Cost Comparison: Groceries / Eating Out in Nicaragua vs. United States

Posted by Adam McGeehan on Dec 18, 2015 12:03:37 PM

One of my favorite aspects of living in Nicaragua is the food. Nicaragua is full of cafés, bars, restaurants, street food vendors, food courts, and upscale restaurants. Whatever dining experience you are looking for, it won’t be hard to find in Nicaragua. Or, if you’re the type who enjoys cooking for yourself, there are easy-access to modern grocery stores throughout the country, as well as locals who sell their produce. And here’s the best part: it’s all insanely cheap! Whether a high-scale meal with multiple courses and an aged wine pairing, or a quesadilla from a street vendor, you will always be paying a fraction of what a similar meal would cost you in the United States.


Eating Out
Eating out in Nicaragua is an incredible experience. Not only are there an abundance of restaurants to choose from, but the food is always delicious and cheap, and the service excellent. It is common for waiters to come to your table a half dozen times during a meal, usually just to wipe the table clean, but they always make sure that everything with the meal is going well and that you are fully satisfied. 

The other great news is that meals in Nicaragua are significantly cheaper than in the United States. In fact, on average, meals at restaurants will be around half of what an equivalent meal would be in the US. An average 3 course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in the United States will run about $50. In Nicaragua, an equivalent meal would be only $20. An average meal at an inexpensive restaurant in the United States runs about $12. Living in Nicaragua, this would only be $5. If you want to sample some even more local cuisine, one can get a meal from a food cart for as little as $2. You would be hard pressed to find anywhere in the United States where you could get a meal for only $2.


If the difference in the price of eating out weren’t enough, the difference in price of groceries in Nicaragua versus the United States is equally as amazing. Here is a sample of several common items to buy at the grocery store, and their respective prices in the United States versus in Nicaragua.


United States Price

Nicaragua Price

Loaf of Fresh White Bread



1lb White Rice



Dozen Eggs



1lb Boneless Chicken Breast



1lb Tomatoes



1lb Potatoes



1lb Onions



Bottle of Mid-Range Wine



As you can see, everything is significantly cheaper, with most items being around half of what they would be in the United States. When living in Nicaragua, food isn’t only delicious, but affordable too. I should add that filet mignon, often topping $20/lb in the US, runs about $4.50/lb in the Nicaraguan grocery store. 

Nicaragua is a beautiful country that has so much to offer. One of the greatest things about vacationing or living in Nicaragua is the incredible affordability of the food. Even on a meager budget, if one is living in Nicaragua, they will be able to eat an abundance of healthy and diverse meals.

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Adam McGeehan

Written by Adam McGeehan

Adam is a recent graduate of Allegheny College. There he majored in Economics with a minor in Spanish. He has always been interested in traveling abroad and is thrilled to have recently taken up residence in Managua, Nicaragua to work as an intern for ECI Development. He is excited to take in all of the culture of this wondrous nation.

Topics: Living In Nicaragua