Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Live in This Funky Beach Town For $1,500 a Month

By Bonnie Hayman
"Where else could we find this life?" says expat Monica Sedgwick of the one she and her husband James have created in Nicaragua. "We're living in paradise, paying $200 a month for a three-bedroom apartment with a super view of the bay."
Stroll through Monica's beach town, and you'll see colorful buildings of all different sizes flanking the ocean. They house surf shops, bakeries, beach clothing stores, hotels, and hostels, from basic to top-dollar. Buy hand-made jewelry from artists from every continent. Kick your shoes off and put your toes in the sand, enjoying an ice-cold beer while you lounge in a blue-and-white striped beach chair in front of beach restaurant El Timón. Take a swim in the beautiful bay; watch the multi-colored sunset.
This little town radiates quirkiness—in a good way. You may see tee-shirted Kathy walking her eight dogs with a parrot on her shoulder. Or you may run into BJ twirling on a dance floor at night, in one of her glittery costumes. And then there are the rest of us—expats from all over the world, around 1,500 or so, who say they wouldn't live anywhere else.
With a year-round hot climate (about 85 F on average) and gentle sea breezes, no sleeves or long pants needed. Here you can live your life in shorts and flip-flops. Before you know it, you'll be hard-pressed to find appropriate clothes in your closet when you go home to visit.
It won't cost you much to live in this funky town. A couple on a budget can find a one-bedroom furnished apartment with water and WiFi, about a block from the beach, for about $400 a month. Add to that about $200 a month for food—and fresh, unprocessed food at that. If you like eating out and entertaining, put a bit more into the budget. You don't need a car, and that will save you the cost of gas and maintenance. All told, a budget of $1,500 a month for a couple is easily doable.
You can be busy here all day or do nothing but sit by your pool, dine and drink with friends, and enjoy live music at night. It's a good place to eat, too. The town has over 50 restaurants for you to choose from. Think bratwurst and sauerkraut, lasagna, Mediterranean salads, raw-food pizzas, veggie wraps, sushi, fish tacos, fresh-caught fish dishes...most anything you want, usually for under $10. Duck into one of the souvenir shops and negotiate your price for hand-made local ceramics and brightly colored hammocks.
As the sun goes down, this beach town transforms into a cool night party. Lights, music, and laughter pour out of the many bars and restaurants, which cater to all tastes. Have a sedate and elegant evening on Friday nights at Pelican Eyes, the town's resident "fancy hotel," and listen to James sing smooth jazz while you sip cocktails in the infinity pool overlooking the ocean.
You won't lack options in the later hours, either; several bars by the beach street offer different types of entertainment until 2 a.m. Reggae, blues, rock ‘n' roll, salsa, merengue—it's all there.
You choose the exact lifestyle you want here. No traffic jams, no stress, no financial worries. What more could you want?