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The Reinvention of Nicaragua: Real Estate in Managua

Initially founded as a rural fishing village on the shores of Lake Managua, Managua grew rapidly in the 19th century, becoming Nicaragua's cultural and political center. Today, despite an earthquake that dealt major damage to the city in 1972, Managua is still the premier city of Nicaragua, and its cultural, educational, political, and economic hub.

In recent decades, Nicaragua's economy struggled, but today, it is a country that is intent on rebuilding itself. Bureaucratic corruption still exists, but modern-day Nicaragua is more politically stable than it's been in a while, and has been rated the safest country in Latin America. Foreign investment in the country is helping to turn its economy around, and for this reason, the state government offers some serious incentives to companies and individuals who move to Nicaragua.

One such incentive is the foreign retiree program. This offers a host of tax breaks to individuals who are over 45 with a monthly income of at least $600. Retirees don't have to pay any taxes on money they have earned outside of the country, can bring a large amount of household goods into the country without paying import duties, and can purchase and sell vehicles tax-free.

Many expatriates living in Nicaragua would come here even if it weren't for those incentives. The country offers a treasure trove of natural beauty, from volcanoes to the Pacific, and from the rainforest near the Caribbean to the natural lagoons in the city of Managua itself. Culturally, the country is vibrant, and its people are warm and friendly, even to foreigners. Its troubled 20th century has kept it out of the limelight as far as tourism and development are concerned, so it has the exciting feel of uncharted territory. The cities of Nicaragua are similar: relatively few tourists and expatriates know their charms – yet. The country has been on a slow and steady path of improvement and of re-integration with the world at large, and people are just beginning to notice.

There are several areas of Nicaragua that are popular with expatriates, and Managua is one of those. The 1972 earthquake destroyed many of the old buildings in Managua's historic center, so the city doesn't have quite the aesthetic charm of Granada or Leon. What endear it to its foreign-born residents are its culture and its conveniences.

Managua is home to the national library, Palace of Culture, National Museum, and many galleries housing the works of Nicaraguan and international artists. The Ruben Dario National Theater enjoys international repute, and the city has a colorful festival tradition and a surprising variety of ethnic restaurants, including Italian, French, and even Asian. Its many conveniences include commercial centers, shopping malls, bars, nightclubs, casinos, and many movie theaters that show both Spanish and English films. Managua also has a very high-quality and low-cost array of health care facilities, and many doctors who can speak English and were trained in the U.S.

Managua Nicaragua real estate prices are very low and offer an enticing reason to consider this vibrant city. Comfortable homes in the city can be found for well under $100,000, and $150,000 will get you not only a comfortable home, but a large yard in a gated development in the lushly forested city outskirts. The "land of lakes and volcanoes" truly has much to offer the adventurous investor – and the same is certainly true of its buzzing, breezy capital city.