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#40577 - 02 July 05 10:47 am - America/Chicago Re: Nicaragua
cayobound Offline


Registered: 22 November 03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Hawaii
International Living has some very interesting information on Nicaragua... smile

Why Nicaragua?

by Kathleen Peddicord

Nicaragua is virtually unknown--and usually misunderstood--by most people, which is why forward-thinking investors can find some of the best real estate deals on Earth in this country. For the record, this country is not in the midst of a civil war...and it's not a Communist state. It has, however, suffered from a serious case of bad press.

Because most of the world still believes Nicaragua is a country full of problems and political unrest, local real estate is extremely undervalued.

Yes, Nicaragua is still a little rough around the edges. And of course there are certainly no guarantees as to what will happen in the future... here or anywhere.

But it doesn't take much imagination to see where Nicaragua is headed. The situations were similar in Costa Rica and Belize in the late 1980s...and on Honduras' Bay Islands in the late 1990s, when real estate prices increased by 500% or more in a very short time.

In Nicaragua, you'll find centuries-old buildings such as this Colonial church, mixed with brand new resorts and hotels, as investors rush to take advantage of Central America's next great destination.

Nicaragua, we believe, makes smart investment sense for three reasons

1) Nicaragua is in the middle of a boom trend that has seen millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements and foreign investment. For example...

-The first Hard Rock Live in Central America opened recently

-A Taiwanese group bought the InterContinental Hotel in Managua and added a shopping mall and another hotel.

-A Guatemalan group invested $8 million in a Princess Hotel. Another Guatemalan group has taken over the run-down Hotel Camino Real, completely refurbished it, and added a convention center.

-A New Orleans company recently finalized a deal with the Nicaragua legislature for the rights to run Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua's closest developed port to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The company will spend more than $100 million on improvements, which will cut the cost and time for goods to get to Managua, in some cases by more than half.

The list goes on and on. In short, Nicaragua is on the right track.

As The Wall Street Journal recently reported... "Suddenly, Managua has a skyline. New hotels and shopping centers--with elevators, and even escalators--have sprouted in a capital flattened by a 1972 earthquake and laid low by failed socialism. Arco gas stations, Pizza Huts and McDonald's golden arches rise from the gentle hills. Once a live-fire franchise of the Cold War, Nicaragua and other Central American countries have embraced franchise capitalism."

The paper continued: "U.S. companies arrive to build power plants and telephone networks, to sell hamburgers and pizza. Foreign investors who were fleeing the country a decade ago put $280 million into Nicaragua last year."

The country's tourism business is taking off too. Cruise ships are regularly docking at San Juan del Sur. And the country has opened its first-ever tourist office in the United States, on the streets of downtown Miami. The office will operate a toll-free number for the U.S. and Canada...with a goal of attracting 500,000 tourists to Nicaragua by year's end.

This development is good news for us as fellow Nicaraguan investors.

To give you an idea of just how far this country has come, from 1979 to 1989, according to World Bank statistics, Nicaragua's GDP shrunk by an average of 1% per year. From 1989 to 1999, GDP averaged 2.8% growth. In 1999 alone, the GDP grew 7%...and it's expected to grow by an average of 6.2% over the next few years. As the country's former Vice President recently told Newsweek magazine: "Fewer than 15 countries in the world have achieved 6% growth in a year."

Lake Apoyo is part of Nicaragua's vast tropical volcanic lake system, the largest in the world outside of Africa.

With Norome, you can move quickly to take a position in this country.

Also, for the past decade, three consecutive administrations have continued to pass legislation assuring land ownership rights for both foreigners and Nicaraguans.

Then, last November, Nicaraguans turned out in record numbers to elect a new president--Enrique Bolanos, a businessman and former farmer who owns considerable amounts of land in Nicaragua. Bolanos represents the (more conservative) Liberal Party.

This means the country is continuing on the right track. Bolanos, more than any president in the past, will encourage foreign investment. In fact, he invited 500 business people from 28 countries to attend his inauguration, and he has initiated a series of cost-cutting measures that signal his commitment to government trimming waste--and not just for everyone else. Bolanos actually dropped his own salary by 30% to $80,000, and slashed his expense account to a paltry $48,000 (compared to a ridiculous $2.8 million slush fund used by the former administration).

U.S. News &World Report rated Nicaragua one of the 10 best places to retire in the magazine's most recent survey.

Conde Nast Traveler reported earlier this year: "Nicaragua seems to be the next logical choice for adventurous travelers in Central America. Costa Rica is more crowded and more expensive than it used to be, and Guatemala is still suffering from the effects of a 36-year-old civil war...Even Panama, a relatively wealthier nation, is much more developed and expensive than Nicaragua." The New York Times and the USA Today reported the same trend not too long ago.

This all bodes well for both the country and for investors who get in ahead of the crowd.

2) We want to take advantage of the growing trend taking shape in the United States and in other developed countries. That is, people's desire to invest, live, vacation, or even retire outside of their home countries.

People are starting to relocate on a global scale. One article in The International Herald Tribune stated that, in the past 30 years, the number of Americans living abroad has more than quadrupled. In fact, according to the U.S. State Department, it has risen from 2.3 million to 3.3 million just since 1990.

This movement is expected to increase exponentially. To profit from it, you need to look for real estate markets that will capitalize on the direction the world is starting to move. Overseas retirement real estate is going to be big business in the coming years. As the first of the 76-million, baby-boom generation turns 55 this year, more people are going to look outside of the United States for real estate, second homes, and retirement homes.

They will come looking for places like Lake Apoyo and the Norome Villas for privacy, safety, warm weather, and a relaxed and sometimes adventurous lifestyle.

Did you know that Baby Boomers make up almost a third of the U.S. population? And they are aging fast. Beginning in 2000, boomers started turning 50 at the rate of just under 10,000 a day. Already, more than 14 million boomers are 50 and up, and some aren't waiting until 55 to take early retirement. It's a well-educated crowd: Nearly 90 percent of boomers graduated from high school, and more than a quarter have at least a bachelor's degree. More than three quarters own homes, and 73 percent have some form of investments.

As Time Magazine recently reported: "Many of the 76 million American boomers are more likely than their parents to consider retiring to a foreign land, because they have traveled more, have higher hopes for retirement, and tend to be more active and adventuresome."

Think about it this way...more than three million U.S. citizens have already moved abroad, looking for cheap real estate, low taxes, and better qualities of living. This trend will only increase in the years to come.

With some of the world's best natural attractions, ridiculously low prices on everything from food to labor, and two of the most charming colonial cities in the Americas --Granada (shown here) and Leon-we believe Nicaragua will be one of the most desirable tourist and retiree destinations in the next decade.

3) Nicaragua offers advantages few other places can match. The cost of living, for example, is a fraction of what you're accustomed to back home. You can employ a full-time maid here for about $100 per month. You can see a movie for $2...and get your hair cut for $1.25. Two people can have an excellent meal, including a good bottle of wine, for less than $20.

Plus, the tax burden is very light. And as a foreigner qualifying for Nicaragua's Pensionado program, you may be exempt from import duties on your personal and household goods; and be allowed to bring a vehicle into the country tax-free once every five years.

And if you are looking to start a business, few places offer better incentives than Nicaragua, which recently passed tourism Law 306. This law allows you open a tourism-related business and 1) pay no taxes for 10 years 2) bring in (or buy locally) all the supplies you need, from furniture and boats to linens and cash registers...all tax-free. Year-round sunshine...and the world's only freshwater sharks

These are the primary reasons we have invested in Nicaragua. The numbers and the trends are just too good to pass up. But these facts and numbers don't begin to tell the story of the laid-back atmosphere and natural beauty of Nicaragua...and of Lake Apoyo in particular.

Nicaragua is an exotic land...where the sun shines all day long...on rugged and tropical rivers, colonial cities, friendly and lively people, and the largest body of fresh water south of the Great Lakes (with the world's only freshwater sharks).

As the publisher of a newsletter that investigates the world's best places to travel, buy real estate, invest, live, and retire, I know that the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a place like Nicaragua does not come along very often.

If you have questions about living, retiring, or buying real estate in Nicaragua, do not hesitate to contact Lief Simon, You can reach him by e-mail:

#40578 - 06 July 05 11:22 am - America/Chicago Re: Nicaragua
YBNICBEL69 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 22 June 05
Posts: 22
I must say i am pleased to hear others speaking well of nicaragua. i agree that if you want to get in on the ground floor then the time is now. we are not yet of retirement age,but have property in both belize and nicaragua. we bought 2 acres on the pacific coast last year for 22,000 and lots around ours are already selling for 30,000. recently we started a deal for land on ometepe as well. we don't feel the need to choose between the two countries. we love them both and always have a great time on vacation in belize and in nic. also on the stamp duty increase. if you've got the money to buy in the first place i don't think this will change your mind. i'm in the process of selling one property and plan on buying another. i wish both countries well not only for myself but for the people who have always called these countries home. even when this forum is negative it is still good for bussiness. there is no such thing as bad press. so let's all keep talking.

#40579 - 07 July 05 2:25 am - America/Chicago Re: Nicaragua
cayobound Offline


Registered: 22 November 03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Hawaii
"we don't feel the need to choose between the two countries. we love them both and always have a great time on vacation in belize and in nic."

I agree with you completely.

#40580 - 02 August 05 11:57 am - America/Chicago Re: Nicaragua
Mark Ludwig Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01 August 05
Posts: 1
Loc: Leon, Nicaragua
I lived in Belize 5 years and am now in Nicaragua. You might say I have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. All the bullish talk you see on the net about Nicaragua is coming from people who have property and services to sell in Nicaragua. I'm just somebody who lives here.

What are the drawbacks?

1. Nicaraguans love paperwork and red tape. Much more so than in Belize.

2. Nicaraguans love bribes, and the rules exist to extract bribes from ordinary people who just need to live. I have never been hit up so many times for something for the police at police stops on the road.

3. Nicaraguans are thieves and liars, from the little old lady that sells bread at the corner to the mugger who pulled a gun on me in Managua to the commissioner of police. Most employees steal and cheat.

4. Nicaraguans are incredibly stupid. That can be good or bad. They are also incredibly rude and vulgar. I can't tell you how many times I thought there was a pig in the neighborhood and it actually turned out to be a man. Never heard the women belch like they do here.

5. The better classes of people are incredibly snobbish. Don't expect to make friends among them unless you can convince them you are richer and famouser [sic] than them.

6. I really understand why they had a communist revolution here, and I could see it happening again.

7. Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America. Don't kid yourself: there are reasons for it.

8. You want residency? Incredible paperwork for a 1 year permit. You'd better start the paperwork for the next year after 6 months.

The long and short of it is, DON'T sell out in Belize and move here. You might want to come for a visit for a few months. Make sure you can withdraw your hand though. I did, and boy am I glad I did.

Soon to be leaving . . .
Mark Ludwig

#40581 - 02 August 05 2:32 pm - America/Chicago Re: Nicaragua
belizelaw Offline


Registered: 05 April 04
Posts: 382
Loc: North Carolina
Mark, just curious, what made you move from Belize to Nicaragua to start with? Where did you live in Belize?

#40582 - 02 August 05 4:38 pm - America/Chicago Re: Nicaragua
Harris Offline

Registered: 12 December 02
Posts: 156
Loc: Atlanta, Ga.
Mark…wow. You sound a little bit bitter to say the least. I just recently returned from a brief 2 week visit to Nicaragua and had a fantastic experience. Ok, I was there only a couple of weeks and certainly cannot speak on the same level as an expat ., but I must say that the Nicaraguans I meet there were exceptionally friendly, interesting and honest folks. I did not travel the usual tourist venues, hiking and camping for the most part and I never felt threatened or like I was being scoped out (like I have many times in Guatemala and Honduras). I found the people extremely open and intelligent. Nicaragua is the only country that I have not traveled extensively in Central America, so I do have some feeling for the region. And I will be going back soon because I was impressed.

#40583 - 04 August 05 2:39 am - America/Chicago Re: Nicaragua
cayobound Offline


Registered: 22 November 03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Hawaii

Thanks for the information. Obvious you had a less than pleasant experience in Nicaragua.

In hindsight, what are the things you now appreciate about Belize that you may not have realized when you first departed ? What prompted you to leave Belize ? Is Belize worth returning to today as a place to live or is another destination calling ?

#40584 - 04 August 05 7:52 am - America/Chicago Re: Nicaragua
welland Offline

Registered: 13 June 05
Posts: 26
Loc: Welland, Ontario
Because of all the negative posts I've been reading on this forum re Belize, I thought of looking elsewhere to retire. Nicaraqua came to mind. As a retiree to Belize you must have $2,000/month US (more in Cdn funds), in Nic a measly $400/month US. I would be interested in hearing both neg. and pos. information about the country. Not just prices, but way of life, atmosphere, laws, etc. I've read their websites but they write that everything is perfect - ????

#40585 - 04 August 05 8:11 am - America/Chicago Re: Nicaragua
LanSluder Offline


Registered: 04 May 04
Posts: 8123
Loc: USA/Belize
You might also look at Panama. Its retirement program requires US$500 (plus $100 a month for each dependent) and has some benefits not available in Nicaragua.

I recently did an indepth report detailing two popular towns for retirement/relocation -- Corozal in Belize and Boquete in Panama. There's a downloadable version in Word at and also versions in html and Adobe Acrobat.

I guess my conclusions are that there are many pros and cons to each area and each country.

--Lan Sluder

#40586 - 04 August 05 8:31 am - America/Chicago Re: Nicaragua
TexasRon Offline


Registered: 25 October 01
Posts: 626
Loc: Texas
I would consider Panama as a viable place to retire or invest, but I know way too many horror stories about Nicaragua to even consider moving there. Some of these stories were told to me by people that were living in Belize and had lost everything in Nicaragua. Just my opinion.

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