The Cost of Living

The number one question that people want to know when considering a move to another country is always "What does it cost to live there?" Well recently I was discussing this with my family and we were looking at some online tools that show cost of living. At least with Nicaragua, there seems to be no agreement between online sources on what it costs to live here, also when you ask people who are here that question the answers vary greatly. Some say you need more than $1,000 US a month, whereas others say that with $100 you will have money left over at the end of the month.
Of course, people's expectations of comfort and their lifestyle have a lot to do with this. Obviously Nicaraguans who make $150 a month with a full time job are not starving, but they also rarely pay rent. Anyways, in order to make these calculations easier, I have made this list of real prices of every day things here in Nicaragua. With this information you can make your own budget and figure out for yourself what you would actually spend in Nicaragua.

The food prices are taken from our own grocery receipts from Pali, which is the most common grocery store in Nicaragua, its a branch of walmart and all the locals go there for nearly everything. Prices are in Cordobas and USD

Ramen Noodles -------------- 7.75   - $ 0.26
Head of lettuce --------------- 15.00  - $ 0.50
1lb rice ------------------------ 11.00  - $ 0.37
1lb beans ---------------------- 14.00 - $ 0.47
1L of Milk -------------------- 27.50 - $ 0.92
1lb Carrots -------------------- 9.00  - $ 0.30
1lb Potatoes ------------------- 13.00 - $ 0.44
1lb Onions -------------------- 11.00 - $ 0.37
1lb Tomatoes ----------------- 7.00  - $ 0.25
Avocados indv. --------------- 30.00 - $ 1.01
Bottle of wine ---------------- 130.00 - $ 4.37
Loaf of Bread ---------------- 37.50  - $ 1.26
Big package of cookies ----- 44.00 - $1.48
bag of chamomile tea ------- 3.00 -  $ 0.10
Pineapple jelly --------------- 21.00 - $ 0.71
Tang package ---------------- 5.00 -   $ 0.17
1 lb garlic -------------------- 55.00 -  $ 1.85
1 lb flour --------------------- 12.50 -  $ 0.42
1 lb cane sugar -------------- 10.00 - $ 0.34
200g sea salt ----------------- 3.00 -  $ 0.10
6 pack of local beer --------- 126.00 - $4.26
bag of coffee ----------------- 99.00  -  $3.33
bag of pasta ------------------ 7.50    -  $0.25

All of these prices include the sales tax in Nicaragua which is 15% on everything. Most stores include it in the price so you won't even notice it. Here are some prices of other things that we have paid in the past.


2 bedroom house in the city
internet/utilities included
$300/month (reduced after long term)

1 bedroom apartment in the city
internet/utilities included

2 bedroom house in a small town
water/electricity included


Claro (the worst internet provider on the face of the earth)
$30-$70 per month depending on speed. (0.2 mbs download to 10 mbs download, upload speed is capped at 1 mbs for all packages)
The only reason to ever use claro is because there is no other provider in many parts of the country

CooTel (patiently waiting for them to set up in Carazo and Rivas)
$20 per month OTE (over the air, 1.5 mbs)
$25-110 per month fiber optic (2-20 mbs)


In most parts of Nicaragua, Taxis charge a flat rate stipulated by the government. Some towns they are allowed to negotiate, like San juan del sur and Managua, in these cases the price may be according to your skin color and how lost you look. Prices are per person.

Most parts of Carazo, Rivas, Granada, Masaya - 10 cordobas ($ 0.34 US)
San Juan del sur - around 30 cordobas ($1 US)
Managua - 50 cordobas average, 80 if going across the city ($2-4 US)

Hopefully these numbers can be useful for you to make your own calculations of what it costs to live in Nicaragua. Of course rent can vary from one town to another by quite a bit, but Pali for example is the same everywhere.


  1. thanks so much for these number, i just saw them. it is a great post specially for us that are looking to plan something.


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