“Where should I retire?” This is the question we hear most often at International Living, and every January we give you our most definitive answer in the form of International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index.
Conceived 26 years ago, the International Living Retirement Index was their special way of coping with an embarrassment of riches. The result was a huge and exciting variety of choice and opportunity. Fast-forward to 2018. Nearly three decades have gone by, during which IL scouts have scoured every corner of the globe many times over.
But how do you choose? The IL Retirement Index is still the most comprehensive and in-depth survey of its kind. What has their research revealed about the best retirement havens in 2018?
Nicargua is the “best bang for your buck” in Latin America.
According to IL Nicaragua Contributor Scott Hed, if you’re looking for a tropical locale where your dollar will go far, Nicaragua deserves your attention. It’s a country on the up, developing fast, yet still among the most affordable on the IL beat. It’s easy to reach and being in the Central/Mountain time zones, makes it easy to stay in touch with family and friends in North America.
“My wife Nicki and I moved to Nicaragua full-time in 2016, after visiting the country a number of times since 2011. We were seeking a respite from northern winters, with a low cost of living and a bit of adventure. We built a beautiful home just outside of Granada for a fraction of what the cost would have been back in the U.S.,” writes Scott.
“Similarly, our daily living costs are lower and we’re able to afford luxuries like house and yard help as well as weekly massages.
“Our neighbors Darrell and Amy Bushnell had similar reasons for making the move to the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes more than a decade ago. In their words, “Nicaragua is different enough to be interesting, but not so different as to be bizarre.”
Nicaragua offers much to do in the way of outdoor activities. You can peer into an active volcano, it has some of the best surfing in the world on its Pacific coast, and I enjoy the game fishing on the Caribbean coast. In the north you’ll find deserted beaches and just a few hours away temperate coffee highlands with hiking trails.
The larger cities also offer many shopping, entertainment, and dining opportunities that will keep urbanites happy while Nicaragua’s transportation and telecommunications infrastructure continue to improve annually. The highways between major cities are very good as is cell phone and internet coverage.
There is a large enough expat presence in the country—especially in the more popular destinations of Granada and San Juan del Sur, where many Nicaraguans also are bilingual to varying degrees—which means that in those places, at least, you could get by speaking mostly English, but learning a bit of Spanish will make things easier and more fulfilling.
To get a sense of expat life in Nicaragua and query those who are already living here, there are a number of Facebook groups you can join. Expats of Nicaragua, Expats of Granada, Expats of Leon, etc. Once in country, there are expat groups and clubs in most places where you can socialize, take up a new hobby, or give back to the community in many ways.
Daily living expenses in Nicaragua can be very modest, especially if you frequent the local markets for fresh meats and produce. A couple renting in Nicaragua and enjoying meals out several times per week could easily live well on $1,500 per month, and often for much less. Owning our home takes away a major expense, and we consistently spend under $1,000 per month, which includes automotive expenses, groceries, pet food, dining out and entertainment, part-time help around the house, even regular massages.
On top of the cost savings, fresh foods along with warm temperatures and more activity also contribute to a healthier lifestyle. I’ve lost 25 pounds since moving here, without even trying.
Real estate in Nicaragua continues to be a bargain, whether you’re in the market to buy or rent. As often advised, renting makes a lot of sense to determine where and how you prefer to live. The enchanting colonial city of Granada makes a great base to begin your exploration of the country. Home to a vibrant and established expat community, you’ll find colonial and country homes to rent.
For example, just two blocks from Granada’s bustling Calle Calzada, Casa Candelabro is a one-bedroom, two-bathroom restored colonial home available for rent for just $600 a month, furnished. It’s less than an hour from Managua’s international airport and it’s an easy journey to check out options on the Pacific coast as well.
The top ten IL 2018 retirement options are:
- Costa Rica — The World’s Best Retirement Haven
- Mexico — Convenient, Exotic, First-World Living
- Panama — Friendly, Welcoming, and Great Benefits
- Ecuador — Diverse, Unhurried, and Metropolitan
- Malaysia — Easy, English-Speaking, and First World
- Colombia — Sophisticated and Affordable
- Portugal — Europe’s Best Retirement Haven
- Nicaragua — Best Bang-for-Your Buck in Latin America
- Spain — Romance, History, and Charming Villages
- Peru — Low-Cost Living, Vibrant, and Diverse
Read the original article at International Living.