Board down active volcanoes, trek across biodiverse rainforests, and plunge into sparkling beaches! Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, has it all! Why not take a break from the doldrums of life and immerse yourself in a country brimming with dynamic culture and Nacatamales (aka the cousin of Mexican tamales)! Not to mention the perks of low cost of living, tropical weather, and Spanish-learning opportunities! Whether you’re looking to earn more experience or eat your weight in rice and beans— you’ll fulfill your goal and satisfy your soul by finding a job abroad in Nicaragua.
“The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes” not only features a variety of flora, fauna, and adventurous activities, but it also attracts visitors from around the world with its colonial architecture and artifacts. The following cities exhibit some of the highlights of the country, which consequently just happen to be the best places to work abroad in Nicaragua.
Managua. The geographic and economic capital of Nicaragua is home to over 1 million people. Managua is a hub for manufacturing goods and is home to national and international businesses. The majority of higher educational institutions are here, and you’ll also find the largest number of available teaching jobs in Managua. From the Tiscapa Lagoon Natural Reserve to the St. James' Cathedral, you’ll have plenty to do in your free time!
Leon. Along the Chiquito River lies the second largest city in Nicaragua. The main job industries in Leon are in education, communications, transportation, and retail. The city is an agricultural, industrial, and commercial center for Nicaragua, and it showcases colonial churches and monuments. Relax on Poneloya beach, stroll through the ruins of the San Sebastián Cathedral, and visit DeBayle Museum. Or volcano board down the nearby Cerro Negro if you’re feeling up for the challenge.
Granada. Located in western Nicaragua, Granada is the center for commerce and tourism. With colonial architecture and attractions, internationally recognized restaurants, and volcanic lagoons, Granada continues to grow in popularity. A rise in museums, hotels, and restaurants these past few years have caused the city to thrive and shine! It’s also another popular spot for teaching jobs in Nicaragua (I’m looking at you expats!).
Popular Job Types
As the country’s economy continues to grow rapidly, so does the demand for certain job industries. Jobs in Nicaragua for English speakers are in high demand as travel and tourism becomes one of the largest industries in Nicaragua.
ESL teachers. Nicaragua’s demand for ESL teachers is growing faster than nearby Central American countries. Individuals teaching abroad usually work in international schools, private academies, or schools five days a week during business hours. Usually, you need to be a native English teacher and have previous experience; some schools require TESOL/TEFL certificates and a master’s degree.
Travel & tourism. Whether you want to serve people indoors or outdoors, a plethora of opportunities exist in hotels, restaurants, and outdoor locations. You could look at jobs to be a receptionist, server, tour guide, chef, and more. In many of these jobs, you’ll need to speak an advanced level of Spanish and English in order to communicate with both locals and international visitors.
Depending on your credentials, experience, and teaching position, you can expect to earn around $500-$700 a month. International schools typically offer higher salaries than private language academies as well. For tourism jobs, the average salary is between $250-$600 a month depending on the field. The overall cost of living in Nicaragua, however, is quite low — especially for food and transportation; clothing and entertainment may be a bit more pricey depending on your spending habits.
Are you looking to live the city life or the quiet life? Do you prefer to be alone or around others? Apartments are available in cities and outside of the city — a one bedroom is around $350 in the city and around $200 outside of the city. You could also consider larger apartments and splitting the cost with other colleagues. Homestay accommodations are also another common option, where you would stay with a host family, eat meals together, and practice Spanish with them. A place to stay AND a second family? You’ll be living the dream!
Visa requirements vary based on your citizenship and the duration of the job. In most cases, you’ll need to apply for a work permit, which requires filling out forms, paying fees, and showing your passport. Obtaining a work permit may take some time, so make sure you plan ahead for the process; however, most organizations will assist you with the process. For more information about embassy locations and contact information, head to GoAbroad’s Embassy site to learn more.
Goabroad’s Inside Scoop
While working abroad in Nicaragua, you may face some culture shock. The culture is more informal and relaxed — even with attire in business situations. Greetings usually start with a handshake as the opposite hand touches the other person’s shoulder. However, don’t be surprised if you’re greeted with one kiss on the cheek! It’s a common gesture in Latin countries (and not someone trying to confess their undying love to you— yet at least). Nicaraguans also view time as more relaxed causing them to show up 20 minutes late to a meeting or to class.
As a teacher, you might face other challenges, such as lack of resources, shy students, and frequent holidays. However, you’ll come to learn to embrace the differences until you’re eventually a local yourself! Start the process early when searching for jobs abroad in Nicaragua and remember to enjoy the experience (along with the views) on this new journey!