Gone are the days when our dog got two short walks per day and had to spend Monday to Friday snoozing away in the house while we were away at work all day.
A dog riding around the countryside on a motorcycle with us? Who would have thought!
If you’ve ever wondered (or worried) about what life would be like for your dog in Nicaragua this post will provide some great insight.
DAY TO DAY
We take our dog Maggie everywhere. The fact that we can is just one of the reasons we love living in Nicaragua.
Here in San Juan del Sur the only place we can’t take Maggie is into the Pali (local grocery store). Oh, and to the bank.
Unless you’re in one of the larger cities like Managua this seems to be the case with pretty much most restaurants and bars. In fact, there are even a lot of pet friendly hotels.
Since we are lucky enough to live in on the coast we’re usually at the beach with Maggie at least every other day. She is able to run freely off leash fetching her ball and frolicking in the ocean.
When we are out and about on the beach or walking around town we do encounter the odd street dog, but since they are generally scared of people (and Maggie) we are never bothered by them.
Although not common practice in Nicaragua we do carry poo bags and pick up after Maggie should she happen to do her business on the beach, sidewalk or street.
DEALING WITH THE HEAT
Some dogs tolerate the heat better than others. Minature schnauzers are not one of them. With average daytime highs reaching 28 to 34 degrees Celsius it gets hot here, especially for a little dog.
To ensure Maggie stays safe we avoid long walks in the heat of the day. We always carry a water dish so she can drink as often as she needs to.
And when it really starts to heat up in mid-April through to mid-May we actually find it’s better to leave her home during the day when we’re out and about running arounds so she can just chill out and keep cool and comfortable.
Here in Nicaragua the selection of quality dog food is very limited. Our preferred brand for Maggie is Mira.
We buy it the pet store at the central market here in San Juan del Sur. It’s also available at various shops in Granada and Managua. Price for a 3 kg bag is C$290 ($10.86 USD) and lasts us about five weeks.
Kirkland Brand, which would be our second choice is available for purchase at PriceSmart in Managua.
FLEA & TICK PREVENTION
Living in a country where many dog owners are not practicing flea or tick prevention can be a bit concerning.
To protect Maggie from these pesky little critters and the potentially fatal tick borne disease every three to four weeks we apply a topical application on her called Certifect. Cost for the one month application of Certifect for Maggie (who is 15 lbs) is C$470 ($17.60 USD).
As an additional precautionary measure we also do daily “tick checks”.
We are grateful for how incredibly inexpensive veterinarian care is here compared to Canada or the United States.
But we are even more grateful to have a skilled, compassionate and caring veterinarian who we can trust located right here in San Juan.
Annual vaccine fee (distemper, parvo, rabies, etc.) is C$450 and includes a full physical exam.
Dental cleaning and spay and neuter surgeries start at $75 USD (price is based on weight) and are done by gas anesthesia.
BRINGING YOUR DOG INTO NICARAGUA
Having purchased Maggie here in Nicaragua, we haven’t personally dealt with importing a dog into the country, but after doing some extensive research and speaking to a few people that have here’s what we’ve learned.
Nicaragua does not quarantine healthy pets who meet the following requirements:
- A licensed veterinarian must complete an International Health Certificate (see below for links to forms for Canada and the US) stating that your pet is in good health and free from parasites such as fleas and ticks.
American Health Certificate
Canadian Health Certificate
- Once complete your health certificate must then be approved and stamped by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (if you’re Canadian) or the United States Department of Agriculture (if you’re American). Fees apply.
- Your dog must have been vaccinated from rabies no more than 365 days and no less than 30 days prior to travel. For this reason be sure to plan your veterinarian visit and travel accordingly.
When you arrive in Nicaragua you will be asked to present the paperwork for your pup. Upon receipt and review of your paperwork — providing everything is in order — you’ll be required to pay an entry fee of $14 USD (per dog).
And that’s it, that’s all! You and Fido are then free and clear to start your new adventure together in Nicaragua.
DISCLAIMER: To the best of our ability we deem this information to be an accurate reflection of the current regulations for dog importation in Nicaragua.
Do you have a question we still haven’t answered? A major concern we haven’t addressed? Leave us a reply in the comment section below.
When it comes to expenses May proved to be another big month for us. Total costs for day to day living expenses came in at $1601.23 USD, which is $200 more than we actually wanted to spend.
Contributing factors in our overspending this month include a $155 USD truck repair, way too much eating (and drinking) out and a higher than average electricity bill. (See below for further further explanation.)
Below is a summary by category that shows exactly where our cash went. For a more detailed in-depth view to our expenditures take a look at our daily spending.
A COUPLE OF BUDGET PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS
Is the convenience of owning a vehicle worth the added expense?
We own a 2001 Hyundai Galloper that we paid $7000 USD for 3 1/2 years ago. It’s been a very reliable vehicle, however, rarely a month goes by where it doesn’t need some sort of repair.
If you choose to own a vehicle — unless it’s brand new — you’ll need factor in the cost of regular maintenance when planning your budget. Although labour is extremely inexpensive here compared to what we were used to back home, parts are not.
Electricity Doesn’t Come Cheap!
Electricity in Nicaragua is extremely expensive. Four times more expensive than in the US, in fact.
Our $85 USD electricity bill for this month was reflective of air conditioning usage. During this billing period we ran the air conditioner in our bedroom approximately half of the month and usually only a few hours per night.
Since April and May are the hottest most uncomfortable months of the year, we choose to live with air conditioning for this period of time and this period of time only. But if you’re someone who can’t live without a/c and plan to use it a daily basis, you can expect your monthly bills to be exponentially higher.
Entertainment & Eating Out
While analyzing our daily expenditures we noticed a tendency to eat out because we were lazy. This drove up our overall food costs and did nothing to enhance our life. Moving forward we intend to eat healthier, less expensive meals at home more often. Eating out will still be prevalent, but we plan to limit the instances to occasions that also involve a social and/or entertainment factor.
HOW MUCH WILL I REALLY SPEND EACH MONTH?
We can’t deny the fact that day to day living expenses are a lot less in Nicaragua than in most cities in Canada or the US, but just like at home, how little or how much you spend each month will be totally reflective of your spending habits.
Despite the fact that Nicaragua has the lowest crime rate in Central America — lower in fact than the United States — as a “wealthy” foreigner you may be considered a potential target by thieves.
Below are a few simple tips that will help you stay safe while vacationing, traveling and living in Nicaragua.
KEEP YOUR BELONGINGS SECURE
It only takes a few seconds for an unsuspecting thief to make his move.
Never leave your bag on the beach unattended while you’re swimming or searching for seashells.
Never leave valuables unattended in your vehicle — even if it’s just a few minutes.
Hanging your backpack or purse on the back of your chair is never a good idea.
When carrying your camera keep the strap wrapped securely around your neck or tightly around your wrist, especially if you’re in an area where it’s busy and there are crowds of people.
As a precautionary measure we strongly suggest installing anti-theft software on all your electronic devices. Prey Anti-Theft is one we use. This FREE app allows you to remotely locate, lock, wipe and recover your tablet, laptop or cell phone if they go missing. Prey is great app to have on your devices — even at home.
ONLY CARRY AS MUCH AS CASH AS YOU NEED
Only carry as much cash as you need. And always make sure it’s in a front pocket (not a back one) that zippers or buttons.
Don’t plan a trip to the ATM right before you’re heading to the beach, going on a sight seeing tour of the town or just before you’re venturing out for an evening of fun.
Food, drinks and activities are very inexpensive in Nicaragua — it is just not necessary (or smart) to be carrying a few hundred dollars around with you at any given point in time.
LOCK YOUR DOORS
Always make sure the doors of your hotel room, vacation rental or home are locked — not just when you leave — but when you’re taking a nap, having a shower and especially when you go to bed for the night. Don’t forget to shut and lock your windows also.
When one is provided always store your valuables and any extra cash you may have in the safe.
BE SMART AFTER DARK
If you’re planning on being out late at night it’s a good idea to leave your iPhone at home.
Don’t walk home alone — especially if it’s late — and you’ve had a few too many cervezas.
Avoid the beach in the late evening hours and stay away from drugs and “chicas”. If you’re trying to buy either the outcome is probably not going to be what you were hoping for.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Pay attention — not only to those around you — but also to the possible situations that could leave you vulnerable, especially if you find yourself in an area after dark where there aren’t many other people around.
Although these tips may seem like common sense we hear time and time again about people becoming victims to petty theft in situations that could have easily been prevented.
By acting responsible and following these tips your trip to Nicaragua will most likely be a very safe one.
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of being a victim to crime you should report it to the local police department by visiting the nearest station or dialing 118.
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