Nicaragua Travel Information
Nicaragua boasts a landscape unlike any other, from smouldering volcanoes to stunning beaches and a lovely colonial architectural charm. From the shores of the country, to the mystical lush greenery of the wilderness, Nicaragua’s natural beauty is one of the country’s greatest attributes. And these natural wonders are spectacularly complimented by the colonial character of the region, as well as the warm and welcoming nature of every Nicaraguan. If you are keen to experience everything this magnificent country has to offer, then find out more about Nicaragua’s entry and exit requirements.
Entry and Exit
Tourists entering Nicaragua will need a valid passport with an expiration date 6 months or more after the date of departure. A return ticket will need to be shown, as well as proof of sufficient funds to sustain tourists for the duration of their stay in Nicaragua.
Citizens from the following countries do not need a visa in order to gain entry into Nicaragua, and can stay for up to 90 days for recreational purposes only:
- United States of America
- Members of the European Union
Other nationalities may require a visa which costs approximately US$30 and can be obtained from the consulate.
Travellers should be aware of all import and export regulations prior to their journey. Failure to comply with customs regulations may result in delays, fines or imprisonment.
The following items may be imported into Nicaragua by travellers over the age of 18 years:
- 500 grams of tobacco or 200 cigarettes.
- 5 litres of alcoholic beverages.
- 5 bottles of perfume (up to 100ml each).
- Canned/sealed meat or food – provided that it is cooked.
Travellers may not carry the following items:
- Firearms and ammunition unless an arms and ammunition permit is obtained.
- No gold, gold coins or archaeological objects may be exported.
- Plants and plant products cannot be exported/imported.
An Airport Embarkation Tax of US$35 per person is payable at the airport of departure or may be included in the airfare. There are no restrictions on currency import/export.
Tourists are advised to obtain a full medical check 4-6 weeks prior to their departure. All annual vaccinations should be up to date prior to departure and medical practitioners should be consulted to offer advice about required vaccinations for the area tourists will be travelling to.
The following vaccinations are recommended:
- MMR and other routine vaccinations
- Diphtheria – Tetanus
- Hepatitis A
- Malaria Prophylaxis
- Yellow Fever – Only if travelling from an infected area
Tourists staying in Nicaragua should avoid tap water and only make use of boiled or bottled water. Meats should be well-cooked and not be eaten rare, and all vegetables and fruits must be washed and peeled before being enjoyed. Milk may also be unpasteurised, so tourists should opt for powdered or tinned milk rather than fresh milk.
Travel Facts for Nicaragua
Most of Nicaragua enjoys a tropical climate, with an average of 27◦C all year round. In the lower regions of the country the temperature tends to range from 22◦C to 30◦C, while the mountainous regions are a lot cooler and stay around an average temperature between 12◦C and 30◦C.
Nicaragua experiences two distinctive seasons, the wet season and the dry season. The wet season begins in June and usually ends around the end of November. On the Pacific side of the country the rainy season runs from June until December. Lightweight clothing can be worn at all times in the coastal areas, but tourists travelling higher up into the mountainside will need to keep warmer clothing on hand to layer up their outfits.
Nicaragua falls under the UTC/GMT – 06:00 time zone and does not utilise daylight savings time.
The Nicaraguan Córdoba (NIO) is the country’s official currency. The US dollar is accepted almost everywhere, as long as the notes are totally unmarked, notes that are very crumpled or look worn will not be accepted. Credit cards from most international banks are accepted as well as travellers’ cheques. There are ATM's in and around the capital city of Managua as well as in larger tourist areas.
Nicaragua has an overwhelming abundance of internet cafés in the larger cities and even the smaller local villages as well. These cafés are called Cybers, and are relatively inexpensive and very easily accessible with convenient if not super-fast internet speeds. Hotels and resorts may offer internet access or WiFi as well. Wifi in bars and restaurants is not as common as most other places in the world, but restaurants designed to cater for tourists will usually offer this service.
Most Central American countries use sockets/outlets similar to those found in the US and Canada. The primary sockets are North American Grounded and North American Non Grounded plugs. If an appliance does not fit either of these specifications, then an adaptor is required. Nicaragua uses an 110V-120V current unlike most European countries, which makes use of a 220V-240V current. Appliances that require a different current or voltage will need a transformer.
Nicaragua’s country telephone code is +505 with an eight digit telephone number. In order to call Nicaragua, callers will need to dial the international prefix 00, then the country code +505 followed by the eight digit number. Hotels, resorts and pay phones will usually have a list of country telephone codes in order to make phoning international numbers easy. In order to make a call from Nicaragua, the caller will need to dial 00 (country code) (area code) telephone number.
Tourists should research Nicaragua’s emergency numbers and keep these numbers and addresses on hand at all times. It is also important for tourists to keep a record of their own emergency details, including medical information, insurance information and next of kin contact details.
- US Embassy +505 2252 7100 (Managua-Nicaragua Capital City) +505 2252 7171 (after hours contact number)
- Emergency - 911
- Ambulance, Fire fighters, Police – 118
Hotels and resorts will have a doctor on call as well as a list of the nearest hospitals. It is recommended that all tourists get the details they will need in case of an emergency and keep these details on hand at all times.
People and Landscape
Not only is Nicaragua the largest country in Central America, but it also has a much smaller population than most of the other Central American countries. However, the country still boasts a vivacious culture which is wonderfully accentuated against the backdrop of Nicaragua’s exquisite natural beauty. This Caribbean country has an incredible array of natural and man-made attractions. From gorgeous beaches to the sparkling waters of the coast, the volcanic peaks and the awe-inspiring architecture, Nicaragua is a destination that will leave every visitor revitalised and captivated by Nicaraguan charm.
Find out more about the country’s exquisite landscapes and famously friendly locals – we have done all the research for you so all you have to do is start packing for this incredible adventure.
Freedom of religious expression is a very important aspect of the Nicaraguan constitution, and has resulted in various religions being practiced. Catholicism is practiced by approximately 47% of the population, with another 37% being a part of the Protestant church. These two religions make up a big part of Nicaraguan culture.
Nicaragua’s colourful culture has been influenced by Spanish and English cultures. Traditional Spanish and English customs have been integrated into the local culture. Some regions have managed to maintain a strong link to tribal customs, which has resulted in a vibrant and distinctly unique culture. The integration of tradition, Spanish and English customs and religion have played a role in introducing fiestas and other Spanish styled traditions used to celebrate saints and other religious figures. Dancing, music, gift giving, fireworks and feasting are all important components of Nicaraguan celebrations.
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and borders on Honduras and Costa Rica. Volcanoes, lakes, rivers and gorgeous Caribbean islands make up the basis of Nicaragua’s great natural beauty and are amongst the country’s biggest draw cards. The Corn Islands in particular are must see attractions. These two breath-taking islands are just off the coast of Nicaragua and are fringed with white coral and swaying palm trees.
Dry Forests and Pine Oak Forests are protected as they are home to a number of wildlife and plant species. Rainforests, Pacific beaches and lagoons all make up the natural diversity of Nicaragua and each of these unique offerings house a number of endangered species and other birds and mammals. Pumas, ant eaters, monkeys, sloths and tapirs can be found in the country and make the country the perfect destination for nature lovers. Dolphins, whales, sea turtles and tropical fish also call the oceans of Nicaragua home, and live amongst breath taking coral reefs. Reptiles like iguanas and geckos can also be found in the country.
The Pacific Coast of Nicaragua has created a local menu, comprised around staples such as local fruits, corn and beans. Corn and rice are found in almost every meal, including breakfast with the addition of eggs, beans are used as a protein with meats being roasted and served along with the combination of vegetables, rice and corn. These meals are usually seasoned with oregano, cilantro and achiote.
The Caribbean Coast has made a more scrumptious local cuisine by integrating coconut and seafood into their dishes. While the staples of rice and corn are still found, these ingredients are usually served alongside flagrant portions of seafood and seasoned and served with coconut. Tres Leches Cake, the Central American favourite dessert is still present in Nicaragua, and is still served during celebrations and even for the slightest hint of a special occasion. This delicious sponge or butter cake is soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream.
The favoured refreshments of the region are usually fruit juices or beverages made from grains or seeds mixed with milk, coconut milk, water, ice or other fruit juices.
Travel and Security Information
There are a few guidelines that every traveller should follow in order to have the best vacation possible.
- Tourists are required to have a valid passport. This passport must be valid until after the last day of your trip. Visas are also required for some nationalities.
- Medical and travel insurance are strongly recommended for all tourists.
- Tourists are advised to travel in groups and should never walk alone after dark.
- Obvious shows of affluence can sometimes welcome unwanted attention from criminals. Tourists are advised to keep valuable belongings safely stowed in their hotel safes if possible. It's never a good idea to keep large amounts of cash or expensive jewellery where they are clearly visible and it's important to remember to never leave valuable items in unattended vehicles or any other public spaces, including on public transportation and luggage holds.
- It's essential that tourists keep emergency details on hand at all times. These include the numbers and addresses of nearby hospitals, ambulances, consulates, and contact details of their next of kin.
Exclusion of Liability
Those who choose to travel do so entirely at their own risk. SC Travel Adventures endeavours to inform tourists of the risks involved with travelling but cannot be held liable for any events which occur outside of their direct control. Tourists are advised to avoid areas considered unsafe, remain vigilant and cautious at all times throughout their stay, and heed the advice of local authorities.