Easy going and friendly Nicaragua welcomes visitors who seek to enjoy a plethora of activities. Nicaragua offers undeveloped pristine beaches perfect for surfing and snorkeling along with active volcanoes, unspoiled wetlands, and untamed jungles made for outdoor adventures. Lovers of art and history will revel in Nicaragua’s colonial grandeur from Granada’s well-preserved magnificence to León’s vibrant murals. As you prepare for your Nicaraguan journey, this collection of fast facts will help you get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
The Nicaraguan Gold Córdoba (NIO) is the currency of Nicaragua. Equivalent to one hundred centavos, the Córdoba is named for the country’s founder Francisco Hernández de Córdoba. Centavos are available in 5, 10, 25, and 50 denominations while the Córdoba’s denominations are written with the symbol C$. Money can be exchanged at the airports, foreign exchange bureaus, and banks.
The most universal banks in Nicaragua are Banpro, BAC, Lafise Bancentro, and BDF which have branches and ATMs (cajeros automáticos) in nearly every city. The banks are open Monday through Friday with many open on Saturday morning as well.
U.S. dollars are accepted in many hotels and restaurants. Major credit cards are accepted as well, but you should verify with your credit card company where their cards are accepted. Travelers checks are accepted in a limited number of establishments. Travelers should expect to use Córdobas when visiting smaller, local establishments.
The current rate of exchange as of this writing is One USD = 30.8094 NIO making travel to Nicaragua quite a bargain. When compared to U.S., Europe, Canada, Australia, and even other Central American countries, traveling in Nicaragua is less costly.
Passports, Visa, and Immigration Requirements
Passports are required for travel to Nicaragua. U.S. citizens will need to provide a valid passport, sufficient funds, and an onward ticket showing your intent to leave. For stays of 30 to 90 days, a tourist card (approximately USD $10) must be purchased. Visitors must pay a departure tax (approximately USD $40) which may be paid at the airport if not included in your airline ticket price.
U.S. visitors do not need Visas for stays up to 90 days. If your stay will be longer or you are unsure of the requirements for your country of residence visa requirements can be obtained from the Nicaraguan Embassy or Consulate.
Immigration to Nicaragua accounts for a small percentage of the population, most often in the form of retiree status expatriates. The current laws give tax incentives to foreigners investing in Nicaragua making it attractive to immigrants.
Immunizations are not required when traveling Nicaragua, though some are recommended. Travelers should have current vaccinations including diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), varicella (chickenpox), polio, and flu.
Additional immunizations recommended for Nicaragua are as follows:
- Hepatitis A for all travelers over age one.
- Hepatitis B for all travelers not previously immunized.
When traveling to Nicaragua, it is recommended that travelers take medication prior to, during, and following your trip to prevent malaria. Rabies is also recommended for travelers who will be involved in outdoor activities, in country for long periods of time. or those immigrating to Nicaragua.
In addition to immunizations you should check your health insurance or travel insurance policies to ensure you have the necessary level of coverage for your Nicaraguan vacation. Quality medical care including physicians, dentists, and hospitals is available in larger cities in Nicaragua but is often limited in the more rural regions. In major cities, English as well as Spanish is spoken, but in rural areas, visitors will find doctors and staff who speak only Spanish. Pharmacies in Nicaragua are often fully stocked, and most medications do not require a doctor’s prescription.
Now, you have the fast facts needed to start planning your Nicaraguan adventure, let us know and we will get you on the way to your trip of a lifetime.