Resources

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/nicaragua) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Vianica.com (www.vianica.com/traveling) Log on to this interactive map and click on your route to find Nicaraguan road conditions, travel-time estimates and more.

Intur (www.intur.gob.ni) The official government website is in English and Spanish, with lots of cheerful, vague information and an awesome photo gallery.

Top Tips

  • Always go for a window seat in public transport, as the landscapes are absolutely breathtaking.
  • Take some Spanish classes at the beginning of your trip. Nicaraguans are outgoing and friendly but few have foreign-language skills.
  • Hire local guides wherever possible; they're cheap and you'll learn not only about the attraction you're visiting but also about the culture.
  • Forget about keeping a tight schedule in Nicaragua. Allow extra days in your trip, especially if you're traveling by public transport.
  • Take advantage of the hearty Nicaraguan-style breakfast served at most hotels (either complimentary or for a low price) – it will get you through a good part of the day.
  • When in doubt about getting into a taxi, just ask your hostel or hotel to call you one – and be sure to discuss the price before getting in.

What to Take

  • Sturdy walking shoes
  • Comfortable sports sandals
  • Insect repellent containing DEET
  • An emergency supply of US dollars in small bills
  • A two-pronged electrical adapter
  • A lightweight raincoat capable of resisting tropical downpours
  • Contact lens solution and other personal toiletries

What to Wear

The heat in Nicaragua can be oppressive, so you'll probably spend most of your time in lightweight T-shirts and shorts or cotton trousers. If you're heading to the northern highlands, you'll probably make use of a medium pullover for the cool evenings.

Note that in general, men in Nicaragua don't wear shorts unless practicing sports. Go for a jeans and short-sleeved shirt or polo shirt if you are going out with locals and be prepared to dress up for a night on the town in Granada or Managua.

On the beach women going topless is almost never acceptable and in rural areas bikinis may draw unwanted attention; consider swimming in shorts and a T-shirt like the locals.

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months
  • Check latest visa requirements online
  • Arrange travel insurance with medical evacuation cover
  • Inform your debit/credit-card issuer that you are traveling to Central America
  • Organize vaccinations against hepatitis A and typhoid, and consult your doctor about malaria prophylactics