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Travel Security Advice for Nicaragua

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nicaragua_mapNicaragua_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: 

Nicaragua’s fragile democracy remains under stress.  Nicaragua’s November 2008 municipal elections were highly controversial, with widespread, credible charges of irregularities.  Donor countries, political opposition groups, and civil society are increasingly concerned about the shrinkage of democratic space within Nicaragua.  The economy remains among the poorest in the hemisphere.  Crime has increased significantly over the last year. 

The national language is Spanish, although many residents of the Caribbean coastal areas also speak English and indigenous languages.  The climate is hot and humid, with the “summer” dry season running mid-November through mid-May and the “winter” rainy season running from mid-May through mid-November.  Terrain ranges from hilly and volcanic to coastal beaches and tropical jungles.  Geological faults run throughout the country, along which active volcanoes are situated.  Earthquakes are common, but the last major earthquake, which destroyed the city of Managua, occurred in 1972.

Nicaragua lacks tourist infrastructure.  Except in the cities and major thoroughfares, most roads are unpaved.  Public transportation is unsafe and there are no sidewalks.  Most essential services are sporadic.  Most hospitals are substandard.  Hotels in Managua are adequate, but primarily oriented to serve a business or government clientele.  Potential tourists may want to obtain information from the National Tourism Institute (INTUR), the governmental agency responsible for developing, regulating and promoting tourism in Nicaragua.  Read the Department of State’s Background Notes on Nicaragua for additional information.



REGISTRATION: 

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Nicaragua are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.  



ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: 

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter Nicaragua.  Although there is a bilateral agreement that waives the six-month validity passport requirement, U.S. citizens are urged to ensure before traveling that their passports are valid for the length of their projected stay in the country.  U.S. citizens must have an onward or return ticket and evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay.  A visa is not required for U.S. citizens; however, a tourist card must be purchased for $5 upon arrival.  Tourist cards are typically issued for 30 to 90 days.

A valid entry stamp is required to exit Nicaragua.  Pay attention to the authorized stay that will be written into your entry stamp by the immigration inspector.  Visitors remaining more than the authorized time must obtain an extension from Nicaraguan ImmigrationFailure to do so will prevent departure until a fine is paid.

There is also a $32 departure tax.  Many airlines include this tax in the price of the ticket.  If the tax is not included in the ticket, payment can be made at the airline counter upon departure.

Per Nicaraguan law, individuals should exit Nicaragua with the same passport with which they entered the country.  Dual national minors who have a claim to Nicaraguan citizenship are subject to departure requirements specific to Nicaraguan children under the age of 18, even though they may also be citizens of other countries.  More information on these requirements can be found on the
U.S. Embassy web site.  

According to Nicaragua’s Laws for Foreigners, foreigners must be in possession of a valid identity document at all times while in Nicaragua and may be required to show it to Nicaraguan authorities upon request.  Acceptable identity documents are: (1) a permanent residency card, (2) temporary residency card, or (3) valid passport or travel document accompanied by an entry stamp.

In June 2006, Nicaragua entered a Central America-4 (CA-4) Border Control Agreement with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.  Under the terms of the agreement, citizens of the four countries may travel freely across land borders from one of the countries to any of the others without completing entry and exit formalities at Immigration checkpoints.  U.S. citizens and other eligible foreign nationals who legally enter any of the four countries may similarly travel among the four without obtaining additional visas or tourist entry permits for the other three countries.  Immigration officials at the first port of entry determine the length of stay, up to a maximum period of 90 days.  Foreign tourists who wish to remain in the four-country region beyond the period initially granted for their visit are required to request a one-time extension of stay from local Immigration authorities in the country where the traveler is physically present, or to travel outside the CA-4 countries and reapply for admission to the region.  Foreigners expelled from any of the four countries are excluded from the entire CA-4 region.  In isolated cases, the lack of clarity in the implementing details of the CA-4 Border Control Agreement has caused temporary inconvenience to some travelers and has resulted in others being fined more than one hundred dollars or detained in custody for 72 hours or longer.

For the most current information about visas to visit Nicaragua, visit the
Embassy of Nicaragua web site .

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Nicaragua. 

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:

Municipal elections took place across Nicaragua on November 9, 2008.  Violent demonstrations followed as opposition groups questioned the authenticity of the results.  Activities observed during protests included but were not limited to tear gas, rubber bullets, setting off fireworks, rock throwing, tire burning, road blocks, bus and vehicle burning, and physical violence between law enforcement and protestors and between political rivals.  Political demonstrations and strikes continue to occur sporadically, are usually limited to urban areas, and occasionally become violent.  U.S. citizens are advised to monitor local media reports, to avoid crowds and blockades during such occurrences and to exercise caution when in the vicinity of any large gathering.

U.S. citizens are cautioned that strong currents and undertows off sections of Nicaragua's Pacific coast have resulted in a number of drowning incidents.  Powerful waves have also resulted in broken bones, and injuries caused by stingrays are not uncommon in popular resort bathing areas.  Warning signs are not posted, and lifeguards and rescue equipment are not readily available.  U.S. citizens contemplating beach activities in Nicaragua's Pacific waters should exercise appropriate caution.

Hiking in volcanic or other remote areas can be dangerous and travelers should take appropriate precautions.  Hikers should have appropriate dress, footwear, and sufficient consumables for any trek undertaken.  Individuals who travel to remote tourist or other areas for hiking activities are encouraged to hire a local guide familiar with the terrain and area. Individuals hiking in Volcan Maderas and/or Volcan Concepcion on Ometepe Island are by law required to hire a local guide.  In particular, there have been instances of hikers perishing or losing their way on the volcanoes at Ometepe Island.  While they may look like easy climbs, the terrain is treacherous.

Although extensive de-mining operations have been conducted to clear rural areas of northern Nicaragua of landmines left from the civil war in the 1980s, visitors venturing off the main roads in these areas are cautioned that the possibility of encountering landmines still exists.

Domestic travel within Nicaragua by land and air, particularly to the Atlantic side, can be dangerous.  Domestic airlines use small airstrips with minimal safety equipment and little boarding security.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's
Bureau of Consular Affairs website,

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.



CRIME:

Violent crime in Managua is increasing and petty street crimes are common.  Gang activity also is increasing, though not at levels found in neighboring Central American countries.  Pick-pocketing and occasional armed robberies occur on crowded buses, at bus stops and in open markets such as the Oriental and Huembes Markets.  Gang violence, drive-by shootings, robberies, assaults and stabbings are most frequently encountered in poorer neighborhoods, including the Ticabus area, a major arrival and departure point for tourist buses.  However, in recent months these crimes have spread to more upscale neighborhoods and near major hotels, including the Zona Hippos and Galerias Mall.  In 2008, a U.S. citizen was critically injured in a gang-motivated drive-by shooting that occurred in the San Judas area.  Another U.S. citizen was kidnapped and left for dead in the Villa Fontana area of Managua.

U.S. citizens are increasingly targeted shortly after arriving in the country by criminals posing as Nicaraguan police officers who pull over their vehicles – including those operated by reputable hotels – for inspection.  In each case, the incidents occurred after dark and involved gun-wielding assailants who robbed passengers of all valuables and abandoned them in remote locations.  Some assailants employed threats of physical violence.  While the traditional scene of these attacks has been the Tipitapa-Masaya Highway, this activity has also spread to the Managua-Leon Highway.  The U.S. Embassy warns U.S. citizens to exercise extreme caution when driving at night from Managua’s International Airport and to avoid traveling the Tipitapa-Masaya Highway at night.

U.S. citizens should exercise particular caution when approached by strangers offering assistance in finding a taxi cab.  Several U.S. citizens have reported being victimized by fellow travelers who offered to assist them in locating and/or sharing a taxi in and around San Juan del Sur, San Jorge, Granada, Managua, and Masaya.  Upon entering the taxi, the U.S. citizens were held at knife-point or gun-point, threatened with bodily injury and/or rape, robbed of their valuables and driven around to ATM machines to withdraw funds from their accounts.  After the assault, the U.S. citizen victims were left abandoned and destitute in remote areas.  As of July 2009, seventeen such cases involving 23 U.S. citizens have been reported to the U.S. Embassy since January 2008.

Violent criminal activities and petty crime have recently decreased in the tourist destination of San Juan del Sur.  Last year, however, was uncharacteristically violent for this community.  In 2008, a U.S. citizen family was violently assaulted and kidnapped by several armed men.  Other American citizens were the victims of armed robberies by assailants wielding machetes, knives and/or guns along the beaches in and around San Juan del Sur.  U.S. citizens should continue to exercise caution when visiting the beaches of Maderas, Marsella, Yankee, Coco and Remanso. 

Police coverage is extremely sparse outside of major urban areas, particularly in Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast autonomous regions.  Lack of adequate police coverage has resulted in these areas being used by drug traffickers and other criminal elements.   Street crime and petty theft are a common problem in Puerto Cabezas, Bluefields and the Corn Islands along the Atlantic coast.  For security reasons, the Embassy has limited travel by its staff to the North and South Atlantic Autonomous Regions (RAAN and RAAS), including the Corn Islands.  Given the area’s geographical isolation, the Embassy’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens who choose to travel in the Caribbean costal area is constrained.  Police presence on Little Corn Island is made up of volunteers with little to no formal training, and is minimal on Corn Island and other remote areas.

In late 2007, a U.S. citizen was assaulted and violently raped while on vacation in Little Corn Island.  U.S. citizens have previously been the victims of sexual assault on this island and other beaches in the country.  The Embassy recommends traveling in groups when in isolated areas.  Single travelers should exercise special caution while traveling in the Corn Islands and other remote areas of the country.

Throughout the country, U.S. travelers should utilize hotels and guest houses which have strong security elements in place, including but not limited to adequate access control precautions and rooms equipped with safes for securing valuables.

Visitors should avoid walking whenever possible and instead use officially registered taxicabs.  Radio-dispatched taxis are recommended and can be found at the International Airport and at the larger hotels.  Robberies, kidnappings, and assaults on passengers in taxis in Managua are increasing in frequency and violence, with passengers subjected to beating, sexual assault, stabbings, and even murder.  Several U.S. citizens reported brutal attacks in taxis during 2008, particularly around the International Airport area and in the cities of Rivas, Granada and Masaya.

Before taking a taxi, make sure that it has a red license plate with a legible number.  Note the driver's name and license number, and instruct the driver not to pick up other passengers.  Agree on the fare before departing and have small bills available for payment, as taxi drivers often do not make change.  Also, make sure that the taxi is properly labeled with the cooperativa (company) name and logo.  Purse and jewelry snatchings sometimes occur at stoplights.  While riding in a vehicle, windows should be closed, car doors locked and valuables placed out of sight.

Do not resist a robbery attempt.  Many criminals have weapons, and most injuries and deaths have resulted when victims have resisted.  Do not hitchhike or go home with strangers, particularly from nightspots.  Travel in groups of two or more persons whenever possible.  Use the same common sense while traveling in Nicaragua that you would in any high-crime area of a major U.S. city.  Do not wear excessive jewelry in downtown or rural areas.  Do not carry large sums of money, ATM or credit cards that are not needed, or other valuables.

Do not leave valuables inside parked vehicles.  In 2008 several U.S citizens reported vehicle break-ins outside of gasoline stations and restaurants. In the past few months, the U.S. Embassy has also noted a gradual increase in the use of armed violence and hostage-taking following residential break-ins.  U.S. citizens are urged to review residential security procedures, including with domestic employees, and strengthen security measures to help safeguard their houses. 

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.  The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Division in the U.S. Department of Justice has more information on this serious problem.



VICTIMS OF CRIME:

If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see end of this sheet or see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates ).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Nicaragua is 118.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.



CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States .

Persons violating Nicaraguan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Nicaragua are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and fines.

Purchasing Property: U.S. citizens should be aware of the risks of purchasing real estate in Nicaragua and should exercise caution before committing to invest in property.  The U.S. Embassy has seen an increase in property disputes over the last several years.  The 1979-90 Sandinista government expropriated approximately 28,000 real properties, many of which are still involved in disputes or claims.   Land title remains unclear in many cases.  Although the government has resolved several thousand claims by U.S. citizens for compensation or return of properties, there remain hundreds of unresolved claims registered with the Embassy.  Potential investors should engage competent local legal representation and investigate their purchases thoroughly in order to reduce the possibility of property disputes.

The Judicial system offers little relief when the purchase of a property winds up in court.  The Embassy is aware of numerous cases in which buyers purchase property supported by what appear to be legal titles only to see themselves subsequently embroiled in legal battles when the titles are contested by an affected or otherwise interested third party.  Once a property dispute enters the judicial arena, the outcome may be subject to corruption, political pressure, and influence peddling.  Many coastal properties have been tied up in courts recently, leaving the ‘buyer’ unable to proceed with the intended development pending lengthy and uncertain litigation.  In other cases squatters have simply invaded the land while the police or judicial authorities are unable (or unwilling) to remove the trespassers.  Again, the Embassy advises that those interested in purchasing Nicaraguan property exercise extreme caution. 

Please note that Nicaraguan law currently prohibits any individual from buying beach-front property (including islands) unless the original land title was registered before the 1917 Nicaraguan Agrarian Reform Law.  Coastal properties with titles pre-dating 1917 are not risk-free, however.  In 1987 the Nicaraguan Constitution established the property rights of indigenous communities over territory they have traditionally occupied. In June 2009, Nicaragua passed the new Coastal Law, which stipulates that all oceanfront land within 50 meters of the high-tide line is public domain and cannot be built on in any form.  Private ownership and construction are also prohibited within five meters of the shorelines of lakes and lagoons. The Embassy advises extreme caution when considering the purchase of coastal property in Nicaragua.

Reform to Retired Residents Law: The Nicaraguan government is currently in the process of revising its requirements for foreign retirees who wish to establish residency in Nicaragua.  To establish residency, retirees will need to demonstrate a monthly foreign income or pension of at least $600, with an additional $200 for each family member dependant.  Legal retiree residents of Nicaragua will be exempt from import taxes for vehicles valuing less than $25,000, and the waiting period to import a vehicle will decrease from five years to four years. 

Currency and Credit Cards: U.S. dollars are widely accepted throughout the country, and major credit cards are also typically accepted in hotels, restaurants, stores and other businesses in urban and tourist areas.  Visitors who need to change dollars are encouraged to do this at their hotel since this is typically the safest place.  ATM machines are available at banks in addition to some shopping centers and gas stations in urban and tourist areas.  However, individuals should exercise caution when using a teller machine since they are typically in or near uncontrolled areas and criminal elements can easily see them withdrawing cash.  Traveler’s checks are accepted at a few major hotels and may also be exchanged for local currency at authorized exchange facilities ("casas de cambio").  Visitors will also find enterprising individuals – ‘Cambistas’ – waving wads of cash in the street.  Changing money in this fashion can be dangerous and is not recommended.

The U.S. Embassy has noted an increase in credit card fraud.  Although local police authorities have made several arrests in conjunction with credit card scam operations, the danger for abuse continues.  Illegal use can include “skimming” or making a copy of the magnetic strip on the credit card or simply copying the number for later use.  U.S. citizens who do continue to use credit cards in Nicaragua are advised to check statements frequently to monitor for abuse and/or to ask banks to email them when transactions exceed a certain number or size.

Disaster Preparedness: Nicaragua is prone to a wide variety of natural disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions.  General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Boundary Disputes:  On the Atlantic side, nautical travelers should be aware that there is an ongoing boundary dispute with Colombia over the San Andres Island archipelago and the surrounding waters, specifically the area east of the 82nd and up to the 79th meridian.  Furthermore, the Government of Nicaragua has also begun to exercise sovereignty over territorial waters that were formerly controlled by Honduras but recently awarded to Nicaragua by the International Court of Justice.  Since October 2007, the Nicaraguan Navy has impounded about a dozen vessels, including two U.S.-owned vessels, for allegedly fishing without a Nicaraguan permit in these zones.

Maritime boundary disputes also exist on the Pacific side.  In late-2007, the governments of Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador reached an accord regarding shared fishing rights in the Gulf of Fonseca; however, questions remain regarding boundary demarcations in the Gulf of Fonseca.  Commercial fishing vessels should always ensure that they are properly licensed as problems have been reported in the areas off Cabo Gracias a Dios.  As a result of these disputes, in June 2008,
the U.S. Coast Guard published a Special Warning on Nicaragua in the U.S. Notice to Mariners (p. 6).    

Travelers should also be aware that narcotics traffickers often use both the Caribbean and Pacific coastal waters.

Customs Regulations: Before excavating archaeological materials, or agreeing to buy artifacts of historical value, all persons are strongly urged to consult with the National Patrimony Directorate of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture.  Nicaraguan law and a bilateral accord limit the acquisition, importation into the U.S. and commercialization of said goods.  Severe criminal penalties may apply.

U.S. citizens planning to stay in Nicaragua for an extended period of time with the intention of bringing vehicles or household goods into the country should consult
Nicaraguan Customs officials prior to shipment.

Please see our
   Customs Information.



MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: 

Medical care is very limited, particularly outside of Managua.  Basic medical services are available in Managua and in many of the smaller towns and villages.  However, treatment for many serious medical problems is either unavailable or available only in Managua.  Emergency ambulance services, as well as certain types of medical equipment, medications and treatments, are not available in Nicaragua.  Physicians and hospital personnel frequently do not speak English, and medical reports are written in Spanish.   Patients must be able to speak or have a good understanding of Spanish in order to navigate the local medical resources.

In an emergency, individuals are taken to the nearest hospital that will accept a patient.  This is usually a public hospital unless the individual or someone acting on their behalf indicates that they can pay for a private hospital.  Payment for medical services is typically done on a cash basis, although the few private hospitals will accept major credit cards for payment.  U.S. health insurance plans are not accepted in Nicaragua.

Dengue fever is endemic in Nicaragua.  Currently, no vaccine or specific medication is available to prevent or treat Dengue fever.  Malaria is endemic in the Atlantic coast region and anti-malarial medication should be taken before and after travel to this region.  Travelers are advised to take a prophylactic regimen best suited to their health profile.  No prophylaxis anti-malarial medication is required for Managua and the western, Pacific coast region.  For both Dengue fever and malaria, the best prevention is the use of DEET insect repellant, as well as the wearing of protective clothing and bed-nets to prevent mosquito bites.

Tap water is not considered safe in Nicaragua.  All persons should drink only bottled water.

Individuals traveling to Nicaragua should ensure that all their routine vaccinations are up to date.  Vaccination against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid is strongly recommended.  A yellow fever vaccination is not required to enter Nicaragua unless the traveler has recently visited a country where yellow fever is endemic.  Travelers taking prescription medications should bring an adequate supply with them when coming to Nicaragua.  Many newer combination medications are not available in local pharmacies.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website.  For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website.  The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.



MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad. Important questions are whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page .



TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: 

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Driving in Nicaragua poses many difficulties and risks, including mandatory arrest for drivers involved in accidents that result in death or serious injury until police are able to determine who is at fault. 

Driving is on the right side of the road in Nicaragua.  Motorists driving to Nicaragua should use the principal highways and official border crossings at Guasaule, El Espino and Las Manos between Nicaragua and Honduras and Penas Blancas between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  Although some of the principal highways connecting the major cities are in generally good condition, drivers should be aware that seasonal, torrential rains take a heavy toll on road beds.  With few exceptions, secondary roads are in poor repair, potholed, poorly lit, frequently narrow, and lack shoulders.  Road travel after dark is especially hazardous in all areas of the country.   Motorists are encouraged to prepare accordingly and may want to carry a cellular phone in case of an emergency.

Some of the major highways and roads are undergoing major repair, repaving and upgrading.  Be on the lookout for detours and slow traffic on these roads.  In general, road signs are poor to non-existent.  Bicycles, oxcarts, dogs, horses and vehicles without lights are at times encountered even on main thoroughfares in Nicaragua.  Motorcycles, often carrying passengers, dart in and out of traffic with little or no warning.  Many vehicles are in poor condition, travel very slowly and break down without warning.  Drivers should be especially careful on curves and hills, as many drivers will pass on blind spots.  Speed limits vary depending on the type of road, but because the government lacks the resources, traffic rules are rarely enforced.

Due to the age and disrepair of many vehicles, many drivers will not signal their intentions using turn indicators.  Rather, it is common for a vehicle operator to stick his hand out the window to signal a turn.  If you do drive in Nicaragua, you need to exercise the utmost caution, drive defensively and make sure you have insurance.

Nicaraguan law requires that a driver be taken into custody for driving under the influence or being involved in an accident that caused serious injury or death, even if the driver is insured and appears not to have been at fault.  The minimum detention period is 48 hours; however, detentions frequently last until a judicial decision is reached (often weeks or months), or until a waiver is signed by the injured party (usually as the result of a cash settlement).

Visitors to Nicaragua might want to consider hiring a professional driver during their stay.  Licensed drivers who are familiar with local roads can be hired through local car rental agencies.  In case of accident, only the driver will be taken into custody.

The Embassy has received an increasing number of complaints from U.S. citizens who have been stopped by transit police authorities demanding bribes in order to avoid paying fines.  Motorists in rental cars and those whose cars have foreign license plates are more likely to be stopped by transit police.  Transit police have seized driver licenses and car registration documents from motorists who refuse to or are unable to pay.  Subsequently, these drivers have reported difficulties in recovering the seized documents.  U.S. citizens are urged to ensure that their vehicles comply fully with Nicaraguan transit regulations, including being in possession of an emergency triangle and fire extinguisher, and that the vehicle is properly registered.  If transit police authorities demand an on-the-spot payment, drivers should ask for the officer's name and badge number, as well as a receipt, and inform the Embassy of when/where the event took place.
  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Rental car agencies should also be advised if their vehicles have been deemed negligent in meeting Nicaraguan transit regulations.

As noted in the “Crime” section above, several groups of U.S. citizens driving from Managua’s International Airport at night have been robbed and kidnapped by men dressed as Nicaraguan police officers.  While the majority of these crimes have occurred on the Tipitapa-Masaya Highway, recent reports indicate similar activity along the Managua-Leon Highway.  The U.S. Embassy warns U.S. citizens to exercise extreme caution when driving at night from Managua’s International Airport and to avoid traveling the Tipitapa-Masaya Highway at night.

Avoid taking public transportation buses.  They are overcrowded, unsafe and often are used by pickpockets.  Because of the conditions discussed above, traffic accidents often result in serious injury or death.  This is most often true when heavy vehicles, such as buses or trucks, are involved.  Traditionally, vehicles involved in accidents in Nicaragua are not moved (even to clear traffic), until authorized by a police officer.  Drivers who violate this norm may be held legally liable for the accident.

Regulations governing transit are administered by the National Police.  For specific information concerning Nicaraguan driver’s permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, you may wish to refer to
the National Police web siteYou may also contact the Embassy of Nicaragua or a Consulate for further information.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Nicaragua’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.



AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: 

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Nicaragua’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Nicaragua’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.



CHILDREN'S ISSUES: 

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.



EMBASSY LOCATION:

Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates .

U.S Embassy, Managua


Kilometer 5 1/2 (5.5) Carretera Sur, Managua
Telephone: (505) 2252-7100 or 2252-7888
Emergency after-hours telephone: (505) 2252-7634
Facsimile: (505) 252-7304
E-mail:
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Nicaragua dated December 22, 2008, to update sections on Country Description, Entry/Exit Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime, and Special Circumstances.

 


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Nicaragua HERE....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)..........

There is also a Malaria Warning for Nicaragua HERE....

Regards

The SW Team......

 

Direct Gov Travel News and Alerts