Managua, Nicaragua Report of what it's like to live there - 02/08/24

Personal Experiences from Managua, Nicaragua

Managua, Nicaragua 02/08/24


1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I've also lived in Manila, Dakar, Yaounde, Paris among others.

View All Answers

2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

New Zealand: it is far from everywhere, so I am resigned to long flights. Managua has direct flights to selected locations:
Miami, Houston, San Salvador. Getting to Miami is about 2.5 hours.

View All Answers

3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

View All Answers

4. What years did you live here?


View All Answers

5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Spouse's employment.

View All Answers

Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is fantastic. We have a large house with a gi-normous yard and a swimming pool. Commute from Santo Domingo/ La Estancia to U.S. Embassy takes 35 minutes in the morning and in the evening about twice that. However, if there is a road accident, construction, police check point or some other random event, your commute will be affected. If there is an accident, vehicles have to remain where they are until the police arrive.

View All Answers

2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Price Smart (Costco equivalent) has all sorts of imported products. La Colonia supermarket has all household supplies you might need. Just don't buy your beef there. Go to Carne St. Martin where the quality is SOO much better. Nicaragua beef is great (except at La Colonia)! Vegetables and fruit can be bought cheaper at a local market (like Roberto Huembes).

View All Answers

3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

If you need tires for your car, ship them as they are not cheap here.

View All Answers

4. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

We have ants, tarantulas and also occasionally scorpions. We have also had to have a wasp nest destroyed. Mosquitoes here can transmit dengue, and so the government likes to send round noisy trucks to distribute noxious clouds of blue gas to kill the mosquitoes at selected times of the year.

View All Answers

Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

We use the diplomatic post office. No idea about local postal facilities.

View All Answers

2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Household help is inexpensive and labor is inexpensive here, in general. Our housekeeper costs about $20 per day. At the end of the year, employees get a one month Christmas bonus, and another month's salary paid as vacation.

View All Answers

3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The embassy has a gym and is located on a lovely plot of land where you can walk/run to your heart's content.

View All Answers

4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Yes, we use our credit card extensively, and so far have not encountered any problems.

View All Answers

5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You need Spanish. Nicaraguans speak a few words of English, but often nowhere near enough to communicate with you. If you want to experience Nicaragua you need to learn Spanish.

View All Answers

6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Probably. Footpaths are irregular (both in their frequency and their shape) if they even exist.

View All Answers


1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

We are forbidden from using the overcrowded public transport due to security concerns.

View All Answers

2. What kind of vehicle(s) including electric ones do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, infrastructure, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car or vehicles do you advise not to bring?

Any vehicle that has high clearance, and preferably 4WD, if you want to go out of Managua. There are Toyotas everywhere here.

View All Answers

Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

It is available and installation is relatively quick.

View All Answers

2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We have a service with one of the two govt. monitored local companies.

View All Answers


1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Vet care has been great here. The vet we had was very caring towards the animals and his services were very cheap. Dental care and surgery are a fraction of the price in the United States. The recovery room and surgery room are NOT for the faint of heart.

View All Answers

Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

With 3,500 NGOs forced to close by the government, local employment is very difficult to find. Local wages are very low. The minimum salary is not sufficient for anybody to buy the basic basket of goods. According to government figures the basic basket of goods costs about three times the minimum salary. Try to find a job with a remote work agreement.

View All Answers

2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Very limited. If something is construed as against the Nicaraguan government, it could risk putting a Nicaraguan in jail or under house arrest. The Catholic church has had priests expelled and/or thrown in jail. Properties have been confiscated.

View All Answers

3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business casual.

View All Answers

Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Dengue does exist here. If you don't like bugs, don't come. There are lots of ants and wonderful geckos that like to hunt mosquitoes and other bugs. Unfortunately geckos don't know how to read English and we fried three geckos when they went in the fuse box. There are scorpions, so it is wise to always tip your shoe upside down before putting it on, to ensure you don't get a scorpion greeting.

View All Answers

2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Hospital Villian Pellas is a nice hospital and has a lot of specialist services. If you want the latest technology, however, you won't find it there.

View All Answers

3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Generally good, except for when the dry season comes and the air can be dusty.

View All Answers

4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

It is hot and dry or hot and wet. The coolest in Managua that I have seen it get to was high 60s (Fahrenheit)/ low 20s (Celsius) at 4 am.

View All Answers

Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

The American School (ANS) is where I have heard most children from the U.S. Embassy attend. I think they have a lot of room for improvement, especially regarding communication (with teachers, with parents, and with students). Don't be fooled into thinking that your communication with the school prior to enrollment is typical of the school, as this is an exception. They communicate well prior to enrollment, then it is all downhill. Maybe because the school (and Nicaragua) has problems in retaining people is why there is such a high teacher turn over. Our secondary school students had three mathematics teachers in one year. Sport at ANS is good if you are into soccer or swimming. The coaches are very committed and great.

View All Answers

2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

None that I am aware of.

View All Answers

3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes , there are preschools available including Montesorri. I doubt that they would be expensive (unless you go to the American school) as labor is cheap in Nicaragua.

View All Answers

Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Morale varies depending on who is at post. All it takes is for one person to ruin it for many others.

View All Answers

2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Restaurants. Expat community keeps largely to itself as Nicaraguans could encounter difficulties from their government if associated with the evil west.

View All Answers

3. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Nicaraguans will be guarded with any contact in public with Americans due to monitoring.

View All Answers

4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Doubt it. Nicaraguans are quite conservative, whether this is a carry-over from the influential Catholic church or not, I don't know.

View All Answers

5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Go to Mombacho and maybe you will see a sloth. See the sunset over the active Masaya volcano. Go kayaking in the islettas de Grenada. Some of the beaches are also amazing. You can learn to surf here in Nicaragua or maybe just get better at it. The waves are calling.

View All Answers

6. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The secret to Managua is to get out of Managua. Go to Corn Island and enjoy a paradiscal beach vacation. Concepcion volcano on Ometepe Island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua is a challenge to climb. See and hear all the howler monkeys. Go swim in a volcanic lake where the water is a constant 25C all year round. Costa Rica is only 2.5 hours drive and a long border crossing away, and significantly more expensive than Nicaragua.

View All Answers

Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

NIcaragua is an authoritarian police state, so be wary of all telecommunications which are extensively monitored by the government. The prestigious University of Central America run by Jesuits was closed and its assets confiscated by the government for its perceived opposition to the state. Priests from the Catholic church have been jailed, exiled and stripped of Nicaraguan citizenship. Nicaraguans who voiced opinions against the government have discovered whilst on holiday out of the country, that the government has barred them from returning to their home country. Houses and assets belonging to Nicaraguans voicing opposition against the government have been seized and then sold to party loyalists as rewards for their fealty.

View All Answers

2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?


There are many Nicaraguan expressions to describe life in Managua, including 'Hay mucho pan y circo.'

View All Answers

3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter clothes as they are completely unnecessary, unless you are going on a winter holiday in another country when here.

View All Answers

4. But don't forget your:

Sunglasses, sunhat, surf board, and swim gear.

View All Answers

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More