Granada Nicaragua Cost of Living

In this report, I share my Granada, Nicaragua cost of living including rents, utilities, groceries, restaurants, transportation, and entertainment. But first, I will show you around town so you get a feel for whether or not you are interested in Granada, Nicaragua.

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Granada is a colonial-era town on the northern side of Lake Nicaragua about one hour south of Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. Google Map.

Granada has a population of about 100,000 people making it the ninth most populous city n Nicaragua. Granada was established in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba and was the first city on the mainland of the Americas that was registered with the Spanish Crown.

During the colonial period, Granada was a sister city to Antigua, Guatemala, and was attacked many times by French, Dutch, and English pirates via the Pacific Ocean by sailing up the San Juan River into Lake Nicaragua.

At one time, Lake Nicaragua had sharks presumed to have entered the freshwater lake via the San Juan River. Nicaragua gained its independence from Sapin in 1821 and slavery ended in Nicaragua in 1838.

Granada has some of the largest most beautiful colonial-era mansions in the country of Nicaragua because it was such a wealthy colonial-era port at one time.

First, I will share my estimated costs of living in Granada, Nicaragua.

After that, I will show you our favorite restaurants and grocery stores, our favorite day trip, our livability factors, and where we stayed.

Cost of Living in Granada Nicaragua

Here is my estimated cost of living if Qiang and I were to live in Granada Nicaragua. But we are all different, so you will have to visit and do an exploratory visit in order to estimate your estimated cost of living here in Granada.

Rents: To rent an unfurnished 1 bedroom apartment, you will have to pay around $350 per month for a local-style apartment. The rents were higher a few years ago but the demand has been lower recently. I will use $350 per month for rent which does not include utilities. If you want a western-style apartment you could easily pay a few hundred more dollars. I also provide a link to my report about how to find perfect apartments around the world.

Utilities: This is at sea level so it would be difficult to avoid air conditioning completely. I estimate my electric bill would average around $75 per month which includes water and gas.

Groceries: Based upon our time here and the money we spent on groceries, we estimate about $300 USD per month on groceries for two people.

Restaurants: If we went out to eat twice per week, once for date night and once for a lunch somewhere, we would spend about $45 per week or $180 per month in restaurants for the two of us. We would eat mostly in the mom-and-pop local restaurants like you will find elsewhere in Nicaragua rather than the expensive expat-style restaurants.

Cell Phone Data: The cost to recharge prepaid service is about $20 USD per month. My android phone will act as a hotspot so we can both be on the internet at the same time when we are out of the house together.

Laundry: We could send our laundry out once per week for about $8 to wash, dry, and fold, so about $32 per month.

Water: We would spend about $20 per month on bottled water.

Internet: The Internet will be about $50 per month depending on how fast you need your service.

Transportation: Everything you would want in Granada is fairly walkable. So we would pay about $40 per month in transportation since we would ride our bikes and local buses mostly.

Alcohol (Optional): Local beers are about $0.70 USD in stores. If you watch and buy in bulk on sale you may save a little. But in bars and restaurants, beers run about $1.50. So for two people, we estimate about $100 USD per month for alcohol since we would drink more at home.

Entertainment (Optional): We would budget about $100 per month for entertainment for the two of us.


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Recurring Total




Alcohol (Optional)


Optional Total




Entertainment (Optional)


Optional Total


The above cost of living is for 2 people but is just an estimate on the low end. For a full understanding of what it would cost you to live here, visit Numbeo Granada and add anything you spend money on in your home country that is not mentioned in the table. Our costs of living are generally much lower than a new traveler’s because we are great bargain hunters but there are a few people that live cheaper than we do.

Never move anywhere until you have visited first personally to verify the living costs for your lifestyle and needs. I am not guaranteeing these prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different depending on your lifestyle and the time since this post.

More typical living costs in Granada range from about $1300 to $2000 per month. But people spending that much also have higher incomes or pensions. They often report spending more on entertainment, eating out, and alcohol. Many also have more expensive cars, houses, or apartments.

If you are going to try to retire cheap offshore, make sure to read my report, the Two Biggest Risks of Retiring Early for Cheap Offshore, which explains why you should have emergency funds available for unexpected large expenses.

Masaya Volcano Tour (4 Stops)

Google Map.

Editable Google Map Stops.

This day trip costs $50 for the day for both of us. We bought our driver lunch at the Masaya Market too which was $3.25 for his lunch. He picked us up from our apartment. We started around 10 am from Granada and were home after dark because we wanted to see the volcano lava glowing in the dark at the last stop. Some ex-pats gave Qiang the phone number of the tour guide and he drove us in his car. His name is Marlon Gonzales (WhatsApp) +505 8964 8608.

Granada Nightlife

There is a very centralized nightlife in Granada with people of all ages so it felt relatively safe to us to enjoy the music and the people watching. Happy hour beers were around $1.20 USD so check prices to make sure you find a reasonable happy hour. Here is the walking street where the nightlife is the most active. Just click this map to enjoy this walking street. Google Map.

Granada Best Restaurants, Markets, Groceries


Restaurante El Garaje: They had great ex-pat food here. Sometimes you just want a taste of home.

Maria Elena Patisserie: This is the pastry shop in the above video. Delicious!

Tostometro| Restaurantes (Banana Burger): Inside the city market.

The Garden Cafe: We had a nice brownie, cookie, and Coffee here.

Nicafe Real la Merced: $6 Breakfast, Expat prices, Quality so, so.

Cafetín Claudia: Best breakfast in the City $3.00 USD including my coffee. Try the Huevos Rancheros. It was so good!

Pan de Vida Pizza: The best pizza in town.

Verde: Nice sandwiches and smoothies.

Kathy’s Waffle House: We wanted to like this food because it had favorites from home on the menu, but it was just so, so on the day we were here. It has ex-pat pricing instead of local pricing. I normally don’t write negatives but we saw this place recommended in several other blogs so we thought some balance was necessary.

Favorite Markets:

Grocery Store 1, 2: These two grocery stores are next door to each other so you are bound to find what you are looking for in one trip.

Mercado Municipal de Granada: This is a whole area of town with small mom-and-pop shops selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to meats, fish, clothing, and home necessities. You will have to know the local prices for things before you will know what you should be paying for things. That just takes time. But once you are in the know, you can often save some money by shopping and bargaining here. Some of the best family-owned restaurants in the city are in this market. The Banana Burger restaurant, in the above restaurant’s list, is in this City Market.

Qiang’s Birthday Celebration

Hotel Real La Merced: This is the hotel where we spent the weekend celebrating Qiang’s Birthday.

Granada Fitness Club

The Fitness Club: We looked at a few other fitness clubs before picking this one. This one costs 50 Cordoba ($1.50 USD) per day per person. The place is well equipped, but go in the morning if crowds bother you. It is a meat market at night. If you go long term they offer better deals from time to time. The other gyms we surveyed in Granada didn’t have all the equipment or free weight choices.

Granada Livability Factors and Retirement Desirability Score

Here are some of the factors I think about when I consider a place for early retirement potential. After I discuss each factor I will assign an overall retirement desirability score to Granada.

Walkability: High Desirability I love living in walkable areas of the world where you can walk to restaurants, grocery stores, nightlife, parks, and other interesting things to do. Granada is completely walkable. We would probably just purchase cheap ugly used bicycles if we lived here and ride the local buses. You may need a taxi from time to time to get groceries home.

Internet: High. The Att Speed Test in our apartment WIFI was 9 Mbps download speeds and 4 Mbps upload speeds. So the Internet speeds were all we needed for our purposes.

Food: Medium. There is an average level of international restaurants from around the world for a town of this size. They have lost a few good restaurants during the pandemic and from the political turmoil that occurred here in 2018. They do have a nice selection of more local-style restaurants with local pricing for everyday meals that help keep the cost of living here.

Weather: Medium. There are basically two seasons in Granada, the wet season and the dry season. The best time to visit Granada is December through March. The warmest months are April through November which is muggy and hot with daytimes averages around 32C, 89F, and nights average around 24C, 75F. December through March are only slightly cooler with average daytime highs around 31C, 88F, and night lows average around 22C, 72F. The rain falls mainly from mid-May through mid-November. Make sure to visit during both seasons before deciding to live here. The locals have adapted to the Siesta daily work schedule, where they do things outside in the morning and evening and hide indoors during the heat of the day.

Things to Do: Medium. Fishing, swimming, biking, live music, cooking, gym, yoga, restaurants, running, coffee shops, dirt biking, and hiking. Some activities have not been available during the pandemic such as sailing, standup paddleboarding, but hopefully, those industries will recover soon.

Healthcare: Medium. Nicaragua ranks 71st of the top 100 for healthcare according to this international survey. There are two small hospitals in Granada that should be able to help with many routine problems. But for more complicated issues you may need to see a specialist in one of the better hospitals in Managua: Vivian Pellas Metropolitan Hospital, Hospital Bautista, and the Military Hospital. Some ex-pats purchase medivac insurance for around $260 per year in case they need to be airlifted to the USA for even more complicated procedures. Do not be surprised if your cost of care is 70 to 90%% cheaper than it would be in the USA.

Social Considerations: High. If you decide to retire in Granada, you will want to learn some Spanish. Your life will be more full if you are able to communicate meaningfully with everyone around you.

Expats: Medium. There are a few Facebook groups for ex-pats living in Granada. One, two. I suggest people join these groups to ask questions and get answers to questions that only an ex-pat would know. But make sure to make friends with both locals and ex-pats for a richer experience living here. I explain why in my report, The Top 10 Mistakes International Retirees Make.

Real Estate: High. On the day I wrote this report, I was curious how much a small house or Condo would cost in or near Granada. So, I used Google to translate “Homes for sale in Granada, Nicaragua” into Spanish, “Casas en venta en Granada, Nicaragua” and I was able to easily locate this 2 bedroom 1.5 bath house for sale for $55,000 USD.

But I never recommend buying real estate until you have lived somewhere for at least 2 to 3 years. In fact, I have a report explaining Why Retired Expats Should not Buy Real Estate Overseas for the first 2 to 3 years of living somewhere new overseas. Make sure to read that before deciding to buy real estate overseas.

Visa: High. Citizens of many countries are given a 90-day visa-free tourist stamp upon arrival in Nicaragua. If you fall in love with Nicaragua during your exploratory visit and decide to stay you will need to apply for residency. The retiree residence age is 45 years old if you can show $600 monthly pension or more, but some have been able to gain this residency before age 45 by proving financial stability. Each additional dependent requires showing an additional $100 pension.

Safety: Medium. In general, I would stay away from Managua unless you are going there for medical treatment. We felt safe in Granada, but we were in the central area of town which is generally considered one of the safest areas. Nicaragua was ranked 120th in safety on the Global Peace Index for 2021. But make sure to read my report on how to travel the world safely, including in your home country. I provide all of my tips and tricks that have kept me safe for 14+ years traveling the world.

Granada Overall Retirement Desirability Score: High. Granada is definitely on the map for us now when we travel through Central America. We will rank our top spots in Central America in the next few weeks and I suspect Granada will have a decent ranking in Central America. We like being immersed in a foreign culture and it felt that way to us rather than primarily an ex-pat hangout. The cultural immersion, the low cost of living, and the totally laid-back atmosphere of Granada, all help rank Granada favorably.

Where We Stayed

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment that we are not going to recommend. Instead, we are recommending you book for a month in this place: Apartahotel Sofia. We walked in here and they quoted us $500 USD plus electricity for one month. Long term you might be able to get a better price. But to get down to $350 per month, you will need to book a less luxurious place and you will find those using my report: How to find perfect apartments around the world.

How we got to Granada, Nicaragua

Granada was our third stop in Nicaragua. We came to Nicaragua from Costa Rica. We took a bus from the bus station in Liberia, Costa Rica to the border (Frontera Bus) of Nicaragua for about $3 USD. From the border on the Nicaragua side, we took a private taxi to San Juan Del Sur with Daniel (WhatsApp) for $30 USD. Here is Daniel’s number: +505 8776 9376.

We next spent a week in Ometepe Island. Daniel also drove us to the ferry to Ometepe Island for $20.00. Finally, when we left Ometepe, Daniel drove us from the ferry to Granada for $25.00. So Daniel is a one-stop transportation solution for the southern part of Nicaragua.

Thanks for reviewing my report, Granada Nicaragua Cost of Living.

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