There's a saying in Nicaragua that if you visit for one day you'll never come back, but if you stay for a week, you'll never leave. Having now lived here for over 5 years, there's definitely some truth in that. There's something about the country that is deeply seductive and appealing. It's no wonder that it's finally getting the attention of tourists and real estate investors. In this article we set out 10 reasons why.

1) Nicaragua offers a wide array of ground floor opportunities for real estate investing. Nicaragua properties are cheaper than their equivalents in Belize, Costa Rica or Panama and there is a strong sense that you are getting in early, before the rest of the world catches in. Some of the investment areas may be more speculative in nature, but if you can stomach the risk, they hold the promise for strong capital appreciation in the years to come.

2) The colonial city of Granada in Nicaragua is purportedly the oldest continually inhabited city in the Americas. It's a true architectural gem with a 10 block historic center filled with beautiful examples of traditional Spanish architecture. Here's an example of a prime colonial building in the heart of town featured in a New York Times article.

3) Nicaragua is a beautiful country. The pacific coastline with its sandy beaches, dramatic hillsides and sheltered coves rivals any in Central America. It has numerous beautiful lakes, including the 10th largest in the world, as well as stunning volcanoes and fertile green highlands.

4) Most visitors agree that Nicaraguans are a warm and friendly people. The local culture is rich and vibrant.

5) Nicaragua is rapidly emerging as an important tourism destination. The hospitality industry is growing strongly in key tourism hubs. And market watchers know what happens when a country starts to get the attention of holidaymakers: The real estate dollars follow and a second home property market takes hold.

6) Nicaragua has some of the best surf breaks on the planet. The close proximity between Lake Nicaragua and the coast results in an off-shore breeze practically year round. The wind sculpts the waves into the A frame peaks that surfers get so excited about.

7) Nicaragua has established a value packed retiree program to attract the retirement demographic to the country. Foreigners can buy real estate and own businesses with no restriction and the retiree program offers a wide range of tax benefits, exemptions and incentives.

8) Nicaragua has the cheapest cost of living in Central America. You can live comfortably on under US$1000 a month. The 2009 Forges retirement guide estimated that Nicaragua has a living cost 60% lower than in the US. And in these recessionary times, more and more baby boomers are attracted to counties with dollar stretching economies like Nicaragua.

9) Some beautifully planned master planned communities have sprung up offering a wide range of real estate for investors to get excited about.

10) And finally two episodes of the top realty show Survivor are currently being filmed in San Juan del Sur, a fishing village on the southern Pacific coast. This means that millions of TV viewers worldwide will get introduced to the country.

No question if you're looking for a cheap cost of living and highly affordable real estate, Nicaragua is well worth a visit. It's a misunderstood country with a complex history but for many, therein lies the opportunity.