Common misconceptions and clichés about life in Nicaragua

Hello everyone,

Old clichés die hard, as the saying goes... and living in Nicaragua can generate lots of misconceptions in the eyes of the people.

What are the most common misconceptions about the expat lifestyle in Nicaragua?

What are the most common clichés about life in Nicaragua in general?

Did you have a biased view of the country before moving there? What is you view now?

Thanks in advance,


There are so many misconceptions it would take a major article to cover all of them. Of course, a lot has to do with the lack of travel experience for the average US citizen.

Safety - In over 10 years we have never been mugged, robbed (except for phone in a crowd) or molested. Petty opportunity theft is rampant, if you lay your IPhone on the restaurant table and look away, it will be gone. The vast majority of robberies within a home is related usually to one of your employees so take some time to hire trustworthy employees. And even good employees go bad since the country is poor and household or farm employees just do not have much money so don't tempt them with the opportunity. If running a business, be sure to have good checks and balances and treat your employees fairly.

Political Stability - Could Nicaragua go bad like Honduras and Guatemala, sure but at this time it is a stable country with the last ten years showing good growth and many government programs to uplift the poor people. At this point in time I have more concerns on the political candidates in the USA.

Nicaragua is Hot - this is such a relative term since you can live by the ocean, in the mountains, in a metropolitan area, etc. Some places are warmer than other areas just like the USA. Most of us came here for the tropical weather. If you prefer having the four seasons (weather not the musical group) then you will not enjoy tropical countries.

The police are corrupt - Most of them are hardworking good policemen trying to make a living. Yes, there are a few bad ones and some supplement their income by pulling drivers over. But compared with the current police and incarceration issues in the states, we are not concerned with the police work here. We support our local police.

Realtors and Builders Will Rip You Off - A decade ago, there were a lot of corrupt realtors, developers and builders. Many, if not most, have been run out of town by now but always do your due diligence and talk to other expats.

OMG, There is a war going on in Nicaragua - we are so tired of hearing about the wars of the 70-80s. The first was the revolution of the people against the USA backed dictator Somoza. The second was a civil war caused by President Reagan and some politicians that used illegal means to install another puppet regime. Those days are long gone and the people hold no ill will against anyone from the states though they still hold a grudge against Reagan and the Bush presidents. Gun registration is very strict here and violence is not tolerated though most people here could not afford a gun.

I could go on but you get the picture. Nicaragua has a negative image which can only be changed by your visiting the country to see for yourself.

My first trip to Nica was August 1978.  I was prepared having been to Mexico 
I was prepared as if I were going to Mexico.  What an eye opener.  The people of Nica are nothing like what I thought.  They are so friendly and compassionate.  They love to sit and talk.  Especially about life in the USA.
They know all about life in Nica, they want to know about where I came from.
This is true from Matagalapa to the Corn islands.  Which if you haven't seen,
, put it on your bucket list.  Stay at Martha's B & B.  Her and her husband are expats retired from years of working in the oil industry in Houston, Texas.
She charged us $40 per night, included breakfast, back in 2005.  The place is like an oasis on an unspoiled stretch of beach.  I was amazed when we flew in and saw a sign that said "Please speak English while on Corn island".  My wife speaks fluent Spanish, I do not.  A boat ride over to Little Corn is worth the trip also.  Time stops on this island.  And so does the electricity at times. LOL
Beautiful snorkeling all over the. Corn Islands.  There is an ecolodges there if you wish to spend the night.
I guess I detoured from my point.  Which is Nica is a beautiful country w/beautiful people.  It's the safest country in Cent America maybe in all of Latin America.  So go, enjoy the laid back life of Nicaragua, the land of volcanos.

These are some that I've heard over the years:

* "Nicaragua?....what part of Africa is that from?"

* "Do they have electricity?" followed by "Do they have cars?"  :dumbom:

* On Missions trips: "They're so poor..." or "they have nothing...yet they seem happy" - I can guarantee you that the majority of people in that category aren't. Ask the kids or even adults living in La Chureca (except now it's some other dump that people live in) if they are happy with having to dig through the garbage and hope they find enough to sell in order to get to eat sometime this week. Are they happy being sick all the time from poor nutrition?
   Over the past decade I've seen an emerging middle-class where there used to not be. The economy is getting much better though it has a ways to go still. There are way less corrugated tin and plastic tarp houses than there used to be. I still remember the shanty-town that was close to the national stadium in Managua.

* "I'll bet they're food is spicy." Thank the Lord it's not

* "I bet it's hot" That depends where you are. Leon, Chinandega, Leon, Granada, Leon, LEON

"Is it dangerous?" Less than many North American cities which have way more gang probs than Nic does. Just don't be naïve and go out by yourself unless you know where you're going.

That's all that comes to mind. But would I live there in a heartbeat?...absolutely! My husband and I intend to do just that after he gets citizenship here.

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