Statue Nicaragua

Cost of Living in Nicaragua | 2024 Update


Hola, fellow wanderers! When we think about Central America, Nicaragua is often an overlooked gem. It’s the largest country in Central America, yet one of the least visited.

This has allowed Nicaragua to maintain its authenticity while providing opportunities for adventure, exploration, and YES, even cost-effective living. So, let’s take a closer look at the cost of living in Nicaragua in 2024.

What is the Cost of Living in Nicaragua for 1 Month?

moutains - cost of living in Nicaragua

It’s certainly more affordable than many places in Latin America and around the world. For a single person, the cost of living in Nicaragua can range between $600 to $1200 USD per month, depending on your lifestyle and location.

This includes housing, food, transportation, and even a bit of fun! If you plan on moving with your family, you will need a bit more, around $1500 to $2000 per month.

The Cost of Living in Nicaragua Breakdown

Understanding the cost of living in Nicaragua requires a comprehensive breakdown. Let’s dive in.

Renting Per Month

As in any location, the cost of renting in Nicaragua varies depending on the city and type of accommodation.

In major cities: like Managua and Granada, you might find a one-bedroom apartment in the city center for around $400 – $600 USD.

Outside the city center: you’re looking at approximately $200 – $400 USD. The cost of living in Nicaragua really shines in the rental market!

Cost to Buy a House

If you’re contemplating a more permanent move, the cost of buying a house in Nicaragua can be surprisingly affordable, depending on the location and the size of the property. On average, a standard house will set you back between $40,000 to $150,000 USD.

Popular expat areas: Now, for those interested in the popular expat areas like Granada and San Juan Del Sur, the price tends to be a bit higher due to increased demand and higher living standards. In these regions, a comfortable, modern home may range from $80,000 to $200,000 USD.

Beachfront properties: as you might expect, command a higher price due to their coveted location. A beachfront house can range from $150,000 to upwards of $500,000 USD, depending on the size, condition, and specific beach location.

Eating Out – Restaurants

local food - cost of living in Nicaragua

Cheap: Dining out in Nicaragua is a treat, both for your palate and your pocket. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will set you back only about $4 – $7 USD.

Mid-Range: While a three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant would typically cost $10 – $25 USD. Exploring the cost of living in Nicaragua gets even more exciting when you discover the delicious local food.

Eating In – Markets

Grocery shopping at local markets is a fun experience and an excellent way to save money. For around $30 – $50 USD per week, you can get fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, rice, and meat, enough for a couple.

Personal Care

Personal care, which comprises several items from toiletries to wellness and grooming services, is also affordable in Nicaragua. Here’s a brief cost breakdown.

Gym: A gym membership will cost around $20 to $30 per month, depending on the facilities and location.

Haircut: A visit to the hairdresser for a simple cut costs around $10 for men and $15 for women.

Beauty treatments: Such as manicures and pedicures usually range between $10 to $20 USD.

House Services

In Nicaragua, housekeeping services are quite affordable. You can hire a maid for about $5 – $10 USD a day, and utilities like electricity, water, and garbage pickup usually amount to around $50 – $100 a month.


tuk tuk - cost of living in Nicaragua

Public transportation: is economical in Nicaragua, with a one-way ticket costing less than a dollar.

Taxis: Also quite affordable, with a 5km ride costing about $5.

Driving your own vehicle: Fuel might cost you around $25 per week depending on how often you drive. Be sure to get an International Drivers Licence online for as little as $49 before you head overseas!

Entertainment and Fun

Nicaragua offers a plethora of affordable and free entertainment options.

A movie ticket costs around $5, while a monthly gym membership is about $25, and a day trip to a local attraction might cost you $10 – $20.

Outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, or exploring historical sites are either free or cost very little.


Childcare is another area where the cost of living in Nicaragua shines. A private daycare can cost around $200 USD per month, and international schooling can range from $3000 to $5000 per year.

Insurance Costs

Health insurance varies widely based on age, health condition, and the level of coverage. However, a basic private health insurance plan can cost around $30 – $60 per month. Check out EKTA to get the cheapest travel insurance for your trip.

Find the cheapest flights to Nicaragua with WayAway. Click here to see the best deals right now.

Living in Nicaragua Pros and Cons

beach - cost of living in Nicaragua

As with any locale, life in Nicaragua comes with its unique set of pros and cons. Your experience will largely depend on your individual expectations and lifestyle preferences, but here are some key points to consider:


  • Cost of Living: The cost of living in Nicaragua is considerably lower than in North America and Europe
  • Natural Beauty: Nicaragua is renowned for its beautiful landscapes, from stunning beaches to volcanoes, rainforests, and lakes
  • Climate: Nicaragua enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round, making it an appealing destination for those who love sunshine and hate winter.
  • Cultural Experience: The local culture is rich and vibrant, with plenty of festivals and historical sites to explore.
  • Friendly Locals: Nicaraguans are often noted for their friendliness and hospitality, which can help newcomers feel welcome and quickly adjust to life in a new country.


  • Political Instability: Nicaragua has had a history of political instability, which can be a concern for some. While this doesn’t affect day-to-day life for most expats, it’s something to be aware of.
  • Infrastructure: In some areas, infrastructure can be lacking. Roads might be in poor condition, and power outages can occur. Internet service can also be inconsistent in some locations.
  • Healthcare: While the cost of healthcare is lower in Nicaragua, the standard of care might not be up to par with what you’re accustomed to in more developed countries. There are good hospitals and clinics, especially in larger cities, but options may be limited in more rural areas.
  • Language Barrier: Although English is spoken in some areas, particularly those popular with expats, Spanish is the main language. A lack of Spanish skills can present challenges, though many expats view this as an opportunity to learn a new language.
  • Language Barrier: Although English is spoken in some areas, particularly those popular with expats, Spanish is the main language. A lack of Spanish skills can present challenges, though many expats view this as an opportunity to learn a new language.

Cheapest Places to Live in Nicaragua

Nicaragua town

Nicaragua, known for its affordability, boasts several cities and towns where the cost of living is even lower than the national average. Here are some of the cheapest places to live in Nicaragua:

  • Leon: As the second-largest city in Nicaragua, Leon offers a great balance of urban conveniences and low cost of living. Despite its rich history and cultural scene, the living costs here are quite manageable, with affordable housing and inexpensive dining options.
  • Matagalpa: Nestled in the mountains of northern Nicaragua, Matagalpa is a charming city known for its coffee plantations and natural beauty. The cost of living in Matagalpa is lower than many coastal areas, and it’s an excellent choice for those who prefer cooler temperatures and a quieter pace of life.
  • Estelí: Known for its tobacco production, Estelí is a small city with a low cost of living. It’s a great place for those seeking a more relaxed lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities. It offers a warm, welcoming community and an authentic Nicaraguan experience.
  • Chinandega: Located in the northwest of Nicaragua, Chinandega is known for its agricultural richness. The cost of living here is quite low, making it a great option for those on a budget. Additionally, it’s close to several beautiful beaches.
  • Masaya: Known as the “City of Flowers,” Masaya is renowned for its handicrafts and vibrant market scene. It’s one of the most affordable places to live, particularly for those who enjoy the local art scene and cultural activities.

Is Nicaragua Safe?

Nicaragua Church

Nicaragua is generally safe for expats and travelers, but like any country, it’s important to take precautions. Petty theft is the most common crime, so be aware of your belongings, especially in crowded areas.

For up-to-date information, always check out the US Travel Advisory before you travel.

FAQs: Cost of Living in Nicaragua

In this section, we will address some of the most common questions expats have about the cost of living in Nicaragua.

Cost of Living Nicaragua vs Costa Rica

Comparatively, the cost of living in Nicaragua is generally lower than that in neighboring Costa Rica. Whether it’s housing, groceries, dining, or healthcare, you’ll typically find prices more affordable in Nicaragua, making it a more budget-friendly option for expats.

Can US citizens retire in Nicaragua?

Yes, US citizens can retire in Nicaragua. In fact, the Nicaraguan government encourages foreign retirees with a pension of at least $600 per month to apply for their retiree residency program, which offers tax incentives.

What is the Cost of Living in Granada, Nicaragua?

Granada, a popular city for expats, has a slightly higher cost of living than other parts of Nicaragua. You might expect to spend around $1,500 – $2,000 per month for a comfortable lifestyle.

How Much Does a House Cost in Nicaragua?

House prices vary widely. A modest house in a small city may cost around $50,000, while a larger home in an expat-friendly city like Granada or a beachfront property could run upwards of $200,000.

How long can an American stay in Nicaragua?

An American can stay in Nicaragua for up to 90 days on a tourist visa. To stay longer, you would need to apply for a residency permit.

How much does it cost to rent a house in Nicaragua?

Renting a house in Nicaragua can cost anywhere from $200 per month in smaller towns to over $1000 per month for larger or luxury homes in popular areas.

How much does it cost to live in Panama?

The Cost of living in Panama is compatible with the cost of living in Nicaragua. Take a look at this blog to see a full breakdown of the cost of living in Panama.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Nicaragua?

To live comfortably in Nicaragua, a monthly budget of around $1,200 to $1,500 for a single person or around $2,000 for a couple should suffice. However, this amount can vary depending on your lifestyle and the city you choose to live in.

Conclusion: Cost of Living in Nicaragua

In conclusion, the cost of living in Nicaragua is very appealing for those looking to enjoy life in a tropical paradise while stretching their dollar.

The affordability, combined with the country’s natural beauty and culture, make it a great choice for expats, digital nomads, and retirees. This 2024 update shows that even as the world changes, the cost of living in Nicaragua remains one of its most attractive features.

So, why not pack your bags and experience Nicaragua for yourself?

As always, safe travels, fellow wanderers!

Check out some interesting facts about living in Nicaragua or find out What Nicaragua is Known For.

If you’re interested in comparing other places you can live in Central America, check out this article 👉 13 Best Places to Live in Central America as an Expat

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