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Nicaragua FAQS

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1. When is the best time to go to Nicaragua? 

Visitors can travel to Nicaragua at any time of the year. Year-round temperatures are hot in the lowlands (the high 80s during the day and 70s at night) and cooler in the highlands. Most of Nicaragua has two seasons based on rainfall: a wet season and a dry season.

The dry season, which lasts from early November to mid-May, is widely regarded as the best time to visit Nicaragua, as the majority of sites enjoy dry, sunny days and pleasant temperatures. This is an excellent time to explore Granada Colonial City, go kayaking on Lake Nicaragua, or try volcano boarding on Cerro Negro. However, even during the height of the wet season, all-day rains are rare. More commonly, travelers will experience brief heavy downpours interspersed with the sun. Crowds are smaller during this time, and travelers can still participate in most of the same activities. The Caribbean side of Nicaragua experiences rain showers year-round, with slightly lower rainfall in February through April. 

If you're planning on hiking in Nicaragua's highlands, the best time to visit is during the country's "green season," which begins in mid-May and lasts until the beginning of November, when the country's cloud forests are exceptionally lush. Hiking up Mombacho Volcano, hikers will find a variety of vegetation and animals, including monkeys, sloths, and birds.

2. What are the things to do in Nicaragua?

Explore the Matagalpa Mountains, Lake Nicaragua, or the San Juan River, all the way to the Caribbean by canoeing, kayaking, or rafting. There are excellent Corn Islands to be found. Adventure seekers should try volcano boarding in Cerro Negro, Nicaragua's youngest volcano.

Consider including Nicaragua as a stop on a Central American road trip that also includes Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and, in some situations, El Salvador, a country that has only recently opened its doors to tourists. Overland biking is also an option, from picturesque pueblos to the Pacific Ocean, volcanoes to lush islands.

3. What are the accommodations like?

In Nicaragua, we have selected some of the best smaller boutique hotels in each area. In general, we use locally owned accommodations that are characteristic of each area as well as offer some sort of historic architectural appeal. For more information, check out our Nicaragua Lodging page to view pictures of our standard hotels/ lodges.

4. Do I need a converter/ adapter for the electricity? 

Nicaragua typically uses 110-volt electricity, the same as the US. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat types so US travelers will not typically need a plug adapter (unless your device requires 3 prongs). 

5. Are meals included?

Yes and no. We have tried to balance flexibility and convenience regarding meal options. For this reason, we include meals on any of our tour days when you are traveling off the beaten path where restaurant choices are limited. In the major towns, where there are a wide variety of restaurants, we generally do not include meals, to allow our travelers the flexibility of choosing their food preferences. Your tour leader or hotel staff can recommend some great restaurant options. Your hotel will also provide a light continental breakfast on these days. Included meals are listed in parenthesis next to the tour itinerary on each tour page. An estimated meal budget can also be found under Personal Budgeting toward the bottom of the itinerary on the tour pages.

6. What type of transportation is used?

Our Nicaragua tours utilize a variety of transportation including private vans/ cars, minibuses, jeeps, boats, etc. We use a mix of private/public transportation to provide travelers with the safest and most efficient transportation in each area. Each tour itinerary page has a description of the transportation included on that tour. If you have additional questions, just ask!

7. What type of food is typical of Nicaragua?

Nicaragua, while not well known for its cuisine, offers healthy yet inexpensive options. Rice and beans (or gallo pinto, rice, and beans mixed together) will accompany most meals, along with your choice usually of chicken, beef, pork, or fish. Often accompanying any dish will be banana or plantains, sometimes cassava or yucca or some other vegetable.

8. Are these Nicaragua family vacation trips suitable for kids?

Almost definitely. Transportation times are relatively short and the Nicaraguan tours offer a mix of activities to interest most kids including rainforest hikes, exploring colonial buildings, and free time on the beach. Some tours include more sightseeing than some children may enjoy, but alternate activities can be offered in most areas.
Our Family Travel Page has some helpful hints for making the most of your family vacation and also has some minimum age recommendations for each tour. We realize that you know your kids best so we will be happy to answer all of your questions and try to give you the most accurate impression of what to expect. However, please remember that these are adventure tours and flexibility is essential!
To make family tours easier when visiting Nicaragua, we often recommend having a private group and guide, though families with well-behaved children are welcome on our group departures as well. We have special private tour rates for families- please ask your trip coordinator if you are interested.

9. What is the typical age range for these tours?

Our Nicaragua tours are suitable for nearly every age. These trips commonly attract multi-generational families as well as young honeymooners or adventurous single travelers. Travelers of any age (except very young children), can likely find a Nicaragua option where they will fit right in.

10. Are these trips a good choice for solo travelers?

Yes and no. Although solo travelers are welcome on any of our tours, our Nicaragua tours often tend to attract families and couples. Ask your trip coordinator for recommended tours and/ or departure dates, as some departures tend to attract more diverse groups than others. If no good options are available for your chosen timeframe, consider a trip to Belize, Costa Rica, or the Amazon. These tours offer similar activities and may have a more diverse group departing during your chosen dates. Solo travelers should also take a look at our exclusive Solo Traveler Departures.

11. Do tour rates include international flights?

Tour rates do not include international flights. We find that it is usually less expensive for travelers to book these separately and this also allows you the flexibility to choose the schedule and routing that is most convenient for you. You are welcome to book these on your own, or we can certainly help you arrange these flights with an airfare consolidator who specializes in Central America flights.

12. How do I get to the hotel from the airport when I arrive?

We will have someone pick you up and meet you at the airport to transfer you to your hotel that evening.

13. How much should I budget for tips?

Tips are not required on any of our tours. However, it is customary in Latin America to offer a small tip for exceptional service. Tipping amounts vary widely, though some travelers report that ~$2-$10/ day for your guide and ~$1-$3/ day for your driver is common. Other travelers opt to bring small gifts from their homes to give to service providers along the way.

14. Are there any discounts available?

Absolutely! We offer select trip discounts periodically throughout the year. Check out our Travel Discounts page for the latest offers and ongoing discounts.

15. How far in advance should I book?

You can book your Nicaragua tour at any time and generally the earlier you book, the better. For departures during the dry season, you will usually find better availability if you book at least 2-3 months in advance (4-6 months is recommended for travelers visiting during the busy Christmas/ New Year's holiday or Spring Break). Travelers visiting outside of the busy dry season months can often book last minute, though 2-3 months' notice is still recommended to take advantage of the best airfare rates.
We usually recommend that you wait to book your international flights until after your tour is confirmed. The sooner that we arrange your tour, the sooner that you can take advantage of flight deals as they become available.
We are often able to accommodate last-minute travelers as well (some even departing in less than one week!!), so give us a call and we will do our best! For last-minute bookings, it helps to be flexible and organized. Your first choice tour may not be available for your selected dates, but your trip coordinator can recommend some other similar options that would be equally interesting! Many lodges will not hold spaces less than 30 days before departure so for last-minute bookings, you may be asked to send your registration form and trip payment in right away to secure your spaces.

16. Are tour dates flexible?

YES. Please contact us if you are not able to travel on the set departure dates listed online. Most tours can be arranged on alternative departure dates for a minimum of two travelers as long as lodges/ hotels are available.

17. Can I extend or change my stay?

Absolutely! We can arrange any number of extension options for you, or extra days can also be arranged in most areas if desired. Let us know how you would like to customize your trip and we will do our best to accommodate you.

18. What should I pack?

You will receive a detailed packing list after you book your tour. Bring long sleeves and a fleece/ sweater for cool evenings and plenty of comfortable, breathable clothes for hot days. Good walking shoes and sun protection are also a must. Many trips include whitewater rafting so be sure to bring an extra pair of shoes that you don't mind getting wet!

19. What immunizations are recommended/ required?

No immunizations are currently required for visiting Nicaragua, except a yellow fever vaccination if you are entering Nicaragua from an area which the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that there is a risk of active transmission.  These countries include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Panama, Venezuela, Paraguay, and Peru. It also includes all African countries except the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Sao Tome, Principe, and Somalia. In this case, travelers must meet the requirement of presenting a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination.

*Even travelers on flights with connections through Panama or any of the countries mentioned above will have to comply with the Yellow Fever Vaccination requirement.

You should talk to your doctor, but the Center for Disease Control advises vaccinations/boosters for the following: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, polio, and Diphtheria - Tetanus.  For the most current information, please consult your doctor and/or check the Center for Disease Control website.

20. Do I need a visa/passport?

Travelers will all need a passport valid for at least 6 months after they depart. Travelers from the US do not need a visa for stays less than 30 days. Travelers from other nationalities should check with the Nicaraguan Embassy for visa information. Entry requirements change with surprising frequency. It is each traveler's responsibility to check with the consulate for the most up-to-date visa and passport information.

21. How safe is Nicaragua?

Crime in Nicaragua is moderate and fairly specific to certain metropolitan areas. Pickpocketing is the largest concern for travelers, especially in crowded airports, markets, and visitor sites. Be aware of your valuables and avoid carrying large amounts of cash, jewelry, or other expensive items. Check out the US State Department travel advisories for the latest information.

22. Is the water safe to drink?

The tap water is generally not safe to drink in Nicaragua. Bottled water is readily available at tourist sites, hotels, and restaurants. Don't forget to use bottled water when brushing your teeth as well! Ice is not always made with boiled/ bottled water. Order your beverages without ice ("sin hielo") or ask your tour leader if the ice is safe in a particular restaurant.

23. What is the local currency, exchange rate, etc.?

The local currency is called the Cordoba and its rate of exchange is tied to the US dollar. US dollars are generally accepted as legal tender in most locations, though you should make sure to have small denominations of less than $10 US.

24. Should I bring cash or Traveler's checks?

Are ATMs available? Can I use credit cards? Most travelers bring a small amount of US cash with them and withdraw from ATMs as they need it along the way. ATMs are readily available in larger towns and cities. Traveler's checks are fine, but they can be more difficult to exchange and you will usually receive a poorer rate or be charged an additional fee. Credit cards are accepted in larger restaurants and stores. Although it is helpful to bring a credit card along for emergencies, don't count on using it for most purchases.

25. Can I use my cell phone?

Check with your cell phone provider. Each company is different and they can give you the most up-to-date information.

26. What time zone is Nicaragua?

Nicaragua is five hours behind GMT (same as CST). They do not observe Daylight Savings Time so during these months, April to October, Nicaragua is the same as MT.

27. Is Nicaragua travel insurance recommended?

Absolutely!!! We work with a travel insurance company that provides reasonably priced insurance for trip cancellation, medical expenses, medical evacuation, lost bags, etc. Check out more details at  www.adventure-life.com/insurance

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