Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, bordering Honduras and Costa Rica, and also boasts the largest city in the region. An increasing number of expats are heading to these shores in search for work, or to find a great place to retire to.
Nicaragua is a country with a strong history in agriculture, and farming is still very much the center of its economy. It's estimated that as much as 60% of its exports are agricultural, and the farming industry accounts for around 16% of the country's GDP. In the north of the central highlands area, there is a massive coffee growing region, which accounts for around two thirds of the overall coffee crop of the country.
Other traditional crops of Nicaragua include cotton, bananas, and cassava. Cassava is a sugary root crop that is used mainly in the production of tapioca pudding. Recent efforts have been made to diversify the farming produce of the country, and modern arrivals include peanut, melon, and sesame farms.
One of the major growth industries in Nicaragua at the moment is mining. It contributes to only around 1% of GDP, but with interest from overseas and more advanced mining techniques this looks set to increase over the coming years. There is also a lot of lumber trade, although an increasing number of restrictions are in place to try to protect rain forests.
Spanish is often a requirement for jobs outside of ESL teaching, but for people with a degree of fluency there are lots of roles on offer. Good sources for overseas jobs in general are:
Here you'll find opportunities for work in Nicaragua across a range of professions.
If you already feel comfortable with your Spanish reading skills, there are even more websites to explore in your job search, including:
If you were interested in ESL teaching, there are also various opportunities in Nicaragua. With the rise in tourism and signs of economic growth the government is encouraging more people to achieve English fluency, so there's always a high demand for teachers. You can get an overview of teaching jobs listings at Dave's ESL café. On the site, you can also get advice from existing teachers.
Of course, there are plenty of other ESL- specific sites to check out as well; just search Nicaragua ESL of TEFL to find them.
One of the most appealing things about working in Nicaragua is its incredibly low income tax. This combined with low living costs and reasonable wages for foreign workers means that it's very easy to get by once you've found a profession. There is a progressive tax rate that caps out at 30% on very high earnings. Meanwhile, if you happen to be a retiree, you can expect to pay zero taxes on your out of country earnings. American dollars get a good exchange rate, too, although do be aware that pound sterling often cannot be exchanged on site.
Property taxes are also very low. You'll pay around 1% on 80% of the municipal value of the land each year (which is much lower than its retail value). If you happen to transfer properties, you incur a 1–3% tax charge on the purchase price of the property.
VAT on goods and services is set at a fixed rate of 15%, and the cost of food is low. All in all, expats couldn’t ask for much more of a tax break than Nicaragua has to offer, so if you're looking for somewhere to work without a high income tax, or want to retire somewhere where your savings will be protected, this is a great option for you.