For whatever reason, Nicaragua is generally not on most people’s short list as a place to visit. I felt the same way as you may feel thirteen years ago before my first visit. But now having lived here for 10 years, and watched many folks become excited about the country after seeing it, I’d encourage you to set aside pre-conceived notions and come on down and see it for your self.
Nicaragua is truly a country you have to experience to believe. Even well travelled executives and professionals have a hard time getting their heads around this concept. Just recently David Kidd, world-renown golf architect famous for his Castle Course at St Andrews, said that, he too, didn’t know what to expect when he first crossed the border from Costa Rica into Nicaragua. He said he was naively worried about guys with AK-47s and civil war.
“But then I thought, ‘You dumbass, there is nothing like that here; the place is full of surf bums’.” The Nicaragua Dispatch, February 28, 2012
Surf bums and billionaires and everything in between. You see. Old perceptions can be deceiving. When you look at the facts, Nicaragua is a fantastic place to invest, do business, vacation, own property, and retire. Check out this data.
What do all these people know that you don’t?
1. Nicaragua is safe
- The Economist Intelligence Unit 2010 (EIU), a global leader in business intelligence, positioned Nicaragua as the second safest country in Central America, only behind Costa Rica. 
Contrary to what most people feel, Nicaragua is very safe. Sure there is petty theft as in all Latin American countries, but violent crime is lower than most US cities. Despite how we feel about it, those are the facts.
2. Nicaragua is an exciting place to vacation
- Whole lotta lava in Nicaragua. Ashboarding… – nypost.com – October 17, 2011
Having just come back from sledding down the Cerro Negro Volcano, let me assure you. It’s a blast. If it’s not on your bucket list yet, put it there.
- Horseback riding in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – washingtontimes.com – October 10, 2011 
Visited by Cornelius Vanderbilt and Mark Twain, this quaint seaside town is home to restaurants, bars, and hammocks where you can enjoy the sounds of a fishing village by the bay. After a nice lunch and siesta, take off for a sunset horseback ride on the beach.
3. Nicaragua is a comfortable place to call home
- The 5 Best Places in the World to Retire – huffingtonPost.com – November 1, 2011
- Nicaragua, the Dollar Goes a Long Way – AARP – November 26, 2010 
- Is Nicaragua the Next Retirement Paradise? – Forbes Retirement Guide 2009 
4. Nicaragua is Open for Business
- The World Bank’s “Doing Business Report 2010”  positioned Nicaragua as the country that best protects investors, measuring transparency of transactions (extent of disclosure index), liability for self-dealing (extent of director liability index), shareholders’ ability to sue officers and directors for misconduct (ease of shareholder suits index) and strength of investor protection index.
- The World Bank’s “Doing Business Report 2010” has ranked Nicaragua as the fastest country in which to start a business in Central America by This category measures business regulations and the protection of property rights, as well as their effect on businesses. The study placed Nicaragua in the number one position within the Central American region, followed by El Salvador and Costa Rica.
The big companies like Walmart, Porsche, and Ford are all here. Mid-sized players that make Underarmor, Levis, Wrangler, and a host of other products are here too. Why? They do their own due diligence and carefully weigh the facts. Information is a competitive advantage and companies use the information arbitrage to win big. Nicaragua’s bad reputation is money on the table for companies willing to examine the empirical reality.
5. Nicaragua is an awesome place to surf
- Southern Swell - New York Times MAY 16, 2011
The waves in May come from storms in the South Pacific and are some of the best of the year. Nicaragua is chock full of excellent surf breaks that are uncrowded and frequently empty. Think Southern California in the 1950’s with 80 degree water.
- Holly Beck: Tubes and Surfing with Amigas - Surfgirl on February 14, 2012 
Surf camps are springing up everywhere along the coast and professional surfer Holly Beck knows a great wave when she sees one. Focusing on women and girls, Holly offers classes for all skill levels and runs a fantastic beach experience for surfers of both sexes and all ages.
You see, Nicaragua is a changed country from the 1980’s. Independent analysis demonstrates this. You need to see this country for yourself and make your own judgments. I’ve stated for many years that the best investment out there right now is a plane ticket and hotel reservation for 4 or 5 days in Nicaragua so that people can the country for themselves. Remember, the real money is almost always made in the contrarian play or information arbitrage. Misperceptions about Nicaragua are a window of opportunity. Jump on it.
For anyone looking to make what could be the best investment in their lives, the Central American Advantage Conference is being held May 15-19 in Managua, Nicaragua. Over 30 expats from around the region will be on hand as speakers and presenters and you’ll have the opportunity to connect one-on-one and ask them the kinds of questions that are personal to you. Take a look at the full agenda here.
I look forward to seeing you in Nicaragua this May for an exploration of the region and a country that you just have to see to believe. Register now. You’ll be glad you did.
Links to resources quoted in this article
 The Economist Intelligence Unit 2010 (EIU), a global leader in business intelligence, positioned Nicaragua as the second safest country in Central America, only behind Costa Rica.
 Whole lotta lava in Nicaragua. Ashboarding… - nypost.com – October 17, 2011
 Horseback riding in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua - washingtontimes.com – October 10, 2011
 The 5 Best Places in the World to Retire – huffingtonPost.com – November 1, 2011
 Nicaragua, the Dollar Goes a Long Way – AARP – November 26, 2010
 Is Nicaragua the Next Retirement Paradise? – Forbes Retirement Guide 2009
 The World Bank’s “Doing Business Report 2010”
 Southern Swell – New York Times MAY 16, 2011
 Holly Beck: Tubes and Surfing with Amigas – Surfgirl on February 14, 2012