About

Photo Credit: Heather Blue van Doorninck

Justin and I moved to Nicaragua in January of 2008, having just gotten married in 2007.  Learn more about our early Nicaraguan adventures here.  Our original plan was to live in Nicaragua for a year, evaluate our experience, and then perhaps move back to the States, get desk jobs, set up home in an insanely expensive Boston suburb that we couldn’t afford and procreate.  Well, that was my plan.  But, as one year crept into two, both Justin and I began to discuss the possibility of having children abroad.  I wasn’t getting any younger and the economy in the States wasn’t getting any better.   After reviewing numerous birth scenarios (go home now, get jobs, get insurance, get pregnant; get pregnant here, get on a plane back to States for delivery; get over it and just do it), we decided to ignore the one piece of advice that my physician father tried to impart on us during regular visits, “just don’t get pregnant down there.”  Four months later, I was pregnant and we were overjoyed.  Join us on our journey as we navigate the joys and pitfalls of getting pregnant and parenting in a foreign country.

If you’re thinking about making a similar move, don’t hesitate to post with questions or comments. I’d be more than happy to share my experience.  For more detailed information and support, consider a relocation consultation with me.  You can reach me by sending an email to sarah@expatlifeinnicaragua.com.

27 Responses to “About”

  1. Corey Moore August 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Hi Sarah, My family and I are planning on relocating to SJDS early next year. The hope is that I’ll be pregnant before the move and we would like to have our baby there. I can’t find any info on having a baby in Nicaragua. Can you give me some advice?
    Thanks!

    • Sarah October 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

      Hi Corey,

      My apologies for the long delay in responding to your questions! Congrats on your upcoming move! My husband and I were fortunate to be surrounded by a community of families also pregnant during my pregnancy. I had the latest due date among 4 families, so we were able to hear about and learn from their experiences, which was tremendously helpful.

      We had our baby in Managua, the capitol city, which is about 2 hours north of San Juan. Though somewhat inconvenient to get there, the hospital is state of the art, with licensed and well-qualified physicians. My sister was pregnant, at the same time, in the States and our experiences mirrored each other down to the ultrasounds, testing, etc. So, we felt good that the our doc was inline with US standards. As in the States, the rate of c-sections is increasing steadily, so if you want a natural birth experience, you do have to advocate for yourself quite a bit, but if you have good communication with your docs, it is possible! There are also 2 doulas currently living in San Juan who are wonderful (one of whom has had two children here) and the other who has assisted 5 births here. Having them is invaluable, as they know the system, but also understand and support your experience.

      Check out http://www.metropolitano.com.ni/ for more info on the hospital in Managua. Let me know how else I can be of help!
      Sarah

      • Corey Moore November 30, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

        Hi Sarah,

        Thanks for the info. Since I wrote my post to you I have become pregnant so we are looking into our options more now. I have another question for you. We spent a month in SJDS last year and my then 18 month old attended Julie’s preschool. I want to contact her to see if I would be able to re-enroll him once we’re there, but I can’t seem to find her contact info anywhere. I know that it’s a small community there and thought you may know how to reach her?

        Also, who was your doctor when you were pregnant? Were you fearful of the strict abortion laws just in case the pregnancy became dangerous to yourself? We are considering having the baby in Costa Rica and then coming to Nicaragua for that reason. From what I can see online there are no exceptions which is kind of scary.

        Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!
        Corey

      • Sarah November 30, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

        Congrats, Corey! What exciting news! I will email you offline so that I can answer your questions more thoroughly. Cheers! Sarah

  2. Rachel February 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    So glad to find this. We’re planning on starting a family and then heading to Nicaragua. Nice to know it can be done.

    • Sarah February 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      Hi Rachel,
      Glad you found us! It absolutely can be done. Best of luck to you on your journey!
      ~Sarah

  3. Molly February 24, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    Hi Sarah!

    I’m loving your blog. I worked on the Coral Princess, which goes through SJDS and I adored my time there. My best friend and I are considering a move down there and I’d love advice on looking for work, getting moved, etc. My email is “email1229@gmail.com”.

    Thanks so much!!
    Molly

    • Sarah February 24, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      Hi Molly,
      Thanks for visiting my blog! I’ll send you an email soon and we can chat.
      All the best,
      Sarah

  4. Laura Changala April 7, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    Hi Sarah,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, my husband and I had been bouncing around the idea of moving to Nica for a while, late last year your blog was a constant source of envy! Well, 6 months on and we have decided that we are really open to the idea and that we want to give it a trial run. We are thinking about coming to SJDS for a month sometime June/July and see how we like it. I have a heap of questions would you mind helping us out a little. I will be 6 months pregnant at the time, and i have a 10 month old. Are we crazy to try an attempt it then? We will need to rent a house, a car, find a nanny or at least childcare and lastly find a reliable internet connection as we both work from home. Are we mad?!?! Any advice would be most welcomed.
    Thanks
    Laura

    • Sarah April 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for you comments! I think that you are smart to do a trial run here before deciding whether or not to move permanently. I’ve seen this town come a long way in just over 4 years, but it still lacks a lot of the basic infrastructure that we come to rely on in North America. I think that everyone’s experience is a little different – some love it and never leave while others struggle to adjust, but eventually call Nicaragua home. There are also those who just don’t click with the lifestyle and pack up and move home. One thing that I can attest to is that this is a wonderful place for kids. Children are truly cherished here and welcome in most places. If you and your husband need to work, then it’s easy to find affordable and reliable childcare. Having a baby here is a different story. I had a wonderful experience giving birth to my daughter here; however, we were with our doctor from conception and grew comfortable with him and the language barriers over time. The private hospital that we used is in Managua, about 2 hours away. Renting a home should not be too difficult so long as you have reasonable expectations. You can find something very basic starting at around $600/month, but you can also spend upwards of $2000 if you want luxury. I can help you to find some rental options if you’d like, as my friend runs a real estate company here in town. Internet should not be a major problem, but keep in mind that should the power go out, so does your internet. I work from home 3 days per week and rely heavily on a connection and I usually do not have many problems. A car might be your biggest challenge. Renting will be costly, but you can do it via Alamo or Dollar or I can put you in touch with a friend who rents out classic Jeeps. If you loan to be here long term, I would recommend buying a used vehicle. That’s another experience on its own, but there are also short term expats here who might be looking to unload a vehicle before they leave.

      Nothing is impossible and I commend you for taking the first step towards this lifestyle. It is crazy and scary, but also a ton of fun. Let me know how else I can be of help to you!

      Saludos,
      Sarah

      • Laura Changala April 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

        Sarah,

        So many thanks for the reply! Yes please I would love for you to connect me with your friend in real estate. Also, you mentioned in a couple of blog posts about a lady called Julie that runs a daycare center, If you could share her contact details I would really appreciate it, i’ve scanned the web trying to find her number or a website, but all I seem to find are people talking about how wonderful she is!! I too work 3 days a week and finding a nanny or daycare for the month is my biggest worry. You really put my mind at ease so thank you! Can we continue the conversation offline?

        Again many huge thanks for sharing!

        Laura

      • Sarah April 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

        Hi Laura,

        Check your inbox!
        Sarah

  5. avicarswife May 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    what an interesting life! i just found your blog after creeping on the gypsy mama’s page, and decided to have a look. i love hearing about people who have decided to have babies abroad…i guess the uk isn’t exactly latin america, but i studied spanish at university and my husband p and i would love to live in l.a. for a period of time. looking forward to reading more!

    • Sarah May 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

      Thanks for the visit! I think that any time a person lives outside of their “home country,” it’s fair to consider that living abroad! You are still experiencing new culture, food, accents, lifestyles, etc! I’m terrible about updating my blogs, but please do come back – hopefully I’ll get something insightful up one of these days :)

  6. Katie August 8, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    Great blog, my husband and I dream to live in Nicaragua atleast for a few years (or more) of our lives. Have you met any Canadians? We want to have another baby here then head out to Nica we have a 6 month old right now. We would love to adopt a child from Nica as well. I believe you have to live there for a couple years in order to do that and we would love the experience but may even stay. I have been 4 times and my husband has been 6 times! It’s hard with the choice to have a baby there as for us we have our great healthcare system and having a baby is free (well taxes but you know what I mean) I would love to know if you have any other info!! We would probably live in Managua or Leon…. I will be following. Please email me!

    • Sarah August 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      HI Katie,

      Thanks for visiting! We know a number of wonderful Canadians living here in San Juan. You might check out http://www.ranchochilamate.com, a fantastic horseback tour company run by a couple from the Vancouver area. I can understand the dilemma regarding where to have a baby. We had a wonderful experience here. I don’t know any laws pertaining to adoption, but I imagine those would be easy to find online.

      Managua is not my favorite place in the country, but some people quite enjoy it for the access to shopping. I love Leon, but I find that it gets very hot during certain months. So far, we’ve been very happy in San Juan!

      Let me know how else I can be of help.
      All the best to you,
      Sarah

  7. Miss Banana Pants August 23, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    Hello Sarah!
    My name is Michelle and I blog over at http://www.missbananapants.com. I’m a fellow mom blogger who also happens to be in the beginning stages of planning to move my little family of four to Nicaragua! I am so excited to find another blogger who understands the woes of motherhood that may be in close proximity! We just made the decision that we are wanting something different for our family. We currently live in Oklahoma City, OK and the need to get out of a saturated, consumeristic, materialistic, debt-ridden society has currently overwhelmed us. We want something simpler for our kiddos. I have a kindergartener and a 3 year old. My questions are: Do you know of any good schools in SJDS or Granada? What can a family of four expect as far as living expenses (3 bedroom home with high-speed internet, as my husband will work at home online)? Are Spanish tutors down there hard to come by and are they expensive? Where does your fam live and do you love it there? How is the crime, as I know the poverty is everywhere? Are there a lot of orphanages, as I hope to devote a lot of my time to one volunteering if possible? Is there a large community of American expats there? What is the best time of year to come for a first visit (we were planning on coming for 10-12 days in Dec-Jan, and then moving permanantly in June)? Lastly, can we be BFF’s? I seriously love your blogs and writing style! I can already tell you are like me, a great mom emmersed in sarcasm and wit. :) My email address is michelle@missbananapants.com if you would prefer to contact me that way! Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks for all the advice and tips so far! I’m so excited to get out there!

  8. Tom September 15, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    Dear Sarah:

    Sorry to ruin your string of posts from pregnant or soon to be pregnant women and women raising kids, but as an old fart I too love your posts. I do not fit the mold of your communicators but if need be I could claim to be 40 years younger and claim my name is Tomasita.

    I have been an entrepreneur adventurer most of my life. It is always about the adrenalin of the unknown. Life is too very boring if you are dead certain what tomorrow will bring, so I find myself at a crossroads too young to just go ahead and die but not to old to start another venture.

    I have identified Central America as that possible adventure. Most of what I have learned in life will be of no use. Russian linguist, Management Consultant, accounting and taxes, fluency in German, financial planner, single family house buyer, commercial development, insurance adjusting, just to name most. So since most of that is of little use there and that which is probably will require more dedication than the aged want to commit to, I will rely on the fact that my Spanish consists of probably the 10 worst words all learned while competing against others in New Mexico in anything that had a round ball. I am thinking that showing up in CA with no Spanish could qualify as an adventure, entiende? Lesson one in Pimsler.

    So I am somewhat familiar with Honduras because I have been considering an immersion school in Copan. Because of their crime stats I am now leaning to Nicaragua. A couple of questions. Have you heard of immersion schools in Nicaragua. And can you or any of your compatriots point me towards some possible towns in the Altiplano region of Nicaragua?

    Most people my age are too old for this type of change but no change makes one too old..

    Thanks in advance for any information.

    Tom

  9. Summer December 28, 2012 at 5:54 am #

    Hey Sarah,
    I have LOADS of questions to ask you as a newly wed in Nicaragua. If you could email me so that I could ask you these questions that would be awesome. Thanks! :)

    • Sarah June 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

      Hi Summer,
      Your comment got lost in my inbox and I just saw it! Still have questions?
      Sarah

  10. Maria Elorza January 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Hello Sarah,
    My friend and I have plans to visit San Juan this July for about 1 month. We will be going with our families, she has two kids(6 and 4) and I have a son (6 years old). Our plans are to immerse our kids in the nica culture and to help them to get fluent in Spanish. But we need your help finding housing for our families. On a comment above you said you have a realtor friend, could you please send me her/his information. We have been looking around on the web, but the prices are too expensive.
    Thanks for your help, your blog is great!!! Hope your pregnancy is going well.

    Maria E

  11. Stephanie June 26, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Hi Sarah! I’ve been living in Nica for about 7 months, north of you in the Popoyo area. I just got married recently and we’re starting to talk about having kids! While I am excited at this prospect I am also s-c-a-r-e-d! :) would LOVE to pick your brain and get more info on what it was like having a kid here.

    • Sarah September 9, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

      Hi Stephanie,
      My apologies for the looong delay in responding! We’ve had our hands full with the new addition. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. I’ve sent you a message to your inbox. Ask away!
      Saludos,
      Sarah

  12. Aleksandra September 26, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Hola Sarah,

    We are a couple with 14 months old daughter – we are about coming to Nicaragua for 6 months. Of course I have many questions on my mind (all concern to our baby). Could I write to you?
    Gracias, Aleksandra

  13. Aleksandra October 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Hola Sarah :)
    Sorry for late answer but we had removal last days and there was no time for anything.
    I am not sure if I need skype consultation. I was traveling by Nicaragua and other 3 countries of Central America and I have some information from that trip. I just wanted to ask you about:
    - mosquitoes repellent for baby
    - contact to good pediatrician in SJDL or in Granada too if you have one.
    - what you think about malaria and dengue danger – how you protect your children? Did you hear of any cases of those diseases?
    If you think that we should talk by skype – let me know.

    We also are looking for an apartment for rent (first in Granada, than in SJDL) – I think that I saw an information that your husband work as an real estate manager – ? There are a lot of information on your webs and I can’t find it again :( I just can do something while my daughter is sleeping and I am all the time in a hurry ;)
    Saludos de Polonia.
    Aleksandra

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