Have you ever dreamed of retiring or just working abroad in an elegant Latin American town, full of baroque architecture, grand squares, and even a beautiful lakefront? The Nicaraguan city of Granada is just that! Sitting on the shores of the 19th largest lake in the world, Lake Nicaragua (AKA Lake Colcibolca), The weather is always warm and pleasant, the sun is usually shining, and this grand old city is affordable, safe, and buzzing with all the amenities and activities you could hope for. Ride a horse-drawn carriage through the broad calm streets, admire the beautiful elegant buildings which are often painted in grand primary colors such as red and yellow, admire local handicrafts, have dinner on the lakeshore, you are living the dream! Follow along as we take a look at one of the best Central American cities, Granada, Nicaragua.
Many expats (estimated to be about a 1,000) have flocked to this beautiful city due to its strong appeal, which itself creates yet another benefit, a strong expat community you can be part of. We choose living abroad to experience different places and cultures, but its still nice to have the society and support of fellow expats and that can be found in abundance here.
Cost of Living
You can rent a two-bedroom apartment for around $550. Groceries will probably be around $350, and internet around $50 a month. Altogether a single person can live comfortably on $1,200, or a couple for $1,500 a month. Beers are often only 75 cents, and the “nica libre,” which you may know as the “Cuba libre,” or simply “rum and coke” are often around $1.50. At prices so low, please remember to drink responsibly!
Things to Do
As with all of our best Central American cities and because of the large community of both retirees and digital nomads in Granada, there’s a lot of social activities available. You can join a club, pursue a hobby with a group of like-minded people, take painting classes, go on excursions, etc.
Enjoy the Culture
Within the city you can also spend your time enjoying the rich local culture. Along the famous Calzada street there are art galleries, open air markets, and world-class dining opportunities. Granada has won international acclaim as a gastronomy hotspot. Nicaraguan cuisine, while sharing many similarities with its neighbors, is also distinct itself, and the dining options alone are certainly an appeal. For example, you can try the vigoron, a salad made with yucca and marinated cabbage. Or chicharron, a fried pork, or a steak sizzled up on a parilla, or wood-fired grill, served with a jalapeno sauce.
Get Out on the Lake
There are many small islands, or isletas, on the lake, you can take a boat excursion out to visit them, or even buy or rent your own boat and work on your sailing or boating skills in the comfort of the calm waters of the lake. There are houses on some of the islands you can rent for the night for a serene weekend getaway.
Nicaragua is, in general, steaming with volcanic activity which makes for lots of fascinating geologic and natural formations throughout the country. At the nearby Mombocho volcano you can go hiking on their nature trails or even go flying through the jungle canopy on 4,900 feet of ziplining cables. Within the natural reserve you can find thirty different species of monkeys, birds, and reptiles.
Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve is another example of the many local fascinating sites — it is a volcanic crater lake only twenty minutes from Granada town. At this natural reserve alone the activities include hiking, swimming kayaking, scuba diving, boating, paragliding, and birdwatching. The lake is surrounded by beautiful dark sand beaches, and in the surrounding reserve there are over 230 species of birds, 220 species of butterfly and over 500 species of plant. Many different kinds of orchid can be found in the reserve as well as tropical animals such as anteaters, pacas, jaguarundis and two types of monkey. And this is only one of the 78 natural parks of Nicaragua!
In conclusion, if you want to settle in an elegant Latin city, with all the benefits of a rich culture and cuisine, ample exotic activities in the area, and a strong and vibrant community of fellow expats, Granada is the place for you! Come as a retiree or as a digital nomad, save money with the lower cost of living, and with your savings be the envy of all your friends while you enjoy one of the best Central American cities.