Nicaragua Travel Information
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 require proof of their vaccination before entry. Malaria is a threat in many regions of Nicaragua and travellers are advised to seek medical advice and take some form prophylaxis.
Insect repellent and mosquito nets should be used to avoid malaria and dengue fever, both of which are carried by mosquitos. Recommended vaccinations include ones for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid, and for rabies for those coming into contacts with animals, especially bats.
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 needing a hospital 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 are not expected in Nicaragua except with guides and at restaurants, where a tip of around 10 percent is the norm for table service.
Nicaragua is one of the safest countries to visit in the region and most trips are trouble-free. Travellers should avoid taking buses after dark, though, as road conditions are poor and highway driving during these hours is especially dangerous.
Political demonstrations and protests occur sporadically in urban areas and can become violent; tourists should avoid all street gatherings. Also, theft and violent crime are 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 red license plates and the driver's ID above the dash.
Powerful waves and currents can make Nicaragua's beaches dangerous, and swimmers and surfers should exercise caution.
A firm handshake for men and a peck on the cheek for women are customary greetings in Nicaragua. Visitors should note that while locals welcome haggling in markets and with street vendors, they don't accept it in shops. It's good manners to use the supplied shot glass to measure a drink when sharing a bottle of rum, rather than pouring freely from the bottle.
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).
Local mobile phone calls are usually cheapest with locally bought SIM cards and public wifi is widely available in all major cities and tourist centres. The country's mobile data network is always improving and works well in big cities, but can be painfully slow in rural areas.
Visitors to Nicaragua may import up to 200 cigarettes or 500g of tobacco, five litres of liquor, and five bottles of perfume. Fresh foods, live animals, plants and their products are restricted. Firearms require an import license.
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