After years of traveling through Latin America and the Caribbean I chose to move here to the southwest coast of Nicaragua. I have looked into living in Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina, but it is here that I decided to settle. There are many reasons for this. The major ones involve lifestyle, climate, health and safety, and cost of living. There are many choices of where one can live. Most important for me are natural geography and culture. Nicaragua is blessed with tremendous natural diversity, from the beautiful, sculptured beaches of the southwest Pacific,
to the northern highlands,
and the tropical Caribbean, it has something for everyone.
On my first trip here I rented a car for a couple of months and did an extensive tour of the country. I wanted to get a very good feel of the opportunities and potential of the different parts. Two areas drew my attention and heart; the Pacific southwest coast and the northern highlands.
The highlands are beautiful,
with a wonderfully refreshing climate, but there were not enough other attractions to draw me to the area. I finally decided to move here to the beaches on the southwest coast.
Here are a number of the reasons I chose Playa Madera, just north of San Juan del Sur. The two principle reasons are the people and the natural geography. San Juan del Sur is known around the world for its beautiful beaches and water sports. f you want more infomation you can visit our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VistaPlayaMadera or call Craig at 505-8754-2884.
It has become a focal point for tourists, retirees, and ex-pats from around the world. This makes it unique in Nicaragua, while San Juan del Sur is an old established Nicaraguan community it has a large population of foreigners. This was important to me in a variety of ways. It expands the potential community of friends and neighbors. While the majority of my friends are Nicaraguans, I also have friends from around the world. There is a sizable European, Canadian, US, Australian, and Latin American population. This makes for an exciting and dynamic community. This is extremely important to the quality of life. There are some beautiful beaches to the north, but they are either very isolated, hours from the nearest city, or gated communities built exclusively for foreigners. Neither of these appealed to me. Here you have the best of both world, spectacular scenery and an old established Nicaragua community with a large population of foreigners. There is also sorts of community activities from organized sports and social events to numerous potential volunteer opportunities.
The second major reason was the natural geography. Here in the southwest corner of Nicaragua the mountains and hills descend right down into the sea. It is a rugged coastline of beaches and rocky headlands. This creates a very dramatic coastline with great diversity.
Depending on which way the beaches face, and the shape of the rocky headlands one can find beaches with wild and powerful waves; perfect for surfing or boogie-boarding,
while just around the corner, protected by dramatic cliffs and headlands one can find bays with clear and calm water. A perfect place for swimming, diving, or playing with a young family. From some points in Vista Playa Madera one can see five distinct bays which offer something for everyone; from the avid surfer to tranquil beachcomber.
There are many other activities in which one can partake. The fishing is incredible. A friend spends 3 hours a week fishing with rod and reel, or spear gun, and has more fish than he wants for the week. The locals use a hand line with primitive weights and floats and make a living with the fish they catch. Using a decent rod and reel offers one great opportunity for sport and food.
The area is great for horseback riding. There are 4-5 different places within a few km one can rent horses. With good connections and friends I ride for free or very cheap, even the tourist spots are very inexpensive. One can chose between beach and forest for your rides. If you are a serious riders, this is the land of horseman. The term for gentleman here literally translate to horseman. There is a wide range of horse from which to chose. One can buy a horse for as little as $130 dollars, and pasture with local friends or your own property.
Then there is walking, hiking birding, gardening and much, much more for outside activities. Visit the volcanoes, kayack in the ocean or lakes, windsurf, or just lay back and enjoy the incredible climate.
The climate is the other part of the puzzle that makes this area so desirable a place to live. San Juan del Sur is less than 700 miles north of the equator. Most of places within this distance are very hot and humid. I have spent much time in Ecuador, Columbia, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Caribbean. They are beautiful places full of wonderful beaches, forest and people, yet none are as livable as the beaches of southwest Nicaragua. The secret here are the easterly winds. They blow off the Caribbean, as they cross the isthmus they dry out. This reduces the humidity. Yesterday we had a humidity of 62%. I remember living in Ecuador with 100% humidity. I could take a cool shower, and be in a full sweat by the time I crossed the room to get into bed! It is definitely very uncomfortable to have nights of 32 degrees and high humidity all night. Most can not live comfortably without air conditioning.
Here it is very different. The humidity is much lower than normal for much of the tropics. One hears much of the importance of location for real estate; location, location, location, that is all one hears. Here it is even more important that ever. There is tremendous diversity within the country. The Caribbean lowlands are true humid tropical forest with high temperatures and humidity. You have to be a jungle lover to enjoy living there. The northern highlands are wonderful, great climate and beautiful foresst. It just does not offer the range of activities and culture of the southwest coast. Then there is the southwest coast. This area is classified as dry, tropical forest. There are only three months with considerable rains, June, September, and October. The rest of the year it is pretty dry. This affects the humidity, as mentioned above, making it a much more comfortable climate within which to live. This aridity has other great benefits. This is the only part of Nicaragua where malaria is unknown. That is right, there is NO malaria here. I live in the forest here in a home with no screens on my windows. There are many, many less bugs than my former homes in Vancouver and Golden BC Canada. It is ironic that here in the forest, there are less mosquitoes than in town. In town there are numerous sources of stagnant water, old tires, abandon wells, buckets, and old water tanks. These are all potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Dengue, another mosquito borne disease is not found in the forests, only in urban setting where there is breeding grounds and people.
These are the principle reasons I picked this area. It is amazingly livable with a moderate climate. The dry eastern winds blow the hot surface waters out to sea, and cool waters from deep in the Pacific well up to the surface. These waters range from 24 to 27 degrees. These cool waters moderate the temperatures tremendously Daily highs seldom climb above 30 degrees during the hottest part of the day, which is only for a couple hours in the afternoon. By early evening the temperatures drop to the mid 20's, with lows of 24-26 degrees. We live a early life here. I raise around dawn and work out on the property until noon or 1 pm and then it is siesta and beach time, becoming more active as the temperature drops in the evening. Add water and the climate allows one to grow just about everything. I have grapes, lychee, pomegranites, almonds, passion fruit, papaya, pineapple, all the citrus, and literally dozens of other fruits and vegetable growing on the land. And flowers, flowers, flowers.
There are many birds and animals. It is a nightly serenade of gentle rocking waves and animals singing in the forest.
The natural diversity provides an incredible range of possible activities, from gardening to birding,
surfing and swimming, fishing and horseback riding, to poker nights, beach volleyball, spas and fine dining. The area offers many many amenities and activities. This is unique in Nicaragua, and the combination makes this the best place in Nicaragua to live. Best of all it is under 1 1/2 hours to Granada, and under 3 to Managua where there is even more cultural and commercial opportunities, and then you get to retreat from the hustle and bustle, and noise of the city and kick back and watch the sunsets over the ocean. Or just kicking back and relaxing.