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Practical information Nicaragua

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Nicaragua : Travel Information before you go!

Area

130000.0

Flights

Managua is 5,402 mi away from London. The journey from London is approximately 16 hours long. Expect at least one connection, often in Spain.

Population

5500000

Airports

Sandino airport is located 7.5 miles from the centre of Managua (25 min). The fare for the ride is roughly USD 20. If you are planning to rent a car for your stay, do not hesitate to do it right away on your arrival. Take a 4x4, because the roads are in bad condition. You will find Hertz and Avis as well as local rental agencies at the airport. You have to be at least 25 years old to drive. A national driver's licence is sufficient for a period of 30 days. A bus service will also take you into town for a few cordobas. It is best to avoid taking them for comfort but mainly for safety reasons.

Security

The mountains in the North and East of the country are highly unsafe zones. It is highly recommended to avoid them. Attacks are frequently performed by armed gangs. As a general rule, it is best to avoid driving at night. Do not carry objects which may arouse envy. In case of an attack, do not oppose any resistance: fire arms are commonly used... Be cagey toward the population. There are many drug dealers, often very aggressive. Nicaragua is located on a high seismic activity zone.

Languages

The official language is Spanish. 10 % of the population speak indigenous languages such as Miskito and Sumu. English is spoken by a minority of the population, in tourist areas.

Required travel documents for

A valid passport and a return ticket are required. A visa is not necessary for European citizens.
Careful, you must pay a tax of USD 5 upon arrival in the country, and USD 25 on your way out of the country.

Religion

90 % Catholics and 5 % Protestants. The population consists of 70 % half-blood, 18 % Whites, 6 % Blacks and 6 % Miskito Indians.

Currency

The national currency is the Nicaraguan Cordoba (NIO), commonly referred to as 'pesos'. It is essential to bring a good amount of travellers cheques or cash in Dollars, too, though, and you won't have too much trouble exchanging these in the main tourist areas, but you will have to declare the money you are carrying on arrival in the country. The use of credit cards is very rare, though they are accepted in a few tourist areas, and you won't find any ATM machines here. It is almost impossible to withdraw cash over the counter at banks, which open from 8:30am to 4:00pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8:30am to 11:30am on Saturdays.

Local transportation

Whichever your trips are within the country and your means of transport, ask for information at the Tourist office on the precautions to be taken. If you want to hire a vehicle, it is preferable to choose a 4x4. The transamerican highway only is in good condition. The other roads are damaged everywhere else. They are even more damaged in the South, on a line running from Bluefields, on the Caribbean coast, to Puerto Corinto, Centre-West. The consequences of Hurricane Mitch are still visible. A national driver's licence is sufficient. A driver's insurance is compulsory for foreign visitors. A bus service links up cities together. They are very uncomfortable and can turn out to be dangerous for tourists. It is recommended not to take them. The fare varies from one trip to another, and their system in town is very complicated. On Lake Nicaragua, you will find numerous boats linking up the 310 islands to one another. The most convenient way to travel is flying, especially if you are going to the enclosed region of the Caribbean coast. The best known air company is Nicaraguenses de Aviacion.

Health

It is imperative to take an antimalaria treatment made of chloroquine. Subscribe to good medical repatriation insurance. Drink mineral water and make sure your food is correctly washed and cooked. Rabies is present in this country. Be careful of wild and domestic animals. In case of serious problems, contact in priority the three following hospitals: Military Hospital.Tel: 222 27 64; Bautista Hospital. Tel: 249 70 70; Aleman Hospital. Tel: 249 07 01.

Electricity

110 V. Adapter needed.

Telephone

From the UK, dial the international code 00 (505) + 7-digit number.
From Nicaragua to the UK, dial 00 + 44 + 10-digit number, excluding the initial 0.

Nicaragua : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Nicaraguan embassy
Suite 31, Vicarage House, 58-60 Kensington Church Street London W8 4DP. Tel.: 020 7938 2373. 01 45 00 41 02.

At the destination

British embassy
Plaza Churchill, Reparto los Robles, Managua.
Tel.: (505) 2 780 01 4. 00 (505) 222 62 10.

Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR)
Hotel Intercontinental, 1 cuadra al Oeste and 1 cuadra al Sur, in Managua. Tel.: 00 (505) 222 29 62.