Saturday, April 11, 2015

Renting in Granada

For the past seven months or so we've lived in a bamboo house on the corner of two fairly busy streets in Granada. Street noise is always an issue when you live in Latin America, with glassless windows that don't block out sounds and no one worried about staying quiet for their neighbors. Culturally speaking, noise pollution isn't really the big deal it is back in the States.
Bamboo house. It's not hard to love this place.

The house is on the route between the big public school down the road and the barrios between here and the lake, so the noise includes kids shouting and going back and forth to school several times a day. It also includes horse-drawn carriages clopping on the streets, people with big stereos giving their neighbors a 30-second show, workers driving big trucks to and fro, and all other manner of loud noise pollution. It's a part of life here that only gets louder when you're on the second floor of a corner house, as i am now.

This house has a lovely garden surrounding the pool, with mango and almond and pomegranate trees, baby bananas and hibiscus filling in the gaps, and a wall of sky vine, with its conical purple flowers, covering the entire opening between the living room and the pool area. It's a pleasant oasis that has become like home -- even in spite of its constant dust, its kitchen counters that are rough and never quite clean, and its loud water pump that buzzes and snorts anytime you want to have real water pressure. O, and the neighbor kids who toss rocks up to the mango tree, trying to wrest sweet mangoes free for an afternoon snack. Sometimes the rocks fall into the garden -- too close to our heads.

In spite of the few down sides, this has been home and we like it -- but like many rental homes, it's not ours forever, and in a couple weeks we'll move elsewhere. There are many homes for rent in Granada, many with high colonial ceilings adorned with long cane poles, big funky doors and iron gates, with a pool hidden somewhere in the foliage. Some are affordable by U.S. standards; others will rival the price you'd pay for nearly any vacation home anywhere.

Since we need to move, we've been able to see a lot of them. I realize now that we've been getting a killer deal for our place -- so i've had to suck it up and be willing to pay quite a bit more for the new place. Not U.S.-price more, but enough to stretch the budget that thus far has always included the ability to squirrel away funds, slowly, slowly.

How much do rentals cost in Granada?

To give you an idea, thus far we've been paying $400 plus all the bills; in the new house we'll pay $800 with only electricity to pay -- no pool fees, maid, internet or water... so in the end it's not really that much more. If you're into saving serious cash, skip the pool, move out of the centro, and expect to pay $300 or less for your place.

A lot of people come to Nicaragua and want to pay dirt-cheap prices for everything -- and it's true that you can save money... but it's just not quite as much as you might have hoped. It's still cheaper than Costa Rica by a long shot, and the people are friendly and fun and the cultural experience will hit you right and left, every day. Living in a city instead of traveling through it is so much richer, and i wouldn't trade it, ever.

As for the move, we are looking forward to seeing more of this city... a new street, perhaps less street noise and fewer roosters (but who knows) and new neighbors to get to know. The rebelangel will delight in finding new pulperias -- the small family-run stores -- and learning what goodies they have to offer. While i'd love to stay in our garden oasis, we'll have a pool at the new place and that's a very good thing during these hottest months of the year. We are staying positive and looking forward to a new adventure!

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We're always trying to look on the bright side -- which isn't too hard in this bright, sunny place! If you're in need of a little help in that department, check out Carmen's Positivity for Better Living course. Click the link and get the special discount price of just $10!

And the next time you're moving and need some help sprucing the place up, check out Room Design in a Box. For a low price you'll get a professionally-designed room with blueprints, shopping lists and more. Awesome!

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