Living the Expat Life in Nicaragua

Posted by Mike Cobb on Oct 14, 2011 4:12:11 PM

Published on October 11th by

Mike C. grew up an hour north of Pittsburgh, PA, He worked in the Washington, DC, area in computers until moving to Latin America. He and his family live in Nicaragua as expatriates.

I’m a tail-ender (born 1964). I married late, so we have 2 small daughters ages 7 and 11. It’s interesting because I definitely fit into the boomer group far more than Gen X, but most of my “peers” would consider themselves Gen X. Anyway, I’ve been living in Nicaragua as an expat for the last 9 years and loving it.

Where are we at this point? What are the things we appreciate? What things annoy us? How do we feel about our new home and where do we go from here? It’s great to have some time to reflect on this and share an update at this nine-year milestone with other Boomers and the rest of the world.

Let’s begin by saying that it hasn’t been all good. No place is perfect and Nicaragua is no exception. Of course stereotypical Latin American things can get on your nerves like the “mañana” attitude, long lines at the bank, and a general disregard for the importance of time. The real trick is to learn to “Hurry while you wait,” as Thomas Edison once said.

Mike Cobb

Steak filets are $2.48 per pound, boneless chicken breast is $1.77 per pound, lettuce $.25 per bunch, cabbage is $.50 per head, tomatoes, $.40 per pound, oranges $.60 per dozen, local cheese $1.35 per pound. These are all prices at the big name grocery store owned by Wal-Mart. If you shop (or have your $40-per-week maid shop) in the local markets, you’ll pay even less for many items.

Part of a successful transition however, is folding new foods into your diet. Some of the easiest are the fruits and vegetables. Our girls have adjusted well. They love the foods here, especially the mangoes. The green mangoes (before they are ripe) with salt on it are a real hit. There are 20+ varieties of mango, and just like apples, we are getting to know the nuances between them.

Some things cost more here, like gasoline, electricity, and Tostitos brand chips. These can run double or more from North American prices. The tric

k is to limit the things that cost more and maximize the things that cost less. Quite honestly, we drive about as often here as we did in the States, but the distances are generally closer and a traffic jam is considered to be three motorcycles at a light. Homes designed with cross ventilation and ceiling fans almost never need AC, which is the largest electrical usage in most houses in hot climates. Tostitos at $7.00 a bag? Well, after all, what would a Steelers’ game be without some fine cold beverages, sandwiches, and a bag of Tostitos? Some things are just sacred – no matter what the cost.

If you would like more information concerning moving to Nicaragua, email Mike at

Mike Cobb

Written by Mike Cobb

With proven experience in international real estate development, Mike Cobb is a time-tested Industry Sage, expert and entrepreneur with a passion for helping consumers achieve a high-quality retirement.

Topics: Living In Nicaragua