Nicaragua Travel Information
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Local time is GMT -6.
Electrical current in Nicaragua is 120 volts, 60Hz. Flat blade plugs are used.
The official language in Nicaragua is Spanish. Some communities on the Caribbean coast speak indigenous languages. English is understood at some tourist destinations.
Visitors from a yellow fever infected area in the Americas or Africa are required to prove they have been vaccinated before entry. Malaria is a threat in many regions of Nicaragua, and travellers are advised to seek medical advice and take some form of prophylaxis. Insect repellent and mosquito nets should also be used to avoid malaria and dengue fever, both of which are carried by mosquitoes. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid, and those who will be coming into contact with animals, especially bats, should consider a rabies vaccination.
Modern medical facilities in Nicaragua are only found in major towns and cities, the best of which are in Managua. Rural communities lack modern hospitals and equipment, and medications are in short supply. If a hospital is needed in Nicaragua, travellers should indicate that they desire a private hospital. Comprehensive travel insurance is essential, and travellers should take along any medication they require, in its original packaging and accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what it is and why it is needed. The most common health affliction for tourists is traveller's diarrhoea, which is preventable by safe water and food consumption. Travellers should not drink tap water, and should use common sense when eating uncooked foods.
Tips of 10 to 15 percent are expected at restaurants in Nicaragua. Standard tipping is usual at hotels. Taxi drivers do not usually expect to be tipped.
Rural areas in Nicaragua are notably void of police and there has been a recent increase in crime in these areas. Theft and violent crime are also becoming more common in urban areas of the usually safe country. Travellers should be careful of muggings in taxis and only use official taxis with a red license plate. Buses should not be used after dark. Due to poor road conditions, highway driving is especially dangerous after dark and should be avoided.
Political demonstrations and protests occur sporadically in urban areas and can become violent; tourists should avoid all street gatherings. Powerful waves and currents can make Nicaragua's beaches dangerous, and swimmers and surfers should exercise caution. Despite these risks, Nicaragua is still one of the safest countries to travel to in the region and most visits are trouble-free.
It is usual for adults in Nicaragua to live with their parents, and visitors should greet the oldest or most important person in a group first. When shopping, it is customary to bargain for goods.
The international access code for Nicaragua is +505. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (00 44 for the United Kingdom). The city area code for Managua is 2. Mobile phones operate on GSM and 3G networks. Local mobile phone calls are usually cheapest with locally bought SIM cards. Internet is widely available in all major cities, although the connection speed is sometimes slow.
Visitors to Nicaragua may import up to 400 cigarettes/500g of tobacco, five litres of liquor, and perfume for personal use. Meat, dairy and leather products, as well as matches, are restricted. Firearms require an import license.
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