through. We were very impulsive and really hadn’t thought through many things. But, looking back on the life altering experience, it’s amazing how everything worked out just the way we wanted.

      • Thank you so much for creating your blog. May I ask if you shipped anything in a container to Nicaragua? We will be moving there sometime in 2014 and are trying to decide whether to sell all out belongings and buy what we need in Nicaragua or ship.
        Thank you

        • Hi Catherine,
          No, we never shipped a container to Nicaragua. First, we didn’t have residency at the time that we moved, and in shipping a container, we would have had to pay a considerable amount of money to get our items out of custom’s storage. We were not faced with the problem of selling all of our things, because we still have a house in the states. Right now, it is an advantage for us because we can store all of our personal belongings in the house, we maintain a US address and mailing address, so we can have a US credit card and things shipped to our house in the states. We are debt free, and we own our house in the states, so we have good friends living there and they just pay for utilities and keep our place in good condition. We decided not to burn any bridges and keep our options open. You never know what could happen and call us back to the states…Volcano Concepcion erupts…a medical emergency?
          We enjoyed having all of our furniture handmade in Nicaragua. I designed it, my iron man made it. It was so much easier to buy everything here and if we couldn’t find what we wanted in Nicaragua, when we returned to the states, we loaded up on things like electrical supplies, tools, and lamp fixtures. Little by little we got everything we needed to make our little boomer nest comfortable and homey. I hope this helps.

  146. Hola Debbie,

    I just wanted to say thank you again for all the information and advice you have given me. I have shared it with my fellow travelers and it’s been very helpful in making some decisions on travel. We do hope to get to Ometepe…but weather and time will make the final decision.

    I do have one other question on currency. Is it better to exchange money in the States or in Central America? One of my fellow travelers wanted to know. I have already exchanged some money for the three countries we are visiting…but he seemed to think we should check out what the exchange rate was there. Do you have any suggestions or input on this?

    Less than a month and we will be in Costa Rica…and in about a month Nicaragua! Can’t wait!



    PS: I loved the photo of the chicken in the bag crossing the river!

    • You are very welcome, Ann. I would wait until you arrive to exchange money. The exchange rate will be better. In Nicaragua, there are money exchangers on the streets, and sometimes we exchange with them. Believe it or not, they are very friendly and trustworthy. I really don’t know how they make any money because they always give a good exchange rate. If you are in Granada, ask someone for directions to the bicycle shop. They have the BEST exchange rate in Granada…even better than the banks. If you decide to exchange money in the banks, make sure you have your passport with you.
      We always take our money out in American dollars using the ATM. Then, we go into the bank and exchange our money. The money we make by selling our American dollars to the bank, pays for our ATM transaction fee with about $10 extra. Hope this helps. Happy travels.

  147. Hi! Love your blog! Your photos are insightful! Am coming to Nicaragua 19 Oct for two weeks, want to take my intermediate Spanish to the next level… and have some adventures. You wrote of a home stay with a private room, (, right beside our house on the lake is Puesta del Sol. They offer homestays with private rooms)”… perhaps you have some ideas. I have had fun attending spanish schools in other places (Panama, Costa Rica) because I can meet and play around with the other students. I will be travelling alone, so I am always looking to make friends. I would love your suggestions. It does have to be Spanish school per se, a volunteer gig would work, my spanish is passable.

      • We will be in Nicaragua the end of January and flying out of Managua the middle of February. What do you suggest for a family’s first visit? Can you recommend a place to stay in Ometepe for a few days or a week? We are budget minded and not looking to live like tourists. However, we aren’t prepared for too many shocks (my kids have never been outside the US). Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.

        • Hi Kathy,

          Wonderful. There are so many places to go and so much to do in Nicaragua. For a family’s first visit, I would suggest staying in Granada for a week or more. It is easy to make day trips to Masaya ( the big market), Laguna de Apolyo ( the fresh water crater), a boat trip through the isletas ( in Granada)…oh so many other things to do. It depends on what you want to do on Ometepe Island where you would like to stay. We live on the Concepcion side of the island, near the port town, Moyogalpa. If you make Moyogalpa your home base, you can easily catch a bus to the other side of the island..the Maderas side. There are quite a few nice, inexpensive places to stay. One of my favorite places is Charco Verde. It is about 4 miles out of Moyogalpa and it has a beautiful nature trail where you can see lots of monkeys and a really nice swimming beach. It’s not located near other restaurants or other activities, though. If you decide to stay in Moyogalpa, I’d recommend Hospedaje Soma. It’s a short walk out of town with two cabins and a small hotel. If you want to stay right in town, The American Cafe and Hotel, or The Corner House. There are many nice places to stay on the other side of the island, too. Check out Trip Advisor. They always have wonderful recommendations. Let me know how else I can help you. Enjoy your stay. You have picked a perfect time to visit Nicaragua.

        • Thanks for the quick response. I’ll check out your recommendations and do some more research but may be getting back in touch with you for more info if you don’t mind. Thanks.

  148. Hola! I am so excited to begin following your retirement life in Nicaragua. My daughter Nikki and her boyfriend Mike were members of a team of engineering students from the Unv. of Iowa that built a bridge in Jacopo Occidental Nicaragua last year through Bridges For Prosperity. They developed many friendships that will last a life time.

    This year I met a new friend through Etsy, Carol Blackmore. Through her daughter Ivy, a Peace Corp, worker, has been assisting the weavers of FABMRON in the village of El Ocotal!

    Nicaragua holds a special place in our Iowan hearts. I hope to visit some day to meet the people who were so welcoming and kind to Nikki during her 2 month stay. I want to hug her little friend Mider (7 years old now) who’s grandmother housed and fed them all those weeks. I’d especially like to attend Mider’s wedding someday and see the beautiful country in which they live and you now enjoy.

    Thank you for sharing with us. I look forward to enjoying Nicaragua vicariously through you.

    • Hola Wendy,

      Thanks for visiting my blog. It’s always nice to hear of inspiring stories, such as yours. I have never heard of Bridges for Prosperity, but what a wonderful idea! I hope you have an opportunity to visit this beautiful country someday. Thanks again for your lovely comments.

  149. Hola Debbie!
    I found your blog through Thorntree, when you responded to a question I posed. I really love your photos and the way you describe life in Nicaragua.

    There are four of us traveling from San Jose to Tegucigalpa in early November. I think we have our itinerary pretty well set. Though we are still negotiating our first nights stay in Nicaragua after crossing the border. We plan to take a fancy bus from Liberia to the crossing and then travel to either Rivas or Managua. Two of us are holding out for Rivas and a visit to Ometepe. The Island sounds lovely and something not to miss. Plus I think after crossing the Border we are going to want to relax sooner than later!

    My big question is the Border crossing at Penas Blancas. Is there any day or time of day where it’s easier to cross? I hear some people say it’s a breeze and others say it’s a nightmare. (This is my first trip to Central America and I’m not sure what to expect.) I don’t speak Spanish, though one of our companions is fluent.

    Any information you can give me about crossing the border and then how to get over to Ometepe. Can you recommend any lodging on Ometepe?

    I apolgize if you have already answered these questions some place else on the blog. Just tell me the link and I will look it up.

    I am so excited to be visiting Central America. I am from Oregon and recently retired. I love to see new sights, kayak, camp and generally have fun. I like to take pictures too!



    • Hi Ann,
      Thanks, Ann, for the sweet comments. I’m glad you enjoy my blog. If you take a TICA bus across the border it will be a breeze. The TICA bus pulls right up to the custom office in CR. You get out, have your passport stamped and get back in the bus. Then, you drive to the Nicaraguan custom’s office and do the same thing. I think they have a different window to get your passports stamped at the Nicaraguan side, but I’m not sure. It will be very easy..no problems. A few helpful hints for the TICA bus: The buses are absolutely freezing. Take a jacket or small blanket. You will have to purchase your TICA bus ticket all the way to Managua from Liberia, but tell them that you want to get off in Rivas. You can purchase TICA bus tickets in Liberia. I think the TICA bus is the easiest way to get to Rivas. When the bus drops you off in Rivas at the TICA bus station, get a taxi to San Jorge where the ferry will bring you to the dock to go to Ometepe Island. If you have a phone, call my taxi driver, Francisco at 8441-5944 or have someone at the TICA bus station call him for you.
      It depends on when you get to Rivas whether it is too late to catch a ferry to Ometepe Island. If you arrive after 5:30 pm, you can spend the night in a hotel in San Jorge. There are several small hotels near the dock. Hotel California is my recommendation.
      It takes an hour to get to Ometepe Island. Travel by one of the larger ferries, not the small launchas. November may be a windy month and the ferries can handle the waves much easier than the launchas.
      Once you arrive in Moyogalpa on Ometepe Island, there are a variety of places to stay. It really depends on what you want to do. Hotel Soma has 2 cabins with air-conditioning and other hotel rooms, within walking distance of town. The American Cafe and Hotel, a block up from the dock, has 5 casitas with hot running water and 2 with air-conditioning. 4 miles out of town is Charco Verde Nature reserve. They have cabins, a restaurant, and a beautiful nature trail where you can see lots of monkeys. I love Charco Verde, but it is out of town. Yogi’s is a hostel in town. It has dorm rooms and some private rooms..a fun place to meet other travelers. If you want a real cultural immersion experience, right beside our house on the lake is Puesta del Sol. They offer homestays with private rooms. Let me know what you are looking for and I’ll be glad to help.
      If you decide not to take the TICA bus across the border, I’ll be glad to offer you more suggestions. I hope this information helps. You will love Nicaragua.

      • Debbie, Thanks so much for your quick reply! We have a rental car in Costa Rica and will do buses or taxis in Nicaragua and Honduras. We are trying to decide whether to drop our rental off in Libera or Penas Blancas. Is there any advantage to dropping the car off in either place? I’ve heard traffic can be bad at the Border. What is the feasability of taking a taxi or shuttle to Rivas from the Border?

        All your suggestions have been so helpful. I have passed them on to my companions. Your recommendations on lodging are very helpful.

        One of our travelers is a small time coffee roaster so we are visiting some Coffee Finca’s in each country. We also want to take in the less touristy road. We are not interested in all the commercial stuff. We don’t have a lot of time and it seems less and less as we find more sights we’d like to see!

        Thanks again! Have a wonderful day!


        • Ann, your best bet will be to drop off the rental car in Liberia. If you want to take a regular bus to the border, then just go to the bus station in Liberia and ask for the next bus to the frontera. I think they leave every hour for the border and they are not very expensive..maybe a dollar or two. Once you get to the border, have your passport stamped in CR. You will probably have to show proof of your return trip to the states, so have a copy of your airline ticket handy to show them. If you don’t have a return airline ticket, they will make you buy a “fake” TICA bus ticket for $35. You can’t really use it as a bus pass. Then, you will walk a long road to the Nicaraguan side of the border. Once you get your passports stamped there, you will go out a gate into an area where taxis and buses will be waiting. You can take a bus to Rivas (they are chicken buses…not at all like the buses in CR), or you can take a taxi to Rivas. There are no shuttles. The taxi to Rivas should not cost anymore than $25. They can take you right to San Jorge, which is only about a mile from Rivas, where you can catch the ferry.
          If you decide to do this instead of taking a TICA bus in Liberia across the border, then get to the border early. The bus station in Liberia has a sign posting the times of the buses.
          If you are interested in seeing a coffee farm on Ometepe Island, there is Finca Magdolina. It is on the other side of the island and will take a while to get there by taxi or by chicken bus. Hope this helps. Have a great day.

  150. Hi, Debbie:

    We are looking forward to spending some extended time (3-4 months) in Nicaragua beginning in January of 2015. We are a couple who is close to retirement and we think we can finally pull the plug next year. We have a home in Ohio which we plan to keep as we have three sons who all go to college in Columbus and we want to continue to provide a home base for them (and us). But we are certainly not ready to retire to Florida, as we have always loved adventure and new experiences, so we’ve been researching other countries. We’ve considered Panama, Ecuador, Belize, and Nicaragua, but we always come back to Nicaragua as there are so many things that appeal, including the people, the culture, mountains and cities and seasides.

    I’ve been following several Nicaraguan blogs including yours. It seems that changes are taking place in applying for pensionado residency and we’ll be keeping a close eye on that. We’re not too terribly worried about being able to afford, but we sure hope we can find a rental situation that will accommodate us for a few months, more than likely in Granada, which we use sort of as a home base while we explore other parts of the country. A main question that we have is how hard will it be to get along without a vehicle during that first visit? Can we get back and forth from Granada to other areas of the country via bus, for instance?

    We have started Spanish lessons, although I’m sure that nothing will compare to immersion in a Spanish-speaking country. My husband teaches in a school with a large Hispanic population, and his fifth graders are happy to help him along with vocabulary, although they giggle at his pronunciation 🙂 . At any rate, we are excited about the possibilities in Nicaragua to live a different sort of life together. We were canoeing on a nearby river today and could talk of nothing else! I really appreciate those of you who blog as your insights are invaluable to those of us considering making Nicaragua our home.

    Take care,

    • Hola Julia,

      It sounds like we have a lot in common already. I was a 5th grade teacher before I retired, too. I think you are wise to keep your house in Ohio. We kept our house, too and we have house sitters who watch over our house, gather any mail we have left, and take care of our cat. We’re still not ready to cut the cords to the states. Plus, I have so many emotional attachments to my “junk”. Someday, we will have to think about selling it or giving it to our son…although he’s already told me he doesn’t want any of my “junk”. lol
      As far as the changes in the pensionado visa, much of it is still the same as when we received our cedulas. You still have to have everything notarized and authenticated in the states. Except, it’s going to cost you more money because now, you have to have every document apostilled. When we applied, we were only required to send one document to a state department (we chose Florida) to have the entire packet of documents certified. When you are ready to explore the possibilities of getting residency, I have a friend who lives in Granada and has helped many people get their residency. She’s a jewel and very efficient. She knows exactly what Nicaragua requires.
      If you decide to make your home base in Granada, you won’t have any problems finding a place to rent. There are over 1,000 expats living in Granada. Transportation is easy. Most people I know in Granada don’t have a car. They take buses or taxis everywhere. So, that shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, my next post is about the taxi service in Nicaragua. Stay tuned. 🙂
      Thanks for your comments. It is wonderful to “meet” you. Hopefully we’ll meet in person in the future.

  151. Wow.. I guess I missed this page when I first visited. Here’s my ‘official’ intro..lol I’m Regina, living in the US in PA. I’ve been to Nica twice, in ’09 & ’10 on mission trips to the Jinotepe & Diriamba area. I’ve gotten pretty close to the missionaries there. I love that the a bunch of the young people found they’re way on to Facebook (they didn’t have internet till after we were there the first year) so that I’ve gotten to stay touch with a couple of them.

    I’m coming back, finally! in November!!! It’s been a long three years! This will be my first visit in Nov, but I hear Nov, Dec and Jan are a good time to visit. I really don’t do great with the heat. I have not visited Ometepe, but I know that a lot of the teams that come in do make a trip there. I have been to Masaya – and the view from the volcanoes is box breaking. But my favorite spot so far is Catarina. I didn’t get to return there last time with the team, but it rained pretty good anyhow.

    As for WordPress! This is my first real go at blogging, and WordPress has made that pretty easy. I still get hung up with photos on pages and things not staying where I put them, but mostly I’m just having fun, when I have the time. With planning a team trip and trying to keep the rest of life in order, this has taken a back seat. But I do need to take a few days and do a much needed overhaul to my Nica blog! As you told someone, things are always changing in Nica! I can’t always keep up.

    And I was astounded by all the responses you got on this page, and most of them by people who’ve been to or planning to come down soon. Very cool! Well.. time to scoot again!!

    • Hi Regina,
      Where are you living in PA? I’m originally from near Pittsburgh. We’re big Steeler fans..awaiting the beginning of the new season. Plus, the Pirates are doing well, too. Thanks for leaving a wonderfully detailed comment. Catarina is one of my favorite places, too. I want to go back soon to buy some trees and flowers from their nurseries.
      November is the perfect time to come to Nicaragua. I really hope you get a chance to come to Ometepe Island. You won’t be disappointed. I’m going to pop over to your blog now and take a look. 🙂 Thanks again for your lovely comments.

      • Actually I grew up across in Mechanicsburg – not far from Harrisburg. Now I’ve been down in York County for the last 30+ yrs.. Yikes that makes me sound old! And yeah.. I might have to have a conversation with the ladies on the team, and Bonnie in Jinotepe… who knows.. maybe we’ll meet!

  152. Hi there, been following your blog for some time now and I really look forward to seeing new posts. I found your blog while Internet searching about moving to Nicaragua as me and my husband have been looking into it for about the past year. Your posts are wonderful depictions of living in Nicaragua, a very good mix of the realities of living there combined with your love of the country.

    We are hoping to move down in about two years time and we did visit this past April/May, although we did not make it to Ometepe (very disappointed about that). We hope to come again for a visit this winter and make it to Ometepe for a look see, sounds like a great place to live.

    Thanks for all of the great info and looking forward to more:)


    • Hi Shawna,

      I am always thrilled when people post on my blog and tell me a little about themselves. Thank you. Winter is the very best time to visit Nicaragua. In Nov. and Dec. it’s cool, still green, and lush. If you come to Ometepe, please let me know. I really enjoy meeting the people who follow my blog. Thanks again for your sweet comments.

  153. Hello, found your interesting blog. I love the Internet for satisfying my wanderlust. I am an American teaching English in Japan. I married a Japanese and have been here for ten years. I lived for six years in Germany before coming to Japan. I strongly believe in the simple life, not spending too much money. This has served me well living in two very expensive countries. I dream about retiring to a place like Nicaragua, low cost but high on culture. My Spanish is somewhat dormant right now. It has been replaced by the Romanian language I learned afterward. However, I was amazed how fast the Spanish came back when I made a two week visit to Ibiza. I love volcanoes. What does that say about me?Back in the 80s I traveled to Costa Rica and watched Mt. Arenal spit out orange lava at nighttime. I love the Big Island of Hawaii. On a clear day I can see our “house volcano” letting off some steam here on Hokkaido. Well, thanks for reading and continue with your wonderful life on Ometepe!

    • Konichiwa Stuart,
      Thanks for visiting my blog. Japan is an incredible country. I was invited to spend a month in Japan on a teacher’s Fulbright scholarship. I know what you mean about the cost of living. Fortunately, all of my expenses were paid. I don’t think I could ever return, although I would love to, because it would be prohibitively expensive for me. It’s nice to hear that your Spanish returned…it’s kind of like learning to ride a bicycle, isn’t it? Thanks again from one ‘gypsytoes’ to another. I love receiving comments from wanderlusters. ( if that’s even a word…lol)

  154. We live in Granada and are trying to apply for our pensionados. My problem is that I have lived outside the continental US most of my life and have no idea about how to get the medical letter to go with our application. We plan on going to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, but don’t know a soul. Do you know of any doctors in South Florida who specialize in these kinds of physicals? How do you get their letter notorized and apostillized? We would appreciate any help you can give us, thanks

  155. Hi Debbie, my name is Terence, I live in Kelowna BC Canada. The claim to fame for tourism here is wine and sunshine http://terence-hill.blogspot.ca/p/mission-hill-winery-west-kelowna-bc.html. We have over 200 wineries. I am fortunate to live surrounded by two wineries a tree nursery and apple orchards. I have followed your Nicaraguan journey for over a year now giving me a good deal of your personal insights. Of course I also immerse myself in learning about the regions climate people economy government weather real estate and retirement dreams. I still feel like Nicaragua is a hidden gem. I wish to travel to within a year. Thank you for your blog and all that you do in your world. PS: your creative mind is most excellent! lol.

    • Hi Terence,
      Oh, I could go for some of your delicious wine right now. lol Thank you so much for your kind comments. It is great to know who I write for when I post a blog. Nicaragua is still a hidden gem, for which I am very grateful. I hope you can visit Ometepe Island. Nicaragua has such a variety of places to visit, sometimes it’s hard to decide where to go. It was great to “meet” you. Hopefully we can meet in person some day.

      • Hi Debbie, I continue to read your blog, your stories and photography have been such an inspiration from someone who has found peace and contentment in Nicaragua.

        Well I have answered the calling from Nicaragua. The passport has arrived and I am ready to go. I hope to be leaving Vancouver Canada on Feb.18th, so excited! As I am such a foreigner to the country, can you suggest any inexpensive options for accommodation in Granada and Ometepe Island? I will have 3 weeks to go north, south, east and west. I would really appreciate any info you can provide. I very much hope you meet you once on the island.

        Thank you

        PS: I have included my blog site for your viewing entertainment and looking forward to having a Nicaragua page!

  156. Hi,

    Just found your blog and wanted to know if you are interested in providing a guest psot for our recently launched retirement site retirementandgoodliving.com

    Many of the visitors to our site are interested in travel/vacations and retirement locations. We thought a post about either vacationing or living in Nicaragua would be great.

    Let me know if you are interested and I will send additional info.


    Simone Harrison

  157. Hi Debbie – I have been following your blog for awhile. Your information in insight into Nicaragua is greatly appreciated. I am a physician in my late 50’s and have been on 5 medical missions run by the Children of Destiny Nicaragua who have an orphanage in Los Cedros and in Jinotega. My husband and I have visited twice – 2 years ago we spent 5 days on Ometepe which is just beautiful. We have purchased a house near San Juan de Sur that is for investment and will be back in November to look for land or a house for us to retire to. We love the country and people and if I could only learn Spanish all would be really perfect. Hope to some day meet you. And Thanks again for your blog.

  158. Have a daughter that has lived in Managua for that last couple of years. She loves the people and the country – not so sure about Managua itself. Am considering visiting in late November. I have seen her pictures of Ometepe, but don’t know when she was there last. It may have been on one of her earlier visits to Nica, prior to her moving there.

  159. Hi Debbie, I just returned to the U.S. yesterday after spending 3 1/2 weeks in Nicaragua, all but the last 3 days on beautiful Ometepe. I stayed with my daughter and son-in-law, who have been living in Merida for the past year and a half. I just discovered your blog while traveling home yesterday and have enjoyed reading your posts. I thoroughly loved my adventure and brief glimpse into life on the island. I look forward to following your blog and maybe next visit, meeting up with you! I share your passion for the children and education – I am an elementary school secretary and after school program coordinator (and woulda/coulda/shoulda been a teacher!)

    • Hi Sue,
      Ometepe is such a small island, but we rarely go to the Merida side of the island. It’s like entering a different world on the “other side”. So glad you found my blog. Please stay in touch and you are welcome to come to “the other side” to visit us the next time you are on the island. Thanks so much for your lovely comments. 🙂

      • Hola!
        I was wondering if you would mind emailing me. I have some questions about resources in Managua to pass along to my daughter.

  160. Hola, Debbie!

    Love your blog. And we definitely appreciate the time and thought you put into it.

    We are a mid-50’s couple looking to break away a little early. We are going to head down to Nica in late November. Our plan right now is to visit Granada, Ometepe, and Matagalpa. Dunno if that’s too aggressive for a 1 week trip! lol

    I love reading about your lives on Ometepe and we can’t wait to visit. We would like to climb one of your volcanoes. Right now we aren’t sure which one. Maybe both??

    We’d love to know a good (inexpensive) hostel where we can stay. If you have a recommendation, we would certainly appreciate it!

    How many expats live on the Island? When we move, we want to become involved with the local culture – but a “safety net” of Norte Americanos would give us some emotional support as we move out of our comfort zone. 🙂

    Thanks again for your wonderful, informative blog!

    Rich and Pat

    • Hola Rich and Pat,

      Thanks for your lovely comments. Ometepe Island is very special. We have about 100 expats living on the island, but they come and go frequently. Right now, we are visiting friends in Granada and there is a huge expat population here..over 1,000 expats with more moving here daily. If you only have one week for your visit to Nicaragua, you will definitely be on the run. As you get closer to your trip, let me know and I will be happy to help you with recommendations for places to stay and things to do. November and December are the best months to visit. You made an excellent choice! 🙂

        • We made our flight reservations! (Finally!) Could you contact us via email? Would love to touch base about Ometepe, places to stay, etc. Thanks! 🙂

  161. Hi Debbie
    I love reading your blog. I’ve been to Nicaragua twice (Dec/Jan 2011 and again last winter) and have completely fallen in love with the country. I am coming for another visit this coming December and January which I’m really looking forward to. In my spare time I’m involved with a charity called Friends of Morazán (FOM) which helps to fund pre-school education in Puerto Morazán in north western Nicaragua. Puerto Morazán is ‘twinned’ with the city of Bristol, United Kingdom where I live. FOM builds new class rooms, funds some teachers and also provides school materials, water filters etc.
    I will be bringing some school materials with me on my next trip but could almost certainly squeeze in a few books for your library if you let me know the type of thing you need – I will be visiting Ometepe for two nights so could drop them off somewhere convenient.
    Kind regards,

    • Hola Elspeth,

      Thank you so much for your kind offer to bring some children’s books for my lending library. I am always looking for children’s books in Spanish from preschool to fifth grade. I try to stay with the simple elementary books because reading is not part of their culture and the kids are intimidated when they see chapter books without pictures. You are welcome to drop off the books at the American Cafe and Hotel or the Corner House, both of these places are located in Moyogalpa just up the street from the port.

      Thanks again for your help and when you come to Ometepe, if you have time, you are welcome to come for a visit to our place.

  162. Hi Debbie, I have been peeking at your posts for a few days and enjoy your reflections and stories about your life on the island, so let me thank you for taking the time to communicate so much of yourself to the rest of us out here.

    and after years of domains and specialized sites I believe I am most comfortable on WordPress and look forward to expanding my posts as you have.
    For the months of December through to April my primary destination for heat and cultural comfort has been to the Carribean coast of Costa Rica staying in Punta Uva at Selvins Cabinas. The facilities and food here just what I need but recently have considered a move for part of that time to Granada or Ometepe Island.
    I shall continue to follow your posts with interest.

    Bill O’Brien

  163. HI Debbie I could not figure out how to work your blog, so I had to start at the beginning I am in Granada, and I am going for residency could you please direct me to the place where you chronicled your achieving this, so I can use you as a guide and follow in your footsteps? I thought when I read it, as it was happening, that I could recover it at will, now, I need it and I don’t know where it is. Thank you, whick.

    • Whick,

      I’m afraid everything has changed, now. Your process will probably be totally different because Nicaragua is now a member of the Hague Convention, which means that your documents need an apostille, not just notarized like we did. I don’t know who to tell you to see because everything just changed within the past two months. Bummer. Maybe the process will be a lot easier, now. You may want to see Nadene Holmes in Granada. She’s the one that helped us with our residency. I think you can get a consultation with her for around $25 and she will tell you the new process…assuming she knows. Good luck. Sorry I can’t help you anymore. Nothing ever stays the same for long here.

  164. Hello!

    We are a 40’s married couple from Kentucky, USA who are contemplating earl retirement in Nicaragua, We are headed down in August for our second trip this year. We absolutely loved it there in January and enjoyed all the spots we visited. This time, we will be centered in Granada and Leon, but would love to bring you some books for your library. Since we won’t make it to Ometepe this time, do you have a drop off point somewhere in Granada? We are staying at an apartment adjacent to the Garden Cafe, but expect to wander around town quite a bit and can drop off wherever you suggest.

    Thanks so much for your blog. We so enjoy reading about your life on the island.


    • Beth, thank you so much for contributing to my lending library. Nicaragua has a way of getting under your skin and into your heart, doesn’t it? I’m going to contact my friends who live in Granada and see if you can drop off the books at their house. Or possibly you could drop them off at the Garden Cafe and I can have them pick them up. I’ll send you and email and let you know where to deliver the books. You are awesome!! Thanks again.

  165. Wow what a GREAT blog. Makes me want to get on a plane & run away. Is there a place my 51yr old wife could lay by the pool with her yorkie dog, maybe not the island but close? I am 53 and ready to escape the rat race, am coming to Nicaragua from Arkansas USA in August hope to run into you when I am there.

    • Hola John,

      Thanks so much. There are lots of places your wife can lay by a pool, or an ocean, or an enormous lake. 🙂 You really need to check out Nicaragua. It is a land of diversity..you name it, it’s here! We lived in Arkansas for 10 years. Surprisingly, we often compare our lives in the Ozark Mountains with Ometepe Island. There are many similarities. Enjoy your trip and be sure to let me know when you arrive. 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog.

  166. Hi Debbie,
    I’ve been enjoying your posts for the last few years and have particularly appreciated your respectful capture of Nica life via words and photos. I have been visiting Nicaragua for the last four for five years, working on Spanish slowly but surely and getting to know the country and its lovely people. Spanish studies are at La Mariposa in San Juan de la Concepcion; every time I read of your projects I think of how like-minded you and Paulette Goudge at La Mariposa are and that the two of you need to meet. I’m coming down in August – drop me an e-mail and let’s see if something can work out.

    Thanks for all,

  167. Hey Debbie,
    Is that you? Did we meet in the plain from Managua to Atlanta?
    I lost the paper where I wroted down the name of your blog so I am not sure.
    If I find the right one, Thanks for the nice flight I enjoyed talking with you!

      • Yeah I will visit you when I come back to Nicaragua. I would love to! I need to study one more year and when I will be graduated I will return to Nica. I really love this country!! How is it going with you books?

  168. Hello! My name is Allegra and I am currently a grad student at University of Illinois at Chicago. My sister and I are planning to visit Ometepe Island July 1st-5th. I came across your blog a few weeks ago and I have really enjoyed reading about your experiences living in Nicaragua. I wanted to know if I could ask you a few questions about travel to Nicaragua from the US, such as the best way to get from Managua to Ometepe. Please let me know if you are able to answer a few questions via email. Thank you!

      • I am living in Granada. Much easier trip, but could you give me info on what to do when I get off the ferry? I hiked the smaller volcano years ago with a group trip. I’m solo now. Thank you! I love your blog, and I linked it on mine! Trying to get my dad to retire here;)

        • Hi Ashley,
          Where do you want to go when you get off the ferry? Let me know and I’ll be glad to walk you virtually through town. I’m in the states, now and I read on your blog that you are in need of gloves for medical exams. That’s on my list to bring back. My brother and his wife both work in hospitals, so they can supply me with gloves. Hopefully, I’ll have some extra gloves that I can donate to your clinic.

  169. There’s no place than our homeland. But you chose to be expat for living pleasures or rather enjoy your retirement benefits. Lots of unexpected than expected from a tropical country like Nica.Great articles and good English.
    See the latest news at Yahoo US that a 200 miles canal will be built alongside Nicaragua at cost 40 billions. Hopefully, it will employs 30 thousands local workers and raise up standard of livings.
    Greetings from Malaysia.

  170. Hi Love your blog, I belong to a wonderful book club that has branched out now to include plays and travel so I shared this link with our group. We are always thinking of interesting retirement options. My dream is to go somewhere warm ( we are in Canada) that has a sense of community and a slower, simpler lifestyle. I too work with individuals who have intellectual disabilities and I teach at our local college and am working on another degree so escape is not in the cards just yet but I can live vicariously courtesy of your blog.
    We just got back from Turkey, fortunately left Istanbul before the tear gas got too thick. Very beautiful country especially Ihlara Gorge in Cappadocia, maybe partly because it was unexpected. Next trip Nicaragua, you sold me where is a good place to start exploring?

    • Hi Brenda,

      Thanks for visiting my blog. We have many Canadian expats in Nicaragua. You can’t beat the warmth and the beauty, as well as the cost of living. If you are planning on visiting or considering retiring in Nicaragua, a good place to start would be to browse the book section on my blog. The books represent a variety of genres. The Moon Guide to Living in Nicaragua gives you a good start. Enjoy and thanks again for sending a link to your book club. 🙂

  171. My husband and I visited Ometepe Island (La Via Verde owned by Elena near Balgue) for 10 days out of our 2 week long Nica stay. Needless to say we fell head over heels in love. We already have plans to go back. We’ve been extremely unhappy with our life in the US (the fabulously expensive & traffic filled Los Angeles, CA) for years now. Even though we’re not of retirement age in the US (we’re 33 & 34), the consideration for moving to Ometepe is strong. I know there are still many things to learn about Nica and Ometepe before we make our decision. We’ll also be checking out Ecuador in the next year. My question is for if we decide to take the plunge and move… How difficult is it to take your US life (Citizenship, shelter, physical property like clothes/kitchen utensils, and ESPECIALLY our pets- 1 large dog & 2 cats) and move it to a faraway island as wonderful as Ometepe? Thanks for any leads.

    Melanie & Marcus Santana

    • Hola Melanie and Marcus,
      La Via Verde is awesome, right? I know you enjoyed your stay. I wish I could say it was easy to move to Ometepe Island…but, it was filled with many agonizing decisions. First problems: our dog and cat. We had a large chocolate lab, that we seriously considered bringing with us. However, she weighed more than 80 pounds and they wouldn’t accept her on the airlines. Also, if the cargo was too hot..over 85 degrees the day we booked our flight, our dog wouldn’t be able to board. That would be a big problem. Another thing, vet care and dog food was seriously lacking on the island. This was 3 years ago, and since then, dog and cat food is available, but vet care is still pitiful. So, we lovingly gave our dog to a good friend because we knew that we had to think of our dog first. It was a very difficult decision, but I think we made the right one for us. Our cat continues to live in our house in the states with our friends who are house sitting for us. She is a very old cat and the change in location would have been very difficult for her. But, that is just our experience. Many people bring their pets with them,( especially if they are moving to Granada or San Juan del Sur) but Ometepe is a little different because we are an hour’s ferry ride from the mainland where good vet care is available.
      As far as the other ‘physical things’, we brought only the necessities we knew we couldn’t find here…fitted sheets, electronic equipment, laptops, and a bunch of those little cheap solar lights that you stick in the ground. Everything else, we left in our house in the states. We started all over here, having a fine craftsman make all of our furniture, and buying kitchen supplies, etc. at Maxi Pali or our favorite second hand store in Rivas. When we make trips back to the states, we gradually bring more of our personal belongings here in our suitcases. Now, the hard part will be to part with all of my things of sentimental value..mostly things passed down throughout the generations when we eventually decide to sell our house in the states. Right now, I like having options. We always know we have a place to return if we need to go back to the states. I can store all of my ‘stuff’ for free in our house. We still have a US mailing address which enables us to have a US credit card. We have trusted friends living in our house in the states and they collect any mail we still get, and take care of our house for us. So, I feel that we have the best of both worlds. I’m not ready to burn any bridges. We are legal residents of Nicaragua, and will always remain citizens of the USA. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other questions you have. 🙂

  172. Hi Debbie I’m an ex-pat living in San Juan del Sur and congratulations on a great blog. Your honest opinions about life on Ometepe are insightful. I have been to the island before and have friends that decided that is the place for them so retired there. They love it but they are middle aged and adventurous so I think its a good fit. How is the power situation on the island? Is there anyone selling and servicing alternative energy?

    • Hola Sito,

      Thanks so much for your your comments. I try to keep it real while living on Ometepe Island. 🙂 Who are your friends living on Ometepe and how long have they been here? I probably know them. As far as alternative energy, there are a few solar panels on the island, but most were bought in Managua. There are two huge wind generators in the process of being installed on the windward side of the island. Two weeks ago, I visited the other side of the island and the wind generator poles were still laying on the ground. I heard they need the motors…still on route through the Panama Canal. It would be great to have someone selling and servicing alternative energy sources on the island.

  173. Hello….I love your title: Retired…Rewired….I am also Retired…..One friend said I “reinvented” myself…Rewired is a good synonym. I am a New Yorker….retired in Bangkok, Thailand. I also have a website with Travel Letters and Photos. Your Homepage reminded me of my trip to Lago Atitlan, Guatemala,one of my favorite places. I’ll do my best to follow your travels. Jan Polatschek

  174. Good morning Debbie,

    I found your blog on the Weekly Photo Challenge – The Sign Says. When I saw your header photo I thought you were from the Philippines, the mountain looked a lot like Mount Mayon. I’m from the Philippines, a homeschool mom to 3 kids. I’ve never been to Nicaragua, it looks very interesting. I’ll look around your blog some more to find out…Have a great weekend!