COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Nicaragua travel advice
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Last updated: ET
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Nicaragua - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Nicaragua due to the political situation, the potential for civil unrest and crime.
Safety and security
The political situation is volatile in Nicaragua. The country has experienced periods of political unrest since April 2018, resulting in hundreds of deaths and detentions.
Since the 2021 Presidential elections, Nicaraguan government officials and law enforcement have severely repressed those critical or opposed to government policies. According to UN reports, Nicaraguan authorities:
- undertake arbitrary arrests and detentions
- censure media
- prevent certain individuals from departing Nicaragua by air or land for political reasons
- arbitrarily seize and search private property, including personal phones and computers for anti-government content
- arbitrarily charge individuals with terrorism, money laundering, and organized crime offenses for political reasons
If you are in Nicaragua:
- refrain from discussing the political situation in public or online
- avoid all political activities
- avoid posting information on social media
The ability of the Embassy of Canada to Nicaragua to provide consular assistance may be limited in some circumstances.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. Crime against property, such as house and car burglaries also occur frequently.
- in the poor neighbourhoods of the following cities:
- Ciudad Sandino
- in remote areas such as beach communities on the Pacific coast
- in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region
In Managua, the following neighbourhoods face very high levels of assault and robbery incidents:
- Mercado oriental
- Reparto Shick
- Jorge Dimitrov
- Ciudad Belén
- Américas 1 y Américas 2
- Barrio Camilo Ortega
In these areas, thefts from cars have occurred while drivers were waiting at red lights with open windows. Thefts also commonly occur in:
- popular tourist areas
- bus terminals, train stations and airports
- hotel lobbies
- restaurants, including patios
Border areas also often see higher criminal activity and violence. Criminal gangs are more active in the border areas with Costa Rica and Honduras. Generally, the police are understaffed and lack resources.
- ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- don’t keep your passport and other types of ID in the same place and carry a photocopy rather than the original, including the Nicaraguan entry stamp
- be aware of your surroundings, particularly in crowded and tourist areas
- avoid showing signs of affluence or wearing expensive jewellery
- avoid carrying large sums of cash or unnecessary valuables
- avoid deserted areas
- avoid walking alone at night
- choose well-secured accommodation
- avoid picking up hitchhikers
- keep your windows closed and doors locked at all times
- keep your belongings out of reach
- never leave belongings unattended in a vehicle, even in the trunk
- use secure parking facilities, especially overnight
- don’t stop to change a flat tire in an isolated area
- be aware of strangers offering their help
- use the official border crossings only
Violent crime, including murders, armed robberies and sexual assaults, occurs although difficult to assess and likely under reported.
Most violent incidents are organized crime-related or politically motivated. Paramilitary forces and para-police, which are armed civilians in plain clothes, have committed exactions against citizens. Assaults mostly take place in major cities but sometimes also in rural areas.
Foreigners are rarely targeted but you could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Express kidnappings, where kidnappers demand small immediate ransoms, have occurred.
Kidnappers usually take the victim to an ATM and force them to make a cash withdrawal. The victim is sometimes held overnight for a second withdrawal the next day.
Criminal taxi drivers sometimes use this ploy.
- Only use reputable taxi companies
- Avoid hailing a taxi on the street
- If you are threatened, do not resist
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Demonstrations and civil unrest may occur.
Nicaraguan law prohibits political activity by foreigners. Participating in demonstrations or promoting dissent, including on social media, may result in you being detained or deported.
Even peaceful demonstrations, although infrequent, can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Local authorities may not regard harassment as unlawful unless physical contact or explicit threats are made.
Coastal waters can be dangerous, especially on the Pacific Coast. Riptides are common.
Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards. Warning signs, lifeguards and rescue equipment are often limited.
Drownings occur regularly.
- Never swim alone, after hours or outside marked areas
- Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
- Only undertake scuba diving and other water activities with a well-established company
- Monitor weather warnings
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
Outdoor activities, such as white-water rafting, scuba diving, surfing, canopy touring, hiking other adventure activities can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly, even during summer.
If you intend to practice adventure tourism:
- never do so alone, and do not part with your expedition companions
- obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be before setting out
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- avoid venturing off marked trails
- avoid camping or sleeping overnight on beaches
- ensure that you’re adequately equipped and bring sufficient water
- stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
- refrain from using facilities or equipment if you have doubts on their safety
Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Except on the Pan-American Highway, driving conditions may be hazardous due to:
- inadequate lighting
- narrow or unpaved roads
- lack of guardrails
- lack of traffic signs
- unnamed streets
- roaming livestock
Drivers don’t always respect traffic laws. They often drive at excessive speeds. They may be aggressive and reckless. Drinking and driving is prevalent.
Vehicles are poorly maintained. Roadside assistance is not available. Cell phone coverage outside urban areas can be lacking, particularly in mountainous areas. If you drive in Nicaragua:
- always drive defensively
- plan your trip ahead of time, especially if you plan to visit a rural area
- avoid road travel at night
- travel in convoys of at least two vehicles
- keep your car doors locked and the windows closed at all times
- avoid picking up hitchhikers
- carry a cell phone and a charger
Public transportation is unreliable and often overcrowded. Vehicles are generally in poor condition.
Pickpockets often target tourists on public buses. Travellers have also been assaulted when getting off a bus.
- Don’t reveal your intended destination
- Don’t share a cab with strangers at the end of a bus ride
- Be cautious of any advice that could convince you to get off a bus earlier than planned to take a shortcut
Many taxis are in poor condition and lack safety features such as seat belts. Express kidnappings have occurred in unauthorized taxis. It’s common practice for taxi drivers to pick up other passengers en route.
If using taxi services while in Nicaragua:
- use only Pink taxis booked ahead of time or a trusted ride-sharing app
- agree on a fare with the driver for a private ride before departure
- avoid sharing taxis with strangers
- note driver’s name and plate number
- avoid boarding taxis at taxi stands or flagging taxis in the street
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Nicaraguan authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Nicaragua.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required for stays of up to 90 days
Business visa: not required
Student visa: not required
Residency visa: required
Renewal of a residency visa is at the discretion of immigration authorities.
If you undertake this process, you may have to produce numerous documents showing your right to be in the country. You may also face lengthy interrogations.
Immigration authorities will stamp your passport upon arrival and write down the number of days you are allowed in the country. The 90-day period is not guaranteed, and the decision is at their discretion.
You may face fines and possible delays if you fail to present an entry-stamped passport when departing Nicaragua.
- Make sure your passport has been stamped upon arrival
- Take good note of the maximum length of the approved stay
Central America-4 Border Control Agreement
Under the terms of the Central America-4 Border Control Agreement (CA-4), Canadian tourists may travel freely within any of the following CA-4 countries:
- El Salvador
You can travel between these countries for up to 90 days without having to undergo entry and exit formalities at border immigration checkpoints.
You must still check in at immigration counters when you enter or exit these checkpoints.
The 90-day period begins at the first point of entry to any of the CA-4 countries. You will be fined if you exceed the 90-day limit.
You may request an extension of up to 90 days once a year. You must request this extension and pay the required fee at the Nicaraguan General Directorate of Migration and Foreign Nationals before your first 90-day limit expires. Immigration authorities will determine the length of the extension.
General Directorate of Migration and Foreign Nationals – Government of Nicaragua
To help facilitate your entry into the country, Nicaraguan authorities recommend pre-registering your trip if you are travelling for:
- business purposes
- study purposes
- volunteering work
You should submit your form to the Ministry of the Interior in Spanish by email, at least 7 days before departure.
Entry and exit application portal - Government of Nicaragua (in Spanish)
Other entry requirements
Customs officials may ask you to show them:
- a return or onward ticket
- proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.
There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination.
Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times:
• Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.
• Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
• Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.
• Wear permethrin-treated clothing.
If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living.
In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.
If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals).
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
Medical services and facilities
Good health care is limited, especially outside of Managua. Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country. Most healthcare workers are located on the Pacific coast region, and rather scarce in the centre and along the Caribbean coast regions.
Public hospitals and clinics remain below Canadian standards. Services are limited. They may lack of medical supplies and adequately trained professionals.
Private facilities may be better equipped and provide better health care. They are mostly located in Managua and non-existent in rural areas. Services may be expensive and many institutions expect immediate cash payment.
Doctors may not speak English.
Emergency services are unreliable throughout the country. Ambulance services provide transportation and basic first aid only.
You might need medical evacuation in case of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Some prescription medication may not be available in Nicaragua.
If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in the country.
- Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
- Always keep your medication in the original container
- Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
- Carry a copy of your prescriptions
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Transfer to a Canadian prison
Canada and Nicaragua accede the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences abroad. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Nicaragua to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Nicaraguan authorities. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.
The legal system is generally cumbersome and not always transparent. If you are arrested in Nicaragua, even for a minor incident, you should expect long delays to resolve your case and you may not be allowed to leave the country.
The ability of the Embassy of Canada to Nicaragua to provide consular assistance may be limited in some circumstances.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences or heavy fines.
- Pack your own luggage and monitor it closely at all times
- Never transport other people’s packages, bags or suitcases
Nicaraguan law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.
Outside urban areas, 2SLGBTQI+ travellers could face discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.
Authorities may request to see your ID at any time.
- Carry identification or a photocopy of it at all times
- Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it’s lost or seized
- Keep a digital copy of your ID and travel documents
It’s illegal to photograph official buildings.
Verify with local authorities before taking photos.
Electronic smoking devices
E-cigarettes and similar devices are illegal.
Local authorities may confiscate them if they find you in possession of such items.
Drones are strictly prohibited in Nicaragua.
Local authorities will confiscate drones or similar devices upon entry.
Disputes related to property acquisition or other investments are costly and take time to resolve.
If you plan to buy property, or making other investments in Nicaragua:
- seek legal advice in Canada and in Nicaragua before making commitments
- choose your own lawyer
- avoid hiring a lawyer recommended by a seller
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Nicaragua.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Nicaragua, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Nicaragua.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Nicaragua by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Nicaragua to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
You can drive in Nicaragua with a Canadian driver’s licence for up to 30 days. If you intend to stay longer, you must obtain an international driving permit.
In the event of a car accident:
- remain at the scene
- call 118 to report the accident and request Transit Police
- don’t move your vehicle until the authorities arrive
Failure to remain at the site may be considered an admission of guilt under Nicaraguan law.
However, police may not respond, especially overnight. If you feel unsafe:
- ensure your windows and doors are locked
- drive to the nearest police station or a secure location
- report the accident to the police and your insurance company as soon as possible
If you are involved in a road accident causing injuries, you may be detained until a legal decision is made, regardless of culpability.
The currency in Nicaragua is the córdoba (NIO).
You cannot exchange Canadian dollars in Nicaragua. However, you can easily exchange U.S. dollars.
Credit cards are usually accepted. However, ATMs outside of major cities may not be available.
Exchange foreign currency at banks or official exchange offices only.
Natural disasters and climate
Nicaragua is subject to various natural disasters such as:
- volcanic eruptions
- torrential rains
Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
- Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
The rainy season occurs from May through November, with October being the month with the most rainfall.
Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads, including major highways, may become impassable, and bridges may be damaged. Heavy rains may also contribute to dangerous landslides.
- Monitor local media for the latest updates, including those on road conditions
- Stay away from flooded areas
- Monitor weather reports
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
Bush and forest fires
Bush and forest fires are common between December and April.
The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke. In case of a major fire:
- stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
Earthquakes and tsunamis
Nicaragua is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes and tsunamis can occur.
Even minor earthquakes can cause significant damage.
A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.
- Earthquakes - What to Do?
- Latest earthquakes - U.S. Geological Survey
- Tsunami alerts - U.S. Tsunami Warning System
There are several active volcanoes in Nicaragua. Local authorities monitored closely the following volcanoes:
- Cerro Negro
- San Cristóbal
You must be accompanied by a local guide to visit some volcanoes, including the Maderas and Concepcion volcanoes on the Isla Ometepe.
Eruptions may occur at any time. Series of tremors sometimes lead to evacuations of surrounding areas. Falling ash may also disrupt air traffic.
In the event of a volcanic eruption:
- monitor local media to stay informed of the evolving situation
- follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
- Ineter - Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (in Spanish)
- National System for Prevention, Mitigation and Disaster – Government of Nicaragua
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 118
- medical assistance: 128
- firefighters: 115
Managua - Office of the Embassy of Canada
San José - Embassy of Canada
Costa Rica, Honduras, NicaraguaAppointment Book your appointment online
For emergency consular assistance, call the Office of the Embassy of Canada to Nicaragua, in Managua, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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