Money & costs
Nicaragua's currency is the córdoba (C$), sometimes called a 'peso' or 'real' by locals, or a 'cord' by expats. Córdobas come in coins of C$0.25, C$0.50, C$1 and C$5, and bills of C$10, C$20, C$50, C$100 and C$500. Bills of C$100 and larger can be difficult to change; try the gas station.
US dollars are accepted almost everywhere, unless they are worn or damaged. We give prices in US dollars, as costs in córdoba are more likely to fluctuate with the exchange rate. That said, córdobas are usually easier to use, particularly at smaller businesses and anywhere off the beaten track, where people might not know the exchange rate or have easy access to a bank. Always keep at least 200 córdoba on you, preferably in smaller bills, just in case. And remember, even where people are happy to take your dollars, they may cheerfully charge you a fraction more by rounding that exchange rate up.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted throughout Nicaragua - even at tiny little pulperías (corner stores) in the middle of nowhere - and you can almost always count on midrange hotels and restaurants to take them. In places where electricity is unreliable - for instance, most of the Caribbean Coast - credit cards may not be widely accepted, so be prepared.