Managua, Nicaragua Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Managua, Nicaragua

Managua, Nicaragua 04/02/18

Background:

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

Not my first. Jeddah, Cairo, New Delhi, Quito, Kabul, and Tegucigalpa.

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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?

The U.S. There are direct flights from Miami, Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas to Managua.

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3. How long have you lived here?

3 years.

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

U.S. Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Most housing is very nice, spacious with nice yards, often with fruit trees. Many houses have pools. If you request a pool, keep in mind that it costs about $80 per month to maintain. The apartments are beautiful and have access to a pool, gym and tennis courts for $100 per month. The Embassy is building its own apartment building that will have ten units. Most live off of Masaya highway on the east side of town, but six embassy employees live on the west side of town off of the South highway (Carretera Sur). The advantage of Carretera Sur is that it is much closer to the embassy; nine minutes with no traffic (on a Sunday morning) and 20 minutes with traffic during rush hour. From the Masaya highway it is more like 40 minutes, but that side of town has the shopping, movie theaters, hospital, and veterinarians. The American Nicaraguan School is closer to the east side, but the Nicaraguan Christian Academy is close to Carretera Sur.

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

I was shocked at how much is available here. Pricesmart is a big box store like Costco and even has Kirkland products. They have large bottles of olive oil, U.S. laundry detergent, pet food, cat litter, soy milk, cereals, almond milk, and peanut butter. The regular grocery stores are very good, too. They have tahini, Asian food ingredients, etc. Local foods such as beans, rice, and produce are very affordable. Imported items are more expensive (nuts are very expensive). You can also shop in the local markets which are very affordable. You can find tofu at several places (Naturaleza, the Korean market, Ola Verde), but not in the grocery stores.

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

It's really not an issue because you can order everything online. Items I order regularly online are almond butter, maple syrup, nuts, Truvia, shampoo, conditioner, and cosmetics.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Lots of good restaurants, especially for meat eaters, but there are also vegetarian and vegan options. I have not found a great Asian restaurant. There is good Peruvian and Italian. I prefer the restaurants in Granada. There is a fantastic Middle Eastern place called Pita Pita owned by an Israeli and also, the Garden Cafe. Managua has many fast food restaurants and chains: McDonalds, Carls Jr., Pizza Hut, Hard Rock Cafe, Hooters.

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

Lots of geckos which keep the mosquito population down. Each house is different: some have scorpions, others tarantulas, ants, cockroaches, etc. We have been lucky to only have geckos, maybe two scorpions, one tarantula, limited ants. Many people have iguanas in their backyards and some boas.

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Daily Life:

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

DPO.

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

Most people have a housekeeper who will also take care of children and cook, plus a part time gardener, and a pool service. Housekeepers/nannies start at $250 per month, plus you must pay the 13th month salary (like a Christmas bonus), and pay their medical insurance (about $60 per month). Most do not take the one month of vacation that they are entitled to, so you have to pay them for that. I pay our housekeeper much more because she is worth it, it's the right thing to do, and I can afford it. Gardeners start at $10-$15 per day. I started ours at $20 and he now makes $25. You get what you pay for. The pool service comes twice a week and charges $80 per month (they provide all the chemicals).

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

There is a great gym at the Galerias mall that many people use (on the east side of town). The Embassy has a good gym, a large pool, and tennis courts. There are yoga classes around town.

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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?

A lot of people use their credit cards, but I personally prefer not to do so. ATMs are common.

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

The more Spanish you have, the more pleasant your stay in Nicaragua. At the same time, Nicaraguans are very patient and will do their best to communicate with you regardless of your level of Spanish. There are affordable tutors/classes.

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

Yes, it would be difficult. At the same time, there are organizations for people with visual and audio disabilities, and a wheelchair basketball team. Locals will maneuver their wheelchairs through traffic although I don't recommend it.

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Transportation:

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

Affordable, but not safe. Embassy employees are not allowed to use them, except for a list of taxis that are more expensive. We have a driver who we can call when our housekeeper does errands for us.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Toyota or Hyundai because it is easier and more affordable to get parts (and therefore easier to sell when you depart). I recommend a small SUV for the clearance. Four wheel drive is not necessary, but I wish we had it just for the trip up the Mombacho volcano.

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Phone & Internet:

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

Yes, it is available. It took us less than a week to get it installed.

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Pets:

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?

There are many vets but only one excellent vet clinic that I know of in the Las Colinas neighborhood. Very competent, but they don't keep good records so you need to keep copies of everything and bring them when you go. You need to be assertive and be sure they examine your pet completely. If you go in and say your pet has an eye infection, they will treat that infection very well, but they won't bother to examine anything else. You have to say, "Please have a look at his teeth, his ears," etc. No need for quarantine. Many dogs get Ehrlichia from ticks (a parasite in the blood), so be sure to give them prophylaxis.

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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?

Not much on the local economy. A couple of them teach at the American Nicaraguan School or at local universities. There were many jobs at the Embassy, until the hiring freeze. A few of those positions have been unfrozen.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

There are many opportunities. Go to www.nicaraguanonprofitnetwork.org to learn about them. I volunteer with a couple of animal rescue organizations: Rescatando Huellas and Fundacion Adan.

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

Just like in the U.S., it varies. You can go to the theater and see everything from jeans to dressy. I would say most at the Embassy dress business casual unless they know they have an outside meeting so they put on a tie and jacket/suit and heels.

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Health & Safety:

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

While Nicaragua is MUCH safer than Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, there is still pickpocketing, purses and cell phones grabbed by two guys on a motorcycle, etc. Embassy employees have 24 hour guards at their residences which acts as a deterrent. I go walking and running in my neighborhood with no concern. Locals have more problems because they ride the buses and don't have guards at their homes; violent crimes often involve vendettas. A lot of women are killed by their partners or ex-partners. The greatest danger is traffic accidents: two people die every day in Nicaragua from traffic accidents, usually people on motorcycles.

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

Not particularly. This year, a lot of people had coughs that lasted six weeks, some stomach issues, I knew of one case of dengue that required hospitalization. There is no malaria in Managua. People seem happy with the pediatric care. There is one modern hospital, but the facility looks more impressive than the actual care. There have been medical evacuations for any type of surgery. I had physical therapy here that I thought was very good.

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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?

It is decent and much better than most developing country capitals. The dry season is dusty.

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4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

No, it is sunny all year.

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

Mostly hot all year, although December and January are very pleasant. The houses on Carretera Sur are on a hill with a nice breeze. The rainy season is not that wet, the dry season is very dry.

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Expat Life:

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

Small to medium in Managua, but large in Granada and San Juan del Sur. Morale is good.

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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?

Don't wait for an invitation, invite others out. Nicaraguans are very nice and sociable, people overall at the Embassy are great and also expats working for NGOs. You can also meet expats through several Facebook groups.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I think life for singles is always more challenging overseas and Managua is no better or worse. You need to find your fun, usually through sports, church, volunteering and inviting others out. It's great for couples and families. There is a lot to do in Managua and many options for weekend trips.

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

While Nicaragua is a conservative country, there is a visible LGBT community. There used to be an issue with the local country club not allowing LGBT members, but I don't think that is a problem anymore.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

There is discrimination against indigenous and Afro-descendant groups. There is also discrimination against women although I have not felt it. Most major businesses are headed by men, and the newspapers feature stories about successful men alongside pictures of half-naked women. There are many vocal women's rights groups and it is an issue that is openly discussed in the media.

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

There really is no reason to take vacation outside of Nicaragua as there is so much to do and see here, especially if you love nature. There are active volcanoes, beautiful beaches for surfing, Corn Island for snorkeling, Laguna de Apoyo, the mountains of Matalgalpa, Selva Negra, Finca Esperanza, and Granada for colonial homes and good food. You can volcano board down Cerro Negro. Our favorite trip is to Sabalos Lodge on the Rio San Juan (border with Costa Rica). We have seen monkeys, sloths, caiman, lots of tropical birds, sharks. Very similar to Costa Rica and the tourists have discovered this.

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

Sabalos Lodge on the Rio San Juan.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Nicaragua has very good coffee, cigars and Flor de Cana rum. Hammocks are also nice. Some people like the ceramics.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Managua is not particularly interesting but there are a lot of parks for families, including the edge of the lake where there are activities for kids and restaurants. Most of the major Hollywood movies come here. Yes, there is traffic.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Yes, definitely.

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2. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Books: Blood of Brothers by Stephen Kinzer, The Country Under My Skin by Gioconda Belli, poetry by Ruben Dario.
Movies: Under Fire with Nick Nolte

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3. Do you have any other comments?

Take every opportunity to explore the country and get out of Managua. Do your best to befriend Nicaraguans as they are a very kind and generous people. They love their country and want to share it with you. There has been a long history between the U.S. and Nicaragua; get to know that history and ask Nicaraguans about it.

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Managua, Nicaragua 03/04/12

Background:

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

First expat experience.

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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?

Washington DC. A few hours flight, with one stop in either Houston, Atlanta or Miami.

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3. How long have you lived here?

May 2008-June 2010.

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

US Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

The expat community is spread out throughout the city. Families with kids tend to get spacious houses, with large backyards and pools. Everyone lives in decent-sized houses as there are no apartments or condos for expats. Most American expats lives in neighborhoods about 15-20 minutes from the embassy.

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

There are two chain supermarkets with a decent, though not extensive, variety of groceries, mostly local with a smattering of US products. A PriceMart membership is a must for expats. It's similar to Costco and is the only place we ever found cottage cheese, real orange juice, cranberries, and certain types of cereal. The prices are roughly the equivalent of non-membership stores in the US. In general, buying local products will save you a lot of money.

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

Clothing and shoes in sizes ahead for children (good quality kids gear is expensive locally). Uniform shorts/skirts. The local ones are cheaply made and uncomfortable.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are a couple of nice, clean McDonald's with play areas. Prices are about the same as in the US. Tip Top is a local chain specializing in chicken. It's kid friendly and also has a play area. Very reasonable prices.

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

Specialty products are virtually non-existent. As a vegetarian, I ate local non-meat foods, fruits, veg...and managed to find "carne de soya" at La Colonia supermarket. My gluten-free husband used a bread maker to make his own bread, using specialty flours we brought from home.

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

Tiny ants will be permanent residents in your home. There's no stopping them. We kept ALL open food in the fridge or freezer. Mosquitoes are abundant and do carry dengue. Lightweight long sleeved shirts and long pants are handy to have, especially if you're outside at dusk.

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Daily Life:

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

DPO.

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

US$150-$200/month for a maid or nanny. About the same or less for a gardener or driver.

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

Club Terraza is a country club with very nice gym facilities and a swimming pool (membership required for gym). The US embassy has a workout area as well. There are a couple of local gyms to join.

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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?

Credit cards are widely accepted, but there are still MANY places where it's cash only (smaller businesses, restaurants).

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

There is at least one Catholic service in English and probably Protestant as well, since there is a community of missionaries.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

No English newspaper. Cablenet package included several English channels (network stations plus CNN, BBC and more). Not expensive.

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

The more Spanish you know, the better your experience will be. Few people speak English.

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

It would be pretty difficult. Sidewalks aren't very well maintained. Most places would be difficult to access.

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Transportation:

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

Local buses are NOT safe. Certain reputable taxis are safe and reasonably priced.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Certain places are inaccessible without an SUV due to the dirt roads, especially in the rainy season.

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Phone & Internet:

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

Yes, not expensive.

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

You just buy one and purchase minutes as you go.

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Pets:

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?

No.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Veterinaro Asociado was very good. Never used a kennel. Gardeners or maids will usually care for pets while owners are away.

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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?

Not so many opportunities. Teaching jobs are sometimes available.

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

Business, casual. Never sloppy.

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Health & Safety:

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

Robbery is fairly common. It's important to stay within the areas that are known to be safer, especially at night. Being vigilant at all times and taking basic safety precautions are essential. A lot of it is just common sense (always drive with doors locked, keep cash and valuables hidden, etc.) We never let our guard down, and nothing ever happened to us.

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

There's one good hospital that is just about up to first world standards. Many expat women choose to have their babies here. We saw a few specialists here and were generally satisfied with the care.

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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?

Moderate in the city and good outside the city. People burn trash, so the air is sometimes smoky.

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

Hot and dry (around Dec-May) or hot and wet (mid-May until Dec.) The temperature rarely drops below 80 degrees, except in the mountains. Air conditioning is scarce around town. This is not a great post for those who are especially sensitive to heat.

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Schools & Children:

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

Most Americans send their children to ANS (American Nicaraguan School) or Lincoln Academy (Catholic-preK thru 12). Our son had a wonderful experience at ANS. The school met US standards on every level.

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

Services are limited. The American school does not have a special education program, but does offer academic support for students who require it.

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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?

There are several preschool choices in Managua. A few are bilingual (English/Spanish). Our son attended preschool at ANS beginning at age three.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Many expat kids were on soccer teams separate from their school. ANS offers several sports programs, especially for older kids.

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Expat Life:

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

Small to medium.

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2. Morale among expats:

All over the board. This post is what you make of it.

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

People tend to entertain outdoors, at home. There are some good restaurants and bars.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I'd say it's best for couples. Families can have a good time here, but there's a distinct lack of kid-friendly activities in Managua.

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

I've heard that it's limited.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

There might be, but nobody that we knew was ever harassed in any way.

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

Enjoying the beautiful beaches, exploring the volcanoes, hiking, and shopping for handcrafted items from local artisans.

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

The nearest beaches are an hour away. Within 30 minutes you can reach the Volcan Masaya, the town of Masaya (wonderful artisan market), the historic city of Granada, hike at el Chocoyero (parakeet forest/waterfall) and much more. Managua has some good restaurants, a VIP theater (order sushi and drinks!) and a nice and safe (but small) mall to stroll around.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Local travel, weekend trips, pottery, crafts.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Nicaragua is a hidden gem, full of natural beauty-once you're outside of Managua. The weekend trip options are nearly endless. Another advantage is that domestic help is VERY affordable.

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11. Can you save money?

Yes.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Yes.

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

Winter gear (though a sweatshirt and jeans are very necessary in the higher altitudes).

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3. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen, sunhat, swimsuit, sense of humor, patience....

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

This can be a tough post for stay-at-home moms or spouses without full-time employment. Managua has little to offer and it can be difficult to fill your days. However, there is a lot of opportunity for volunteer work and potential for adventure. Attitude is everything.

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Managua, Nicaragua 03/15/11

Background:

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

No, Geneva, Switzerland and Caracas, Venezuela

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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?

DC to Miami is about 2 hours and 40 mins and from Miami to Managua about 2 hours and 20 mins.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years

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

government

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Most U.S. Embassy homes are 20 mins from work. The houses tend to be large and nice, though with small kitchens.

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

Many groceries are available here, though imports are expensive. We have a Pricemart (like BJ's, Sam's Club, ect) so we get more American products than I have seen in other areas. Veggies aren't great here.

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

Toilet paper and paper towels (not very good here), cereal (extremely expensive), corn meal (can't get it here), wheat flour if you use it

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's, one chinese delivery place, yes we do have delivery here. Cost is cheaper than the US.

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

You can get Silk at Pricemart, can't say if there are other organic, veggie, allergy-friendly things, though. I don't need them.

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

mosquitoes

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Daily Life:

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

DPO

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

A full-time housekeeper will cost $200 to $300 a month. Gardener around $100 a month. Many people have drivers as well, though I don't know the cost. They are cheaper if they drive your car, expensive if you expect them to provide the vehicle.

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

Yes but they are expensive, There is a nice gym at the embassy.

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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?

You need to be careful where you use these. The main grocery and Pricemart, good resturants are fine.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes, but not sure where.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

We have Purtorican DirecTV, ($50 a month) which I love. The local tv has some channels in English ($25 a month).

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

Spanish, most people do not speak English.

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

There aren't alot of ramps and sidewalks. It would be very difficult to live here with a disablity.

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Transportation:

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

You wouldn't use the buses, they are packed and not safe for non-locals. Taxis you'd want to get the name of a good one from a friends, they can be dangerous.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

4x4 or just an SUV is best. We have many pot holes (really large ones).Traveling to the beach alot of roads are just dirt.

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Phone & Internet:

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

Yes, $50 to $75 a month.

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

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Pets:

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?

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

I have heard that there are good vets.

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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?

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

At work it is business casual, outside of work is casual to really casual.

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Health & Safety:

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

Crime is high here, but if you take normal precausions you shouldn't have a problem, it is non-violent crime. They would rather robe an empty home. Most homes have bars over windows and doors, good locks and alarms.

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

Medical care here is excellent, I had a baby here (c-section) and was very happy, though for hospitalizations the nursing staff is lacking. Doctors and dentists are very good and cheap (compared to the US).

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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?

moderate polution

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

It is 85 to 90 degrees F all year round. Rainy season starts in April and goes through November. It's a bit hotter in the rainy season than in the dry season. April and May tend to be a bit humid, maybe 50% until the rainy season really gets underway. Normally it's probably 10 to 30% humidity, very reasonable. It's normally breezy so in the shade it is lovely. Though the sun is very strong.

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Schools & Children:

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

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

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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?

Full time nannies are afordable.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

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

large

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2. Morale among expats:

good

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

Yes, for the U.S. Embassy, not sure about outside of it. There is a Nica Girl's night for expats, normally around 60 women there, most are not from the embassy.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

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

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I know of.

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

I love living here, the expat community does things together. There are many wonderful resturants and cafes. It's not true city living, which I love, it's more rural than a normal city. There is traffic, but not nearly as bad as many other places.

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

Markets, volcanoes to hike, beaches, one theater (for broadway type shows), boat trips, wonderful movie theaters, great resturants.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Woodwork, hammocks, embroidered clothes, pottery

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

You can save some money here, if you are careful. We have some very nice beaches close. The weather is lovely if you like it warm with minimal humidity (most of the time).The people are very friendly and helpful.

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11. Can you save money?

Yes, but you have to try

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Words of Wisdom:

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

I want to stay, I don't want to leave, I absolutely love it here!

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

coats

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3. But don't forget your:

patience, it's a bit slower down here, things take longer to get done.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Managua, Nicaragua 04/02/09

Background:

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

No. Sofia, Skopje, and Tegucigalpa.

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2. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

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3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

From the U.S. -2.5 hours from Miami and 3 hours from Houston.

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

Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Houses prevail with small or larger yards. Some luxury apartments are available. Three main residential areas are common among expats. The city is spread out with dispersed communities, and the commute time from your residence to the Embassy is typically 25-35 minutes during rush hour.

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

Groceries are inexpensive if you stay away from the imported goods from the U.S. which is typically overpriced two-to-three fold. Cleaning supplies and paper products are relatively expensive.

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

This is a post that does not enjoy the variety of many U.S. goods (like it was the case with neighboring Honduras where one could find almost, almost anything at more reasonable prices -- pie plates, toys, supplies etc.). So bring anything you know you cannot live without, comfort foods, sports equipments or craft or art supplies. Baby consumables are expensive, and baby jarred food is limited, although you can prepare your own meals with the fresh groceries and a Cuisinart.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Most of the fast food chains are here. McDonalds, Domino Pizza, Burger King, Quiznos and a few others. A combo meal at Burger King is approximately 5 US dollars. There is a local Nica fast food chain for fried chicken called Tip-Top; the chicken is good. One also can find a nice restaurant chain called RostiPollo which offers excellent rotisserie chicken and a large menu with a wide variety of chicken dishes and salads. Eskimo has an excellent restaurant and snack bar attached to their ice cream factory. There are several decent restaurants offering Mexican/Central American fare -- steaks, fajitas, tacos, tortillas, fried beans and similar food.

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

Dengue mosquitoes are a problem in Managua.

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Daily Life:

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

By DPO/APO.

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

It's quite reasonable, but reliable help is hard to find.

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

Yes. Private sports clubs are available, but expensive.

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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?

We use cash.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes. Catholic.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes. Cable TV has English channels. English newspapers are not available.

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

You must speak Spanish. Not many people understand English, and your maid or gardener will not speak anything but Spanish. In stores and reastuarants you can only get by with Spanish.

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

Nothing is designed to make it easy for people with physical disabilities, from hotels and restaurants, to sidewalks and stores. The only ramps and facilitating devices I've seen are at the shopping malls, airport, ANS campus and the Embassy.

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Transportation:

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

No. No trains. Buses are crowded, not safe and have scarce routes. Taxis are not recommended, except when they are directly connected with a hotel or deal with a known driver.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

You definitely need a good SUV with high clearance due to large potholes and 6-7 inch speed bumps. During the rainy season, streets get muddy/flooded and difficult to navigate. Outside Managua, most of the secondary roads are not paved. Gasoline is quite expensive.

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Phone & Internet:

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

Yes. There are three speed options; we pay for a medium speed internet connection at a monthly cost of 46 U.S. dollars, and it serves our purposes, including Skype.

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

Two major cell phone operators. Claro has better coverage than Movistar in the rural areas. The prepaid cards are a good option at $20 and avoid any customer service problems. A cell is a must for security reasons.

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Pets:

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?

No.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes.

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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?

Limited opportunities available at the international schools if you have a teaching certificate.

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

Business attire is required for the embassy personnel who have representational duties.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good in general. Moderate during the dry season.

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2. What immunizations are required each year?

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

Crime is lower than other Central American countries, but security concerns have increased in recent months due to the political and economic situation. Residential robberies and assaults are more frequent than before. Taxi assaults are so common that many expats avoid using them.

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

Respiratory problems are exacerbated with the dust and burning of the fields during the dry season. Dengue is at an epidemic level this year.

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

Dry and rainy season. Extremely hot and humid.

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Schools & Children:

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

Two major international schools preferred by expats. The ANS -- a large K3-12 grade school (1200+ students) and a smaller Catholic school called the Lincoln School. Our second grader is in her second year at the American Nicaraguan School. Our experience is good overall when it comes to academics (maybe at times the curriculum even is overly ambitious), but other areas such as campus, food availability at campus, after-class activities, charities and other events organized by the school leave a lot to be desired.

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

The ANS has a school counselor as well as a professional who is in charge of the reading/literacy program, but when it comes to recognizing GT kids as well as kids with learning disabilities, students and parents cannot expect the standards of the U.S. school system.

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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?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

A few. The ANS has an excellent swimming program and facilities. Soccer and other sports are also organized for kids.

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Expat Life:

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

Besides the Embassy and international PVOs, it's small.

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2. Morale among expats:

Not high.

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

People find it difficult and not very easy or pleasant place to be.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It's not a fun city for kids -- there are not many places to take kids besides the mall, the movies and the fast food places. Singles and couples may have better times since there are restaurants and bars.

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

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not many, but occasionally one encounters racial and other prejudices, including among students at the schools.

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

One can reach the beaches within 1 to 2 hours, and explore the wild beauty of a land with volcanoes and lakes galore.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Rocking chairs, hammocks, rum and coffee.

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9. Can you save money?

Yes.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Maybe.

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

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3. But don't forget your:

Mosquito repellent, serious sun blocker and patience.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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Managua, Nicaragua 03/08/08

Background:

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

No. I have also lived in Manila, Singapore, Nairobi, and Copenhagen.

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2. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

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3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

About 12 hours not counting the stop overs which could be between 2 to 3 cities depending on the airline.

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

I am a diplomatic spouse affiliated with a European Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Good, mostly with pools and big gardens and about a 20-minute drive to our embassy.

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

Everything seems to be available at one time or another. Except for vegetables and meat, prices for imported items are comparable to European ones.

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

Ingredients (spices) for exotic Asian cuisine. Although there a lot of Korean and Taiwanese shops here, there are no real Indian, Thai and good Chinese products. If you do come across some, they are expensive.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

McDonald's, KFC, Burger King and their local KFC - Tip-top. Restaurants are so-so, nothing to write home about.

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Daily Life:

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

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

Full time all-around maid, nannies are anywhere between US$120 - 250 monthly; drivers: US$200 - 350 monthly; gardener: US$80 monthly (ours works once a week).

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

I haven't heard of credit card fraud per se but it's still common to use them only in reputable shops and restaurants. Aside from the banks, ATMs can be found in shopping malls and some gas station convenience stores.

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4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Through cable TV and most popular American movies, yes, but most are dubbed. You can get women's magazines in English. Newspapers in English exist but are hard to come by. The Nica times is published in collaboration with Costa Rica's Tico Times.

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

For shopping, you need basic Spanish but in reality, good Spanish is required to live here as very few to none of the locals speak English. It just makes life easier and expands your social circle.

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

Many. Except for the Vivian Pellas hospital and some embassies, buildings are not designed to consider physical disabilities.

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Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

Right-hand side of the road.

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

There have been increasing reports of cab drivers' complicity with crime elements in the city plus the hassle of negotiating the fare before hand and still end up paying 3 or more times than the locals. Buses are okay but very crowded. Regional buses are dependable, comfortable and affordable to travel in to neighboring countries.

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3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

If you want to reach the beautiful beach areas of the country, it's best to have a 4-wheel drive. Dealers of known American and Asian brand cars are represented. Carjacking is not a problem here.

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Phone & Internet:

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

US$50 for DSL.

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

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3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

Skype.

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Pets:

1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes. Vets are hit or miss as well, so go to Vets recommended by other expats.

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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?

As volunteers, yes. Paid, not so many.

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

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Moderate.

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

Increasing in Managua but more so in San Juan del Sur which is one of the known tourist destinations in the country.

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

Dengue is prevalent even in Managua. Quallity of medical care for expats is quite good especially at the Vivian Pellas hospital mainly because we can afford it. But we still rely on good recommendations.

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

Wet and dry, dusty and windy in between.

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Schools & Children:

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

The American Nicaragua School is listed as an International School but I found out that it's not. It is what it is exactly, an American (AP) and Nicaraguan (majority of the children are from the elite class) school. We had a very bad experience with bullying there (verbal and physical) and had to move our son when threats escalated to other public places outside school premises. It has happened to others too but those cases were no threats in public.

Lincoln Academy in Las Colinas has fewer expat children offers the IB curriculum and there are other less known but good local schools like Pierre Marie Curie where some Dutch, French and other Europeans go to. There are also German, French and Swedish schools as alternatives. Our son is now very happy where he is and we're glad to have moved him.

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

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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?

I have no personal experience but know quite a few people who are happy with Manzanita.

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Expat Life:

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

Compared to Asia and Africa, small.

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2. Morale among expats:

Poor to okay. Let's just say that most expats I have spoken with who have completed their tour of duty this year are more excited than sad to leave.

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

Mostly in each others' houses.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Okay for families, couples and single men. For single women, it can be a challenge.

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

There's a couple of gay clubs but generally no. I know some local gays that have moved to the U.S. and Costa Rica to live a more open life.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Racial, yes. Dark skinned are openly discriminated against by the light skinned elite. I have experienced it.

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

Going to the movies, nearby beaches on the Pacific Coast, and the highlands North of Managua.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Hammocks (how many can you have). The pottery, although unique and pretty, cannot be put together when they break as they crumble and turn to powder. There's a big selection of leather items, which are pricey but quite okay.

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9. Can you save money?

If you don't travel too much in the area including within the country, use only local ingredients and not shop for clothes, etc. Yes.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

No.

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

Analytical mind - just be ready to accept things as they are.

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3. But don't forget your:

Patience, bathing gear, and mosquito repellent.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

The country is beautiful but expensive given the economic situation of most Nicaraguans. Like one poster here said, it's an easy hard post. It's a great place to visit but living here is another matter. Half the time you feel you are not really welcome. First time posters would probably disagree but having experienced other places, we don't mind moving on.

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Managua, Nicaragua 02/23/08

Background:

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

Third expat experience - I have also lived in Central America and South Asia prior.

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2. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

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3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

One stop usually from U.S. (Either Atlanta, Miami or Houston).

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

I have an assignment at the U.S. Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Crummy USAID housing but OK to great for State Department housing.

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

Comparable to Washington, DC.

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

Everything is available at Pricemart!

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Decent restaurants but few that will rank with Zagat!

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Daily Life:

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

APO.

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

About US$40 - $70/week for full time maid. Nannys are available as well.

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

Let your bank know that you will be going to Nicaragua. Our credit card was shut off with a fraud alert after we arrived. Credit card fraud does take place.

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4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes - Catholic, Mormon, 7th Day Adventist and Non-Denominational.

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5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Cable/Satellite TV is available.

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

You need to have basic Spanish at a minimum.

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

There are huge difficulties. With the exception of the Embassy facilities, there are not many handicapped accessible buildings.

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Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

Same as the U.S.

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

Taxi's don't have any meters and people have had issues with drivers ripping off non-Nicaraguans.

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3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

There are dealers for Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Mazda. Most U.S. families have an SUV.

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Phone & Internet:

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

OK - DSL costs approximately US$50/month.

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

Enitel has the better coverage and everyone in Nicaragua has a cell phone.

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3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

Internet phone.

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Pets:

1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There are many pets at post with OK vets. There are no great kennels so boarding is usually with other families at the embassy.

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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?

No - just occasional EFM jobs at the Embassy or teaching jobs at one of the international schools.

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

It depends on the section - usually business casual to business.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Moderate.

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

Petty crime is on the increase. People had items stolen from their cars.

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

Occasional we have stomach issues but the health unit and Vivian Pellas Hospital are good.

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

Dry season and rainy season. We loved the climate.

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Schools & Children:

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

Levels of satisfaction vary but one can chose from American Nicaraguan School, Lincoln School (Christian) and Nicaraguan Christian Academy.

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

Not sure what they do at the school, but nothing is done for special needs grown ups in the Embassy!

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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?

There are OK preschools in the Las Colinas neighborhood.

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Expat Life:

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

Growing - presently about 100 official with an ever increasing amount of expats in the beach towns on the Pacific Ocean.

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2. Morale among expats:

Poor to OK but with the summer transfer season it could improve. This is one of the more difficult and non-cohesive Embassies we've worked in.

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3. 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, a few bars/clubs and frequent events at people's houses.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Great for families and couples. Singles complain about a depleted dating pool as Nicaraguans often marry quite young.

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

Not sure, but there is at least one GLBT nightclub.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

There is a strong class structure and many Asian and Black FSO/LES personnel have reported difficulties and/or open discrimination.

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

Shopping at one of the two malls, traveling around Nicaragua. Some personnel fish, mountain bike, hike and surf too.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Great ceramics and hammocks.

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9. Can you save money?

Yes - unless you are traveling out of Nicaragua often.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Tough question - We loved the country but it was a very difficult embassy in which to work.

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

Skis, sleds and expectation that anything in Nicaragua will ever be done when it is promised.

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3. But don't forget your:

Patience, patience, beach gear, and an onward assignment with a departure date!

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

From Friday afternoon to Monday morning, we loved Nicaragua, but the work week almost threatened our love for this beautiful country. The reduction in Post Differential from 15% to 10%, due to an oversight at Post, had a big impact on the decreasing morale.

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