Travel Advisory Nicaragua
Nicaragua is located in Central America. It borders Honduras and Costa Rica. It also has beaches on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. To fully enjoy your next trip to Nicaragua, you certainly will need all the necessary facts so you can travel to this Central American country without any worries. With that order of ideas, find below the information you may need to travel Nicaragua.
Top Rated Activities
For your Nicaragua trip
Before and during your trip
practical travel information
Its capital is the city of Managua. It is located between the popular colonial cities of León and Granada, making it very easy to visit these cities also. In addition, the location of its capital city also gives you easy access to nearby lagoons, natural reserves and a smattering of fun beaches. To sum up, Managua works as an ideal center of great adventures when you visit Nicaragua.
The official language is Spanish, however English is spoken as well at the Caribbean coast, bigger cities and on Corn Island.
GMT – 6
It is composed of three horizontal lines in a pattern of blue-white-blue. In the middle of the stripe, the national coat of arms lies in the shape of a triangle.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months after departure from Nicaragua. Please note that passport requirements can change in a short notice. Therefore, we advise you to check the passport requirements with the embassy or consulate of your country.
A visa is not required if your stay is shorter than 90 days in Nicaragua. Please note that visa requirements can change in a short notice. Therefore, we advise you to check the visa requirements with the embassy or consulate of your country.
Upon departure from Nicaragua you are required to pay a departure tax of around 35 dollars per person. The amount is subject to local changes.
International Airports of Nicaragua
Airport – Location
-Augusto C Sandino Airport, (MGA) – Managua
-Corn Island Airport, (RNI) – Corn Island
-Bilwi Airport, (PUZ) – Puerto Cabezas
-Blue-fields Airport, (BEF) – Blue-fields
-San Carlos Airport, (NCR) – San Carlos
-Costa Esmeralda Airport, (ECI) – Tola
Domestic Airports of Nicaragua
Airport – Location
-Waspam Airport, (WSP) – Waspam
-Nueva Guinea Airport, (NVG) – Nueva Guinea
-Siuna Airport, (SIU) – Siuna
-San Pedro Airport, (BZA) – Bonanza
-Rosita Airport, (RFS) – Rosita
-San Juan de Nicaragua, (MNSN) – Greyton
-Los Brasiles Airport, (MNBR) – Mateare
-Montelimar Airport, (MNMR) – San Rafael del Sur
-Fanor Urroz Airport, (MNLN) – Leon
-Ometepe Airport, (MNLP) – Ometepe Island
Bank cards are accepted at ATMs. Usually if you use your bankcard, it is less expensive than using your credit-card at an ATM. Credit-cards are accepted in the larger hotels and restaurants.
Like most South-American countries, the main meal consists of beans, mais and rice. Chicken is also very popular as it can be eaten in several ways for example in soup, breaded, grilled and fried. You can try out a typical native dish such as ‘gallo pinto’ and ‘quesillos’ on the streets. Gallo pinto consists of rice, beans, served with eggs. “Quesillos” are tortillas with cheese and unions. At the coast people mainly eat fish. In this area the food is prepared differently then in the rest of the country. The dishes are spicy and rice is usually cooked in coconut milk instead of water.
Vaccinations against yellow fever are mandatory when traveling from a yellow fever infected area, seven days prior to your arrival in Nicaragua. Furthermore, there are no vaccinations required to enter Nicaragua. However, you are being advised to take precautions against hepatitis A, diphtheria, tetanus and polio. Malaria occurs in some parts of the country, therefore precautions against malaria are also advised. Also, you are being advised to discuss your travel plans with a health- care provider to determine which vaccination you might need.
While traveling in Nicaragua, you are being advised to avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes. Also try to avoid street-food and always wash your hands before eating.
The electricity current is 120 volts, 60Hz. Nicaragua generally accepts the following plugs:
➢ Flat blade plug
➢ Two parallel flat pins with ground pin
Nicaragua has a subtropical climate which means that the seasons are not distinct and there is not much of a difference in temperature throughout the year. Nicaragua has a dry and rain season. The rain season starts approximately in May until October. The most rainfall is in September and October.
Travel Safety in Nicaragua
Many people visit and travel safely in Nicaragua nowadays. Mayan Gateway Tour Company stays abreast of the events and safety throughout the countries we visit. It is recommended that you currently travel with a guide or with information from a knowledgeable source when visiting Nicaragua.
No matter where you travel, all travelers should be aware of surroundings at all times. It is best to keep a limited amount of money and personal items on you, as robberies do occur in all parts of the world. Many people prefer to use crossbody purses or waist bags for more security. For extra peace of mind, consider using tour guides and traveling during the day.
top rated activities
The colonial towns, volcanoes, islands and beaches of Nicaragua are the most noteworthy attractions. People enjoy relaxing in hammocks and in the sand, while gazing at the beautiful water. Between November and March each year, sea turtles can be seen nesting on the beaches also.
If you choose a good time to visit, you may be able to help with a baby sea turtle release to the ocean. The city of Leon will provide you with Spanish colonial architecture and art. Check below some of the top rated activities you will find in Nicaragua.
This country offers a wide range of activities for those who love adrenaline and outdoor activities. From climbing its amazing volcanoes to zipline adventures or volcano boarding, Nicaragua has it all. Find below the information of a couple of them:
› Surfing in San Juan del Sur:
With beautiful beaches lapped by warm water, this is literally a paradise for surfers, both beginners and the more experienced. However, you always need to check the local surf report, so you can enjoy the adventure with the specific information of the times of the tides.
Travel Nicaragua and visit this amazing destination with several beaches and countless waves. Its large beaches give lots of room to enjoy without massive crowds. San Juan del Sur and its constant swells is the most popular surf destination in Nicaragua.
›Night tour at Active Masaya Volcano:
Shortly before sunset, your adventure begins here. If you’re lucky, you will see the green parakeets, ‘Chocoyos,’ returning to their nests inside the crater. Once you arrive at the visitor center, learn the interesting way this lava belt works and also about the historical events of this volcano. Moreover, you can lift volcanic rocks with your own hands in the museum.
Take stunning pictures of the lava reflecting on the crater. Of course, you will be a safe distance away in the lookout on top of the volcano by the edge of the crater. Enjoy this amazing experience feeling the power of mother nature that you can hear running underground inside the crater. This is a very active volcano that is an amazing experience to witness. The whole adventure takes about 2 hours, including the transportation from your hotel in Masaya or Managua round trip.
With more than 70 unique ecosystems and 7% of the world’s biodiversity, Nicaragua is considered the second lung of the Americas. A trip though Nicaragua is ideal for those who are looking for natural adventures with 24 volcanoes and countless lakes, rivers and lagoons.
As a result, a unique experience in Nicaragua only is that you can navigate through rivers and lakes from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean. Its tremendous ecological diversity and wide assortment of landscapes and habitats allow for many different types of vegetation and animal species to thrive. Here is the information of one of this destinies you can visit by traveling Nicaragua:
› Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve:
Looking for a natural adventure? This national reserve has everything to offer in that matter. Among its several attractions, you can enjoy its different hiking trails or a visit to an organic coffee farm. Moreover, let yourself gaze at the butterfly garden and orchid garden or zoom down a zip-line through a cloud forest.
Several trails offer you different levels of difficulty that make it easy to get to the crown of the cloud forest, while enjoying the misty vines and orchids. Although the ‘Mombacho’ Volcano has a few decades without activity, it is still most certainly active and sends up the periodic puff of smoke and steam with fumaroles and other bubbling volcanic activity.
With a wide range of wildlife that includes three species of monkey, 168 species of bird and more than 100 types of orchids, you will certainly enjoy your visit to this amazing natural reserve.
Visit Colonial Towns
The centuries of Spanish rule left Nicaragua with some amazing colonial architecture that can be enjoyed today by travelers. You can visit some of its cities with stunning historical architecture and old-world attractions like Leon, Managua or San Rafael del Norte. Nicaragua towns will amaze you and give you opportunities for taking nice walking adventures. Here a couple of suggestions for your next visit.
› Granada City and Its Local Cigars:
Its breathtaking colonial architecture with streets lined in pastel-hued buildings make Granada one of the must-see areas in Nicaragua. The tropical climate and the laid back atmosphere of its friendly and welcoming people create a traveller’s paradise.
Enjoy this city full of both cosmopolitan culture and natural beauty. Enjoy delicious local dishes. Explore its beautiful streets lined with eateries, shops, and street performers or head out to the surrounding volcanoes, cloud forests, lagoons and pristine beaches.
While you’re touring this enchanted city, you cannot miss the opportunity to visit a local cigar factory and roll your own cigars. Learn about all the steps in the cigar process from growing the tobacco plant to the final rolled cigar.
› Craft and Pottery in Masaya:
This is a picturesque folkloric town in southwestern Nicaragua, where you can browse stalls brimming with artisan treasures in Masaya Craft Market. Discover the cultural richness along the lots of small stands with souvenirs within a friendly setting.
Certainly you will find enough variety to buy something for everybody back home. During the day, you can also visit the lookout point in Catarina and get the most spectacular views of Apoyo Lagoon.
After that, you can also stroll the cobbled streets of San Juan de Oriente, a ‘Village of Pottery‘ and peruse its stores famed for their high-quality pottery. In this area of the country, the pottery making tradition has been around since at least 500 BC.
For Natural Lovers
With an exceptional heritage of biodiversity and a great marine richness, Nicaragua is a perfect destination for those who love wildlife. Travel through the largest and best preserved tracts of tropical rainforests and lowland ecosystems in Central America. Below are suggestions for some of the natural adventures you can find.
› Kayaking the Islets of Granada:
One of the things you surely must visit is Lake Nicaragua. It is Central America’s largest lake, holding an archipelago of 365 islands. As a result, you will see a diversity that includes uninhabited islands and private residence to traditional fishing villages and luxurious resorts.
You will get a glimpse of local life on the islands while you enjoy the adventure floating through the islets with stunning views of the islands and Mombacho Volcano. The wildlife of the archipelago can be explored by visiting Monkey Island, named after its large population of capuchin monkeys. Here you can observe birds such as warblers, tanagers, hawks, and jays also.
› Somoto Canyon Adventures:
This adventure will take you on a hike through the canyon with small stops to cool off and swim. Then, you will explore the canyon in small local boats. With a unique environment that offers panoramas of dry forest with small trees, as well as flora and fauna, this canyon is worth visiting.
Some of the species that inhabit the area that may be seen during your adventure are deer, parakeets, rabbits and iguanas. In addition, the canyon offers several thrilling possibilities to enjoy its surroundings, such as tubing along the waterway or even rappelling some of the walls that reach up to 60 meters high.
With coasts on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Nicaragua beaches have something to offer everyone. Travel its seaboard of 910 miles of coastline and let yourself be astonished by its wide variety of beaches.
Whether you are looking for isolated or busy, for white sand or black sand, for tamed or wild beaches, you will surely find the one for you. Following is the information for a couple of these paradisiac places:
› The Corn Islands
These are two small islands. Little and Big Corn islands are located on the Caribbean coast and are in other words the epitome of tranquility and serenity. You can easily lose track of time in this perfect place to relax and enjoy the sea breeze, the soy and the sand. Snorkel in their beautiful pristine waters or just relax enjoying its great island atmosphere and hospitality.
› Releasing Baby Turtles in Maderas Beach
This amazing beach is a bit further off the beaten track, located in a sleepy beach town with outstanding surf conditions. From here, you will have quick and easy access to other small beaches and local attractions nearby. Even when perhaps the most popular attraction here is surfing, you will also find great opportunities for kayaking, hiking or frisbee golf.
In addition, if you’re here at the right time of the year, you may participate in releasing baby turtles back to the ocean at sunset. In conclusion, this is a beach with an off the beaten track appeal and everything you may wish to have fun and relax.
suggested packing list
With a subtropical climate and only two seasons, dry and rainy, both with average temperatures of 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore it will be very easy for you to pack to travel to Nicaragua, also take into account the type of activities you want to do. The rainy season is especially visited by staunch surfers as it brings bigger and better waves. From December to May is the best season to visit Nicaragua, thus having to take into account that it is also the most crowded. Before packing, check the next link for the weather information: Accurate Weather
-Passport, Visas (if necessary), and your Return Flight
-Your usual medications
-Credit and/or debit Card
-Confirmations of reservations
-Phone and camera
-Cords, Batteries and Chargers (Phone, Ipad, etc)
-Waterproof cases for electronic devices
-Universal Power Adapter
-Comfortable clothing for subtropical climate
-Comfortable closed toed shoes
-Flip Flops for shower
-Sturdy walking and/or hiking shoes
-Cap or a hat
-Lightweight Rain Jacket
-Day small backpack
-One sturdy water bottle
-Spanish phrasebook and or dictionary
Dressing Tip Nicaragua:
Like in any other Central American country it is better to make sure that your clothing does not attract unwanted attention. Furthermore it is also better to consider the local culture so as not to offend sensibilities, you should dress rather modestly. When visiting churches, avoid shorts and skimpy tops or dresses, save them for the beach towns and islands which are very relaxed.
A good idea to bring:
-A couple of copies of your passport
-Personal sport equipment
-Extra SD Cards
What you should not bring to your Nicaragua trip
-Expensive Jewelry or watches
-Fancy and Bulky Electronics
-Do not bring a drone*
*Drones are illegal in this country and if you are caught with one, it will be surely confiscated, and giving you almost zero chances to get it back.
To Travel is To Live
5 useful tips
Since you are planning your next trip to Nicaragua, you must inform yourself in order to travel safety and carefree. The more information you have about your destination, the more confident you will feel. Here are some helpful tips below:
1 – Learn some basic phrases in Spanish
This is a Spanish-speaking country, so learning some basic phrases will greatly improve your experience and communication. In most touristy places, you will find some people who speak a little Spanish, but it is better not to expect that everywhere. Therefore, knowing some phrases in Spanish could make your life much easier during your trip to Nicaragua. You can learn some Spanish phrases online at sites like: Duolingo Or if you prefer, Lonely Planet sells a phrasebook of phrases of Latin American Spanish: Lonely Planet
2 – Make sure of having a travel insurance
One of the things that you certainly should not overlook is having Travel and Cancellation Insurance. To avoid future and unpleasant surprises we strongly recommend you to purchase this travel insurance. Also you should make sure that the insurance covers unforeseen events during the trip such as medical problems, flight cancellations, etc. Remember that this travel insurance is not included in the prices of our tours. For getting a quote, visit: Travelex Insurance Services and World Nomads.
3 – You need to get some vaccines
Consult your doctor to obtain the information on the necessary vaccines to travel to Nicaragua. It is recommended to be up to date with your vaccination regimen with essential vaccines such as Tetanus and Hepatitis A. Do it with enough time in advance as some vaccines take more than one shot and others must be administered six months before the trip. Find detailed information here: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
4 – Inform your credit and debit card companies you’ll travel
It is important that you call your credit and debit card provider to inform them that you will be traveling. Find out about the possible charges for international use of your cards and possible ways to reduce the foreign fee. For more information visit this link: Credit Cards.
5 – International health coverage
Last but not least, you must check with your health insurance company about its international coverage. In case you do not have that coverage, we recommend you to buy a separate time-limited clause that covers your trip. Find information at: International Health Insurance.
Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets
tips for personal safety
Since you have decided to travel to Nicaragua, you have surely heard advice and news about its level of crime and violence. However, the current situation of this beautiful country is different and will allow you to travel safely enough. Although, there is a lot of poverty, its friendly people and its incomparable landscapes make it so worth visiting.
Moreover, when you hire a tour company like Mayan Gateway, you will travel with the security of having experts in the area. We know the locations, their people and culture, so we know what places to avoid to keep you safe and having the time of your life.
Find below a list of basic safety tips for your next trip to Nicaragua:
1. Don’t do public displays of jewelry, money, and expensive electronic devices, etc.
2. Keep your passport safe and have with you a notarized copy of it.
3. Carry all important documents on an underclothes money belt.
4. Drink in moderation, especially if you’re traveling alone.
5. Withdraw cash from safe locations like inside a hotel or a mall, avoid using cash points in dodgy areas.
6. Only carry with you only what you will need during the day and don’t carry valuable items.
7. Be aware of the people around you, and strange behaviors that may indicate a pick-pocket plan
8. It is best for your safety not to share your travel itinerary or hotel details.
9. Always keep your belongings in sight or close to you when you’re out.
10. Use only authorized taxis, and look for the driver’s ID
Rule of Thumb in Nicaragua
Whichever country you travel to, it is best to avoid appearing too ‘touristy’, blending in will always improve your travel experience. In addition it can also keep you safe from unwanted situations, do not forget that Nicaragua is still a developing country.
Certainly a country where you will enjoy its two coasts, prosperous cities and exuberant wildlife. To feel safe when you travel to Nicaragua, look for accurate information about the particularity of their customs. This will help you to avoid making occasional mistakes in an unknown environment.
Things you should avoid during your stay in Nicaragua:
1. Drinking water from the tap. It is not drinkable and can make you sick.
2. Participate or cross roadblocks installed by political demonstrations.
3. Drive on rural roads at night, in fact, don’t drive at night at all.
4. Hire a random taxi. Choose safer means of transport like Uber
5. Rushing or expecting everything to be on time, practice your patience.
6. Avoid big cities, most crime occurs in the capital, and certain hot-spots.
7. Take pictures of Military Installations
8. Underestimate the Sun in Nicaragua
9. Over showing your valuables.