Palm trees on the sandy beach in Nicaragua

The cost of living in Nicaragua is very affordable for ex-pats looking to relocate to San Juan del Sur and Tola’s beachside communities. It allows you to enjoy a beach lifestyle in a beautiful country with a high quality of living.

San Juan del Sur and Tola are incredible places to settle down if you are a retiree. Because Nicaragua is just emerging as a retirement destination, real estate and rental prices are some of the lowest in the region. Which creates many opportunities for individuals looking to make a low cost investment or enjoy a low cost of living. Nicaragua’s proximity to North America and Europe as well as its excellent healthcare options also make it a desirable location.

Remote workers enjoy the personal and professional benefits of fast internet speeds, alignment with US time-zones, a stunning natural environment, and a low cost of living. All while working from your ocean view home.

And if you are a family looking to relocate to Nicaragua, there is no better place. With internationally accredited English-based schooling, your children will receive a top-tier education while being exposed to a second language and diverse culture. And your home will be something out of a catalog, purchased at half the price of what you would find elsewhere.

If you are thinking of relocating to Nicaragua but curious about the cost of living, refer to our guide for a range of monthly costs and expenses.

What Are The Costs Of Living In Nicaragua?

Nicaragua offers Central America’s lowest cost of living and high levels of public safety. As a result, it has a reputation as a hidden gem. In fact, International Living ranked the country as one of the top ten best places to retire in the world, and for a good reason!

On average, a couple who owns their home in Nicaragua can have monthly expenses from $1,000 USD to $2,500 USD per month. A single person can expect to spend less than $1,000 USD per month.

A family of four who owns their home in Nicaragua can spend $2,000 USD – $5,000 USD per month.

This, of course, varies based on the variables below and the type of lifestyle you want to lead.

Luxury home in Nicaragua

Property Costs

Owning your home outright is a huge benefit to your living cost in San Juan del Sur and Tola. Depending on your home’s size and your total use of utilities, your monthly expenses will fluctuate.

1. Electricity is on average between $20 USD – $200 USD a month

This depends on how energy efficient your home is. A larger home with air conditioning in every room will increase your spending in comparison to a smaller home without air conditioning.

Having a pool pump, washer & dryer machines, and a hot water pump all use energy. The more you use it, the higher your monthly cost. Many homeowners have solar-powered pool pumps and water heaters as well as gas dryer machines to minimize electrical costs.

2. Water is on average, between $20 USD – $50 USD a month

The price per cubic meter of water costs more in a private development than a city water connection. If you have a dedicated well on your property, your monthly water costs will only be the electricity used for the well pump.

3. Cable / Internet is on average, between $25 USD – $100 USD a month

Depending on the service provider, your monthly cost will vary. Hardline fiber will be more expensive than internet provided by satellite or traditional cable. Cable plans are available in packages from Claro.

4. Rental and Property Management is on average between $150 USD – $300 USD a month

You own your home in San Juan del Sur or Tola, but don’t live there all year round. No problem! 

There are several rental and property management companies that can take care of your residential investment. The cost of a property manager will differ depending on the property, its size, location, number of bedrooms, size of the garden and pool, etc.

There are several rental and property management companies that will charge $150 USD – $300 USD per month to pay your bills and employees, supervise maintenance, as well as ensure your property is just as you left it.

Most of these companies charge 20-30% of rental revenue to handle the rental aspect of your property: advertising, check-in & check-out, communication with clients, cleanings, etc.

Each home is on a case-by-case basis and custom packages can be created depending on the needs of your particular property.

5. Caretaker / Gardener / Maintenance is on average between $40 USD – $300 USD a month.

It can be beneficial to have a caretaker to maintain your property. This may include cleaning the pool, maintaining the garden, or attending to repairs around the home. The average cost of these services is $10 USD a day.

Luxury home in Nicaragua

Rental Costs

Are you in the market to buy a home in the San Juan del Sur or Tola area, but need time to decide what you want to buy? The rental market in both these beachside towns is cost-effective.

An ocean view condo with 2 bedrooms, air conditioning, and located blocks from the beach are on average $500 USD a month.

Looking for a house to rent for your family? An upscale property with a 240-degree view of the ocean, a private pool, and rich in amenities in Rancho Santana can cost roughly $2,000+ USD a month.

Groceries 

Buying fruits and vegetables from the local markets will help keep grocery costs down. Where buying imported products, canned goods, and pre-packaged foods increases the cost of groceries.

A single person can spend between $75 USD – $100 USD a month.

A couple can spend between $100 USD – $300 USD a month.

A family of four can spend between $200 USD – $400 USD a month.

Trips to La Colonia in Rivas or PriceSmart in Managua can be more costly but offer a great variety of familiar items to choose from.

Entertainment

The San Juan del Sur and Tola area have a large selection of entertainment options for everyone.

Spend the day at Tree Casa Resort by the pools and enjoy delicious gourmet food and drinks at a fraction of the price of dining in any major US city.

Also, experience the unmatched beauty of Playa Santana while horseback riding. Or, enjoy a day of golfing in Hacienda Iguanas’s 9-hole course with your friends and neighbors. Currently, a round of golf at Hacienda Iguana costs $20 USD. You can rent a golf cart for $25 USD, and club rental costs $10 USD. If you are an owner in the development there is no green fee!

Entertainment can cost between $120 USD – $550 USD a month depending on the activities you partake in.

Transportation

Owning a vehicle is a good investment to make when relocating to Nicaragua. Filling up your tank can cost between $45 USD – $80 USD depending on your vehicle. We recommend a diesel vehicle, like a Toyota Hilux, which is great for exploring the off-the-beaten-path local beaches. You can acquire an older model with low mileage between $10,000 USD – $15,000 USD.

Meanwhile, if you own a motorcycle or an ATV, it is even more cost-effective, ranging between $15 USD – $35 USD a month. Depending on the mileage and brand, a motorcycle can be purchased between $800 USD – $2,000 USD.

Hire a personal driver from $10 USD – $30 USD a day to take you wherever you desire.

Nanny / Cleaning Services

There is an endless number of qualified nannies who will provide childcare and cleaning services at a monthly rate. These services range between $100 USD to $350 USD a month depending on the number of children and hours performed. A full-time nanny working Monday thru Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM will typically cost between $250 – $350 USD per month.

Child Education

There are three great bilingual schools located in the San Juan del Sur and Tola area that provide internationally accredited curriculum programs. This will allow your children the opportunity to receive international level teaching, and the ability to transfer those credits to schools in North America.

The cost for 1 child per month is as follows:

San Juan del Sur Day School in San Juan del Sur: $400 USD

Escuela Adelante in San Juan del Sur: $75 USD – $150 USD

Escuela Santa Ana in Tola: $350 USD – $520 USD

Prices can vary depending if a child is enrolled for a full year vs part-time, virtual vs in-person learning, as well as lunch plans, transportation, and extracurricular programs.

Leisure Expenses

Treating yourself to a relaxing massage can range from $25 USD for a full body massage from Gaby’s Spa to an athletic therapeutic massage at The Spa in El Bosque in Rancho Santana for $120 USD.

Zen Yoga Studio provides a 10-pack of classes for $60 USD, or hire a personal trainer at Fight Club Gym for $40 USD a month.

Your monthly leisure expenses can range between $40 USD – $200 USD a month.

Total Cost of Living in Nicaragua Varies

Many people are looking for the magic answer to the question, “How much does it cost to live in Nicaragua?”. Unfortunately, due to the number of variables, there is no definitive answer.

We hope our ‘Cost of Living Guide’ has provided you with an idea of what it costs to live in these beachside communities on a monthly basis. If you are looking for more resources on living and investing in Nicaragua, schedule a call with us today.

Contact us to help you identify your real estate goals and make them a reality.

Aerial view of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua