With its deserted beaches, pristine rainforests, freshwater lakes and volcanoes, Nicaragua is a nature lover’s paradise. Nicaragua, which was once rather unsuitable as a travel destination, has left civil war, dictatorship and natural disasters behind and is now an insider tip for eco-tourism and seaside holidays. Nicaragua offers visitors a quieter alternative to nearby Costa Rica. The inhabitants of the Central American country are friendly, the landscape is picturesque and the potential leisure activities – apart from a relaxing visit to the beach – are diverse. Nicaragua has been promoting ecotourism in particular for some time. Since you have recognized untouched landscape can attract just as many tourists as large holiday resorts, more and more small hotels are emerging, which often offer volcano and rainforest hikes as a package service. Accommodation in private homes and individually guided excursions are also becoming increasingly popular. See other countries in North America on dentistrymyth.
Arriving by plane
Lufthansa (LH) flies from Frankfurt/M. including in cooperation with United (UA) via Houston and with Avianca (TA) and American Airlines (AA) via Miami to Managua. Austrian Airlines (OS) connects Vienna and Swiss (LX) connects Zurich in cooperation with United (UA) via Chicago and Houston with Managua. United (UA) also offers flights to Managua from Germany, Austria and Switzerland via other American airports such as Washington, Newark and New York.
Frankfurt/M. – Managua: about 34 hours; Vienna – Managua: approx. 33 hours; Zurich – Managua: approx. 31 hours (The journey times can vary considerably depending on the length of stay at the intermediate stops.)
If not already included in the ticket price, an airport tax of approx. €31 (US$35) has to be paid when departing from Nicaragua. Exceptions are transit passengers who stay less than 8 hours and do not leave the airport and children under 2 years of age.
Arrival by car
The Panamericana leads from Honduras via Estelí and Managua to Costa Rica. Buses from Nicabus, Ticabus and Transnica regularly connect Managua with other Central American capitals such as Tegucigalpa (Honduras), San Salvador (El Salvador) and San José (Costa Rica). Tickets are available in advance. The required travel documents are checked before the ticket is issued. Tolls: There are no toll roads in Nicaragua. Documents: The national driver’s license is recognized; nevertheless, it is advisable to carry the international driver’s license with you.
Arrival by train
There is no cross-border rail traffic.
Arrival by ship
The main ports of Corinto, Puerto Sandino, El Bluff and Puerto Cabezas are served by shipping companies from Nicaragua, Central and North America and Europe. Cruise ships also dock in Nicaragua.
Plantours, Phoenix and Hapag Lloyd Cruises also have Nicaragua in their program for their world cruises starting in Hamburg. MSC and Princess offer cruises that start in other European ports and stop in Nicaragua.
Traveling by plane
The airline La Costeña connects Managua with Bluefields, Puerto Cabezas and Corn Island on the Atlantic coast, among others. Charter flights are also offered.
Traveling by car/bus
The Nicaraguan road network has a total length of around 24,000 km. The Panamericana connects Nicaragua with Honduras and Costa Rica and crosses the country via Managua. Various country roads branch off from the Panamericana to important places in the country.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
The Panamericana and branches to places like Jinotega, Corinto, Granada and Rama are paved. In southwest Nicaragua, roads are generally well constructed; tarred north of León and in the mountains, but not well maintained. Along the Pacific coast there are almost only gravel roads. In the eastern part of the country, road conditions are rather moderate. Driving outside of urban areas, especially after dark, can be dangerous. Night driving is not recommended. In general, only off-road vehicles should be used for overland journeys.
Rental cars are available both at the airports and in the cities. The minimum age for drivers is 18 years; the maximum age is sometimes given as 75 years.
Taxis can be found in larger cities and at airports. Most taxis operate as shared taxis, picking up additional passengers along the way. The fare should be agreed in advance for taxis without a taximeter. Tipping is not customary.
Bikes can be easily rented in places like Managua, Granada, San Juan del Sur, Ometepe or León. When riding your own bike, you should carry proof of ownership with you.
The public bus system is good, but the buses are often overcrowded and quite rickety. There are also somewhat more comfortable express buses to larger cities, which are more expensive but reach their destination much faster.
Traffic regulations: – alcohol limit: 0.5 ‰; – seatbelt obligation; – in the event of an accident, the vehicle must not be moved before the police arrive; the police can be reached at 118. Speed limits: – in built-up areas: 50 km/h; – country roads: 80 km/h; – expressways: 90 km/h; – Motorway: 100 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of damage to the vehicle: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of breakdowns or accidents with the rental car, the car rental company should be contacted first.
The national driving license is valid for up to 30 days; In addition, the international driver’s license is recommended.
Traveling in the city
Buses and minibuses in Managua are inexpensive but tend to be overcrowded. Taxis are available; it is advisable to only use the official taxis with the red number plates.
Locally on the way by train
Currently there is no passenger traffic.
Traveling by ship
Because of the many lakes, rivers, lagoons and the two oceans, traveling by water is often an option. A car ferry runs between Bluefields and El Rama several times a week; Ferries also connect Bluefields and the Corn Islands. There is an hourly ferry service between Ometepe and San Jorge. Motorized dugout canoes connect Bluefields to Bluff, Pearl Lagoon, Kukara Hill and Awas, and also shuttle between Bluefields and Big Corn Island (journey time: 30 minutes).