Painting the Picture: Expat Life in Nicaragua

- Calgary Horizon by Laura Zerebeski

- Calgary Horizon by Laura Zerebeski

Black and white, hot and cold, day and night. Expat life in Nicaragua is quite opposite to what it once was for us in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. If we were to “paint a picture” it would look something like this…

~ All of our belongings fit into our Hyundai Galloper.

~ We don’t have a microwave or an ironing board or an electric mixer.

~ When small appliances like blenders or toasters break we wouldn’t think of throwing them out, we simply take a trip to the repairman to get them fixed instead.

~ There are no clocks in our house and we wash dishes by hand with cold water.

~ Our food comes from a garden, field or tree, not from a bag or can. Passion fruit and dragon fruit are no longer considered exotic, they are just part of our regular diet.

~ Processed food doesn’t taste good anymore.

Painting the Picture: Our Expat Life in Nicaragua

- A sampling of fresh fruit & vegetables grown here in Nicaragua

~ If a beer costs more than $1.50 we think it’s expensive. And if a 9-year old happens to be the one serving it to us we’re not shocked or surprised. 

Cheap Cervezas

- 3 x 2 Victoria Clasica Promotion: C$50 = $1.92 USD

~ We can take our dog everywhere! She even rides with us on our 125cc Yahama motorcycle — which just so happens to be our our primary mode of transportation.

Painting the Picture: Our Expat Life in Nicaragua

- A fun and affordable way to travel in Nicaragua

~ Since we live in a beach town we don’t have to worry as much about what we wear, which means our wardrobes consist mainly of tank tops and flip flops. Sometimes we go months without buying a single new piece of clothing.

~ An extra special dinner for two costs just $25 per person. 

~ We don’t have to go to the zoo to see monkeys.

Painting the Picture: Our Expat Life in Nicaragua

- A howler monkey visits us at our rental home in Playa Marsella

~ Our lives are not over scheduled. We get to decide how busy we want to be.

~ A party invitation can be sent out two days in advance, instead of two weeks.

~ We are now able to enjoy a lot more quality time socializing with friends. Friends who are from Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Ireland, Nicaragua, Switzerland and the United States.

Painting the Picture: Our Expat Life in Nicaragua

- The 12 Pubs of Christmas Crawl: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

~ We always know what the weather is going to be like. Our doors and windows are rarely closed and you can find us enjoying time at a beach just about every other day.

Painting the Picture: Our Expat Life in Nicaragua

- Playa Colorado: Hacienda Iguana, Nicaragua

So there you have it — a glimpse of what life is like for a Canadian couple who are living and loving expat life in Nicaragua!

Can you imagine it? Are you currently living it? What does your “picture” look like?

What I Ate Today: Ceviche de Pescado

CEVICHE DE PESCADO: Bar y Restaurante "Vivian", San Juan del Sur Nicaragua

It’s pretty hard to go wrong with fish ceviche and cold Toña, especially when you’re enjoying it on the beach. I sampled this particular version at Bar y Restaurant Vivian’s here in San Juan del Sur. Price was C$160, which is approximately $6.16 USD.

Looking for a Unicorn, er I mean Long Term Rental in San Juan del Sur

In the two years that we’ve been living in San Juan del Sur we have been lucky enough to find some really great rental homes, but our latest move might be the best yet.

Looking for a Unicorn, er I Mean a Long Term Rental in San Juan del Sur

- Home Sweet Home: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

When we decided to move from Marsella Valley back into town we realized just how popular San Juan del Sur is becoming. Quality long term rentals have always been challenging to find, but obtaining one now is like searching for a unicorn.

San Juan del Sur has a plethora of high end vacation rentals ranging in price from $150 USD and up per night, with a similar number of very basic cheap homes renting out for $300 USD or less for an entire month.

What San Juan del Sur doesn’t have a lot of right now is simple and affordable mid-range rental homes finished to North American standards.

Luckily our good friends Debbie and Bastin from Together Tours are currently renting a two bedroom, two bathroom home and a large studio apartment – both of which are situated on a beautifully landscaped lot on the outskirts of town. Each unit is nicely finished and there is lots of outdoor living space to enjoy.

Since Debbie and Bastin are starting construction on a home of their own soon they are happy to share the space and the expenses…with us.

The situation couldn’t be more perfect. Except for one catch — we can’t actually move in until March 10 — which left us looking for a place to live temporarily.

With a mind full of positivity and determination we set out to walk the town in search of our unicorn. We asked every expat and local Sanjuaneño we saw if they knew of any good rentals. 

At the end of a couple of long, hot, sweaty days we had toured multiple homes, but sadly were no closer to a solution. And then…finally…when we were only one week away from being homeless…our network of awesome San Juan friends came through for us.

Our friend Mary has opened up her beautiful three bedroom, three bathroom home to us for the next month and a half.  We are really looking forward to spending some time with Mary and getting to know her better.

Mary’s little miniature pinscher Dobie and our miniature schnauzer Maggie have already become the best of friends.

Looking for a Unicorn, er I Mean a Long Term Rental in San Juan del Sur

- Pooches at Play: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

A week ago Elisha was stressed and ready to settle for any solution we could figure out.

This morning sitting by the pool — with my double espresso to help clear out the cobwebs from last night’s bottle of Prosecco — I thought to myself, “We live a very charmed life”.

A Fun & Affordable Way to Travel in Nicaragua

Traveling on two wheels is a great and economical way to get around in Nicaragua, especially when you live somewhere like San Juan del Sur.

A Fun & Affordable Way to Travel in Nicaragua

- Motorcycle Road Trip: Playa Ostional & Playa el Coco, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Photo by Kathy Vandermey ofFrom Suits to Sandals“.

Shortly after moving to Marsella Valley we purchased this gently used 2011 YBR 125 CC Yamaha for just $1200 USD.

For those times when we need to stock up on groceries or want to go a bit further we still have our trusty Hyundai Galloper, but most days our little moto is the preferred mode of transportation. It’s great on gas and gets us pretty much anywhere we want or need to go.

The fact that our miniature Schnauzer Maggie loves riding on the bike as much as we do is an added bonus. 

If you’re like us and want flexibility and freedom to travel around and explore at your leisure (without investing in a car or truck) a little motorcycle is definitely a great way to go.

Only planning to be in country a few months? Not to worry — these bikes hold their value and are very easy to sell.

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