Building a Life by the Beach for $1,000 a Month in Nicaragua


I like this.


By Bonnie W. Hayman

For Linda Pothoff, every day in Nicaragua is an adventure. You can find her horseback riding on the beach, or perhaps catching a ride on a catamaran and drinking Mai Tai cocktails all afternoon. On Tuesdays she goes to water aerobics. Sometimes she just likes to take her 14-year-old Yorkie for a walk on the beach. The next night she’ll be going to a new Martini Martes y Arte (Martini Tuesday and Art) night to chat with friends and meet local artists. On the weekends she may go zip-lining or swimming in a crater lake.

Linda turned 62 and completely changed her life. After working at Macy’s in a small town outside Austin, Texas, for 18 years, she was tired of driving so many miles to work in horrible traffic. “I knew for a long time that I wanted to live abroad when I retired, because I would be on a fixed income. I loved the ocean; I also wanted to get out of the cold.

“After a family vacation to San Juan del Sur last year, I decided that I had found my paradise. A cute little beach town full of life. Young people, old people, but most of all very happy people. The Nicaraguan people were so nice. The expats all seemed to be enjoying their lives, and a lot of them have been here for 10 to 15 years.

“I’m in the process of purchasing an acre lot for $15,000. I plan to pay $1,000 for a hand-dug well, $500 for the electrical poles, and build a small two-bedroom, two-bathroom house for $40,000. Real estate taxes are very cheap…only a couple hundred dollars a year for a house this size,” says Linda.

While she’s waiting to build her house, Linda lives in a furnished studio apartment that has a pool and a beautifully landscaped outside grilling area with a huge bar for $550 a month. She normally spends $1,000 a month for everything, including groceries, entertainment, and gas for her ATV.

“For a single person, the low cost of living is the biggest advantage. It is much less expensive to live here, and I love living in a small community. It’s so easy here to start a conversation with other expats and find out where they are from and what brought them here.”

Linda says, “This is a great place to be a single woman. I feel very safe because there is such a low crime rate. In fact, Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America. When I look at the news from the U.S. and read about all the murders every day and all the other reported crimes, I’m so glad to be in this country.”

Linda advises people who are going to live here to be patient. “It isn’t like living in the U.S. Sometimes the electricity goes out, so you don’t have WiFi, and sometimes there’s no water. I had to learn how to be patient, because it seems everything is promised tomorrow—and tomorrow doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow.

Just come down here and try it out—and live the dream, just like I am doing.”

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