Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, and it is also home to the largest freshwater body, Lake Nicaragua. It has coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea, in the east, and the North Pacific Ocean, in the west, and has Costa Rica to the southeast and Honduras to the northwest. Nicaragua has many beautiful sights and richness for all budgets and different lifestyles. Visit the grand colonial cities of Granada and Leon. If you want to hike and explore nature, go to the island of Ometepe and the Mombacho volcano. For the coffee lovers, check out the coffee farm region of Jinotega and Matagalpa. If you want to surf, you can go to the beaches of the Pacific Coast. The nature lovers can explore the largest rain forest north of the Amazon, the Rio San Juan area, which has a big biodiversity. The Reserva Silvestre Privada Montecristo at Boca de Sabalos is also known for its wildlife refuge. Below, you’ll find more information on safety and precaution you can take, so you can enjoy your trip.

SAFETY INDEX

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Is Nicaragua a Safe or Dangerous Country?

Nicaragua has a low crime rate, but it has some dangerous areas like any other country. The efforts of the National Nicaraguan Police have reduced gang and organized crime in the past few years. Opportunistic attacks and murders can happen especially in Rivas and Managua, the capital. However, petty crime is still a concern. Pickpockets and thieves work on public transport and around bus stops. Most criminals have weapons, so in order to avoid getting injured, do not resist. In case of getting robbed, notify the police and get a signed and sealed copy of their report. Avoid traveling alone at night. It is best to get a licensed taxi even if you are a couple of blocks away from your destination. We recommend that you travel in groups or with someone who does not only speak Spanish, but also knows the local areas. However, most visitors have not had a problem during their vacations. We recommend that you use common sense and avoid isolated areas as well as walking alone at night. It is important to follow the news on television and radio closely. Be aware of your surroundings at all times like you would in any large city.

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Standard safety precautions are recommended in Nicaragua as crimes of opportunity, including petty theft, pickpocketing and bag-snatching are common. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behavior as you would in any other country.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Pickpocketing and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. Pickpocketing is common in markets, so never keep anything in your back pocket and take as little with you as possible.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : HIGH

There have been reports of express kidnapping by using unauthorized taxis. Authorized taxis have red plates, the driver’s ID number, name, and a visible photograph.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : HIGH

As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you like a tap on the shoulder, spitting or getting something spilled on you. We strongly encourage you not to use public ATMs. There have been scam reports involving attempts to obtain a victim’s ATM card and PIN, as well as reports of extortion calls.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

We recommend avoiding buses at night due to the frequency of armed robberies by gangs, so only use them to travel within the city during daylight hours. Radio-dispatched taxis are safer and a more reliable way to get around the city. Sharing taxis with strangers is common, so if you prefer to avoid this, tell the driver and set a fare for a solo journey before getting in the car.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Earthquakes can happen at any time. The Hurricane season runs from June to November. Rainy season runs from April to October, which may provoke flooding. Nicaragua has active volcanos: San Cristobal, Cerro Negro, Telica and Concepcion on Ometepe Island. San Cristobal has been active since December 2012. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Mexico has not recently been targeted by terrorist attacks.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Women should be careful around men, even with hotel employees. Avoid isolated locations and traveling alone after dark. Remain extra alert at bus stops and in taxis. Many female tourists have been victims of sexual assaults in the beach community of Monterrico and the town of Panajachel. There are also warnings of constant sexual harassment in the form of cat calling, kissing noises, and/or whistling. We recommend you ignore these comments and keep walking. If you are being followed (unlikely, but possible), go into the nearest large shop or hotel.

Carte

Useful Information

Most nationalities can stay in Nicaragua for up to 90 days without a visa and a passport valid for six months, proof of sufficient funds (US$200) and a return ticket. All visitors are required to get a Tourist Card (US$10). www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The local currency is the Cordobas (C). US dollars are the alternative currency. ATMs are available in most towns in Nicaragua. Credit cards are also accepted in large towns but hardly in rural areas, so make sure you have cash if you leave the city. A tip of around 10% is expected for table service at restaurants.
During the dry month, generally from November to April, can be very hot in the Pacific lowlands. Expect torrential downpours during the rainy season (May-October), which can make the weather a bit chilly. If you are headed to the mountainous regions, pack warm clothes as the temperature is cooler with cloudier weather. The Atlantic coast has an occasional hurricane each season.
The main international airport is in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital. If you’re looking for cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page