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On this page, we are going to talk about some practical matters that you need to offers about before you go to Nicaragua.
Do you need a visa to visit Nicaragua
Most countries do not need a visa do visit Nicaragua. This includes travelers from the EU and the United States. When you visit Nicaragua you have to pay an entry tax. The entry tax is USD 10 if you arrive by air. You pay the entry tax at migration in the airport. You will get a tourist card that is valid for 30 days. You can ignore this card as you are allowed to stay in the country for 90 days. After that, you have to leave the country or get an extension at the migration office in Managua.
If you stay in Nicaragua for longer than 90 days then you need to pay a fine for each day you stay over. The fine is currently 50 cordobas (Less than USD2) a day. You have to pay the fee when you leave the country. You can pay it at the airport or at the border. There are no other consequences to staying in the country too long. You are welcome back in Nicaragua after 72 hours.
The currency in Nicaragua is Cordoba. USD 1 equals about 31 Cordoba. Divide all prices by 3 and you get a good appropriation of how much a product is in USD. USD accepted everywhere. This includes small stores and street vendors. The exchange rate in small stores can be a lot lower then the exchange you get if you change your money with a street changer. The street changer offer a better rate than banks.
Larger stores and supermarkets usually give a higher exchange rate than the street changer and it is best to use USD in these stores.
There are ATM machines in most larger cities. Many cities have a large number of ATM:s. Smaller communities do not always have ATM:s. You usually find ATMs in banks and in most supermarket. All Maxi Pali has one or several ATMs for you to use. So does most Colonial Supermarkets. Never assume there is going to be an ATM at the beach or in a smaller town. Bring cash.
ATM in small villages can sometimes be out of order for a long time before they are fixed.
Credit cards are accepted in most large stores and supermarkets. This includes all Pali, Maxi Paliu and Colonial stores. Almost all gas stations also accept credit cards.
Only a low number of smaller stores accept credit cards. Some restaurant accept credit cards but far from all do. This is especially true outside large cities. The same is true for hotels. Some accept credit cards but most do not. Never assume that your credit card will be accepted. Bring cash if you do not know that they accept credit cards.
Some stores and hotels will charge an extra fee if you pay by credit card. This fee can be as high as 6%.
Driving in Nicaragua
You are allowed to drive in Nicaragua while here on vacation. Your driver license from your home country is valid as long as you are in the country legally. The traffic in Nicaragua can be chaotic and many drivers are poor drivers. The speed limit is low in most places and it takes a long time to travel within the country. Police sometimes target rental cars to get bribes from tourists. This is a lot smaller problem than it used to be. They will normally not stop you unless you break traffic regulations. Learn how to drive in roundabouts in Nicaragua. This is the most common problem that drivers have here.
If you are in a fatal accident you might have to spend the night in jail while the accident is being investigated. You are not allowed to move your car before the police arrive on the scene. If you move your car then you will automatically be considered responsible for the accident.
Get a lawyer to help you if you are in a serious accident to make sure that no one tries to take advantage of you.
Medical assistance is free in a government hospital. This free care extend to foreigners in the country. You can sometimes get help faster by visiting a private clinic. To do so is usually very cheap. Elective and cosmetic surgery is very cheap in Nicaragua.
The best hospital is the Vivian Pellas hospital in Managua. A private hospital that offers good modern care. The hospital is more expensive than most other Nicaraguan hospitals but it is still very cheap compared to hospitals in the United States.
Most medicines can be bought over the counter in any pharmacy without a prescription. Some pharmacies will ask for a prescription but most will not. Many have a doctor working with them that can prescribe the medicines you want. Drugs freely available in the pharmacies includes Valium, Viagra, growth hormones and strong painkillers including opioids. Morphine is restricted but sold by some pharmacies.