Corn Islands, Nicaragua

10 things I wish I knew before going to Nicaragua

Shamil Hasanli Shamil Hasanli 11 September 2020
130 view 6 min. read

The Republic of Nicaragua is one of the Central American countries, located on the coasts of the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is a small, Spanish speaking country with a rough 7 million population and 130 thousand square km area. Although fewer tourists prefer Nicaragua as their next destination due to unpleasant Nicaragua news about the previous civil war, human rights concerns, and crime, it is worth travel to Nicaragua. The country has a very beautiful nature, including beaches on the 834 km long coastline, tropical forests, and lakes. If you want to remember easily where is Nicaragua, just consider the Tropic of Cancer and Equator, it is perfectly located between them in the neighbourhood of countries; Honduras in the north and Costa Rica in the south. Nicaragua is also known as a country of lakes in Latin America; it has two important lakes. The greater one is called Cocibolca, and the smaller one is Xolotlan. Managua, which is the capital of Nicaragua, is located on the southwest coast of Xolotlan Lake.

When I researched the best time to travel to Nicaragua, I found that it is a wonderful place to travel in all seasons; however, there are a lot of concerns regarding it. Many people who wanted to travel to Nicaragua worry about is it safe to travel to Nicaragua or how safe is it to travel to Nicaragua. Considering these questions, I decided to write on the 10 most essential things which I would like to know before going to Nicaragua. I have covered all these concerns about how safe is it to travel to Nicaragua, and other questions, such as where is Nicaragua, what is the capital of Nicaragua, what is the best time to travel to Nicaragua, what are the most crucial Nicaragua news to know, etc.

1. Where is Nicaragua and how to travel there?

Panoramic Nicaragua

At the moment, Nicaragua is not a country that is on the list of many tourists, so it can sometimes be difficult to find tourist information about this destination. This Central American country is reachable for many people. Tourists can visit the country by crossing the borders of Honduras or Costa Rica, on cruises, or by airplane. Augusto C. Sandino International Airport is located near the capital. With regard to the visa, the citizens of most of the countries of Europe and America do not need any special permission to enter Nicaragua as a tourist. If it is a matter of work, it is better that you consult the procedures with the Embassy.

2. What is the capital of Nicaragua?

Managua city

The capital and the biggest city in the country is Managua. Although sometimes it is mentioned as one of the least attractive places in the country from a tourist point of view, there are some places to see. For example, Bolivar Avenue is one of the safest and most beautiful areas of the capital; an old port and 19th-century bank buildings are worth visiting. Nevertheless, unless you have to go through the city for some logistical issue, you can do without this visit. If you travel for work or another reason, then you might be interested in spending a few days there since it concentrates a good part of the industry and important companies in the country.

3. What is the best time to travel to Nicaragua?

colorful houses

Although Nicaragua is a country with a tropical climate and temperatures remain more or less stable throughout the year, they can vary from one region to another. The hottest area is the Pacific area, where it is not uncommon for it to exceed 35 ºC. If you prefer something more temperate, in the Esteli, Jinotega and Matagalpa mountain areas, the temperatures are lower and do not usually exceed 30 ºC. In winter, they can even drop below 20 ºC. You may experience that Nicaragua is very hot, both during the day and at night, so put on your cream and drink a lot of water, especially if you travel between March and April, the hottest months.

4. Is it safe to travel to Nicaragua?

Nicaraguan child

Nicaragua is a calm country for tourists. But, do not forget that it is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and it has just emerged from a period of war, so it does not hurt to take into account a series of considerations. That is why it is better to learn the prices of goods and services before paying. On too many occasions, the tourist is considered a walking dollar, and it is not uncommon for them to try to deceive you with prices. In terms of other issues regarding safety, transportation infrastructure, food hygiene, accommodation security, the country is quite satisfactory. Robbery and crime levels are under the level of which border countries. Do not ask is it safe to travel to Nicaragua, just always be cautious and enjoy your time in Nicaragua.

5. What are the interesting Nicaragua news to know?

Se Habla Spanish

Nicaragua is not a place which you can find everything about on the internet. So, you might face circumstances to ask a local for a way, hotel, etc. Therefore, it is better to have some Spanish language skills before travelling to Nicaragua. Take it into consideration that only some educated people and tourism workers can speak English.

Nicaragua is a country of active volcanoes. Do not forget to check the activity of volcanos and precautions before your visit. You may disappoint by not being able to visit a particular place in the country because of that.

Cash payments are preferred in Nicaragua; your bank card may not be accepted in all places.

6. What are the must-see places in Nicaragua?

Lagunaapoyo

The essential places to visit are the colonial cities of Leon and Granada, and the mystical island of Ometepe. Granada city is a UNESCO Heritage Site. It is also worth visiting the Apoyo Lagoon and some of the country's many volcanoes. San Juan del Sur and its beaches are also very famous. If you are lucky enough to be able to dedicate more than two weeks, then go to the Caribbean region and the impressive Corn Islands, or visit the northern area, where it is possible to find greater biodiversity.

7. What are the best hotels to stay in Managua?

Managua

For accommodation, it is advisable to look for a hostel or small hotel if you want to travel for a few days. And if you come in groups of 4 to 5 people, you can find many inexpensive options. On the booking websites, you can find all kinds of accommodations but be careful with this. Whenever you find an option on the internet, also check the hotel's official site, because in some cases, the price may be various. Furthermore, if you want to stay in one of the best hotels in the capital of Nicaragua, you can prefer internationally known hotel chains, such as InterContinental, Hilton, or Holiday Inn.

8. Is Nicaragua dangerous due to volcanos?

Nicaragua volcanos

Currently, there are many active volcanoes (San Cristobal, Telica, Cerro Negro, El Hoyo, Momotombo, Masaya, Concepcion and etc.) and many non-active volcanoes (like Cosiguina, Apoyeque, Mombacho, Zapatera, Laguna de Apoyo and Maderas) in Nicaragua. Although these volcanoes are dangerous themselves, it does not mean the country is unsafe. Even, you can visit all of them within guided tours that are offered for those who wish to explore these volcanoes and also carry out activities that have a lot of adrenaline such as sandboarding, hiking, among others. If you are an adventurous person, you will surely love these experiences.

9. What is the currency of Nicaragua?

Nicaragua currency

The currency of the country is Nicaraguan cordoba (NIO). However, tourists can use both cordoba and the US dollar for shopping in the country. I recommend changing your money to cordoba at the border or in Managua as when paying in foreign currencies the value of what you spend maybe a little higher due to the exchange rate. As of 2020, one US dollar is equal to 35 cordobas. What can you buy with these cordobas? With that dollar you can buy a dessert and a soft drink, so you can get an idea of how cheap you can eat if you know where to go. The prices of food and hotels are relatively cheaper than in other countries. The plate of food goes between 100 and 150 cordobas, although you can find places where you can spend much more or less. It is always good to visit places where they sell traditional food rather than eating at the hotel because in popular restaurants the prices are very affordable than hotels.

10. Should you get vaccinated before going to Nicaragua?

Nicaragua vaccinations

Currently, the Government of Nicaragua is requesting the presence of the yellow fever vaccination certificate before entering Nicaragua for people who travel there and comes from countries or through countries considered at risk. For more exact information I recommend calling the Nicaraguan Embassy in your country and thus verify if there has been any change. Besides that, it is better to have vaccinations against dangerous transmittable diseases, for example, Tetanus, Hepatitis A. The health system in Nicaragua is not very satisfactory, that is why having travel insurance is a great benefit. If something happens, you can be treated more easily in one of the medical facilities indicated by the insurance.

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Shamil Hasanli

Shamil is from Azerbaijan. During his childhood, he was interested in geography and knew the world map by heart. Now, he is a young student and likes to travel and explore new places. His biggest dream is to visit extraordinary but lesser-known destinations and make these popular among all.

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