One Month of Living Expenses 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

With nearly 19 000 people to date viewing our cost of living posts we thought it was time to provide an updated detailed monthly budget summary.

Our targeted monthly budget is $1400 USD.  Total US dollars spent in January 2014 was $1656.

Over the course of the month we attended 2 professional baseball games in Rivas. We ate at Munchie Bluues twice and we spent 3 days and 2 nights on Ometepe Island, so it’s not surprising we were over budget by more than $200.

Below is a summary by category that shows where our cash went. For a larger view just click on the image.

One Month of Living Expenses 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Budget Summary

For even more detail click on the link to view our daily spending.

Some things to keep in mind with our spending this month:

  • We don’t have medical coverage. Aside from high end private clinics in Managua health care is free and readily accessible.  
  • Car insurance cost us only $55 per year. A very low price to pay, but with the minimal coverage have we are getting exactly what we pay for.
  • Our fuel cost was low this month because we filled our tank last month and rarely drove this month. In San Juan del Sur walking is the most common and practical means of travel.
  • Cell service is very inexpensive. We average about $15 per month for two phones.
  • We had many friends in town this month so we ate out, drank out and stayed out more often than usual.
  • Houses in our price range (and even lower) are commonplace. Long term affordable rentals are in high demand are rarely advertised or vacant for long. 

Other posts you may find interesting include: 

One Month’s Living Expenses: Leon
One Month’s Living Expenses: Granada
One Month’s Living Expenses: San Juan del Sur


Posted on March 11, 2014, in Cost of Living and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. Could you kindly suggest a seaside town on the Caribbean side for a couple of retired fellows from Canada both on small pensions looking to live permanent in Nica by this summer.


  2. Michael sozek

    I make a living online. How are your Internet connections and reliability?

    Very important to my wife and I.

    • The fastest speeds I have seen are 5Mbps. Not blazing fast for a North American standards but very usable. Reliability is excellent as long as there isn’t a power outage. If there is 3G is a great backup plan and can be added to our “pay as you go” phone plan for a single day for only one dollar.

      • Michael Sozek

        Thank you, very helpfully
        Been on your site for several months.
        Keep up your great work.
        Looking to get there next winter.

  3. lol “professional baseball game in Rivas”. You guys are the best.

  4. Where did you go on Ometepe? Next time, you’ll have to stop and visit us. We live about 2 Kilometers south of the port in Moyogalpa, on the beach. Love your blog. 🙂

    • We stayed in Moyogalpa at Hotel Nicaraus.

      Not sure when we’ll be back, but we’ll definitely look up you next time!


  5. Hello Elisha and Gord,

    My name is Nancy and I am a French Canadian. (Sorry for my bad english)

    My husband and me want to move in Nicaragua at autumn 2015 and are looking to buy a little comfortable 2 bedroom country house. We want to have a little hen house and 2 or 3 pigs and a litle vegetable garden. We need 1 or 2 manzanas.

    Can you say me what is the best department in Nicaragua for realise our dream? We can pay less than $60 000 USD for this project. Also, is it possible to find a French speaking agent for help us?

    Thank you for your blog. Your experience is very wonderful and helpful for me.

    Nancy Girard

    • Hi Nancy,

      Thank you for your interest in In Nica Now.

      Unfortunately I do not know any French speaking real estate agents. I do however know an English speaking Real Estate agent who should be able to help with your property search. His name is Justin Fahey and he works with Aurora Beachfront Realty.

      I will forward your contact information to him and ask him to contact you.


  6. Hi, my name is Sue and I’m a soon to be 60 year old woman living in St . Augustine Florida. I’m looking to retire in the next 2 to 5 years and have started looking at moving to your area. My first step is a 10 day vacation in April of next year. Would you recommend staying in a hotel in the city or a private vacation home? I would like to experience the normal life and not the vacation life. I will probably have a retirement income if $1500 to $2000 US per month. It appears from your blog that I will be able to live there comfortably with that income. any suggestions you can give would be wonderful. Thank you. Sue

    • Hi Sue,

      If you want to get a real feel for what living here is like I would suggest staying in a rental that will be similar to what you’ll be able to afford once you make the move. There will no better way for you to know what life will be like here, other than to live it.

      And yes, you should be able to live quite well in Nicaragua on a monthly budget of $1500 to $2000 USD.


      • Thanks, Elisha. Will be sending a few $$. Have a drink on me. Will stay in contact and as my plans progress and I come down on vacation perhaps you and your hubby will have dinner with me. Take care.


        • For sure!

          Just let us know if you need any help with planning your trip. We’re always happy to provide recommendations for accommodations, restaurants, activities, etc.


  7. Hello Gordon and Elisha,

    My husband and I are currently living in Vancouver Canada, we are planning to move to Nica early next year. I want to thank you for your website especially for posting your monthly expense spreadsheet, this has been very helpful.

    I also have a question in regards to your cellphone minutes, does the $15/month include calls to Canada/US ? We are trying to figure out costs associated with calling US/Canada and what kind of phone we will need once we get there. Your response is most appreciated! Again thanks for sharing.


    • Hi Jess,

      Thanks for your interest in In Nica Now.

      It’s nice to hear that you found the expense spreadsheet helpful. When we were researching Nicaragua 5 years ago it was difficult to find detailed information on the cost of living, which is why we wanted to take the time to report on our expenses.

      The $15 per month we spend on cell phone minutes does not include calls to the Canada & US. You can purchase International calling minutes at a price of C$69 ($2.65 USD) for 30 minutes, however we use Magic Jack, which I believe costs $30 CAD per year for unlimited calls to Canada and the US.

      We also use Skype to keep in touch with family in Canada.


  8. Terri-Lee Iceton

    Hello Gordon & Elisha

    I am a single woman of 52 and would like to eventually retire in Nic and am looking at San Juan Del Sur. Can you please let me know of any websites there are for rental housing. Also I am looking to come down there in Mar/April for a visit.

    I am coming from Ontario Canada. Can you tell me how long is the flight and is there an airport in San Juan Del Sur or do I have to go to Managua? How long is the drive from there and is it best to take a taxi if I have to go to Managua or is there a bus?



    • Hi Terry,

      You can check in Encuentra24 and Craigslist for long term rentals, but the best deals are found by pounding the pavement, word of mouth, etc.

      San Juan del Sur does not have an airport. You will need to fly into Managua. The drive from the airport to San Juan del Sur takes between 2 – 2.5 hours.

      I would recommend hiring a private shuttle to pick you up, which will cost between $80 – $100 USD depending on how many people are in your party. I have a reliable English speaking driver I can connect you with. Just send an email to us at and we can provide his contact info.


  9. Hello Gordon & Elisha

    This will be out first trip to Nicaragua. We will arrive by bus January 13 and depart February 17. Our plan is to rent a little house 1 or 2 bedroom with Wifi. Our budget is $500-$650/month. Ideally we’d be reasonably close to town & beach. If you happen to hear of something coming up – would you kindly let us know? We will probably stay at a hostal until we find a house. We are a retired couple.

    Thank you!

  10. Cool to see all these Canadians looking to Nica, like us. My question is about education, as my son is still in primary school. Any suggestions on checking these things out? We will be coming to Nica in late April, and we are very excited to start looking at what dept makes the most sense for us.

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