Nicaragua is both expensive & cheap, depending on how you look at things, where you choose to shop and how you need to live. We are likely spending more now than we ever will and every month find cheaper ways to do/buy things. It makes a big difference in our expenses that we have been asked to live in Granada, but the extra expense is offset by the beauty and availability of luxury/imported things (like peanut butter & mushrooms!).
I currently shop mostly at Colonia which is a high end foreigner grocery store. Air conditioning and everything! I suppliment this with shopping at Pali which is a low end grocery chain that works at keeping it's overheads down, with means bad lighting and no air!
Here is an example of costs in American Dollars (which is the easiest exchange):
Mango (yum!): $0.55
Banana: $0.05 each
Onions: about $.030 each, a little pricey. I don't know why
Milk: $1 a litre
Sour Cream: $1.25 (comes in a bag with a nostle, tastes a little different)
Cheese: $3 small block for cheddar (imported) $3 large Block of local bland tasting white chez
Chicken Breast, boneless, skinless, double with filet: $3 (is really delicious)
Cookies: Oreo's: $1.50 (it comes in a plastic bag filled with individually wrapped pack of 4)
Box of cereal: $5
Peanut Butter: $2.50 for a TINY jar!!
Rum: 5 Year old Liter Bottle, smooth and tasty: $6 (7 Yr old is $8)
Sugar, kg: $1
Beer: $0.75 can
Wine: $6 Liter Box inexpensive stuff
Toilet paper: $0.50 a roll
So our grocery bill is cheaper than in Nova Scotia and is full of beautiful, tasty fresh fruits & veggies. It is more, much more expensive than any of the locals grocery bill because we are still stuck between two worlds and end up buying things just to make us feel normal (like peanut butter, who'd of thought it would be so hard to give up??) And there are still some things that you simply can't buy (like kitty litter....now what??)
Gas is a little cheaper than in Canada but not much. Anything imported (and you wouldn't believe how much that is) from North America is very expensive. Anything made in Central America is VERY cheap and things imported from Asia are cheap both in price and in quality (dollar store quality for just above dollar store prices).
Things are, as always, on fast forward this week and I will have some news about the new house by tomorrow. We have decided to move forward on it as long as a few concerns are taken care of. We will let you know. A big part of our decision process was the room it would give us for company.....a fourth bedroom in a seperate part of the house with it's own bathroom & shower......that and the fact that when the maid saw the scorpion she told us that it was a baby which had likely fallen from it's nest in our ceiling (which is bamboo)! There's a BIG mom & siblings still up there!! We are really hopeful it will go through!