Buyer’s Guide

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You Have Chosen a Beautiful Country

With its impressive coastlines, immense freshwater lakes, temperate forested highlands and world-class beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts Nicaragua is truly a country of unsurpassed beauty. The historic and well preserved colonial cities of Leon and Granada will take you back to the earliest times in the Americas. While the modern bustling metropolis of Managua will feel a lot like every major city with its modern international airport, and all the amenities of a world class capital city.

Nicaragua Is Easy To Get To

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America – about the size of the state of New York. It lies between Honduras on the north and Costa Rica on its southern border. There are direct flights to Managua’s international airport from Miami, Atlanta and Houston with connections to all major American and Canadian cities. For example leaving Toronto at about 7:00 am you can go through Miami and be in Managua in time for a late lunch. From the airport by rental car or taxi it is less than two hours to our beach at Salinas Grandes, near Leon. You will appreciate the added value that this ease of access brings to your beach front investment.

Nicaragua Is A Safe Country

For the record Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America and one of the safest in all the Americas – in a class with Canada.

A Brief History

In the sixteenth century the pacific coast was colonized by Spanish settlers from Panama. Nicaragua became independent from Spain in 1821 and became a republic in 1838. The Caribbean coast was occupied by Britain for the first half of the 19th century.

In 1978 opposition to government corruption resulted in a brief civil war that put the socialist Sandinistas in power. Sandinista aid to rebels in El Salvador resulted in an intervention by us sponsored “contras” through the 1980’s. Since the 1990’s the country has been a stable democracy with free elections.

 A Few Facts

  • Area: approximately 50,000 square miles.
  • Population: about 5.9 Million
  • Climate: tropical on the coasts and in the lowlands, temperate in the highlands.
  • Capital city: Managua
  • Government: a democratic republic with free elections
  • Flag: three horizontal equal bands of blue/white/blue.
  • The Nicaraguan coat of arms is centered on the white band.
  • Religion: Roman Catholic 60%, Evangelical 22%, other 18%
  • Time zone: gmt-6
  • Electricity: 115v AC
  • Telephone country code: 505
  • Currency & exchange rate: the cordoba ( C$ ) 1 C$ = 100 centavos.
  •  Denominations are: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and up.
  • One US dollar is generally worth about 20 cordobas.

Credit Cards

Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted by internationally recognized merchants, service stations and ATMs.

Sales Tax

The normal retail sales tax is 15%

Emergency Numbers

Fire 118;  red cross 128; traffic accident 119


Country code: 505
More than half the population have cell phones. Internet cafes and WIFI areas are abundant in the cities but computer access to the internet may be difficult in rural areas. The country code is .ni.


The main newspapers are Nuevo Diario, La Prensa and The Confidential.

The Nicaraguan Economy

The country relies on international aid to meet internal financial obligations1.
The US – Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been in effect since 2006 and has assisted in the growth of the manufacturing and agriculture sectors. Total exports in 2009 were over $2.3 billion. Textile products account for more than half of all exports. The country’s total labor force is about 2.4 million. Agricultural output includes sugar cane, coffee, bananas, corn, cotton, rice, shrimp, lobster, beans, beef, veal, pork and poultry. The main manufacturing industries are: food processing, metal products, machinery, textiles, chemicals, furniture, petroleum products, beverages, and tobacco. Exports include coffee, beef, seafood, tobacco, sugar, gold and peanuts. Annual imports total about $4 billion and consist mainly of consumer goods, machinery, equipment, various raw materials and petroleum products.

Embassies in Nicaragua

The US embassy:

location: kilometer 5 ½ (5.5) Carretera Sur, Managua
Telephone: +505 2252-7100
Fax: +505 2252-7304

The Canadian embassy:

location: Costado Oriental de la Casa Nasareth, Una Cuadra Arriba, Calle El Noval, Managua
Telephone: +505 268 0433
Fax: +505 268 0437
Nicaraguan embassy in the US:
1627 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

The Nicaraguan Climate

There are essentially two seasons in Nicaragua – the rainy winter (may to October) and the dry summer (November to April). During the dry season the pacific coast the climate is relatively temperate with the warmest months being in the early part of the rainy season. It should be noted that during the dry season it rarely rains while during the rainy season there may be significant rain several times each month.

The Cost Of Living in Nicaragua

Your maid will cook, clean, do the laundry and the shopping for about $4.00 US per day. Local produce and freshly caught seafood will be sold at your door for much less than you would expect. The low cost of living is widely cited as one of the country’s main attractions.

Nicaragua’s Retiree Benefits

  • As a foreigner retiring in Nicaragua you would be entitled to a series of tax benefits as follows:
  • Pay no tax on out-of-country earning
  • Import up to $10,000 worth of household goods for your own home duty free
  • Import one vehicle for personal or general use duty free. The vehicle can be sold after five years without sales tax.
  • An additional vehicle can be imported duty free every five years.
  • Your Health Care in Nicaragua
  • A number of hospitals and private clinics provide quality health care at very reasonable rates and doctors make house calls routinely for about $35. To see a doctor at a hospital or clinic could cost $30 and a cat scan could be $100 while an x-ray could be $17. First rate dental care is equally affordable by US trained practitioners. In fact some Americans go to Nicaragua simply for the high quality, very affordable, dental care.

Nicaragua is a Great Place to Do Business

The country is a stable democracy and has ratified free-trade agreements with the United States and other countries. The business climate is very favorable, costs are highly competitive and the labor pool is deep and productive. In 2011 the World Bank Group’s doing business report on 183 nations recommended Nicaragua as the best location in Central America to start a business. On a world-wide basis Nicaragua was ranked 97 out of 183 countries. Costa Rica was ranked 116 and the other Central American countries were far behind.

Real Estate in Nicaragua

The sub-prime market crisis in the US and the world-wide economic crisis temporarily stalled the developing real estate market in Nicaragua which, as you may know is on the verge of a major boom paralleling that of its neighbor, Costa Rica. However, according to the natural law of real estate “that beach front price which falls will rise again because the supply is fixed, very limited and very desirable”. There is also another important axiom, “first come – first served” followed by “he who hesitates has lost”. Please forgive the foregoing bit of nonsense – but the message should be clear. Circumstances have presented you, the buyer, with a very fortunate, but temporary, opportunity. It is yours for the taking. Don’t waste it.

The Nicaraguan Real Estate Hot Spot

According to the industry gurus the beach front real estate hot spot is on the pacific coast and is referred to as the Nicaraguan Rivera. Hence the name of our company, the Nicaraguan Rivera S.A.

Buying Real Estate in Nicaragua

The following is provided by International Living, the pre-eminent authority on purchasing property in Nicaragua.

Step 1: Check The Title

Before you pay a deposit have an attorney check the title of the property. Title registers are retained locally, so a local attorney should know of any properties in the area with title issues. (Sometimes it is a good idea to have a couple of attorneys check the title: a local attorney and a firm in Managua.)

Step 2: Sign The Promise To Sell

Real estate transactions are usually overseen by a notary. (That position is the highest level of attorney qualification in Nicaragua, and is awarded by the state.) In Nicaragua rules regarding conflict of interest are non-existent. Thus your attorney might be working for both you and the seller. Some times an attorney may not disclose this fact, even if asked.

Once you have agreed on a purchase price with the seller, the notary will prepare a promesa de venta (promise to sell). This is a three-party agreement signed by the buyer, seller and notary. If the document is in Spanish be sure to have it translated in full. Upon its execution, the notary will prepare a testimonio. This is an exact copy of the promesa and is placed in the public records to advise other prospective buyers that the property is under contract.

Step 3: Sign The Deed

Once all conditions of the promesa have been met, the notary will prepare an escritura (deed) to be executed by the buyer, seller and notary. Once again a testimonio is prepared. This is taken to the property registry and an appraisal of the property is done. An appraisal certificate is issued and submitted to the I.R.S. along with the tesimonio. Once the transfer taxes have been paid, the testimonio is recorded in the public registry office of the municipal government.

Moving to Nicaragua

According to major us news sources Nicaragua is an ideal retirement haven. The country was declared the “best kept retirement secret” by MSNBC and Nicaragua was rated as one of the top ten retiree destinations in the world by U.S. News and world report. According to decree no. 628, The “law of resident pensioners and retirees” in order to obtain a residency permit you must be at least 45 years of age and provide the following:

  • Proof of income of at least $400 us per month
  • A valid passport
  • Photos
  • A certified criminal record check from your former country of residence
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage license
  • A health certificate
  • A cash payment

A Note Regarding Passports

In order to enter the country for any reason all passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entering Nicaragua.

Title Insurance

All properties sold by the Nicaraguan Rivera S.A. Will be pre-qualified for title insurance.


All properties sold by the Nicaraguan Rivera S.A. will:

  • be accessible by adequate roads
  • be serviced by a community water supply and an appropriate sewage system
  • be serviced with hydro

Shopping Culture and Entertainment

Shops in the local village will supply fresh sea-foods and basic staples. For the wide selection of groceries found in north America you will make the short trip to one of the well-stocked supermarkets in Leon where you will find a full selection of produce, meats, dairy products, household needs, beer, wine and liquors at reasonable prices. In Leon you will find an abundance of cultural attractions including magnificent, historic cathedrals, art galleries, restaurants, medical and hospital services and many bustling markets.

The Lagoons

Significant and attractive features of our beach at Salinas Grandes are the tranquil salt water lagoons that enclose both ends of the beach. For those who are not surfers and do not wish to frolic in the waves at the beach the lagoons provide the perfect alternative. There the water is calm and warm, the bottom is pure sand, as is the beach, with no holes, rocks, weeds or other hazards – and at high or low tide there is no current. A friendly pelican could join you in the water looking for a hand-out.

A Surfers Delight

Our beach has recently been discovered by the surfing community and is regarded as an excellent location due to the shallow waters and sand bars extending from the lagoons that create excellent surfing conditions every day.

The Village at Salinas Grandes

In the village there are very few automobiles and many pedestrians of the two-legged (poultry and people) and the four-legged kind (if you could find it on a farm you’ll find it in the village). There are several shops selling basic staples and refreshments. Local transportation means generally include walking, bicycling, horseback, horse and buggy, the occasional oxcart and the local bus to Leon several times daily. There is a municipal water supply, 115/230 volt electricity and a cell phone tower. The local employers are The salt works and owner of the outboard motor powered fishing fleet.

The Local Population

The villagers are generally Spanish speaking descendants of the local native population. They are hardy, cheerful and friendly. The children attend the local elementary and high schools and our company is supporting a newly established preschool for the younger children.