So I’m building a hotel in Nicaragua

Rod Mcdonald


First things first. Thanks to Tim for making this community newspaper available!

Here is my idea for this blog. I am currently in the process of both getting my residency as an investor and building a small hotel in the fishing village of Las Penitas, Leon. I am going to write my story as we go along, pitfalls and successes equally.

Since this is my first post and I have been here for over a year, time for me to catch you all up.

Sold the house, everything in storage, so long Toronto.

Getting here in the middle of winter with two dogs was not as easy as one might imagine, the stars need to align and the weather gods need to shine some warmth on your departure from a cold Canadian winter and some chill on your hot Nicaraguan arrival.

Not a word of Spanish, except “los sientos”, (I am Canadian after all), two dogs and a husband in tow, hit the ground running, one night in Managua at the Crown Plaza where they charged us more to have the dogs in our room that it cost for the two of us. Truck rental the next day and off to Las Penitas to find our rental house. GPS sucks, takes better part of the day to get out of Managua, arrive late to find no one at the house to let us in. Find some locals to help us find the house keeper, finally get in and it’s a disaster, internet does not always tell the truth. OK, we’ll live with it for now.

Fast forward one month. Turns out we can’t live with it, off we go to Rivas area where we are sure to find a better house. We did indeed. One month later we are living on the outskirts of Leon, Autos de Vera Cruz, travelling back and forth to the beach on the bus property hunting. Worked with a real estate agent for about 6 months trying to find a property. Moved out to the beach, realized we would only find something suitable by getting to know the locals. It worked!

Property purchased, now to find an architect firm to design the place. Should we use a firm out of Managua or Leon? Interviewed a few, found a great one in Leon, SIA.SA, they speak English too, although Roddy’s Spanish has come a long way in just a year, mine not so much.

Lets design…yes I want that and this and oh that fantastic tile I saw in La Pas Centro, and oh yes, this and that. Perfect. Now how much is that going to cost? LOL! Lets back up here it’s supposed to be cheaper to build here then in Canada, No? Redesign, reconfigure, scale it back, ok, that’s better!

So that brings the reader up to speed, one year two months to do what we thought would take about 6 months. Roddy has to go back to work, it cost us too much money in the first year, it isn’t as cheap here as you think, until you learn your way around, (by the way we are not back packers, we lived in downtown Toronto and are pretty used to the good things in life). I am living here mostly alone (he is travelling back and forth as the job permits), to build a hotel.

I’ve omitted many many details for the sake of brevity, like the Italians who thought they actually owned the property we bought, the near death of one of our dogs, Cardhu, the bats, the cats (or whatever it was) living in the ceiling, some crazy fun drunk nights with some of what we now consider our great friends, the many travels along the coast in search of the perfect beach, fishing, hiking volcanos, buying a used bike, getting ripped off by those people who do that sort of thing, renewing visitor visas, travelling out of country for same, etc, etc, etc.

I hope to write every couple of weeks about the progress of the build and anything else that happens along the way, I hope you will read and comment, please be gracious with your comments and my grammar!

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