nicaragua pink sunset

Best Places to Live in Nicaragua | Tropical Destinations to Settle In

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, filled with a rich culture and diverse landscape. From bustling cities to tranquil beach spots, there is an abundance of great places to live in Nicaragua.

With easy access to South American countries and even North America, this country is worth settling in.

You don’t have to rob a bank to live in this tropical location, as Nicaragua is relatively affordable. The different areas have different pricing due to the lifestyle on offer, so let’s take a look at which city would suit your lifestyle and budget best!

Best Places to Live in Nicaragua for…

  1. Expats: Masaya
  2. English Speakers: Managua
  3. Digital Nomads: Chinandega
  4. Solo Travellers: Granada
  5. Groups: Esteli
  6. Couples:  Matagalpa

Top 10 Places to Live in Nicaragua

1. Masaya

Best Place to Live for Expats

Cost of Living: $$

Masaya is located about 20 minutes from Granada and can be found in the Western part of Nicaragua. It’s known for its markets, which sell everything from traditional Nicaraguan crafts, hammocks, pottery, and even modern-day clothing.

Tip: Cleanse your body in Laguna de Apoyo, the local crater lake.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats and English Speakers

Pros:

  • Welcoming locals
  • Masaya is rich in culture
  • Affordable living for an expat

Cons:

  • Air pollution can be a problem, especially during the dry season
  • High crime rate
  • Limited infrastructure due to the country still developing

2. Managua

Best Place to Live for English Speakers

antigua catedral de managua

Cost of Living: $$

Managua is the capital of Nicaragua; it is home to a diverse population, with a mixture of locals and expats. Managua is also the economic and political center of the country. The city has several museums, parks, and cultural sites, including the National Museum of Nicaragua and the Rubén Darío National Theater.

Tip: Witness a beautiful cathedral that was built in 1928 the Antigua Catedral de Managua. 

Who Would Like to Live There: English Speakers and Expats

Pros:

  • Variety of activities to choose from, such as museums, parks, and cultural sites
  • Property is cheap
  • An efficient public transport system

Cons:

  • High crime in some areas
  • Streets can be dirty
  • Fast-paced lifestyle

3. Chinandega

Best Place to Live for Digital Nomads

nicaragua volcano

Cost of Living: $

Chinandega is located in the northwest of Nicaragua. The city is known for its agriculture, with a strong focus on sugarcane, coffee, and tobacco. Chinandega is also home to several museums and historical sites, including the Museum of Chinandega. This city has an expanding expat community, which makes it a great spot for digital nomads to relax but have access to a circle of people.

Tip: Immerse yourself in the culture by going to the Chorotega-Nicarao Museum.

Who Would Like to Live There: Couples and Digital nomads

Pros:

  • An abundance of outdoor activities
  • Rich history and culture
  • Expat community is growing

Cons:

  • The area has had natural disasters before
  • Not as developed as other cities in Nicaragua
  • Limited nightlife and entertainment options

4. Granada

Best Place to Live for Solo Travellers

Granada historical buildings

Cost of Living: $$

Granada is a colonial city located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua. It’s one of the oldest cities in the country and is known for its well-preserved Spanish architecture and charming streets.This city is ideal for solo travellers because it has a busy nightlife and lots of tourists are passing through, so you’ll never feel alone!

Tip: Venture through the main plaza and find some souvenirs to take home!

Who Would Like to Live There: Solo Travellers and Digital Nomads

Pros:

  • Rich in history and culture
  • Local volcanoes and lakes nearby offer plenty of outdoor activities
  • Granada is home to a large expat community

Cons:

  • Crowded during peak season
  • The city gets hot and humid during the summer months
  • Some areas of Granada can be a bit dangerous at night

5. Esteli

Best Place to Live for Groups

esteli cigar manufacturing

Cost of Living: $$

Estelí is a small city located in the northern highlands of Nicaragua. It is known for its beautiful natural surroundings, cigar production, and friendly locals. The expat community isn’t massive here, so we recommend taking some buddies along.

Tip: Horse ride through Reserva Natural Miraflor and enjoy the scenery.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups

Pros:

  • Catered for westerners
  • Outstanding food options
  • Milder climate due to higher altitude

Cons:

  • Smaller expat community than other cities
  • Limited nightlife
  • Property and general prices are rising

6. Matagalpa

Best Place to Live for Couples

coffee beans production

Cost of Living: $

The city is known for its coffee production and popular destination for tourists looking to experience the region’s local culture and natural beauty. Matagalpa is a city located in the northern highlands of Nicaragua. It is also home to several museums, including the Matagalpa Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the city.

Tip: La Cascada de la Luna is a must-see waterfall that will shower you will magic.

Who Would Like to Live There: Couples

Pros:

  • Beautiful mountains
  • Cooler climate due to high altitude levels
  • Peaceful environment

Cons:

  • Internet is unreliable
  • Far away from Managua, the capital
  • Not as convenient as other cities

7. León

Best Place to Live for Young Travellers

leon colourful streets

Cost of Living: $$

León, the second-largest city in Nicaragua, is known for its substantial student population and vibrant cultural scene. It’s home to several universities and some of Nicaragua’s primary agriculture and manufacturing plants.

Tip: Put your adventure shoes on and go Volcano boarding. 

Who Would Like to Live There: Young Travellers and Expats

Pros:

  • Filled with plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars
  • Youthful and lively atmosphere due to the large student population
  • León is home to several universities, which makes it a great place to learn Spanish

Cons:

  • Traffic can be heavy
  • The town is often busy and may feel chaotic at times
  • Weather can be sweltering and dry

8. San Juan Del Sur

Best Place to Live for Beach Lovers

san juan del sur coastline

Cost of Living: $$

This coastal city is considered to be one of the more expensive places to reside in, but it is cheap in comparison to American prices. Packed with loads of character, beaches, and expats from all over, San Juan Del Sur is a fantastic spot to visit. It is incredibly close to the Costa Rican border, so you can easily pop over and explore another country from this city.

Tip: Explore 365 islands on this shore excursion.

Who Would Like to Live There: Beach Lovers and English Speakers

Pros:

  • San Juan del Sur is ideal if you love the beach and outdoor activities
  • Easy to make friends because of the large expat community
  • Close to Costa Rica

Cons:

  • San Juan del Sur can get terribly hot
  • The town attracts a lot of tourists
  • The area is vulnerable to earthquakes

9. Popoyo

Best Place to Live for Surfers

nicaragua Surfing

Cost of Living: $$

Want to learn how to surf? Or get back on your board? This little coastal town is known for its excellent surf and is a popular destination for surfers worldwide. Popoyo is also home to several eco-lodges and surf camps, providing visitors with an opportunity to experience the region’s natural beauty.

Tip: Catch some waves with the help of the Popoyo Surfcamp.

Who Would Like to Live There: Surfers and digital nomads

Pros:

  • Breathtaking beaches and waves
  • Laidback lifestyle
  • Great internet

Cons:

  • Flooding is sometimes an issue
  • Lack of road infrastructure
  • Not many Western conveniences

10. Corn Islands

Best Place to Live for Divers

nicaragua corn Islands Cost of Living: $$$

Corn Island is a small island located off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. The island is known for its beaches and is a popular destination for tourists looking to experience the Caribbean culture and lifestyle. Corn Island is also home to several eco-lodges and resorts, so you’ll never have to stress about finding suitable accommodation!

Tip: Get PADI qualified and experience some unique dive spots.

Who Would Like to Live There: Divers and English Speakers

Pros:

  • Large diving community, which makes it more accessible
  • Slow lifestyle
  • English is the native language of the Islands

Cons:

  • Limited amenities
  • It can be challenging to get to
  • Problems with electricity at times

Tip: For an unforgettable experience in South America, why not go out on a South American safari during your trip to this amazing destination?

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