Look no further, with these 7 travel tips you’ll be able to be prepared for your trip to Nicaragua
1. DON’T EXCHANGE MONEY AT THE AIRPORT
This is the worst place (in the world) to get Córdobas. When traveling in Nicaragua you will find that all places accept dollars (some do not accept $50 or $100 bills), but you’ll need córdobas for your petty cash so we recommend having some of your money in local currency. Best place to exchange is with “coyotes” (money exchangers) we have a bunch of them two blocks away from Casa Lucía, they are fully legal and identified, available only in business hours 8am-5pm (M-F) and (8-12pm) on Saturdays. Felix (cat’s eyes) is our guy there, right after Valenti’s Pizza. They are the first choice as they have always the best rate. Other choices are banks and ATMs, which dispense córdobas to the official exchange rate as well.
Regarding EUROS, they can only be exchanged at banks. BAC (Banco de America Central) offers the best exchange rate for Euros and is only two blocks away from us. Notice that they will be first converted to dollars, and then to córdobas, so we would suggest checking BAC rates on Euros online and comparing them to your local dollar exchange before bringing them.
2 MOST PLACES ACCEPT CARDS
Make sure that you are traveling with a VISA or MASTERCARD as they are the two most commonly used. Most establishments accept cards so you don’t need to play Pablo Escobar and carry chunks of cash, the exception to the rule is when going to more remote locations or buying in local markets or street vendors then it’s easier to pay with cash.
3. GET CONNECTED
It’s easy to get a SIM card from one of the major carriers.This process takes about 20 minutes, and requires only your cellphone to be unlocked and your passport. The cost of the SIM card is about $2 and to set you up with 1.5 gigs of data for 15 days is around $10. You should choose your carrier Movistar or Claro based on the area you’ll spend most of your time. For the Pacific side choose Movistar as most people use Movistar in this area and has better coverage. For the North side and the Caribbean you will want to go with a Claro as they have better service here and most people use Claro. Please notice that calling between companies is somewhat expensive. Oh and guess what, we have a Movistar within two blocks and a Claro three blocks away.
4. DAMNIT MOSQUITOES
Let’s clear some myths and rumors about mosquitoes. Can you get diseases like Dengue, Chikunguya and Zika? Yes. Is it that bad? Dengue can be lethal if it’s hemorrhagic, so yes it can get ugly if not treated well. What are the odds of getting any of these diseases? Ok, relax.Even if you find yourself covered in mosquito bites after a night sleeping in a hammock because you decided to be outdoorsy doesn’t mean you’re for sure getting any of these diseases; in fact, odds are very low. Reality is that in order to get one of these viruses, you need to get bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus which happens once they bite a person with the virus.Kind of getting bit by a zombie. In other words, you can only become a zombie if there are zombies in your area.Do yourself a favor and always wear repellent after 5pm (Mosquito time) it doesn’t matter if it’s 99 % DEET or 100% organic, just use one.
Fact: 1,973 is the number of ZIKA cases out of a population of 6M people. (Oct , 2016 MINSA)
*Forget about Malaria pills. You may regret taking those pills, and we really don’t have cases of Malaria.
5. WHAT TO WEAR
Nicaragua is hot, humid and sunny (most of the time) forget about cold. We are not running around naked only because we’re shy. Ideal clothes are shorts, tees/tanks. Bring a pair of pants for when you want to be formal.Some clubs in Managua have ridiculous dress codes, like no shorts, flip-flops or sneakers but it’s not a rule. If you’re planning to hike volcanoes or mountains, make sure you have a good pair of hiking shoes. You don’t want to end up with the soles in your hand half way up. Long-sleeved shirts are ideal to prevent sunburn for long hikes.Also, don’t forget about a high SPF sunblock for sunny days at the beach or mountain hiking, and always remember to reapply.
If you are traveling in the months of May-October a raincoat/umbrella could be helpful, as well as waterproof shoes.
Those days of unfolding maps and marking up places are gone. Download the latest version of Maps.me. This amazing app is powered by openstreetmaps.org which is an open source map resulting in the largest data base of places. You just need to download the app, the map of the country, and you’re good to go. It’s perfect as it doesn’t use data, it works with the GPS.
Download Infobot to find out about the latest events in the major cities.
7. DRINKING WATER WITHOUT GETTING SICK
With the heat you will feel dehydrated in no time. Tap water in major cities is treated, so it’s perfectly drinkable; you could bring a reusable bottle and refill it. If you are the kind of person that gets sick pretty easily , stick with bottled water, same principle applies to street food. When traveling in rural areas don’t attempt to drink water from wells, as it can be high in minerals and too heavy for your body, and not 100% clean.