Fire and rescue services
Call 128 or go to the hospital.
Call 101 for the tourist police, or go to the nearest police station.
We’ve lowered the level of our travel advice:
Exercise a high degree of caution in Nicaragua.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Nicaragua has a high risk of crime. This includes:
Highest rates of violent crime occur in:
Gang violence can happen, including at major hotels, bus terminals, beaches and markets.
Illegal drug smuggling occurs in the Caribbean coastal area.
Policing is limited outside major urban areas. You may not find police in:
Drug traffickers and other criminals use these areas.
Robberies and assaults with weapons occur in unofficial taxis.
To reduce your risks, use:
Take note of the taxi's registration and phone numbers.
Don't share a taxi with a stranger.
Armed gangs carry out kidnappings, robberies and extortion in the northern border region.
For safer travel to the Honduran border, only use highways that cross the border at:
Criminals have attacked vehicles, including hotel-run buses, along:
To protect yourself from violent crime:
Avoid public transport. If you must use it, be cautious of anyone offering their help. They may rob you.
Pickpockets and bag snatchers are a risk:
Take care of your valuables:
Use reputable tour operators. Thieves posing as tour guides may rob you, particularly on the island of Ometepe.
Only use ATMs at banks and in busy areas, like shopping centres.
Be alert when using your credit card. Credit card fraud is on the increase.
If you're attacked or robbed, don't resist. Many criminals carry weapons.
Protests against the Nicaraguan Government increased in April 2018. This resulted in deaths and injuries as protests turned violent.
These protests have eased, and the country has returned to a state of relative calm. Some tension remains.
Take care not to appear to support anti-government activity. Authorities may arrest or imprison you.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
During periods of unrest:
Boundary disputes occur in the Caribbean coastal waters between Nicaragua and Honduras. Authorities have detained and impounded boats and fishing vessels.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
The town of San Juan del Sur has a lively party scene. If you plan to join in, see Partying safely.
Strong currents and undertows occur on the Pacific coast beaches. Check the safety conditions. There may not be lifeguards or warning signs.
If there's a natural disaster:
Severe weather may occur at any time. This can cause landslides and flash flooding.
Hurricane season is from June to November. During this time, you may encounter landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruption to essential services.
The direction and strength of hurricanes can change suddenly.
In the event of a hurricane:
If you travel during hurricane season:
If a hurricane is approaching:
Severe weather may also affect:
To get weather alerts, register with either the:
Earthquakes and large, destructive tsunamis can happen in Nicaragua. It is in an active earthquake zone.
The country has 3 active volcanoes:
Don't hike near volcanoes or visit remote areas without an experienced guide.
If a natural disaster happens, follow the advice of local authorities.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won’t pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Nicaragua. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Malaria is a risk in rural areas of Nicaragua, including the outskirts of Managua.
Risk of other insect-borne diseases increases in the rainy season, from April to November. This includes:
Widespread transmission of Zika virus occurs in Nicaragua.
If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health recommends that you:
To protect yourself from diseases spread by insects:
Consider taking medicine to prevent malaria.
Waterborne, foodborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases are common.
Serious outbreaks occur from time to time.
To protect yourself from illness:
If you're bitten or scratched by an animal, get medical help straight away.
Get urgent medical help if you have a fever or diarrhoea or you suspect food poisoning.
Facilities are good in Managua, but are very limited in smaller towns and rural areas.
Expect to pay cash upfront before doctors and private hospitals will treat you, even in an emergency.
There are no emergency ambulance services in Nicaragua. Access to certain types of medical equipment, medication and treatments is limited.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need evacuation to another country. This can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include long prison sentences in local jails.
It's illegal to take photos of official buildings. Check with local authorities before taking photos.
If you drive a car and injure or kill someone in an accident, authorities may arrest or detain you. The local courts will need to determine who was responsible. This can take weeks or months.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you’re overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can’t help you.
You'll need to purchase a tourist card at the airport. This permits you to visit Nicaragua for up to 90 days.
Nicaragua is a member country to the Central American Border Control Agreement (CA-4), along with:
With a CA-4 tourist visa, you can travel freely by land between member countries within the 90-day period.
Your tourist card is dated from the first point of entry in any member country.
You can apply to extend the CA-4 visa before it expires at Nicaraguan Immigration (Spanish).
If you overstay the visa without an extension, you may be:
If you're not a tourist or you plan to stay longer, you'll need a visa.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the Nicaraguan Embassy in Japan for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
You may need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Nicaragua. Some airlines may want to see one when you leave.
If you’re travelling through the US, you must also meet US entry or transit requirements.
If you're travelling via Canada, you'll need an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) for Canada.
There's an arrival tax, which you need to pay in cash.
Your airline ticket usually includes the airport departure tax from the Augusto Sandino Airport in Managua. Confirm this with your travel agent.
Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you’re just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport’s expiry date before you travel. If you’re not sure it’ll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who want to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The local currency is the Nicaraguan Córdoba (NIO).
You won't be able to use Australian dollars or traveller's cheques in Nicaragua.
The only foreign currency you can exchange is US dollars.
ATMs have low daily withdrawal limits.
If you're an adventure traveller, use an experienced local guide. This includes trekking to volcanoes or other remote areas.
Make sure you take enough supplies.
To drive in Nicaragua, you'll need either:
You must get the IDP before arriving in Nicaragua.
You also need to carry your current passport and tourist card.
Driving in Nicaragua can be dangerous. Hazards include:
You're 3 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Nicaragua than in Australia.
Traffic accidents cause death and injury.
If you're involved in an accident, don't move your vehicle until a police officer permits it.
If you plan to drive or travel by car:
It's a common local practice to share taxis with strangers. To avoid this, agree on a fare for a solo journey before you set off.
Assaults and robberies happen in unlicensed taxis or when a stranger offers to call a taxi for you. Don't take a taxi if you don't know the person who called it.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Nicaragua's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Call 128 or go to the hospital.
Call 101 for the tourist police, or go to the nearest police station.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help you overseas.
Australia has a consulate in Managua, headed by an Honorary Consul. It can provide limited help, including:
The Consulate doesn't issue Australian passports.
You can get full consular help from the Australian Embassy in Mexico.
Primera Entrada de Las Colinas, 2.5 cuadras al Este
Phone: (+505) 2298 5300
Ruben Dario #55
Corner of Campos Eliseos, Polanco
Colonia Bosque de Chapultepec
11580 CDMX Mexico
Phone: +52 55 1101 2200
Fax: +52 55 1101 2201
Facebook: Australia in Mexico, Central America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
See the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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