Nicaragua

Nicaragua

Use Normal Level of Caution

The Republic of Nicaragua is in Central America, bordering Costa Rica and Honduras and with coastline on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The population is about 6 million people. Although Spanish is the official language, English and other regional languages are also spoken. The government is a democratic republic with a president as chief of state and head of government.

Years of civil war, dictatorship, and natural disasters, left Nicaragua one of the poorest countries in Latin America. The Somoza family dictatorship lasted for 43 years of the 20th century, draining the country of revenue and growth by controlling businesses, banking and the government. In the 1970s after a major earthquake, the Somoza’s used relief funds for their own benefit, and even the elite began to work for political change. The Sandinistas came to power, made improvements in health and education and redistributed property. However,because the United States became worried about the country’s ties to Cuba, the US financed and armed the Contra rebels. Although the Sandinistas eventually prevailed, this war along with major natural disasters, left the country in dire condition.

Nicaragua’s government views tourism as a means to combat poverty. Tourism has grown in recent years, and in 2010, Nicaragua received about one million visitors. Travellers can enjoy rainforests, beaches, volcanoes, and nature reserves.

Currency NIO: Córdoba
Language Spanish
Capital Managua
Recent Alerts 1
Latest Alert November 08, 2017 - Civil unrest in Nicaragua

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Nicaragua. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Nicaragua.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Nicaragua.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Nicaragua, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Dengue Fever

There is a risk of dengue fever in Nicaragua throughout the year.

Malaria

Malaria is reported to be present in Región Autónoma Atlántico Norte (RAAN) and Región Autónoma Atlántico Sur (RAAS). Rare cases in Boaco, Chinandega, Esteli, Jinotega, Leon, Matagalpa, and Nueva Segovia. No malaria in the city of Managua. WHO notes that cases are reported from other municipalities in the central and western departments, but the risk in these areas is considered to be very low or negligible.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in this country. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Chagas Disease

The risk for travellers is extremely low. There is a higher risk if staying in poor quality housing that might harbour the insect that transmits this disease.

Zika Fever

There is transmission of the Zika virus in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Nicaragua.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Nicaragua.

Anti-malarial Drugs

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline, or mefloquine for Región Autónoma Atlántico Norte (RAAN) and Región Autónoma Atlántico Sur (RAAS). NaTHNaC and WHO only recommend chloroquine for risk areas.

Safety and Security in Nicaragua

Emergency Numbers

118
101 For bilingual tourist police

Personal Safety

Most travellers have no trouble in Nicaragua, and Nicaragua was ranked with the lowest crime rate in Latin America by Interpol and other sources. However, street crime and petty theft do occur in Nicaragua. Pickpockets and thefts occur particularly on public transport and around bus stations.

To avoid being targeted, do not wear expensive jewellery or clothing and keep valuables and cash out of sight. Do not carry large amounts of cash.

Exercise caution when using taxis. Use radio-dispatched taxis. If you must get a taxi on the street, use an authorised taxi with red plates and with the driver’s name, photograph and identification number in plain sight on the dashboard. There are reports of passengers using unauthorised taxis being kidnapped and held in exchange for cash. Make note of the number of the taxi and colour before getting in. Agree on the fare first. Avoid sharing a taxi with strangers.

If driving, keep doors locked and windows closed. In Managua, cars have been stopped and robbed at traffic lights.

Do not travel on buses after dark.

Do not walk alone after dark.

Be alert and cautious when out walking, particularly in markets, bus stations, and poorer areas of towns.

Only use hotels that staff the front desk 24 hours a day and have adequate security. Violent attacks against foreigners have occurred in hotels.

Avoid road travel after dark due to the presence of armed bandits, poor road conditions, and poor driving practices.

There are strong currents off the Pacific coast. Rescue equipment is not generally available, and there are no warning signs or lifeguards. Drownings have occurred.

Nicaragua requires that all medications be in the original container and labeled. Those with prescriptions and controlled medication must have a prescription from their prescribing doctor on letterhead stationery and must include the medication’s generic name.

Areas To Avoid

Street crime is common in Managua, Granada, San Juan del Sur, and on Corn Island. Be cautious and alert to your surroundings in the area around the old cathedral in Managua.

Do not hike in remote areas, unless with an experienced guide. Some landmines possibly remain in rural areas of northern Nicaragua in spite of de-mining operations. Avoid leaving main roads. The North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) is very remote, and some countries advise their citizens to reconsider their need to travel to this area due to drug trafficking, armed banditry, and other serious crime.

In Bonanza, La Rosita, Siuna and Little Corn Island, there have been incidents of violent crime.

There have been reports of attacks on vehicles, including hotel-run buses, along the Managua-Leon, Tipitapa-Masaya and Somotillo-Chinandega highways.

Political Unrest

Political demonstrations can happen at any time. Demonstrations have turned violent and have also affected transportation, including to and from the airport.

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