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Nicaragua Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT -6.

Electricity

Electrical current in Nicaragua is 120 Volts, 60Hz. Flat blade plugs are used.

Language

The official language in Nicaragua is Spanish. Some communities on the Caribbean coast speak indigenous languages. English is understood at some tourist destinations.

Travel Health

Visitors from a yellow fever infected area in the Americas or Africa are required to prove they have had vaccination 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.

Tipping

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.

Safety Information

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 in 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. Resulting from 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; all street gatherings should be avoided by tourists. 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.

Local Customs

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. Homosexuality was made legal in March 2008.

Communications

The international access code for Nicaragua is +505. The outgoing code is 00 (00 44 for the United Kingdom) followed by the relevant country code. The city area code for Managua is 2. Mobile phones operate on GSM and 3G networks. Local mobile phone calls are cheapest with locally bought SIM cards. Internet is widely available in all cities although the connection speed is mostly limited to 56k.

Duty Free

Visitors to Nicaragua may import up to 200 cigarettes/500g of tobacco, three litres liquor, and one large or three small bottles of perfume. Meat, dairy and leather products as well as matches are restricted. Firearms require an import license.

Become our Nicaragua Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Nicaragua travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Nicaragua or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.

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