Nicaragua is a captivating Central American nation that attracts travelers interested in exploring its rich history, vibrant culture, and thrilling outdoor activities. However, as with many countries in Latin America, it is important to exercise caution when traveling in Nicaragua.
By taking appropriate precautions and planning ahead, it is possible to visit and move around Nicaragua with minimal risk.
LATEST UPDATES / NEWS from Nicaragua:
April 18 – Nicaraguan regime chases down Holy Week procession
During Holy Week, police officers in Nindir, a small town located about 26 kilometers from the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, chased after participants of a procession. The pursuit, which took place on Holy Monday, was captured on camera and shows the group hastily fleeing from their pursuers.
Under the current administration of President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, it is prohibited for Catholics to publicly perform processions or other Holy Week customs in Nicaragua. Despite this, the participants in Nindir attempted to carry out their traditions.
One of the officers was able to apprehend a young man who was dressed as Simon of Cyrene near the Santa Ana Church. The officer informed the man that religious activities were prohibited, as can be heard in the viral video of the incident, saying, “I’m just informing you, nothing more.”
March 14 – Why you should travel to Nicaragua
While Nicaragua may not have the same level of upscale amenities or a well-established tourism industry as some other Central American countries, it also lacks the crowds and common tourist attractions that can be found in those destinations. As a result, Nicaragua has maintained a charming, undeveloped quality that sets it apart.
This relative lack of development has made Nicaragua a more affordable option for travelers compared to other popular destinations in the region, such as Costa Rica, which shares many similarities with Nicaragua.
Nicaragua may not have the same level of development as other Central American countries, but it offers a plethora of attractions that appeal to tourists. From secluded beaches to lush jungles, from golf courses and beach resorts to excellent surfing spots, Nicaragua has something for everyone. Additionally, the country’s rich history is reflected in its architecture and the opportunity to enjoy unforgettable meals.
One of the most unique features of Nicaragua is its authentic seclusion, which can be experienced at affordable prices. The country also boasts active volcanoes that are surprisingly close and add to the rustic and laid-back atmosphere that is sure to charm most visitors, even those who are well-traveled.
Travel advisory for Nicaragua in 2023
In December 2022, the U.S. State Department, as well as the governments of New Zealand, Finland, and Canada, issued travel advisories for Nicaragua. These advisories express concerns about the safety of travelers due to the risk of arbitrary detention and imprisonment for individuals who oppose President Ortega’s government.
The advisories also mention the lack of adequate healthcare and the prevalence of violent crimes, including sexual assault and armed robbery. It is important to note that these advisories are general warnings about safety and crime in Nicaragua and not specifically targeted at tourists. However, it is advisable for all visitors to exercise caution and take necessary precautions when traveling in the country.
Common safety concerns when traveling to Nicaragua
Visitors to Nicaragua may encounter various safety concerns that are not necessarily targeted directly at tourists.
Social and Political Upheaval
Nicaragua has been facing political unrest since 2018, with the government targeting individuals who oppose President Ortega’s regime or advocate for democracy. Such individuals may face arbitrary detention and confiscation of their personal property. Additionally, the country’s poor infrastructure may impede the government’s ability to provide assistance to its citizens during emergencies. These factors could indirectly affect the safety of tourists visiting the country.
Nicaragua is a country with a high poverty rate, which contributes to the prevalence of crime in urban areas. Tourists visiting areas such as Corn Island, Granada, Managua, and San Juan del Sur may encounter problems such as violent crime, pickpocketing, purse snatching, and scams. Credit card fraud and taxi scams are also common, while armed robbery incidents can occur on highways such as Managua-Leon and Tipita-Masaya. Gang violence is prevalent in areas like Jorge Dimitrov, Rene Schick, and Zona Rosa, where prostitutes may also rob unsuspecting individuals.
It is worth noting that crime tends to be more prevalent at night, and women traveling alone may be at a higher risk of experiencing sexual harassment or verbal abuse. As the police force in Nicaragua is relatively weak, tourists are advised to remain vigilant, keep a close eye on their surroundings, and keep their belongings secure to minimize the risk of encountering crime.
Nicaragua’s healthcare infrastructure is constrained, which means tourists may have to seek medical attention outside the country if they suffer from a severe illness. Nicaragua is also prone to illnesses such as dengue fever and malaria, which necessitate preventative measures for travelers.
Safety measures to keep in mind when traveling to Nicaragua in 2023
To ensure their safety while in Nicaragua, travelers are advised to take certain precautions, including:
- Travel in groups, especially for solo female travelers.
- Visit tourist areas during the day.
- Avoid leaving valuables exposed and keep them close.
- Use ATMs only inside the bank.
- Avoid showing off expensive jewelry or items.
- Refrain from hitchhiking or taking public transportation.
- Only use authorized taxis.
- Book tours with reputable companies.
- Share their itinerary with family or friends and check in often.
- Avoid discussing travel plans or hotel locations with strangers.
- If attacked, avoid fighting back.
- Choose to stay in safer areas such as Leon, Granada, and Playa Maderas.
- Avoid political gatherings.
- Keep a low profile.
- Purchase travel insurance.
Why visit Nicaragua?
Nicaragua boasts several remarkable attractions that draw travelers to the country, such as:
- The charming colonial architecture and scenic islets of Granada.
- Natural wonders like wildlife reserves, crater lakes on dormant volcanoes, and the Somoto Canyon National Monument.
- The Masaya Volcano, an active volcano that visitors can explore.
- Lake Nicaragua and Isla Ometepe, a picturesque island in the middle of the lake.
While travelers should exercise caution when visiting Nicaragua due to safety concerns, they can still enjoy these remarkable sights by taking necessary precautions.