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Nicaragua: Land of Lakes and Volcanoes

When most North Americans think of Nicaragua, our associations aren't positive: revolution, corruption, and drug trafficking. However, Nicaragua is in a decades-long rebuilding phase, and a lot has changed in recent years. In order to get its economy back on track, Nicaragua has opened itself up to the rest of the Americas. Investors and expatriates alike are drawn to this small Central American nation for its natural resources and the fact that a dollar goes incredibly far in this beautiful country.

Nicaragua real estate has been developed in several locations that are popular for expatriates, part-time residents, and retirees. First, there are two large cities located by the shores of its beautiful inland lakes. Managua, the nation's capital and largest city with about two million people, is a vibrant urban cultural center. Grenada, a nearby and much smaller city, dates back to the early 16th century and is called "La Gran Sultana" because of the Moorish influence that can be seen in its architecture. Along the Pacific coast, many eye-catching contemporary developments have been built or are under construction. Many of these cater to expatriates and retirees.

For those searching for a bargain in Central American real estate, Nicaragua is hard to beat. U.S. $150,000 can buy you a restored Spanish colonial home in Grenada, a small casita in a very luxurious beachfront development, or a piece of seaside property and your own, custom-built home. And for those looking for Nicaragua real estate for sale, this is an optimum time to buy.

In addition to the cost of Nicaragua real estate being low, the country offers an extremely affordable cost of living. A couple can live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle on around $1,200-1,500 per month, and $2,000 provides a rather luxurious lifestyle. Although electricity, gas, and imported goods like electronics can be more expensive than in the U.S., food and other basic necessities are much cheaper. Those wishing to hire domestic help can find a live-in maid or cook for about $35 per week.

Expatriates living in Nicaragua often say that they were won over by the country's friendly people and natural beauty. Poverty is widespread in this country, yet Nicaraguans not only take care of each other but also are welcoming to foreigners, and tend to talk and smile readily.

Because of its rocky history in the late 20th century, the country has seen far fewer tourists than other Latin American nation – but in terms of its natural wonders, there is no reason why Nicaragua should not be on par with any surrounding country. It's known for its lakes and volcanoes, which combine to produce stunning landscapes and vistas. The eastern region of the country is covered by lush and undeveloped rainforest, boasting incredible biodiversity and exotic species such as monkeys, toucans, and anteaters. The higher elevations in the center of the country are home to cloud forests with evergreens, ferns, and orchids.

Currently, the Nicaraguan government is trying to attract the attention of investors and visitors. There are many tax incentives for new residents, which, combined with the very low cost of housing, make Nicaragua real estate a seriously appealing investment.