This post will be all about Nicaragua travel tips and all the cool facts about Nicaragua and things to know before visiting Nicaragua. From first timers to seasoned travelers, this post will be your go-to guide to get to know more of Nicaragua and what awaits you from amazing diving, lakes, volcanos, colonial cities, nightlife to delicious food to try in Nicaragua.
Nicaragua Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Nicaragua
1. IS SAFE TRAVELING TO NICARAGUA?
Is safe traveling to Nicaragua? We will say that the main tourist destinations are very safe: San Juan del Sur, Granada, Leon and Ometepe. Try to take transportation during the day, and that’s what I did and didn’t have any problem. But please be aware that you are also traveling to a place you’ve never been to so you must take good care of your belongings. Just use common sense!
2. EASY VISA IN NICARAGUA
Nicaragua visa is easy. All EU-countries, USA, Scandinavia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. You are able to acquire 90-day tourist visa and will only need to have at least 6 months remaining on your passport. Check here if your country is eligible for 90 days visa in Nicaragua.
3. CURRENCY AND ATMS IN NICARAGUA
Cash is the king in Nicaragua. The currency of Nicaragua is called Cordoba (NIO) and as of now $1 USD is worth 34 Cordobas NIO. Do not exchange your currency at the airport because you’ll get less than what you’ll get with the city’s exchange.
Anyway if you are bringing USD you can use them while traveling in Nicaragua, everyone accepts US cash and if you want to know more about the currency check the exchange rate at the moment.
4. BEST TIME TO VISIT NICARAGUA
The best time to visit Nicaragua is in April, and you could be able to get the best combination of warm temperatures and minimal rainfall. If you want to see a much brighter and lush environment December to March to enjoy the dry season in Nicaragua. The rainy season is from May to December so better you avoid if you have the choice.
5. HEALTH TRAVEL INSURANCE
Things to know before visiting Nicaragua we recommend always to bring a travel insurance when traveling abroad just in case you have any problems. You can always have food Poisson, fever or any other kind of disease.
Just make sure you are ready since it can be really expensive if you get a big surgery or problem in Nicaragua. You can check ours in this link where you can get covered starting from $40 USD per month.
FACTS ABOUT NICARAGUA
6. LEARNING SPANISH OR SPEAKING ENGLISH IN NICARAGUA
Another learning opportunity in Nicaragua is to learn Spanish. There are a lot of Spanish classes in Nicaragua offering packages with different services and affordable prices. Even most of the touristic areas Nicaraguan people almost don’t speaking English but it will be really useful to learn some basics in Spanish language.
7. NICARAGUA IS SO CHEAP
You will have to pay entrance fee for Natural Parks, around $3-4 USD for a dish in a local restaurant. We will tell you below accommodation, food budget and general entrance fees and tour prices in Nicaragua.
8. ACCOMMODATION IN NICARAGUA
Accommodation in Nicaragua is one of the cheapest places to stay in Central America! There is definitely a number of cheap hostels to stay in which you will be pleased to know. The average price of a dorm bed in Nicaragua is around $10 USD depending on the season can be more or less of that price.
If you’re going for a mid budget accommodation for $30-50 USD and if you prefer luxury accommodation starting from $70 USD. You may also opt to use Airbnb in finding place where to stay in Nicaragua for a cheap price. Click here to get free $30 USD credit booking with this link in Airbnb.
9. FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL IN NICARAGUA
Prices are very affordable in Nicaragua and starts from $2 USD in local restaurants per meal. You can get frescos (local juices) and a few snacks as street food for only $1 USD. Beers and drinks at night will cost you $2-3 USD.
For fine dinning restaurants prices can start at $7-10 USD per person. You can manage so easy your food budget travel in Nicaragua for $10 USD daily.
10. TOURS AND ENTRANCE FEE IN NICARAGUA
For entrance fees in Nicaragua most of the places are free of charge or small fess $3-4 USD. If you choose a tour it will depend how many people are joining prices are around $15-25 USD. I went to Masaya Volcano from Granada by bicycle the entrance fee was around $3-4 USD.
You can join tours around Somoto Canyon or hiring a guide and it will cost you around $25 USD. And the most popular tour is Volcano boarding in Cerro Negro and it will cost around $20-30 USD near Leon area.
11. WIFI AND INTERNET IN NICARAGUA
Internet in Nicaragua works great in big cities like Managua, Leon, San Juan del Sur and Granada. You can access free WiFi at hostels and hotels and there are lots of restaurant that are offering free WiFi. We advise that you get a sim card in Nicaragua if you need to catch up with some work online.
You can get two different sim cards companies in Nicaragua if you travel as a couple since the coverage can change depending on the company that you choose. It will be challenging to find Wi-Fi while traveling in a few small cities, mountains and will be hard to get great connection.
12. ADAPTER IN NICARAGUA
In our Nicaragua travel tips you should know they use the American adapter. A few places make it possible to fit your European adapter in the plug. If you are coming from European countries, we recommend you to bring an American adapter to be able to charge everywhere.
13. LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IN NICARAGUA
Riding chicken buses in Nicaragua is a great experience traveling in chicken buses with locals. The bus is very affordable and the chicken buses are stopping in all the towns. It´s a continuous go up and down people during the whole journey. There are sellers with frescos and snacks. The chicken buses are cheap.
Another form of transportation are the minivans, they are faster than the chicken buses. But also little bit more expensive. The shuttle minivans are organized by hotels and hostels to move around the main touristic destinations in Nicaragua.
14. NICARAGUA BORDER CROSSINGS
Nicaragua border crossings are easy. You can take a bus if you’re from Honduras and Costa Rica. Also, If you’re coming from Honduras you can take a direct bus from La Ceiba, Tegucigalpa and different places in Honduras like San Pedro Sula. The bus available is best for tourists.
From Honduras to Nicaragua? You can go by bus, shuttle or by car. If you are traveling by car you can make a travel insurance in the border. The visa will cost $12 USD to enter for backpacking Nicaragua. If you are leaving Nicaragua, the fee is $3 USD.
From Costa Rica to Nicaragua? Same like if you are coming from Honduras, by car, shuttle or car. The fees are the same that we mentioned above. Be careful if you are going to Costa Rica, they will ask you for a prove orf traveling. It could be a bus ticket or a plane ticket making sure that you are leaving the country.
15. SALSA LESSONS IN NICARAGUA
Talking salsa lessons when traveling in Nicaragua. It’s a well-known fact in Central America and South America love salsa. So what better way to understand the people than to get into salsa as well than learning?
In all the salsa-loving places in Nicaragua Leon and San Juan del Sur. Prices for classes can go between $5-10 USD depending on the people joining and even could be free of charge.
16. NIGHTLIFE IN NICARAGUA
I got surprised of the nightlife in Nicaragua. All the places to visit in Nicaragua were great: Leon and San Juan del Sure were my favorite places to hang out in Nicaragua. Prices are affordable to go out for dinner and drinking $2-3 USD. You will find locals and also foreigners!
17. WATCH A BASEBALL GAME IN NICARAGUA
Watching a Baseball game in Nicaragua is a great experience. Baseball, basketball and soccer are the most popular sports in Nicaragua. I had the opportunity to watch live a baseball game. It was my first time in Rivas and the experience was great watching with locals and learning about the game. Apart from the game sellers are continuously selling ice cream, sodas and snacks.
18. SURFING IN NICARAGUA
Surfing in Nicaragua is nice place to do it. San Juan del Sur beaches are perfect to do it. You can spend a few days and even camping in those beaches. You can rent a board the whole day for $15 USD and even get lessons if you never tried before.
19. VISIT VOLCANOS IN NICARAGUA
Climbing a volcano is a must in Nicaragua. I did two of them: Concepcion and Masaya. Both of them totally worth it! Masaya is easier near Granada in less than 2 hours. And Concepcion in Ometepe Island you need a gudie to do it. Be ready for the hike, from hot weather can be rainy and can take 7-9 hours to climb Concepcion volcano.
20. BARGAIN LOCAL MARKETS IN NICARAGUA
You can bargain at street markets in Nicaragua since is part of their culture. One of the most popular markets is El Mercado Viejo Craft Market is the perfect place to buy souvenirs and hand crafts in a good price. The best product in the market are the hammocks. Nicaragua travel tips you can bargain in the market since is part of the culture remember always to do it with a big smile and being polite!
21. LEARN ABOUT HISTORY IN NICARAGUA
You can learn about history in Nicaragua. The Sandinistas wars have been over the years in Nicaragua until 1990 that Sandinistas were defeated. Over the past 15 years Nicaragua has been more stable but still so much work to do. There are a few interesting museums about Sandinista wars in Leon or other big cities. It´s part of the new history of Nicaragua. You will find always reference to Sandino in the streets in Nicaragua.
22. NICARAGUAN (NICA) TIME
Have you ever heard about Nica time? When meeting locals in Nicaragua you will hear about Nica time. It means they aren’t usually on time as many other tropical countries in the world like Costa Rica and Philippines. And maybe you will be waiting for a few minutes or who knows. Just make sure you know about this or you will learn in Nicaragua.
23. BEAUTIFUL SUNSETS IN NICARAGUA
There are beautiful sunsets in Nicaragua. My favorite sunsets in Nicaragua were in San Juan del Sur. Pacific sunsets were so beautiful and colorful and they are always perfect after a nice day in the beach or exploring the town
MORE FACTS ABOUT NICARAGUA FOOD
24. GALLO PINTO
Gallo Pinto is the most popular dish with black or read beans and rice. Price of Gallo Pinto in Nicaragua is around $2-3 USD in local restaurants. Gallo Pinto is very common in Central America especially in Costa Rica too. If you keep traveling to Honduras, El Salvador the name of this dish will be Casado and Casamiento pretty similar all of them.
25. INDIO VIEJO
Indio Viejo is a heavy meal in Nicaragua that takes several hours to prepare. Corn tortilla with meat, onions, garlic, sweet pepper, and tomato and cooked in orange juice and broth and sopa de albondigas (meatballs soup). Indio Viejo is so delicious and prices are around $2-3 USD.
Pinolillo is very sweet beverage which is made from corn flour/cocoa. Pinolillo is easily found in most market stalls. You can also add milk if you like. Prices are around $1-2 USD.
Quesillo is my favorite snack in Nicaragua. It´s served as street food and you can find for $2-3 USD. It´s a corn tortilla make with cheese. You can add onions and wrap, I love it in this way.
28. EAT VIGORON
Vigoron is a traditional Nicaraguan dish. Vigoron is made with cabbage salad, tomatoes, onions and with vinegar, pepper and salt. Vigoron is boiled with yuca and chicharrones. As street food is served in a banana leaf. Prices are around $3-4 USD.
29. TRY FLOR DE CAÑA
Ron Flor de Caña is made in Nicaragua and is one of the most popular ron in the world. Flor de Caña tastes great mixing with coke for an affordable price. Prices for a bottle is around $3-4 USD if you buy in the supermarket and for drinks at night $2-3 USD.
30. LOCAL JUICES (FRESCO)
Frescos are so refreshing in Nicaragua since is always hot the weather. I love walking around, eating street food and in Nicaragua you can find Frescos everywhere. Tamarindo, Cebada, Cacao and usually served in a small plastic bag with a straw. So sweet and you can find them cold and for less than $1 USD and double price in restaurants and coffee shops.
31. TRY CHICHA
Chicha is a homemade fermented or non fermented derived from grains, maize or fruit. Be careful guys when drinking chicha is so sweet and after a few of them maybe you will get drunk. Prices are around $1-2 USD.
32. DRINK TOÑA BEER
There are a few local beers in Nicaragua. Toña and Victoria are the most popular ones. Toña was my favorite beer in Nicaragua and you can find for $2 USD. Watch out Happy Hours in Nicaragua!
FESTIVALS IN NICARAGUA
33. DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS
Halloween The Day of the Death people is also celebrated in Central America and Nicaragua. It´s special time for families remembering the loved ones who died. They visit their crypt, clean it and spend time with them.
34. NICARAGUA´S INDEPENDENCE DAY
Nicaragua gained the Independence Day on September 1821. Nicaragua’s Independence Day is celebrated also in other nations like Mexico and Guatemala which was a few days before than Nicaragua Independence.
35. SEMANA SANTA
Holy week (Semana Santa) is celebrated in Nicaragua same way like other countries in Central and South America. Same religion by Spanish speakers countries with the commemoration of Jesus death and resurrection. It´s great to see processions around the cities and small towns in Nicaragua.
More Nicaragua Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Nicaragua
PLACES TO VISIT IN NICARAGUA
Leon is called Nicaragua’s center of tradition and culture. Leon is the most authentic city in Nicaragua and you will find the cheapest places for staying in Nicaragua. If you are coming overland from Honduras maybe will be your first contact with Nicaragua. In 2000 Leon Viejo was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You’ll discover Leon’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is Central America’s largest cathedral, and also one of the oldest. There are interesting museums where you can learn about the Revolution in Nicaragua. Nightlife is good, there are many bars and restaurants around the city for affordable prices.
37. VOLCANO BOARDING
Feeling brave? Then go Volcano Boarding. Cerro Negro is the most popular volcano and you can get a tour from Leon. Guesthouses will help you and it will cost you $25-30 USD.
You will go there after 40-50 minutes driving from Leon. Once you get to the top, you will go down in less than 3 minutes to get down. The experience is quite similar to a famous activity which is sandboarding. Nicaragua travel tips is a great experience if you like to try the adventure!
Granada is one of Nicaragua’s most touristy destinations and is the real definition of Spanish charm. Granada is a colonial city popular for its colorful buildings, churches and plazas. Granada is full of culture, nice parks great architecture.
I recommend spending a few days in Granada. From Granada you can also do a day trip to Masaya Volcano or Laguna de Apoyo. You can rent a motorbike, rent a bicycle or you can join to a tour. Nicaragua travel tips the nightlife is really good in Granada.
39. MASAYA VOLCANO
Masaya town has the largest local artisan market (Mercado de Artesanias de Masaya). Apart from Masaya town you can also visit Masaya Volcano known for their crystalline crater lake Laguna de Masaya, and the artisan market. I went to Masaya Volcano from Granada by bicycle and it took us a couple of hours to get to the crater. The views are incredible and its an active volcano. There is an entrance fee of 100 Cordobas around $3.5 USD.
You can shop all you want at Masaya Market to handmade ceramics, woodcrafts, jewelry, cigars, leather and the signature Masaya hammocks. Also try barter prices and you might walk away with a great deal.
40. SAN JUAN DEL SUR
San Juan Del Sur is a small coastal town on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. San Juan del Sur attracts hundreds of foreigners because of surfing, restaurants and nightlife. I recommend you to hike to the Christ of the Mercy 30 minutes walk. Once in the point of view you will get amazing views!
If you want to go surfing, you can go to Playas Maderas. You can rent a board, or even have lessons for surfing if you have never tried before. You can stay at Playa Maderas and even better if you are bringing a tent, you can do free camping in Playas Maderas at San Juan del Sur.
41. OMETEPE ISLAND
The Ometepe Island is a volcanic island in the southern part of Nicaragua. Maderas and Concepcion, the two volcanoes form an island that is shaped like a figure eight or simply the infinity symbol. It’s hard not to feel peace in such a beautiful place like Ometepe Island.
One thing to do in Ometepe Island is rent a scooter $15-20 USD per day or bicycle $5-7 USD per day and explore the island for the day. You cna visit the Lake Nicaragua which is the best place for sunsets.
You can also hike Madera Volcano and Maderas, you should hire a guide to do it. Prices are around $25 USD per person and the activity lasts 7-9 hours. If you like hiking, read our experience hiking Taal Volcano. The second most active volcano in the Philippines.
How to get to Ometepe Island? From Granada you can go by bus until Rivas where you can get a ferry to get to Ometepe Island around one hour ferry ride with amazing views during the ride of Maderas and Concepcion volcanoes.
42. CORN ISLAND
Little Corn Island is about 50 miles off the coast of Nicaragua. Little Corn Island is one of the best places to dive and snorkel in Nicaragua.You can also go for deep sea fishing and yoga. You will see a lot of backpackers around Little Corn Island.
Little Corn island is so relaxing and there are no cars in the island. So you can walk around or rent a bicycle to move around the island. Staying in your hammock reading a book, swimming, snorkeling and even diving are the best plans to do in Little Corn Island.
Managua is the capital and the largest city in Nicaragua. Managua has a lot of traffic and local markets where you can eat food and drink fresh juices. You can also visit the old Cathedral of Santiago and of course see the nightlife in the capital of Nicaragua. Managua is ok for spending a couple of days when passing by to the South or North of Nicaragua.
44. SOMOTO CANYON
Somoto Canyon is an epic place for hiking and adventure. Blue waters and large cliffs surrounded by nature. You can join tours around Somoto Canyon or hiring a guide prices are around $25 USD. You can stay in Esteli or in Somoto Canyon area since there are a few places to stay.
45. LAGUNA DE APOYO
Laguna de Apoyo is a crater lake in Nicaragua. Al Laguna de Apoyo you will find the cleanest and deepest lake in Central America and the water is more blue than any lake water you’ve ever seen. The lagoon is huge and you can go from Granada in a day trip passing by Masaya town.
WHERE TO STAY IN NICARAGUA
Nicaragua is one of the cheapest places to travel to in Central America! There is definitely a number of cheap hostels to stay in which you will be pleased to know. The average price of a dorm bed in Nicaragua is around $10 USD depending on the season can be more or less of that price. If you’re going for a mid budget accommodation for $30-50 USD and if you prefer luxury accommodation starting from $70 USD. You may also opt to use Airbnb in finding place where to stay in Nicaragua for a cheap price. Click here to get free $30 USD credit booking with this link in Airbnb.
Having insurance while you are traveling outside your home country is very important. Make sure that you have one too, to keep you safe in your trips around the world.
Hope you liked our Nicaragua travel tips. Let us know if we missed things to know before visiting Nicaragua and facts about Nicaragua in the comments below.
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