Nicaragua

 

Currency

Nicaraguan Córdoba

Language(s)

Spanish

Independence

1821

Capital

Managua

Driving

Right side of the road

Calling Code

+505

Visa requirements

If you are staying in Nicaragua for less than 90 days, there is not tourist visa required for US Citizens.  Nicaragua is a part of the CA-4 agreement.  The CA-4 agreement includes Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  It allows for free movement across borders.

Entry and Departure Taxes

There is a $12USD entry tax for Nicaragua.  I took a bus to Nicaragua, so the bus steward collected the money from me in advance.  You will receive a receipt for this tax.  

If you travel from El Salvador to Nicaragua, remember you will have to pay the entry tax of $3USD to go through Honduras on your way to Nicaragua.

If departing by land from Nicaragua, there is a $2USD tax.  You will also have to pay an additional $1USD to enter the border zone.  

If departing Nicaragua by air, there is a $35USD tax that is usually included in the cost of your plane ticket.  

Crossing the border

When entering Nicaragua from Honduras by bus, it is important to know that immigration will take your passport and then you have to walk across the border into Nicaragua.  The Honduran immigration officer will then bring your passport over to Nicaraguan customs for entry approval.  For those of you that are not fluent in Spanish; I found this detail important to know because I started freaking out, thinking my passport had been confiscated.  Also, the walk from Honduras to Nicaragua is not long, but it is pretty dark at night, which makes the signs difficult to see.  The Nicaraguan immigration process took longer than the other Central American countries to which I have traveled.  They also require proof of accommodation, including the address.

Transportation

To enter Nicaragua, I took the King Quality/ Platinum bus from San Salvador, El Salvador.  The bus was very nice, equipped with very comfortable reclining seats, a number of meals depending on how long the journey is, and wifi.  Although, the wifi was not very good.  The trip from El Salvador took about 13 hours and required crossing into Honduras.  

To exit Nicaragua, I flew to Costa Rica.  The Managua airport is fairly nice.  There are many eating options, but they close pretty early.  To fly to Costa Rica, you have to provide proof of onward travel. I am trying to travel mainly by bus, so I did not have a flight booked from Costa Rica onward, but I did have a flight booked from Panama to Colombia.  That did not suffice.  The check in desk made me purchase a plane ticket from Costa Rica to Panama or they would not let me on the flight.

While in Nicaragua, I traveled primarily by chicken buses.  Do not let the bus driver try to rip you off.  The cost to travel to Granada from Managua is about $1 USD.  When I went to Mercado Huembes to catch a chicken bus, they tried to charge me $30 USD.  You can catch the bus to Granada all along the main thoroughfare in Managua.  Just make sure you are heading Southeast.  The buses usually say Granada on them, as well.  If you have trouble finding the bus stops, the locals were very helpful at pointing you in the right direction.

Volunteering

 Tío Antonio and I at Café de las Sonrisas

Tío Antonio and I at Café de las Sonrisas

While in Nicaragua, I visited Café de las Sonrisas.  Café de las Sonrisas employees deaf individuals in Granada, Nicaragua.  As you can imagine, it is difficult for deaf individuals to find employment in Nicaragua, so the café allows them to lead a normal life.  I really enjoyed the sign language they had all over the walls to help customers order.  Also, I met Tío Antonio, the man who started the cafe. He was a very friendly man and excited to share about his organization.