Baby Boomer Gringos in Granada Nicaragua enjoy the good life.Â AreÂ youÂ aÂ Â “Baby Boomer Gringo” consideringÂ a visit or move toÂ Granada, Nicaragua?Â If you don’t speak Spanish and security is your concernÂ – read here.
Lately, some folksÂ have been asking me about Nicaragua as a place to consider visiting or relocating.Â There are newspapers and lots of blogs out there talking about how it’s either good or bad – mostly good.Â In my search for a balanced approach to gathering good information, I came across many articles and blogs.
Here I render a brief analysis of my findings up to this point concerning Baby Boomer Gringos in Granada, Nicaragua.
When I consider a country to visit for any length of time, I always scan the available information that is prevalent out there in cyberspace.Â I also talk to people who have visited, lived, or are natives of that country to get a overall picture.Â Obviously room does not allow for a comprehensive review here, butÂ hopefully you willÂ get a “taste” of what to expect if you do decide to visit.Â Of course, check it out yourself which is always the best way.Â I certainly plan to do so.
IfÂ you’re wondering about what I mean by “gringo,” check out the Wikipedia definition.Â Although the word “gringo” in American movies usually has a negative connotation, and there are places in the Latin world where it may be a pejorative term, “gringo” really is a slang word out of the Iberian peninsula (Portugal and Spain) which means foreigner.Â So, in the context of this article, Â â€œgringoâ€ simply means foreigner.
Granada is a huge tourist attraction, but it’s also one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas.Â It reflects many Latin cultural influences.Â This city rests on the banks of Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River, in western Nicaragua, and is the capital of the Granada Department (state or province).
It’s founder, Francisco HernÃ¡ndez de CÃ³rdoba (1524), named it after the province of Granada, Spain and the city took on the architecture of that period and type, namely the influence of both Moorish and Andalusian culture.
Today, Â Granada reflects in its architecture and structure a rich colonial heritage originating from that great city ofÂ GranadaÂ in Spain.Â As you travel the streets, you’ll see a mixture of colonial and modern, but the arches and columns of the colonial style stand out as its unique feature.
So whyÂ wouldÂ you find aÂ “Baby Boomer Gringo” in Granada?Â There are several expatÂ blogs coming out of Granada and many more travel blogs these days.Â It isÂ always a challenge to find out what the realÂ story isÂ with so many blogs that are pushing their point of view for various reasons.
After reviewing manyÂ boomer blogs, here are a few opinions from some gringos about their experience in Nicaragua.
First, there’s a baby boomer gringoÂ couple from Canada who decided to make their retirement/vacation home in Granada instead of Florida.Â They seem quite happy with their choice.Â Apparently the positives outweighed the negatives; for example, the low property taxes. They bought a home for $225,000, remodeled it with local help and still came out ahead with custom made furniture and property taxes of about $200 U.S. a year.Â When they leave for any length of time, the local rental agency keeps it rented in their absence.Â According to the couple, socially, things in Granada are “warmer and friendlier,” and you get to know your local craftsmen and tradesmen on a closer more intimate basis.
They say the living is more convenient there, with shops just around the corner if you need something and most are within walking distance.Â You don’t need a car since you can hail a cab to get you just about anywhere in town, for about 50 cents U.S.Â Car rentals are available if you want to wander and see the scenic sites just outside of town.Â Dining out is relatively inexpensive, if you want a nice experience.Â You may pay up to $12 U.S, as opposed to roughly $40 in other destinations around the world. Breakfast is around $2 and lunch around $5.Â Of course, fresh fruit and vegetables are available at â€œbargainâ€ prices.
The negatives?Â Apparently, there aren’t many.Â Politeness is the norm.Â It’s basically a no confrontational culture.Â There is not a lot of English spoken there, so you might want to review a few phrases in Spanish, to a least look like you are trying to communicate.Â You can find people who do speak English, but the advantage is yours if you learn a bit of Spanish.Â You can read the whole article entitled, “Forget Florida, I’ll Take Granada”, here:
In a local Nicaraguan newspaper, a business owner laments about the trash in the streets of Granada.Â He writes an article entitled, “Litter is Giving Nicaragua A Trashy Image.” You can hear his frustration of wanting a cleaner city but finding the lack of help from city officials.Â He chronicles the aftereffects of a strike by trash men who have not been paid by the city for a number of weeks.Â Apparently their is little cultural awareness about placing your trash in a bin, therefore many just drop it on the ground.Â The author seems to think that education is the answer, and Â he and others like him are trying their best to address the issue.Â Here is the article:
Then,Â there is an expat named Robert Skydell, who has written about his five year plus experience in Granada, Nicaragua, called â€œSearching for Expat in Paradise.â€Â He offers a most sensible and balanced view of living as a gringo in Granada that I have seen so far.
Robert begins his article by describing the â€œexpatsâ€ that come and go for various reasons.Â Eventually they return to what they know in their respective native countries, after a short term.Â Apparently the newness runs out and they discover that the local surroundings are not as â€œidyllicâ€ as they first imagined.Â He lists the everyday irritations that one tolerates and later begins to accept.
He details all sorts of noises going on at different times of the day and night.Â For example, car alarms, small unknown explosions of various sorts, and yes, the perennial favorite – theÂ early morning (3:30am) crowing roosters.Â They also crow atÂ allÂ times of the day.
So why doesÂ this baby boomer gringoÂ like living in Granada?Â Â Well, first there is the laid back atmosphere that people demonstrate daily- there is no hurry to get somewhere.Â He likes walking to the local market and picking up fresh fruits and vegetables about every day.Â He saysÂ it’sÂ a nice walk and very convenientÂ walking a few blocks to purchase what you need.Â The daily stroll is something he enjoys daily.
Some daysÂ Robert doesn’t have to walk far – just to his patio where an avocado tree drops its ripe fruit on to hisÂ porch.Â He loves seeing the beautiful gardens and plazas with all the greenery as he walks down the street.Â He avoids driving.
Why drive a car and make a trip to the â€œsupermarket,â€ when the local store is just around the corner?Â Besides, when you have fresh fruit falling fromÂ trees in your backyard or courtyard, why would youÂ shop anywhere else?
He says there is a rhythm to it where you soon expect and acceptÂ all those noises, but they seem to blendÂ in to all the surroundings likeÂ some type of live concert.
Robert sums it all up when he states: â€ It is a more contemplative life, less filled with distraction and so many of the other artificial burdens we place on ourselves.â€
He doesn’t seem to be concerned about personal security.Â Yes, don’t tempt the some of the locals by leaving your personal items on display – i.e. in plain sight, because you may lose them.Â Other than that he moves around without worries.
Hereâ€™s the link to his entire blog:
Here are some “Frequently Asked Questions” about Nicaragua that may interest you.
1. What is the currency in Nicaragua?
It’s the CÃ³rdoba – currently 23 C’s to 1 U.S. dollar.
2. Where is Nicaragua?
It’s located in Central America between Honduras and Costa Rica.
3. Isn’t it a communist country?
No, it currently has a democratically-elected government.
4. Is English spoken there? No and Yes.
No, the official language is Spanish.
Yes, there are folks who speak English, but you’ll
manage much better if you speak a bit of Spanish.
5. Population: ApproximatelyÂ 6 millionÂ (2012)
6. What is the standard of living there?
Most Nicaraguans are poor by U.S. standards, but there is a small but slowly growing middle class. Wages are still low compared to the U.S. For example, a factory worker may earn about $200 U.S. a month, but the cost of living is relatively low compared to the U.S. Unemployment is still relatively high, but some progress is being made. Since the currency exchange is about 1 U.S. dollar to 23 CÃ³rdoba, folks with U.S. type income can live in Nicaragua at a higher standard than in the U.S.
In conclusion, Granada is indeed a tourist city, so if you hate tourists you might want to consider that, but if you looking for an introduction to city that can ease you into the Latin American experience, it’s not a bad place to start.Â Again, do your “research” and go check it out for yourself.Â You may be missing something that makes your life better.Â Maybe you’ll be the next baby boomer gringo to arrive in Granada.
Want to start speaking Spanish in a few days?Â Here is a Super Thinking + Spanish promotional event.Â Â Please check it out below:
NextÂ Sunday our issue of theÂ “Hispanicus” Newsletter is due.Â Our Hispanic country focus?Â
Many think this Latin Caribbean island nation has only beautiful beach resorts to offer.Â How about cutting edge medical technology in anÂ public and private educational system thatÂ is not free.Â How’s that?Â Don’t miss this one.