The Insider Guide to San Juan del Sur


Hey everyone! If you are planning a trip to Nicaragua that includes San Juan del Sur, don’t miss out on this awesome e-book. Written by two highly knowledgeable expats (nope, not us) who have lived in and visited San Juan del Sur for years, this guide offers comprehensive information on everything from the best hotels to not-to-miss activities.

As explained on their website, the 180 page Ebook includes:

-Under the radar, little touted and off the beaten track experiences not covered in regular guidebooks (Miss any one of these and you’ll have to come back)
-Practical insider tips to plug you deeper into the region and get you immersed into local life in San Juan del Sur
-Why so many people go to Playa Maderas and dozens of alternative beaches that most travelers overlook
-6 different ways to experience San Juan del Sur to help you build the perfect itinerary
-A checklist of 101 things to do in San Juan del Sur
-The 5 mistakes that otherwise smart travelers make in San Juan del Sur (you’ll definitely want to avoid #4)
-Real world advice to ensure you have a smooth trip
-Interview with locals to connect you closer to the lives of the people who live here
-Romance secrets: 6 experiences that will blow your date’s mind… and yours
-Plus you’ll get coupons to top quality local businesses* (Use just one and the guidebook pays for itself)


Baby Gear Rental Business in San Juan del Sur!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but that’s because I’ve been busy developing my latest business venture: Mums and Bums Nicaragua – a baby gear rental shop for those of you visiting San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua with families! My good friend and business partner, Rosi, and I are super excited to introduce this new business to Nicaragua. Please visit and like our Facebook page: to learn more and to stop abreast of new products for rent, upcoming promotions, and more! We can also arrange for babysitting services (with licensed early childhood development professionals). More great products and services coming soon!

Help us to fund a new school campus in Nicaragua!

Dear Readers,

As most of you know, in 2008, Justin and I set out on a journey to Nicaragua.  What began as an extended honeymoon has turned into so much more – San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua has become our home and more importantly, it is now home to our two children: Lucinda and Theodore.

In 2009, our dear friend, Julie Speier, opened the doors to a small ½ day preschool.  Five years later, San Juan del Sur Day School has developed into a pre-k thru grade 2 International English School, educating expatriate and Nicaraguan children.  Julie’s vision does not end there.  By the year 2020, she hopes to have a fully operational Pre-k thru grade 12 school.

Our own daughter, Lucinda, has been attending the school for over a year now.  Each morning, before she has even cleared the sleep from her eyes, she inquires as to whether or not she has school that day.  She is often ready to depart for school a full hour before the lights have been turned on and the doors opened.  We delight in seeing our daughter take so much joy in learning.  And while she may not realize it quite yet, we know that she is already establishing the foundation for her education.  Some time next year, Theodore will also join his cohorts, perhaps becoming a member of San Juan del Sur Day School’s graduating class of 2031!

Due to its exponential growth, San Juan del Sur Day School is quickly outgrowing its current location.  Fortunately, the school recently received an incredibly generous donation of 30 acres of land upon which to make the dreams of San Juan del Sur Day School a reality.  Now, it is time to begin raising the funds to build those dreams.

Julie has played such a huge part in our lives, acting not only as schoolteacher and friend, but also as doula at the birth of both of our children.  Her commitment to the wellbeing of our children and those of San Juan del Sur is profound.  Now we can play a big part in her life and the lives of our children.  Below, you will find detailed information on the school and how to donate.

Please consider making a donation to the construction fund for San Juan del Sur Day School.  Every donation counts.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for being such wonderful people in our lives.  Feel free to share and forward this to others who might be interested in helping.


Sarah, Justin, Lucinda, and Theodore

San Juan del Sur Day School is a private International English school educating a diverse Nicaraguan and Expat student body of children from the ages of 18 months to eight years. We provide our students with engaging, stimulating and educational opportunities at all stages of development. We create a learning environment in which children are safe to make choices, exchange ideas, share feelings and gain some degree of autonomy. Our school helps children to develop that lifelong love of learning that will enable them to succeed in any environment. We are growing rapidly and can use your help! For information on how to support the school, please visit:

Rugby Comes to San Juan del Sur

“Rugby is great. The players don’t wear helmets or padding; they just beat the living daylights out of each other and then go for a beer. I love that.” ~Joe Theismann


San Juan is now proud to boast its first ever rugby team.  A collection of Nicaraguans and Expats, residents and backpackers, young and old, the team played in its second official tournament earlier this month in Managua.

This weekend was the first clash in the Nicaraguan Rugby 7′s Circuit and the team from San Juan del Sur did not disappoint, winning the tournament and all four matches by healthy margins.  Also noted was San Juan’s sartorial elegance–bright pink uniforms!

“We decided to wear the pink uniforms to raise awareness for breast cancer,” said Justin Fahey, the clubs media spokesman. He added, “We thought we’d try to do our part to help.”

Five teams are competing on the 7′s Circuit, which will be played over four more weekends in the coming months with the next round in Managua on October 26th.

San Juan beat Chorotega (MGA) 36-5, then defeated Los Lobos de la UNEN (MGA) by the same score.  Next up was the toughest win against Managua 19-5 and finally a sound 20-0 thumping over Granada.

Marc Noonan (UK) won the MVP of the tournament after scoring five tries.  Bastien Mahe (France) and Brett Ross (Australia) were also major contributors to the offensive onslaught.

The San Juan club is actively looking for members, especially local Sanjuaneños.  All ages and levels of experience are welcome.  Rugby 7′s is now an Olympic sport and the Nicaraguan national side will be selected from players on the Circuit.

Please visit San Juan del Sur Rugby Club page on Facebook if you want to come and learn how to play. 

Or contact Justin Fahey at 8810-1112 or Email:

[originally published in Del Sur News]

Obtaining Nicaraguan Residency


I was opening my computer to write a post about obtaining residency in Nicaragua when I stumbled across the following article.  Rather than reinventing the wheel, I figured I would just share what I found:

Getting Residency in Nicaragua” courtesy of Nicaragua Community

and here is a link to an older article on the same topic:

How to Apply for Residency in Nicaragua” courtesy of Nicaragua Dispatch

Note: The information provided in this post is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice.  An Expat Life in Nicaragua does not endorse nor control or take responsibility for the content or information on any external website listed here.

Relocation Consultations

I am so excited to announce my latest endeavour as a Relocation Consultant!  After 5 years of helping wayward expats find answers to their most burning questions about life in Nicaragua, I’ve decided to formally offer my services as a Relocation Consultant.  Please visit my new page to learn more about the services offered, topics covered, and fees.  I look forward to working with you and to helping you find home in Nicaragua.


Health Insurance in Nicaragua









When we moved to Nicaragua, my dad’s first request was that I not get pregnant while living abroad (a physician, I assumed this was his recommendation based on health – I only learned much later, with my first child, mind you, that this was actually a grandfather plea).  In any case, I’ve since had two kids here and all has gone exceedingly well.  But I digress.  His second request, let’s be honest here – his second demand – was that we have some form of health insurance.

“I was talking to a friend whose brother worked over seas for a few years and the phrase was (a bit out of date), “For minor illnesses you take two aspirin, for major illnesses you take Pan Am.”  -Dad (September 2007)

And so we began our research by looking into catastrophic insurance, which would essentially help only if we needed medical evacuation.  Justin, in his usual charming way, reached out to an expat we’d met during our visit to Nicaragua the previous year:

“I’m writing you to ask about health insurance.  We are fine with going to Nica doctors for bumps & bruises, etc, but I’d like to have coverage for anything catastrophic.  Like cancer, monkey attacks, or (gasp) if I knock my wife up.” (November 2007)

Run a search on “medevac insurance” and you will be inundated and overwhelmed by options.  We eventually paid through the nose for a catastrophic insurance policy via IMG (International Medical Group).  And as a fellow expat once shared,

“This is how I look at it (and it might be a little harsh but..), chances are if you get in a catastrophic accident here in Nicaragua, the probability that you get to a hospital in time, they get organized and get that helicopter that you need to fly you out of Nicaragua is probably not going to happen. But, good news is, that the Vivian Pellas hospital in Nicaragua is world class, and has a host of international doctors there.”

Thankfully, we never needed to be airlifted out of Nica, but it did appease my risk-averse dad who had a friend who did, indeed, need to be med-evacuated out of Costa Rica (20 years ago) after a heinous rappelling fall.  I will say that international health insurance policies appear to have come a long way in just the six years since we moved, including basic travel insurance and not just catastrophic options.  So I do recommend looking into all options before discounting them altogether.

After a year, we let our policy lapse, but fortunately, our health did not.  Then, we began the baby talk and decided that even if we didn’t worry so much about our own health, it was time to take the responsible road and insure our children’s health.

We ended up purchasing a policy via Seguros America.  With an office in Managua, they were easy to find, helpful in choosing the appropriate policy for our needs, and very affordable.  Seguros America offers tiered coverage, including a silver or gold plan with varying deductibles.  You can purchase a policy that covers you in only Nicaragua, in all of Central America, or worldwide.  Obviously, those plans with lower deductibles and greater geographic coverage are more costly, but they are still quite reasonable.


For under $1,000 per year for the entire family, our policy provides us with regional coverage, up to $25,000 per person per year.  The plan provided up to $2,000 in maternity care (prenatal and labor and delivery).  You have up to two weeks after the birth of a child to add him/her to your policy and receive coverage for newborn costs.  Ambulatory visits are unlimited and will be reimbursed up to $20 per visit.  Specialized medicine visits are also unlimited and covered up to $30 per visit.  There are plenty of more detailed items that are covered, based on your chosen deductible and package, including ER visits, surgeries, physical therapy, etc.  It’s best to consult with an insurance agent to review these details prior to purchasing a package.

To obtain coverage, you must first meet with a rep from the SA office and then submit to a physical exam. We still pay out of pocket for all medical expenses and then submit receipts, along with a basic reimbursement form signed by our doctors, to the headquarters in Managua.  We typically receive reimbursement checks within two weeks.  All of our healthcare has taken place at Hospital Metropolitano, Vivian Pellas and have had no problems seeking reimbursement.

Another option, which I understand functions similarly to Seguros America, is the insurance plan offered by Vivan Pellas.  They have an office on the first floor of the hospital.


To date, we have been exceedingly happy with our coverage.  Though it does not cover us when we travel outside of Central America, we have found great travel insurance plans via Seven Corners.  They provide you with a quick and easy online quote after completing a basic questionnaire. Look into travel insurance provided by your credit cards, as well.

For further reading on health insurance in Nicaragua, visit The US Department of State website:

You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:

  • Does my policy apply when I’m out of the United States?
  • Will it cover emergencies like a trip to a foreign hospital or a medical evacuation?

In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out an additional policy for your trip. For more information, please see ourmedical insurance overseas page.

Be wary of private companies that claim to provide Medicare coverage outside of the United States. Generally, Medicare does not extend to beneficiaries overseas; we recommend you purchase additional medical insurance to ensure complete coverage. Please see the pamphlet Medicare Coverage Outside the United States for more information.”