Nicaragua is a country located in Central America. Apart from the natural beauties is boasts which make this country a paradise for nature lovers, it has coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea, in the east, and the North Pacific Ocean, in the west for anyone looking to just relax by the crystal blue waters. Nicaragua has the title of the largest country in Central America and the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua is located here. And with nearly one quarter of the nation’s population living in the Nicaraguan capital Managua, it is the second metropolitan area in Central America.
Out of many reasons the tourists come and visit this country, the biggest one is love for nature, and this country offers an abundance of it. There are the impressive colonial cities of Granada and Leon, the island of Ometepe and the Mombacho volcano for hiking and trekking, the coffee farm region of Jinotega and Matagalpa in the mountainous regions, while the gorgeous surf beaches of the Pacific Coast go without saying. The Rio San Juan area, which is the largest rain forest north of the Amazon, is rapidly becoming a largely popular eco tourist destination, and its biodiversity is attracting nature lovers all around the world at the speed of light.
Warnings & Dangers in Nicaragua
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Nicaragua is relatively safe to visit, but you should keep in mind that petty theft as well as violent crimes are extremely common here, so all precaution measures should be taken.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Taking public transport at night is highly advised against, due to the presence of criminals, both on public transport and on the roadways. Calling a taxi, or sharing a taxi with another person is far safer and common.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
There is an extreme threat of petty crime. Pickpockets operate mainly in the major cities of Nicaragua. You should be extremely careful, especially in markets. Take as little as possible with you and never carry your money in a purse or a back pocket.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
As far as natural disasters go, there are a couple of them hitting Nicaragua, such as earthquakes that can happen at any time. Then there is the hurricane season that lasts from June to November, and the rainy season that often leads to floods. There are some active volcanoes in Nicaragua, the most dangerous one being San Cristobal which has been active since December 2012.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
There have been reports of unauthorized taxis kidnapping people for ransom. Muggings, robberies and rapes are also common. Be extremely careful.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Even though there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Nicaragua's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
Like in every country taxi drivers might try to overcharge you. Apart from that, double check your change and negotiate everything in advance. Tourists are strongly encouraged not to use public ATMs, or if they do, not to flash their credit cards publicly. There have been many reports of credit card fraud in Nicaragua, as well as reports of extortion calls occurring.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Women traveling solo are advised to be careful around men, even in front of employees at hotels, shops and men providing any kind of tourist services. Many women have been sexually assaulted at the beaches of Nicaragua, so they are strongly advised not to walk alone both during day and night. Women should be prepared for rude comments by men when walking alone on the streets of Nicaragua.
So... How Safe Is Nicaragua Really?
Though Nicaragua’s lowered crime rate is talked about in the recent years, in reality it still has some very dangerous neighborhood, especially in the north where, in 2008, gang violence began occurring, originating from Honduras and El Salvador. However, the Nicaraguan police have been doing their job extremely well, regularly repressing organized crime and catching gang members.
Tourists are stronly advised against traveling alone at night. It is always better to pay for a taxi instead of walking around scarcely lit or abandoned areas. Managua is especially dangerous after dark, so remain vigilant. Attacks and murders with a goal of robbing you happen here even during broad daylight and in front of witnesses, particularly in Rivas and Managua. The best advice for tourists would be to travel accompanied by someone who knows the area as well as the language. There are many local organizations that offer translator or guide services.
Women are advised to be especially cautious. Verbal sexual harassment of women, both foreign and local, is constant, and if you are traveling solo, you can expect cat-calling to be common even for Latin American standards. Men and boys of all ages tend to make kissing noises, whistle and shout rude comments with sexual connotation.
- Visas - Most nationals do not need a visa for any stays in Nicaragua shorter than 90 days. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your return date. . If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Nicaraguan cordoba is the official currency in Nicaragua, while US dollars are the alternative currency. ATMs are widespread throughout major cities but if you're going to rural regions, make sure you bring some cash. Credit cards are mostly accepted.
- Weather - The climate in Nicaragua can be described as tropical. Just like in most Central American countries, there is the dry season and the wet season. The dry season lasts from January to June, while the wet season lasts from May to October, during which period the weather is a bit cooler.
- Airports - Augusto C. Sandino International Airport is the main joint civil-military public international airport in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. It is located in the City's 6th ward, locally referred to as Distrito 6.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Nicaragua, since it covers not only the costs medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.