Cost of Living in Nicaragua

peterchristopher's picture

When I was living in Nicaragua, I felt some things were inexpensive.  For instance, renting a room or humble home.  I rented one 2-br house, quite liveable, for 100 dollars a month including utilities.  Some foods certainly cheap - bananas and oranges in season in local markets for instance.  The cost of living is disproportionately higher for upscale items - high-end properties, cars, etc.  Public transportation was always quite inexpensive, and bicycles were a dime a dozen (either used second hand bikes from the US or Guatemalan-made new bikes).  But driving a vehicle was not cheap at all.  Buying, registering, repairing, expensive gas, the need to pay regular traffic-cop bribes - this made driving a vehicle in Nicaragua more expensive than driving in the US.  Some land could be purchased inexpensively, but land purchases in Nicaragua are so risky that they could often end up costing more than it originally appears and entitling one to fewer rights and less land that one expects originally - as for instance I alluded in another thread about a story on a confiscated property in Nicaragua

One other thing that makes Nicaragua deceptively expensive is that the utilities (water, electricity, roads) are so poorly maintained that a person who wants to have a semi-western lifestyle needs to have a backup water tank, generator, and fix the road himself. In the US (for instance) a person who has his house connected to the electricity grid doesn't need to have a backup generator; but in Nicaragua it's important - and to buy the generator will cost two to three times the price in the US.

Here is one new site listing wiki-style various prices in Nicaragua - the kinds of things that are always cheap - you might add to it if you like (no affiliation with this website) - - or add by replying in this thread with your specific questions or experience. 

Just how far does a cordoba go?


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I'm posting day to day cost of living data

I'm posting my day to day expenses in a handful of cities in Latin America. Each town gets 30 days, the costs are for a couple and each expense is categorized and briefly described. We have 4 cities up so far, including Esteli and San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua. I hope this can be of help to people.

The spreadsheets are linked on the upper right corner of the main page.

$1,000 to $1,500??? What ever

$1,000 to $1,500??? What ever happened to Living Like A Nica for $600.00 a month??? HEHEHEHE I guess that there is a very big range on cost of living in Nicaragua.

Take a real Nica, school teacher married to a day worker. She makes $140.00 a month and he $90.00 = total of $230.00. They have two kids, no rent (living with family) no internet, he owns a moto and she walks 14 Klm (there and back) to work every day. They do not eat out, entertainment is watching the people walking down the street and the drunks make fools of themselves or watching T.V. They live an ok life style.

Then the Ex-Pat who tried to live like a Nica. Young couple, no kids, have internet to check their blogs on a hourly basis, ride the bus everywhere, eat out every once in a while (do not want to make it seem like they are better than the locals). Invite Nica friends over to eat 3 to 5 times a week to make sure the locals see them as equals. Their cost of living is $600.00 to $900.00 a month.

Then you have the retired couple who are not going to scrimp on anything (hay, they worked hard for their money and want to enjoy life) They eat out all the time, have a maid, cook and an errand boy for the odd job and tasks. They travel around Nicaragua with a Nica guide to translate for them. They spend $1,500.00 to $2,000.00 a month.

Now if you add a business to the mix, well all this goes down the tubes. It will all depend on the ability for the Ex-pat to run it and also depends on the type of business they are in.

Bottom line you are looking at $230.00 to $2,000.00 a month.

anytime in the past 5 years

The budget is for anytime in the past 5 years in any small city, ie not Managua - places like Rivas, Leon, Esteli, etc.

Living in Nicaragua

Thanks for your costings When was this the case and in what part of nicaragua Have you any idea of any ideal coastal ciudads for expats that are not too expensive Gracias

Good breakdown

include a live in maid 100U$ a month,and your life will be a complete joy.

$1000 per month is low but do-able

Hi, I would consider the following a minimal monthly budget::

$200 rent

$50 utilities

$50 internet

$100 transportation

$400 food

$200 splurges/setup expenses

TOTAL $1000 for a couple on good terms

If you are unlucky and/or not careful (for instance having something stolen), or if you are a picky eater, or decide to get a motorcycle, budget $500 per month more.


Thanks for the up to date info. 

How much in your opinion would a couple need to live on:

modest 2bdrm apartment within bus ride or bike ride to beach

internet access

eating in most of the time

no car, no drinking/partying, no kids


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