Current Location: Apartment, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


Price of beer in a bar: US$1.84/liter
Song currently stuck in my head: Round Here (Counting Crows)

My landlord and I reached an agreement about the electric bill, one in which I overpaid slightly less than they did. It’s far from ideal, but agreeable as a one off. We reached that agreement just in time for the next bill to arrive which is also pure fantasy. I’m not sure if I mentioned this already, but when we faced the first ridiculous accusation of kwh usage I did the math. I figured out what every electrical item in our apartment used. It was pretty easy, there are only about 6 things that plug in. Excluding the AC, which we’ve never turned on, we could not have used that much electric if we set out with a goal of doing so. This month we’ve been keeping records of the meter, which seems accurate. All indications are that the landlord isn’t the bad guy here, that it’s the electric company that’s screwing us both. If I had a solid record of what I used, I’d only pay for that. I don’t (though, from now on, I will) so I’m willing to be a little more flexible. For this new bill I’m taking the average usage from the records I’ve kept here (about 20 days worth), prorating it out for a month, adding 30% to that (just to be sure) and then adding in the non-usage fees on the bill. And that will be my offer.

I’ve been in San Juan del Sur long enough for wanderlust to set in in earnest. We never had any intention of staying more than a month. Back in Belize we turned down a very nice apartment sitting gig because we didn’t want to lose momentum. We’re not stuck here, not by a long shot, but it feels like it. We made a very calculated and difficult decision to hold over rather than heading on to a new city during the high occupancy, high activity, high cost and highly unrepresentative month of December. I do have to do a little of the in and out (scooting off to Costa Rica for a day or three to reset my Nicaraguan visa) and I hope those few days of chicken bussing, border crossing bafflement and Costa Rican snobbery will temporarily scratch my itch.

Don’t let any of that give you the impression that we’re unhappy with San Juan del Sur. It’s one of our favorites so far. But we’ve got a job to do and data to collect.

Have I mentioned the Visa situation? First of all, as an American tourist I don’t need a true Visa. I get a tourist card, which can be thought of the same way accept you don’t have to apply for it. Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala all act as one entity with regard to tourist cards. They go by the name CA-4. You get 90 days when you enter CA-4, which, for us, was when our boat from Belize to Honduras hit the shore. 90 days later we were in Esteli, Nicaragau so we went to the local immigration office and applied for 90 more days. Now we’re coming up on 180. At that point, you have to leave the Country. Estimates for how long vary, but people are getting back in, legally, after only a few hours. Then you have a fresh 90 days and you start over again.


2 Responses to “Current Location: Apartment, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua”

  1. Janie Says:

    Sorry to bother you but your post is the most current…I now teach English in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but am interested in relocating to SJDS. None of the international job sites even acknowledge Nicaragua exists. Is there a market there for English teachers? Thanks for your time.

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