Central America-The New Riviera!

When it comes to luxury vacations, sunbathing on the French Riviera in Nice, France in my skimpy bikini wearing my designer sunglasses would be the perfect dream comes true. Maybe take a scene right out of “lifestyles of the rich and Famous”.

Nowadays, discretionary travel spending dollars even for the luxury vacation spender are slowly getting tight. On top of that it’s getting harder to find an airline that won’t nickel and dime you to death.
For just a short plane ride from anywhere in North America you can choose one of 7 Central American destinations each with its unique blend of fun and adventure and a melting pot of fascinating cultures.
A round trip ticket from Miami to Paris will set you back $ 450.00 each way. On the other hand a round trip ticket from New York to Managua, Nicaragua makes my wallet feel warm and fuzzy at $497.00.

If you’re like me, as much as I enjoy kicking back on the beach and soaking up the sand and sun, I do get a little bored after awhile and love discovering other relaxing but fun activities. I have loved the fact that while travelling to different Central American destinations, I had the luxury of a picturesque beach and usually just a short hike away from a paradise hidden in the mountains with volcanic rivers, horesbackriding, bird watching and some of the most beautiful botanical gardens you could ever imagine.

Beaches, Beaches and more!
Now let’s talk about beaches! Some of the most magnificent beaches can be found in Central America. The isthmus of Central America has the geographical luxury of sitting in between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Much to your delight you’ll revel in consistently warm waters, thriving marine life, and soft sands across two diverse coastlines, the Pacifc Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The majority of the Central America tourism industry is focused along the edges. The second largest barrier reef in the world runs along Central America’s Caribbean side. And you can surround yourself with coconut palms, reggae beats, lots of nightlife, and offer lodging, dining, and nightlife options for every budget.

The Central America vibe on the Pacific side is no less vibrant. You’ll find most of your luxury hotels on this side. The Pacific side is where you’ll find most prime surfing and fishing locations. Something you won’t find while vacationing in Rio de Janeiro. A word of caution here… The closer you get to the equator, the more intense the UV rays so strong sunscreen will be a daily requirement.

LODGING
I would say, the drawback with vacationing on most of the more popular islands like Jamaica, Bahamas etc. is basically the cost. The average hotel stay in Dominican Republic will run you about $250.00 per night per person on average. In Central America, You’ll find a variety of lodging options, from all inclusive resorts to quaint bed and breakfasts overlooking the ocean You could spend a night in a beautiful beachside bungalow in Nicaragua for around $70.00 per night.

Luxury Central America travel is also relatively new in Honduras and Belize. For five-star accommodations in Honduras, you will find InterContinental properties here, including the Real San Pedro Sula and the Real Tegucigalpa, but there are some good beach and diving resorts on the beaches. Belize is fast becoming known for its intimate eco lodges.

Luxury Central America travel is also possible by boat, as numerous international cruise lines offer cruises that stop at ports here. A number of the cruise lines utilize luxurious smaller ship with capacities of only 60 to 150 passengers. Many of the cruises transit through the Panama Canal.

NEW HOT TOURIST DESTINATIONS
Another up-and-coming destination for an affordable luxury vacation is Nicaragua, one of my favorite destinations. The country features beautiful beaches, spectacular active volcanoes that provide great places to hike, and historical cities featuring vibrant nightlife, lots of festivals, and bargain filled shopping opportunities. Nicaragua has the advantages of many attractions combined with beaches that rival those of more popular destinations. This country, the largest in Central America has an extensive coastline. Most beach-hunters migrate to San Juan Del Sur close to the border with Costa Rica. Although small by most beach community standards, San Juan del Sur offers lots of attractions: surfing, sailing, sport fishing, and sunbathing, along with amazing ecological beauty. Palm trees, lagoons, and wildlife all a part of the landscape and each year you’ll find sea turtles that nest in San Juan del Sur’s sands.

Today, an affordable luxury Central American vacation is even possible in tiny El Salvador, which is known primarily for its excellent Pacific Ocean surfing.

SAFETY ISSUES
Most of Central America is safer than ever before. However, some countries are safer than others. And certain parts of each country are more (and less) safe than the rest.
Nicaragua was once a country that was considered dangerous to tourists, but because of a change in leadership and a long period of peace, Nicaragua is a new favorite of tourists all over the world.

Best Times to Visit
While Central America benefits from a tropical climate year-round, the dry season is the most pleasant time to visit the region. The main part of dry season runs from January to March, with the months of December and April varying in weather conditions from country to country. At the beginning of dry season, prepare for cool morning and evening weather. In Belize and Panama, the season starts later — in February — but Nicaragua and Honduras have a longer dry season, beginning in December. Outside the dry season, in addition to humidity, travelers may face, heavy rain, and infrequent tropical storms You probably want to just skip the holiday season from Christmas through New Year’s and around Easter week — these are beach crowded times when local residents head out on vacation. One of the really cool things about vacationing in Central America is the fact that you can have an affordable luxury vacation that combines rainforest expeditions, water sports, pristine beaches, jaw dropping sunsets, all combined. To me, it just makes dollars and sense.

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Send your mind on Vacation!

After basking in another beautiful sunset in Poneloya Beach, Nicaragua, I could not help but take in a another deep sigh–Pure relief and relaxation– I was finally far, far away from my old 7-day-2-job-work-week routine! Here, an ocean away from the gridlock traffic on I-4, the nearest shopping mall is an hour away. I don’t have a car but you know that’s just fine with me because what really matters is that I am only 10 yards away from the pool bar, where my next delicious tropical cocktail – made from exotic tropical fruits I’ve never heard of before – is being mixed by the friendly bartender with the gorgeous smile. And, “Yes!” my favorite Bob Marley tune is tickling my ears as I glance over at the sumptuous buffet heaping with delicacies I can’t wait to treat my stomach to! Ahhhh Paradise…

There is something therapeutic about watching a beautiful sunset as it slowly fades into the Pacific Ocean. Besides thinking how I could mentally jot this all down to share it with you later, my mind is free of any thoughts that would disturb my appreciation of the most beautiful landscape I could ever imagine.

Studies have shown that unless you are mentally “disconnected” from all the electronic media (and that means all things internet), you will be less likely to derive any benefits from vacationing and in fact can cause more harm than good. But are you REALLY going on vacation when you take along your laptop, blackberry, ipad, and cell phone while you stay connected to all your email and social media apps?

Taking time out of your busy life schedule for real rest and relaxation, gives you time to reflect, to sort out life issues that may be resting heavily on your psyche and creates an important and necessary balance.

Countless studies have shown the positive effects of rest and relaxation on the Human Body. One such study was called The FRAMINGHAM HEART STUDY. The researchers at Boston University published their results back in 1992 and concluded that women who took vacations less than once yearly were more likely to have a heart attack or develop heart disease than women who took multiple vacations each year.

With all the talk lately about terrorism, TSA screenings and ridiculous airline mishaps, it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that a majority of would-be vacationers (mostly women) have significant reservations about leaving home for a bit of mind clearing activities. It’s unfortunate that more time in the media has not been spent on the significant health benefits a real vacation will provide you.

Here are some important things to consider that would make sense and compelling reasons for planning a regular series of annual vacations:

EXERCISE– For a majority of us, a typical 40 hour work week finds you sitting behind a desk, on your computer, sitting hours on a train commuting back and forth to work, or schlepping kids around from point A to point B in that minivan. Or maybe your daily exercise routine consists of merely walking from one meeting down the hall to another. You’ll find that while on vacation you have many more opportunities to walk and get physically fit. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever experienced trekking up to the top of a volcano, or walked along some of the side streets in Jamaica. If you ever decide on vacationing in Central , South America or Europe, be prepared to bring comfortable walking shoes, because most of the travel “must sees” are not accessible by car and usually require a long hike or walk.

SPAS-Nothing rejuvenates a body more than a relaxing hot stone massage in a secluded cabina on a hilltop, with a tropical rainforest as a backdrop. Can you feel it? No matter where your destination is, you can rest assured there is a spa waiting for you. Even some of the most remote places in the world have places you can go for exotic spa treatments including facials, massages, saunas and lots of other skin and body treatments.

The perfect vacation should include a day visit to a spa, with a soothing massage and a facial. Here are some facts you should get to know about a massage and why it’s extremely important to have one regularly:
1. It improves the metabolic wastes and releases toxins from the body.
2. It increases your metabolic rate which in turns burns calories which then promotes weight
loss.
3. It helps normalize your blood pressure levels.
4. It lowers Cholesterol, boosts your immune and digestive system.
5. It reduces aches and pains in the muscles and joints.

FRIENDSHIPS
I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most helpful and interesting people in my life with my travels around the seas. People I’m sure I never would have met, had I stayed in my comfortable neighborhood community. Not even my membership in several professional and trade organizations gave me the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people from all across the globe. My travels have allowed me to interact and bond with some of the most incredible people on the planet. I met an amazing woman who I consider to be a close friend of mine on a bus ride from Honduras to Nicaragua. It totally blows me away every time I meet women travelers who have left friends and family behind to pursue a travel adventure. Signing up with an organization such as COUCH SURFING (www.couchsurfing.org) is an incredible way to meet people from all across the globe. It’s a network of individuals who have signed up to offer their home or apt to travelers, or perhaps act as personal tour guides for their city, all at no cost to you. What could be better than meeting people who share your passions and interests?

CULINARY TREATS
And yes! This is my absolute favorite reason you should go on vacation… For the food! We as professionals have all become a products of busy work days and hectic private lives. As a result our dietary requirements often suffer. Nonexistent breakfasts, take away food is usually part of our unhealthy daily routine. Whenever I travel, I almost never eat fast food. I make it a habit of eating mostly well cooked foods with lots of fruits and vegetables. If you travel throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, you really have to go out of your way to find a fast food joint. A great place to experience a country’s cuisine is to visit the local markets. Not only will you find fresh food there you’ll also get a chance to see how and what the locals eat. But to avoid packing on the pounds, stick to foods like fruits and vegetables, which will always be lower in calories. If you really like something, you might even be able to bring some home with you. I suggest that when food shopping in local markets, try to avoid raw meat, poultry and dairy products that may not have been refrigerated. Be advised that certain culinary items may not be brought into the U.S. or are restricted, depending on the item, or country of origin.

With an uncertain global economy, and more and more people delaying or postponing travel altogether, there is a wonderful opportunity for you to find relaxing affordable vacations from a myriad of hotels and airlines. Quite honestly, NOW is the perfect time to plan a much needed vacation.
Yes go ahead and plan a cozy and delightful escape for yourself. And remember “The hardest part of planning a vacation should be deciding when to go back home!

Daniel Ortega’s NEW Nicaragua

Perhaps you haven’t heard much in the press lately about the upcoming elections scheduled for this fall in Nicaragua. The future of the largest country in Central America is on the brink of a historic election and on a passage to possibly a record boost in its economy and place in the world view.

Gone are the days when just mentioning the words “Nicaragua” and “Ortega” conjured up images of guerilla tanks with soldiers dressed in fatigues patrolling through the streets of Managua and Leon.

Nicaragua has emerged to become a key player in the race for Tourism and investor dollars. The tourism industry blessed Nicaragua with US$308.5 million as income in 2010, according to the statistics provided by the Nicaraguan Central Bank, breaking an all time record of visitors to this Central American country.

Some of the draw to this “newly discovered” gem is the fact that Nicaragua offers 720 kilometers (450 miles) of coastline in the Pacific and Atlantic, 25 volcanic formations, thousands of miles of lakes, lagoons and rivers, with the second largest lake in Latin America, which in turn holds the largest island in a lake in the world (Ometeppe Island). In addition, the country has over thousands of nature reserves and interesting colonial cities with great cultural richness, amongst which the colonial city of León is among one of the oldest cities founded in mainland American soil. Under the Ortega regime, crime has remained significantly lower than most other Central American countries.

In fact Nicaragua had the distinction of being one of the safest countries in Central America. Nicaragua surprisingly has a low national murder rate only 3.5 per 100,000 people. In fact, the inter-American Institute on Human Rights states that Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in the world.

These statistics are a bit surprising considering that Nicaragua lived for 45 years under a Somoza family dictatorship that severely hurt International business and trading, not to mention liberty and democracy for the country. It wasn’t until the early 80’s after their government was overthrown by the Sandinistas that the country experienced a slow but steady introduction back into a somewhat “normal” society. A young José Daniel Ortega Saavedra joined the Sandinista movement in 1963 and rose through the ranks and became a leading player in the overthrow of the Anastasio Samoza regime. He actually was imprisoned several times during the course of his rise to power.

There is no question however, that despite Daniel Ortega’s insistence that Nicaragua enjoys a democratic society it truly is a dictatorship. His candidacy for the presidency is barred by the constitution, which prohibits acting presidents from seeking reelection after already serving two terms. However he has once again accepted his party’s nomination for the presidential bid. There have been outcries from within and from some on the outside world looking in, but early polls show José Daniel is favored to win this November’s election. The consensus from the Nicaraguan people is one of mixed feelings. Under his dictatorship the country’s sizable poor population has benefitted a hundred fold from Ortega funded social programs (Backed by Venezuelan dollars) and government handouts and an ever increasing flow of tourists and investors. The country’s exports reached a billion dollars this year based on high commodity prices for Nicaragua’s main exports, Coffee, Gold and Sugar. In 2001, almost 80% of all Nicaraguans lived on less than $2 per day. Today the figures show a significant drop to 45%.

At this point he is considered by most to be the lesser of two evils. A recent poll released back in May showed 61% of the Nicaraguans felt their lives in general had improved under Ortega while only 30% said they felt they were worse off.

One incredible thing this left- wing Sandinista leader has managed to do is to provide Nicaragua with Stability in a world with increasing political turmoil and social upheavals. The world has been watching, and so we discover Nicaragua is slowly, but steadily emerging as a close competitor to its neighbor to the east Costa Rica. But most importantly, once considered the second poorest nation in the hemisphere, Nicaragua is positioning itself to become the crown jewel of Central America

Securing Your Overseas Retirement

Three Key Elements to Securing Your Overseas Retirement – EFAM | Escape From America Magazine | EFAM

3 essential things to consider before taking the plunge and retiring abroad

Record numbers of baby-boomers are fast approaching retirement in the US, and one thing they all have in common is a yearning for a comfortable retirement.

The economic state of the nation means that for many Americans, retirement abroad will be the only way they can ensure they have the comfortable life they dream of however.

To ensure that your overseas retirement is a success, there are three key elements that need to go into the planning of it, as we will now illustrate.

1 – Money Matters – More Than Anything Else!

Sometimes it’s considered crude to talk openly about money. However, when it comes to affording a decent retirement, openly looking at your financial situation and discussing your money matters with a professional is critical rather than crass.

We work our entire lives, pay our taxes and save as much as we can whilst ensuring our family has a good life – and then we retire! At this point we all really hope that our pensions have been well invested and that our guaranteed income from our investments will provide for a comfortable life.

However, with improved healthcare and better living standards many more of us can now look forward to a very long retirement. And believe it or not, this is not entirely good news. When it comes to money matters it is critical to ensure that the wealth you have accrued is well invested and protected to ensure it lasts as long as you do!

One of the reasons driving many American baby-boomers abroad is affordability. That is they are well aware that their pension income can go much further in a lower cost country overseas. This is a fact – but it is not one that removes your need to carefully look at how money is managed to make sure it will really provide for a decent income throughout retirement.

Take the time to assess your wealth status with the assistance of a professional, qualified and correctly regulated adviser. Use their expertise and services to correctly save and invest your money so that it is properly structured to enable you to achieve everything you want to once you move overseas.

You may need to look at where you bank your money and whether you will need to open a bank account in the country you’re relocating to. You might have to think about currency conversion too if you receive your pension in US dollars but live in a country with a different currency.

You might want to think about whether any savings and investment programs that are still running are best invested in terms of taxation and also risk. Note: many advisers prefer to encourage retired clients to take a less risky approach to the investment of their wealth.

Finally, look very closely at the cost of living in your chosen overseas country. Factor in day-to-day grocery costs, any taxes you may have to pay, real estate related costs, medical or health insurance fees, utilities and transportation.

Get a really good assessment of the cost of living, ensure you can comfortably afford it and only then should you make the commitment to relocate overseas.

2 – Location, Location, Location – Research is Essential…

If you do a search on ‘cheapest places to retire abroad’ you’ll find countries as diverse as Panama, France and Argentina listed. However, one man’s affordable country is another man’s luxurious and unaffordable dream. So bear in mind, cheap is relative to how wealthy you are!

When searching for a place to call home in retirement affordability is a very critical factor. Additional critical factors are elements such as the climate (too hot can be unbearable, too cold can cost more in terms of heating bills). Security and crime levels are important; considering local economic stability is also vital.

You will also need to look at the healthcare standards locally, and what treatment costs. Accessibility is a factor for those who want to be able to maintain contact with family and friends. What about the language barrier? And are there cultural or even religious obstacles to your comfortable integration?

You may have thought that picking a country to retire to was the easy part – however, to get it right on all levels a wealth of research needs to be done into how suitable a given nation is for your personal retirement requirements.

When you have drawn up your shortlist for consideration you need to visit to make sure what you think is true about a country is actually accurate. If possible visit for a prolonged period of at least a few months before you commit to a permanent relocation abroad.

You can rent a home and get a good feel for what day to day life is like if you spend longer in a nation than just a week or two. You need to see life up close and personal, rather than just seeing a country through the eyes of a holidaymaker.

Going on vacation overseas is a vastly different experience to living abroad.

3 – Home is Where the Heart is – Where Will You Lay Your Hat?

The final key element to securing your overseas retirement is finding the right house to call home. A property that drains your financial resources and your physical energy with its demands for repairs or heating, for example, will not be the best place for you to lay your hat in retirement.

A further advantage of making an extended visit to your chosen nation before you relocate permanently is that you can rent a home and get to know all the different neighbourhoods.

A suburb or city, hill top location or quaint village that initially looks ideal may turn out to be too noisy, lively, dead or deficient in terms of amenities. So you need to spend time looking at where you would most like to live before seeking out your ideal home therein.

When it comes to looking at real estate you need to understand the rental or ownership rules and laws in the new nation. It may be that foreigners cannot own property, or it could be that taxes for purchase are very high.

You might prefer to build your own house or rent somewhere fully furnished or totally bare! In other words, you will have a lot of choice therefore it will be your responsibility to get it right.

Do your research on the ground once you have retired overseas – and don’t rush to commit long-term to the first apparently suitable house you come across. As stated, an initially ideal location may prove to be unsuitable – but only a little time will tell.

Rent first before ever considering buying, and rent short-term so that if you want or need to move on you can easily do so.

Remember that real estate markets in different nations are built on different fundamentals, laws and economic elements. So, ensure you understand the dynamics and prospects for a market before you buy in and commit for the long-term.

About the author: Rhiannon Davies is the editor of ShelterOffshore, and writes extensively about living abroad and achieving the dream of a new life overseas.

Expatriate or Smart Retiree?

It should come as no surprise that the largest segment of The world adult population (Baby Boomers) is about to, trying to, or considering, their retirement options.

There is also a growing list of the population not just in the United States but other countries also considering a Life overseas. The majority of those folks that do take the leap will relocate or retire to what may be considered a “third world’ country”. The growing trend is for a place outside of their current home that will include great beaches, incredible sights, exotic foods, opportunities to learn new languages and cultures, and most importantly, offer a more affordable lifestyle than they currently have.

This last year has brought a flurry of articles that talk about how many people are planning to handle their future; what are their prospects for survival? There’s also talk that their choices are dwindling and their hopes and dreams of a perfect retirement are looking bleak, due to concerns such as safety, health, finances, cost of living, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and the ever growing cost of healthcare.

In the U.S.just 10 years ago, states like Florida, Nevada , Arizona, Pennsylvania, Vermont, North Carolina, were all heavy retirement destinations. Today they have all but climbed out of reach for many in these groups and they’re discovering costs are much higher than they ever anticipated they would be during their retirement planning. So new places all over the globe have popped up for Expatriates (also called Expats)and retirees to escape the high costs of living. Places like Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize and Nicaragua are becoming more and more popular retirement hotspots.

In January of 2007, an article in the latest McKinsey Report made the following statements:
*McKinsey research finds that U.S. workers are far more likely to be forced into early retirement than many of them expect and that many significantly underestimate the costs they’ll face in retirement.Almost half of all pre-retirees expect to work past age 65, yet only 13 percent of current retirees have done so.

Living or retiring overseas is not for everyone; it requires flexibility, particularly if you live in a developing world. Learning a new Language is hard. Integrating into the local community can be difficult. Getting things done in a timely manner can be stressful.

Every potential retirement locale has benefits and drawbacks. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all retirement haven, and no retirement choice is perfect. Believe it or not, There is NO paradise.

There are those that may say if you chose to live outside of the US or another developed country you have different or no values at all. Well it certainly brings you to the question of whether you want to be considered an Expat or just a smart retiree?

Many others who have made the transition are proud of being in a small select group that is doing something that others would like to do, and fiercely proud of all the associated challenges that have had to endure but successfully overcome.

Moving a hundred miles in your own country and surviving for ten years probably won’t impress anyone. Moving from England to a tree house in Brazil and surviving ten years certainly would. Bragging rights come when you get to live somewhere difficult and make a success of it.

What are your main reasons for even considering a place to retire outside of your home country? Is it greater prosperity, better early retirement opportunities or perhaps more travel confidence? Or if you are nowhere ready for retirement but are considering relocation could it be the changes in technology making it possible for you to work remotely from anywhere in the world?

The best advice for people thinking of moving abroad should focus on the foreignness of the new surroundings, the legal aspects, medical, schooling and overall lifestyle choices. You should make it a must to visit any potential country you have an interest in and contact other ex-pats who live in the area you are considering moving to and ask them detailed questions. The advantage to you will be they speak your language. They have probably made all the mistakes that you would like to avoid. But most importantly they will be a wealth of useful information.

If you have considered Nicaragua as a possible retirement destination you will find it to be a country with all the modern conveniences that you could find in the US or Europe at half (or less) the cost. The roads and airports are modern and safe. The people are warm and friendly. You can experience greater health benefits by being able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown right where you live.

Living in Leon, Nicaragua you will find a pretty city with a beautiful surrounding area.T exits here a more genteel way of life than you’ll find in most of Latin America. Real estate values are a bargain. Modern conveniences such as cable internet cell phones, Theaters, supermarkets etc. are all part of this ever evolving city. Is it scary to pack your bags and move to another country? You better believe it is! Is it scary wondering if your retirement check or pension will be enough for you to live a moderately comfortable lifestyle in years to come? You better believe it is!

Did you say Nicaragua??

Many people who have not traveled extensively outside their home nations in recent years may have images of life in nations like Nicaragua that are no longer relevant. Some folks expect to find a nation that is predominantly rural with most of its people struggling to make a living on little farms. Or perhaps there are some that picture a country with streets filled with uniformed soldiers patrolling through towns with heavy artillery and land rovers.

Nicaragua is a beautiful country with friendly people eager to show the remarkable changes happening within the country. Leon, is a quaint city with amazing architecture and an influx of Americans and other foreigners who are being drawn to this part of the country.

As History played out, a Sandinistan Revolution began in 1979. The United States (being such a close neighbor) intervened with the revolution, sponsoring many anti-Sandinistan contra guerrillas through much of the 1980’s. Free elections came around in the late 90’s and in 2001 the Sandinistas were voted out and defeated in a democratic election process. Now post conflict, the country has stabilized politically. The economy is now growing at a rapid pace and Nicaragua is learning from its neighbor Costa Rica and has begun an unprecedented promotion of tourism as a main form of income for many of its lesser fortunate people.

Nicaragua has a magnificant coast line on the Pacific coast. Just like its next door neighbor Costa Rica, Nicaragua is blessed with volcanos, ecological wonders, rainforests, jaw dropping landscapes, breathtaking beaches, modern cities with great infrastructure and a fascinating history. In Leon, you’ll find English speaking guides, hotel employees,serving in restaurants and stores. You’ll find it to be a wonderful and vibrant city with open air markets and lots of great museums. a must see on your visit is The Cathedral of León, the largest cathedral in Central America.

As a whole, The Nicaraguan people are warm hearted and welcoming. If you are even just considering a trip to a new country or pondering a relocation or retirement; Or perhaps you are just looking for a vacation home, I urge you to not pass up the opportunity to visit Nicaragua.

Why Nicaragua?

Now is the time to discover the new and emerging Nicaragua.This Latin American Jewel is one of the most beautiful countries in Central America. Contrary to popular belief, Nicaragua is a peaceful nation, with current President Daniel Ortega committed to tourism and a free-market economy. This is not a “war strifed” communist, or third world country as many people choose to describe it. There has not been civil disturbances here since 1980 more than 30 years ago!

The New Nicaragua is a safe, friendly country with warm people and rapidly attracting international vacationers, eco-tourists, retirees and investors from all over the world.   A recent study by the Inter-American Institute on Human Rights and a survey of police forces in the Americas shows that Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America and one of the safest countries in the world. In September  2012, Nicaragua was  dubbed the safest travel destination in Central America,  after recording the lowest homicides in the region last year. If you have been contemplating retiring overseas you owe it to yourself to consider visiting or retiring in Leon, Nicaragua, a graceful city filled with old world colonial charm. New hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars are also opening up on the  pacific coast and around  colonial cities, like Granada and San Juan Del Sur.

LOCATION

Nicaragua is tucked in sharing a border to the north with Honduras, and to the south with Costa Rica. It’s surrounded to the east with the Caribbean Sea and to the west with the Pacific Ocean.

Nicaragua,  also known as the land of “Lakes and Volcanoes”, is the largest country in Central America. Managua, the capital is located on the Pacific side and has been the capital since 1852. The country is well known for its colonial cities that are very well preserved until today. Granada and León are two of the most beautiful representations of the colonial architecture and the oldest cities in the western hemisphere.

CLIMATE

Nicaragua has a diverse climate, due to the mountains that run diagonally through Central America from northwest to southeast. Nicaragua’s climate varies according to altitude. The Pacific lowlands are always  hot, but the air is fresh and the countryside green during the rainy season (May to November); the dry season (December to April) is typically windy and dry.

The Caribbean coast is hot and wet; it can rain heavily even during the brief dry season (March to May). The mountains of the north are much cooler than the lowlands. Cities such as Jinotega, Matagalpa and Esteli maintain temperatures in the 50′sF(10c). The average annual temperature is 27C.(80F)

Tourism figures for this country have been rising in the last few years, and Nicaragua celebrated a milestone in 2010 with more than a million tourists crossing its borders for the first time ever. About 5,000 expats, almost half of those from the United States, have chosen to settle here indefinitely. The Nicaraguan government has put the welcome mat out for visitors and retirees with a wide range of incentives.

Earlier last year the government increased expat retiree benefits and tax exemptions that will save investors thousands of dollars. Decree 694 from the Nicaraguan National Assembly was passed in order to better compete with programs currently offered in other Central American countries. These new incentives are similar to programs Costa Rica laid out in the 1980’s that attracted thousands of retired North Americans. People who are 45 and over who have a monthly income of at least $600 can take advantage of such perks as duty free imports of personal goods and vehicles and tax exemptions on real estate purchases.

You may have found yourself thinking that it’s time to find the perfect weather, where you never again have to shovel snow, scrape ice from your windows, or heat your house. Have you wondered where or how you could live more luxuriously than you ever could at home, for a fraction of the cost. Or perhaps you long to find more time to spend with your family, to write that book you’ve always thought about writing, or to spend your mornings fishing or snorkeling, or taking strolls along the beach. Could it be that you have health concerns and would like to change your eating habits/lifestyle? Eat healthier foods? Or maybe you are just a free spirit and would love to find another place….just for the adventure of it!  Or you might be one of those people that long to learn a new language, make new friends, and explore a new world.

For clients who enjoy tropical weather and exotic surroundings, Nicaragua may be the next best, if not more authentic, alternative to travel to Costa Rica.”
       ~ TravelAge West

If you’re interested, we can give you even more excellent reasons to explore a new life in Nicaragua. Whether you’re interested in vacationing, retiring, starting a new business or investing in the unbelievably lucrative opportunities that are unfolding here now.

Nicaragua is on the cusp of becoming Latin America’s latest ‘it’ destination….Whether you want your trip amped up or over-easy, this emerging destination delivers.”
       ~ Doctor’s Review Magazine, January 2011

Nicaragua creates a mysterious and magical destination for vacation travelers young and old. Curious but savvy world travelers are gradually starting to seek out the picturesque landscape of Nicaragua with its miles of white sandy beaches, rain forests and rugged mountains. Slowly but surely, new  luxury hotels, resorts, restaurants and spas are creating new landscapes here. It is highly unlikely  the folks at Wyndham Resorts would be set to unveil a world class resort and casino here, if they thought civil war was going to break out at any moment. http://info.grupomariana.com/seaside-mariana-wyndham-nicaragua-resort-casino

So forget what you’ve heard, and come see this emerging paradise for yourself and you’ll see why Nicaragua!

If you are interested in travel to  the NEW Nicaragua, but not quite sure where to start, email us and we would be happy to give you more information.