Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Learn About Your Destination > Nicaragua International Travel Information
The Government of Nicaragua has denied entry to or expelled foreigners, including NGO workers, academics, and journalists, for political reasons, including perceived support of pro-democracy or human rights movements. Travelers attempting to leave the country have been arrested or denied permission to travel for political reasons. The Nicaraguan government has revoked residency status for foreign nationals for political actions or expressions. Immigration authorities regularly review social media for evidence of political expression or activity and warn foreign nationals against such activities.
Advanced Coordination Required for Volunteer Groups: Please note that the Government of Nicaragua has forced the closure of more than 1,000 NGOs and charitable organizations. Groups engaged in these types of activities, including the apolitical provision of basic services, may be denied entry. You should email both the Embassy of Nicaragua in the United States (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (email@example.com) to inform them of your trip and secure advance permission if you are leading one of the following types of trips, even if your group has worked in Nicaragua previously or has a local office:
For the latest visa and entry requirements, visit the Nicaraguan immigration website (Spanish only).
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors or foreign residents in Nicaragua.
COVID-19 Information: As of July 21, 2023, the Nicaraguan government lifted all COVID-19 related travel restrictions. Travelers arriving in Nicaragua do not need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
There are severe penalties, including imprisonment, for domestic violence, psychological abuse, and non-payment of child support.
Arrest Notification: Nicaraguan authorities may not notify the Embassy when a U.S. citizen has been detained, especially if the arrestee has dual nationality. If you are detained, ask police or prison officials and friends or family to notify the U.S. Embassy. After the Embassy learns of an arrest, it may be several days or weeks before the Government of Nicaragua permits a consular official to visit. In the case of dual U.S.-Nicaraguan nationals, the U.S. Embassy may be denied consular access. See our webpage for further information.
Purchasing Property: Exercise extreme caution before investing in property. Armed individuals have taken over privately owned land. U.S. citizens have been arrested or threatened over property disputes. See our website for more information.
Beach Safety: Exercise caution at the beach. U.S. citizens have drowned at Nicaraguan beaches, lagoons, and lakes. Warning signs are not posted. Lifeguards and rescue equipment are not normally available.
Hiking in volcanic or remote areas is dangerous. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Carry sufficient food, water, and communication equipment. If you travel to remote areas, hire a reputable local guide. Nicaraguan law requires tourists hire a local guide for several volcanoes, including the two volcanoes on Ometepe Island (Maderas and Concepcion).
Disaster Preparedness: Nicaragua is prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and volcanic eruptions. If you are at a coastal area when an earthquake occurs, move swiftly to higher ground (when safe to do so) to avoid possible tsunamis.
Customs Regulations: U.S. citizens planning to import items should contract a recognized local customs broker for assistance well in advance of their visit. The Embassy is unable to assist with the customs or import process.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Nicaragua. While violence against LGBTI travelers is uncommon, widespread discrimination exists. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): The government of Nicaragua recently forced the closure of more than 1,000 NGOs and charitable organizations. Employees of NGOs and volunteers supporting NGOs may be denied entry. Please see “Advanced Coordination Required for Volunteer Groups” above.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There is limited or no accessibility assistance for public transportation and in many public areas. There are few sidewalks and pedestrian road crossings.
While Nicaraguan law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities, in practice such discrimination is widespread in employment, education, access to health care, and the provision of state services.
Students: See our Students Abroad page.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
COVID-19 Testing Information:
COVID-19 Vaccine Information:
Covid-19 Medical Evacuation:
Road Conditions and Safety: Main roads between major cities are generally paved and in good condition. Other roads may have potholes, be poorly lit, be narrow, and lack shoulders. Speed bumps are often poorly marked. During the rainy season, roads may become flooded or have additional damage. Horse carts, livestock, and pedestrians crossing roads in front of oncoming traffic are common, even on major roads in the main cities. Most roads on the Caribbean Coast are unpaved. Road signs throughout the country are limited or non-existent. Road travel after dark is hazardous in all areas. Carry a cellphone in case of emergency. Do not drive outside urban areas after dark.
Traffic Laws: If you are involved in a traffic accident, you must wait for the police and insurance company representatives to arrive before you move your vehicle. However, especially during overnight hours, police and insurance companies may not respond. Do not move your vehicle, unless a police officer tells you to do so, or you will be legally liable for the accident.
Nicaraguan law requires that police take a driver into custody for:
The minimum detention period is 48 hours. In fatal accidents, drivers are held until they reach a legal settlement with the victim’s family.
To avoid liability, consider hiring a professional driver through a reputable hotel.
All drivers must carry:
These regulations also apply to drivers in rental vehicles. Penalties for not having any of the above include fines and towing. For more information, check with the Nicaraguan National Police or the Embassy of Nicaragua.
Traffic Stops: Transit police often stop those in rental cars and with foreign license plates.
Public Transportation: Buses, moto-taxis, and ferries often lack proper safety equipment.
Airports in remote locales often have short airstrips, minimal safety equipment, and little boarding security.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assessed the government of Nicaragua’s Civil Aviation Authority as compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Nicaragua’s air carrier operations in 2015. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Nicaragua should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts on the Maritime Administration website. Information may also be posted to the websites of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (select “broadcast warnings”).