Volcano in Chinandega, Nicaragua
Volcano in Chinandega, Nicaragua

Chinandega

In León and Chinandega, you can delve into the volcanic half of “the land of lakes and volcanoes.”

NICARAGUA

Central America

Nicaragua Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Managua

Location:

Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras

Currency:

cordobas (NIO)

Area:

130,370 sq km

Population:

6,243,931 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Spanish (official) 95.3%, Miskito 2.2%, Mestizo of the Caribbean coast 2%, other 0.5%; note - English and indigenous languages found on the Caribbean coast (2005 est.)

Religion:

Roman Catholic 50%, Evangelical 33.2%, other 2.9%, none 0.7%, unspecified 13.2% (2017 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC-6

Tel Code:

+505

Weather

Climate

Nicaragua has a tropical climate, with temperatures averaging around 25-30 degrees Celsius (77-86 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the year. However, temperatures can vary greatly depending on the altitude and location. Coastal regions are typically hot and humid, while the highlands are cooler and more temperate. The rainy season, known as the "green season," typically runs from May to October, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in September and October.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Nicaragua depends on your travel plans and preferences. If you're looking to avoid the rain and enjoy warm weather, the dry season from November to April is the best time to visit. This is also the peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices. If you don't mind some rain and are looking for fewer crowds and lower prices, the green season from May to October can also be a good time to visit. The highlands are also a great destination during this season, as the cooler temperatures and lush greenery make for a pleasant visit. Additionally, Nicaragua is home to many unique and diverse landscapes, some of which may be inaccessible during the rainy season, so it's important to plan your trip accordingly.

Transportation

Public Transportation

Nicaragua has a variety of public transportation options, including buses, minibuses and taxis. These are the most affordable option for getting around, but can be crowded and uncomfortable. The public transportation system is not well-organized, so it's best to ask locals for directions and advice.

Rental Cars

Rental cars are also an option in Nicaragua, but it is important to keep in mind that driving conditions can be challenging. The road infrastructure is not well-developed, and driving can be dangerous in rural areas. Additionally, it is a good idea to check with the rental agency and make sure that you have a valid driver's license and that your insurance covers you while driving in Nicaragua.

Private Transportation

Another option is to hire a private driver or tour company, which can be a convenient and safe way to get around the country, particularly if you plan to visit multiple destinations. This option can be relatively expensive but can also be more comfortable and reliable.

Air Travel

For traveling between different regions of the country, air travel is also an option, but the options are limited and prices can be relatively high. However, it can save a lot of time, especially if you plan to travel to remote places that are not easily accessible by land.

Accommodation

Hotels

Nicaragua offers a variety of hotels to choose from, including budget-friendly options and luxury resorts. In major cities such as Managua and Granada, you'll find a variety of international hotel chains as well as locally-owned properties. In more rural areas, you may have to rely on smaller, more basic hotels or guesthouses.

Hostels

Nicaragua also has a growing number of hostels, which are a budget-friendly accommodation option. They often have shared dorm rooms as well as private rooms and offer a more social atmosphere than traditional hotels. Hostels are popular among backpackers and other budget-conscious travelers.

Vacation Rentals

Another option for accommodation in Nicaragua is vacation rentals, such as apartments or villas. This can be a good option for groups or families traveling together, as it allows for more space and privacy than a hotel room. Vacation rentals can also be a more budget-friendly option, as the cost can be split among multiple people.

Eco-Lodges and Camping

For those who want to be closer to nature, eco-lodges and camping are also options. These can be found in national parks and other protected areas and offer a unique way to experience Nicaragua's natural beauty. Some of them offer sustainable tourism initiatives and opportunities to engage with local communities.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Nicaragua Closed
Test
Required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Nicaragua is a country located in Central America, known for its natural beauty, rich culture and history. It offers a diverse range of activities and attractions for visitors, from exploring active volcanoes to lounging on beautiful Caribbean beaches. Here are the top 10 things to do in Nicaragua:

      1. Visit the Masaya Volcano

      The Masaya volcano is an active volcano and offers a unique chance to see volcanic activity up close. Take a guided tour to the volcano's crater and see the lava lake at night for an unforgettable experience.

      2. Explore the Granada

      Granada is a colonial city that offers a glimpse into Nicaragua's rich history and culture. Take a stroll through the cobblestone streets, visit the local artisans, and take in a traditional dance performance.

      3. Relax on the beaches of San Juan del Sur

      San Juan del Sur is a popular beach town on the Pacific coast known for its beautiful beaches and surf culture. Spend your days lounging on the beach, surfing the waves, or exploring the local restaurants and bars.

      4. Visit the Leon

      Leon is the second-largest city in Nicaragua and offers a glimpse into the country's rich history and culture. Take a stroll through the historic district, visit the local markets, and explore the city's many museums and galleries.

      5. Explore the Ometepe Island

      The Ometepe Island is a volcanic island located in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, known for its beautiful landscapes and rich biodiversity. Take a guided tour to explore the island's two volcanoes, waterfalls and natural reserves.

      6. Visit the Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve

      The Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve is a beautiful crater lake located near the city of Masaya, offering a variety of outdoor activities such as swimming, boating, and hiking. Visitors can take a boat tour of the lake or hike to the viewpoint for a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.

      7. Visit the Masaya Crafts Market

      The Masaya Crafts Market is one of the most famous markets in Nicaragua, known for its traditional crafts and textiles. Visitors can browse the market's wide variety of traditional crafts and souvenirs, such as pottery, woven textiles, and woodcarvings.

      8. Visit the Mombacho Volcano National Reserve

      The Mombacho Volcano National Reserve is a protected area located near the city of Granada, offering a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, and canopy tours. Visitors can take a guided hike to the volcano's summit for a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.

      9. Visit the Nicaragua National Museum

      The Nicaragua National Museum is a great place to learn about the country's rich culture and history. The museum features exhibits on the country's pre-Columbian past, colonial history and modern Nicaragua.

      10. Visit the Solentiname Archipelago

      The Solentiname Archipelago is a group of islands located in the southeast of Lake Nicaragua, known for its natural beauty and traditional communities. Visitors can take a boat tour of the islands to explore the local culture, visit the artisans' workshops, and enjoy the beautiful views of the lake and its surroundings.

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