Tim Brauning

03 March 2022

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The Cost of Living in Nicaragua: A Comprehensive Guide

The Cost of Living in Nicaragua: A Comprehensive Guide


nicaragua vs costa rica

If you’re looking for an affordable place to live, this article is for you! The cost of living in Nicaragua is much lower than in other countries in the region, and you can find a lot of great deals on housing, food, and transportation. In this blog post, we will give you a comprehensive overview of the cost of living in Nicaragua. We’ll talk about the different things that you need to budget for when moving to Nicaragua, and we’ll give you some tips on how to keep your costs down once you’re here.


When moving to a new country,  it’s always tricky to estimate how much money you’ll need to live. Nicaragua is no different. The cost of living in Nicaragua depends on a number of factors, including your lifestyle and where you choose to live. In general, though, you can expect to spend between $500 and $1000 per month on basic expenses like food, housing, transportation, and utilities.

Cost Of Rent


Housing is one of the biggest expenses when moving to Nicaragua. The cost of rent varies depending on the city and the type of housing you choose. Pre-COVID, a “nica-style” house without air conditioning or hot water rented for as little as $250 to $350. A 3-bedroom North American house with a pool costs anywhere from $850 to $1500, depending on the region.


Buying Property


property in hacienda iguana nicaraguaIf you’re interested in buying property in Nicaragua, keep in mind that the cost of land and homes is much lower than in other countries in the region. The price of housing all depends on where you are looking to purchase the property. For example, land in San Juan Del Sur is substantially more expensive than Managua or Matagalpa as San Juan is more popular among ex-pats. 


A property with a house in San Juan Del Sur can start anywhere from $100,000 depending on the size and amenities, or you can purchase land to build on, which is a longer-term commitment but could start as cheap as $15,000. Also, keep in mind the additional costs that come with purchasing a property, such as transfer fees, yearly property taxes, maintenance, and more.



The cost of utilities, such as electricity (Disnorte-Dissur or solar) and water (Enacal or well), varies depending on your usage. In general, you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per month for basic utilities.

Food Costs


food cost in nicaragua

The cost of food in Nicaragua is also relatively affordable. You can buy basic groceries for two persons between $50 and $100 per week, depending on your needs and dietary preferences. If you want to eat out more often, expect to pay between $5 to $20 per meal, depending on the restaurant.

Transportation Costs

The cost of transportation in Nicaragua is also relatively low. A bus ticket costs $0.50-5, and a taxi ride can run anywhere from $3 – $10 around town, $40-120 between cities. You can also rent a bike for around $10-25 per day, or rent a car for $25-40 per day. 


transportation in nicaragua

Buying A Vehicle


Another option is to purchase a vehicle. A used motorcycle can range between $400-1500, while a well-maintained used car/truck will cost anywhere between $5,000-15,000. You can check the Facebook market page, or encuentra24 to find second-hand vehicles. A new car will cost you around $10,000-20,000, depending on the type of car and brand. 


Gasoline is also relatively affordable, at around $0.50 per gallon. Keep in mind it is extremely important to buy a 4×4 car if you are planning on living in some cities such as San Juan del Sur and Popoyo in Nicaragua as the roads aren’t always the best, and there are a ton of hills all over the country. 


Note that many people in Nicaragua decide to purchase a motorbike instead of a car as the costs are lower and it is easy to get around. You can also rent a car or bike in any major city, which will save you money if you are unsure what mode of transport you want to use.


Childcare & Schooling Costs


If you plan to relocate with your children, there is no shortage of childcare and international schooling options for your family. 


There are a plethora of excellent nannies that may be hired for childcare and cleaning duties. These services cost between $100 to $350 per month, depending on the number of children cared for and hours worked. A full-time nanny who works Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM will cost between $250 and $350 monthly.


There are three excellent bilingual schools in the San Juan del Sur and Tola region that provide internationally accredited academic programs. Your children will be able to get overseas-level education, as well as the ability to transfer those credits to institutions in North America.


The following are the monthly prices for schooling per child:


San Juan del Sur Day School (San Juan del Sur): $400  USD

Escuela Adelante (San Juan del Sur): $75 USD – $150 USD

Escuela Santa Ana (Tola): $350 USD – $520 USD


The cost of education varies based on the amount of time a kid is enrolled for, whether it’s through online learning or in-person lessons, as well as lunch plans, transportation, and other extracurricular activities.


Entertainment Costs


Local live music is usually free. Imagine attending a concert and paying around $1.50 for a beer or rum and coke while listening to whatever kind of music you want: rock ‘n roll, blues, jazz, swing, merengue, salsa, Nicaraguan folkloric music, reggae, etc. Expat-owned bars and restaurants usually run a little more expensive but still lower than your average bar in North America & Europe.

surf in san juan del sur


There is a lot to do in cities such as San Juan del Sur, Granada, and Leon when it comes to nightlife, and activities such as horseback riding, nautic activities, zip lines, hiking, museum, and shopping. 


Nicaragua is also known for its beautiful regions to explore. Make sure to take some days off and travel around the country!

Insurance Costs


You may also choose to join the Gold or Silver program at the Metropolitan hospital. The following are some of the advantages of enrolling in the Gold plan:

  • There are several discounts for diagnostic tests, hospital stays, surgery, and intensive care.
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation discounts of up to 50% are available.
  • Also, get savings of up to 30% on pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.
  • 20% off for doctors’ visits (but the doctor must be in-network).

The cost of this plan is determined by your age and pre-existing conditions, but monthly costs range from $50 for people under the age of 50 to $65 for individuals over the age of 65.


Some long-term expatriates warn, however, that specific high-tech equipment that you would encounter in a U.S. hospital may not be accessible in Managua. As a result, they recommend purchasing MedEvac insurance (which costs around $250 per year) to ensure that if there is an emergency, you will be protected.


That said, there are a few reputed hospitals in Nicaragua such as Vivian Pellas and the Military Hospital.  



Saving Money In Nicaragua


discover nicaragua san juan del surOne of the most effective strategies to save money in Nicaragua as an ex-pat is to keep this in mind: imports (food, house supplies, clothing, and so on) are generally more expensive in Nicaragua than they are in the United States. When possible, expatriates may save a lot of money by purchasing Nicaraguan products and adopting to Nicaraguan way of life. 


Many individuals wait until they return to their native country to do some major shopping on the internet or at a store. Nicaragua now has all of the items you require, but prices may be significantly higher than expected due to foreign import costs.


Nicaragua allows you to live a better quality of life at a lower cost. Your specific requirements and style of living will determine how much you spend. Most people in the United States and Canada believe that they are unable to afford their ideal retirement lifestyle.



Example Of Monthly Living Costs In Nicaragua For Two People (USD)


Monthly Living Costs In Nicaragua

Photo Source


In Conclusion


Overall, the cost of living in Nicaragua is much lower than in other countries in the region. If you’re looking for an affordable place to live, Nicaragua is a great option. Keep in mind, though, that the cost of living can vary depending on your lifestyle and where you choose to live. If you’re looking for more information on the cost of living in Nicaragua, be sure to check out our other blog posts on this topic.

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Recent Comments

Gema Blandón
Gema Blandón
May 8, 2022.
Our days in the place were excellent, nice experience, Super recommended.
Idania Castillo
Idania Castillo
April 26, 2022.
Cause we got good attention and the place was good too
Julio Nunez
Julio Nunez
April 18, 2022.
If you want to have a relaxing vacation, this is the right place, can't wait for the next time...
Freddy Canales
Freddy Canales
April 18, 2022.
El servicio que brindan, la atención
Fidias Cuarezma
Fidias Cuarezma
March 5, 2022.
La Santa Maria Villa 1 is an amazing house . The view of the bay is breathtaking. The villa itself is very modern and extremely close the town. I highly recommend it.
Gissell Solis Solis
Gissell Solis Solis
February 11, 2022.
Best of the best!
Zeltia Muńoz cocińa
Zeltia Muńoz cocińa
January 30, 2022.
La santa Maria resort Top choice if u go to San Juan del Sur! since the very beginning we feel like at home. Our appartment has 2 big bedrooms and 2 toilets, with a great  kitchen fully equiped. The were taking care of us in every moment, specially Gaudi and Betsy, we're so pleased for all U've done for us. The bed was superconfortable (I've slept for 12 h) and all the appartment was great, very well decorated with spectacular views to San Juan. We've spend the most of the time in the infinity pool! It's amazing. We've been taking such a good pictures of the views, even at night time. The sunset from the pool is splendid! All the staff was superfriendly, they prepare great smoothies. We have to come back, for sure! Thanks a lot to La Santa Maria Resort!
Bernard R. Hoytink
Bernard R. Hoytink
January 7, 2022.
Stunning location, amazing view of San Juan del sur bay. No better place to celebrate your birthday with your loved ones!! Concierge where really helpful. Will definitely stay here again!
Camila Bernheim
Camila Bernheim
January 6, 2022.
Everything was perfect. The place was peaceful