Despite being settled by the Spanish Empire way back in the 16th century, Nicaragua has remained somewhat closed off from the outside world for a long time. It's fair to say that throughout the 20th century, Nicaragua was a place that only backpackers and those that wanted to go off the beaten track traveled to.
These days, however, there's an increasing shift towards expats heading to Nicaragua to find work and a home or even to retire, and there is a wider range of tourism options, too. In fact, Nicaragua seems to be undergoing a tourism revolution, with more luxury resorts to choose from and a wider range of food options to cater to foreigners, too.
Despite covering an area of ground similar to Greece, there are vast parts of the country that remain practically uninhabited, as they are made up of ancient forests and nature reserves. The capital city of Managua is the third largest of the settlements in Central America, while León is recognized as the cultural capital of the country, with a strong literary culture, and the famous León Cathedral, which has been declared a world heritage site.
Nicaragua's population numbers around 6 million people, and the country contains many different cultures with their own histories and traditions. Along the eastern coasts, native tribes still maintain their own traditional way of life and speak their own languages, although you'll find throughout the rest of the country that the lingua franca is Spanish. As such, learning Spanish is fairly essential for anyone intending to settle here, and key phrases are invaluable for getting around.
In general, the local population includes people whose heritage dates back to Africa, Europe, Asian, and the Middle East, as well as indigenous peoples, so there's a real sense of a rich and complex national identity.
You'll find that there is some variation in the climate of Nicaragua from region to region. Regions that are at a higher altitude experience slightly cooler temperatures, in the range of 12°C to 20°C, while a few of the lower lying areas are subject temperatures of around 22°C to 30°C.
Mostly, expatriates moving to Nicaragua will encounter a tropical climate with an average of 27°C all year round. As such, it's a good idea to look into accommodation that has inbuilt air conditioning as the heat and humidity can take some time to get used to.
For most nationals, a visa is not necessary when traveling to Nicaragua for a tourist stay of under 90 days. Visitors do, however, need to purchase a tourist card upon arrival. Most places of employment will arrange any details of work permits for you, and for people conducting short-term business without residency there is no need for a permit.
Those that intend to stay longer or are looking to apply for residency should get in touch with Nicaraguan Immigration for more details. There are a lot on incentives for people to retire to the country, as it boasts no tax on out of country earnings, rolling residency options of five years (with renewal options), and a tax break of around 10,000 USD on any furniture or goods you want to bring into your new home, on top of the allowance of one automobile for personal use, duty free.
As you can imagine, this along with the warm climate and the friendly culture attracts a lot of people to spend their post-career days in Nicaragua. It is relatively easy to apply for retiree status, as all of the paperwork is straightforward and there are no hidden fees. It's also worth looking into what 'retired' status actually means in Nicaragua, as there is a fairly liberal interpretation of what counts as working. For example, many retirees open hotels or small restaurants without voiding their agreement.
You can even extend the notion of 'retired' to mean anyone who has a stable income, so it's not even necessary to be over 45 in order to claim this privilege. All that is required is a proof of citizenship from your current nationality, some form of proof of health, and no outstanding disputes with local police or customs.