Nicaragua – Practical Information for Foreigners

Mass and weight

Although the metric system was introduced in Nicaragua as early as the 19th century, some measures and weights with unfamiliar names are still in use in everyday life. They are of old Spanish origin or they have been taken over from the Anglo-Saxon area.

The following overview is intended to be a practical aid for understanding the designations and to facilitate the conversion into the metric system:

Spanish name German name Correspondence in the metric system
vara (Spanish) ell 0.84 m
yarda (English) ell 0.91 m
pie foot 30.48 cm
pulgada inch 2.54 cm
manzana (Spanish) morning 0.70 ha
galón (American) gallon 3.785 L.
onza ounce 28.3 g
libra (American) pound 0.454 kg
arroba bushel 11.32 kg
quintal (Spanish) hundredweight 45.36 kg

Security for foreigners

As one of countries in Central America according to thesciencetutor, Nicaragua has long been considered a rather safe travel destination in Central America. It must be noted, however, that a broad protest movement against the Ortega government has developed since April 18, 2018. Harsh repression by police units and paramilitary groups has resulted in numerous deaths, and insurrection-like situations continued to occur in many parts of the country in 2018. The Federal Foreign Office calls on travelers to “continue to be careful, to avoid demonstrations and crowds and to always obey the instructions of the security forces.” All visitors should inform themselves about the current situation. German nationals who are in Nicaragua are strongly advised to register on the crisis prevention list.

With regard to the current corona crisis, the Federal Foreign Office would like to point out that there is a travel warning for Nicaragua and that unnecessary tourist trips should be avoided. All other travelers should follow the news and keep themselves informed about the spread of the corona virus in Nicaragua. All regular flight connections to and from Nicaragua have been interrupted since the beginning of April 2020. The partial resumption of air traffic is expected for the beginning of October at the earliest.

Incidentally, the following still applies: Nicaragua has a low crime rate. In a Central American comparison, for example, it has by far the lowest frequency of murder cases. Nevertheless, caution is required in some situations. After dark, you shouldn’t walk everywhere, and some parts of the city are considered unsafe. Driving at night in your own car requires particular caution because of the increased risk of accidents; it can also be dangerous to stop on lonely roads at night. There is an increased risk of theft at markets and bus stations, at festivals and large crowds; you have to be really careful to avoid trouble. A car should not be left unattended for a long time. In the city it is best to look for a guarded parking lot, or to hire one of the many private guards (e.g. on the beach or in the evening in front of the restaurant) to keep an eye on it for a small fee (“cuidar”). Then no problems are to be expected.

Apart from the current situation (see above), the warnings and recommendations of the Federal Foreign Office deal with the risk of assaults, theft and special security risks when traveling inland. You should read them through and take them seriously, even if they are sometimes overly careful. Unfortunately, it has been reported more and more recently that passengers in taxis have been mugged and robbed. That can’t mean that you shouldn’t take a taxi anymore. When driving to destinations outside of Managua, especially at night, you should be particularly careful and inquire about a taxi at the hotel or with acquaintances whose chauffeur is known personally.

The government of Nicaragua has set up an emergency number for tourists on 101. Spanish and English speaking police officers take care of the phone around the clock.

Nicaragua is at high risk from earthquakes, and light tremors (so-called “temblores”) are quite common. Find out about rules of conduct and recommended precautionary measures. The GeoForschungszentrum Potsdam has prepared an earthquake leaflet that you should take note of.

Nicaragua Security for foreigners

Stay healthy

The Federal Foreign Office recommends vaccination against hepatitis A, tetanus and diphtheria when traveling to Nicaragua. There is regionally (especially on the Atlantic coast and in swamp areas) an increased risk of malaria, which makes prophylaxis necessary. Read the “Medical Information” carefully and speak to your doctor before leaving. We recommend that you take out travel health insurance.

Overall, one can say that Nicaragua has a healthy and well-tolerated climate. Because of the heat and the hygienic conditions, there is an increased risk of infection. This requires, for example, increased attention even with small wounds and insect bites. The most important precaution is to keep yourself healthy and not to overdo yourself physically. So, if possible, you should plan a break in the midday heat and give the early morning more importance in the course of the day than you are used to in Germany.

Further health and vaccination information as well as tips on nutrition and hygiene are also available from the Travel Medical Information Service and the Tropical Medicine Institute Hamburg.