Travel to Nicaragua

Currency: Cordoba (NIO)

Exchange rate: 1 US $ = 34.77 NIO (December 2020), 1 EUR = 41.98 NIO

Country code (phone): +505

Country code

Climate (for capital): Tropical

International Airport (IATA): MGA (Managua)

Time zone: UTC -6

Entry and residence

For the entry to Nicaragua German citizens do not need visas for a stay up to 90 days. However, you must purchase a tourist card at a cost of US $ 10 (plus a US $ 2 fee). Due to the ongoing corona pandemic, a current COVID-19 test (PCR-RT) is also required. The passport should be valid for at least six months upon entry. Children’s ID cards must have a photo. If you are traveling via the USA, please note that you must go through immigration and customs control of the US authorities even if you are in transit.

Due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Federal Foreign Office is currently warning against unnecessary tourist trips to Nicaragua, one of countries in Central America according to softwareleverage.

For long-term stays, a permit must be applied for from the Nicaraguan immigration authorities. You can find out which documents are required for this on the Nicaragua portal or at the German embassy in Managua.

Travel and transportation

Most travelers reach Nicaragua via the “Aeropuerto Internacional Augusto C. Sandino” (MGA) airport, which is about 15 km from the center of Managua. The major airlines that fly to the country have offices there and in the city. There is no longer a national airline. The Spanish airline IBERIA had announced that it would start the first direct connection to Europe (Madrid-Managua) on October 1, 2018. The opening of the new compound but was in August 2018 for lack of demand shifted because tourism had already collapsed dramatically as a result of the unrest. Air traffic slowly recovered somewhat in 2019. At the end of March 2020, AC Sandino Airport had to be closed and passenger traffic had to be completely stopped due to the Corona crisis. In mid-July 2020, the airport was the first to reopen in Central America, and major airlines such as COPA, Avianca, UNITED and Aeromexico announced that scheduled services would resume in September. The return of international connections has been postponed again and again because the airlines are arguing with the government about hygiene regulations and are also being shaken by the economic crisis. The normalization of air traffic is now at the earliest for January 2021to be expected. This means a (further) heavy blow for the tourism industry, because it loses the main season at Christmas time.

You can also travel through Central America by bus. Two well-known bus routes for international connections are the TicaBus and the Transnica company. Traveling by land is cheap and highly recommended if you want to get to know the area. However, it has the disadvantage that crossing the border is usually tedious and inconvenient.

The Pacific and Central regions are relatively well developed and the road network has improved significantly in recent years. For example, since 2011 there is a continuously paved road to San Carlos. In 2019 the first full road connection to the Atlantic coast was completed. So far you could only drive as far as Rama and then had to take the river boat. The travel time Managua-Bluefields is therefore reduced by three hours. But many of the roads shown on the map are still gravel roads and only partially suitable for cars. 2017 were of 24,515 road kilometers only 9,756 are drivable all year round, and only a part of it is paved. That is why in the rainy season it can happen that remote areas of land are often inaccessible for days, because, for example, you can no longer drive through the rivers that cross. The road connection to Puerto Cabezas / Bilwi via Bonanza, for example, is not accessible all year round, and the bus trip is in any case a considerable strain. For trips to the north of the Caribbean coast or to Corn Island, it is better to take the plane. These destinations are served by the internal airline LA COSTEÑA.

A well-organized transport network connects large and small cities with buses. Since the country is not that big, most of the destinations can be reached relatively quickly; if you can, you take an “expreso” that doesn’t have to stop everywhere. There is no central bus station in Managua. The buses depart from different points (“terminales” and “paradas”), which you have to inquire about and visit as early as possible. It also happens that buses get stuck. Timetables only exist to a limited extent. The lines stop working as soon as it gets dark.

Local public transport in the cities (buses, taxis, carriages, converted trucks – depending on the location) initially appears to be quite improvised and very confusing. But it works better than expected. That applies at least to the daytime and early evening hours. More and more Indian-made auto rickshaws are appearing in the countryside (see photo) that take over taxi services. Rental cars are available in Managua and some provincial capitals at affordable prices. Credit card and international driver’s license are sufficient.

Nicaragua Auto rickshaw