FAQs of Nicaragua Travel from NSR

What Airport should I fly into?

Nicaragua has one international airport in Managua (Aeropuerto Internacional Augusto C. Sandino).  We generally recommend this airport as the best option and we offer 24/7 transportation.  Also, you can fly into Liberia, Costa Rica but you must cross the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border.  Additionally, you would need to find your own transportation to the border because we do not offer transportation from Liberia airport direct to your rental. After you cross the border, we can offer transportation.

Is Nicaragua travel safe?

Yes, Nicaragua is safe to travel.  Statistically, it is the safest country in Central America.  Nicaragua is a peaceful and safe country; however, theft and other occasional criminal activity can occur.  We always remind visitors to use good judgement to prevent unfortunate situations.  Simple things to avoid include riding with an unknown taxi driver (best to set up private transportation or rent your own vehicle), walking alone on isolated beaches, leaving valuables unattended in a vehicle (especially computers, smart phones, tablets, etc), leaving doors unlocked, leaving belongings outside at night, etc.

Is it safe to drive at night?

We always recommend driving during daylight.  As previously mentioned, we offer transportation if your flight arrives at night.  Our drivers are experienced with night time driving and have a great understanding of typical road hazards (such as farm animals, poor road conditions, driving etiquette, etc.).  We do not recommend that guests rent a vehicle and drive at night.  If wanting to do so, ask us about a guide who can lead you out to your rental property (with you following behind).  For those who arrive at night and prefer to stay in Managua overnight and make the drive the following morning, there are numerous hotel options.
The hotel closest to the airport is the Best Western (located directly across the street). For something a little nicer and more modern, the Camino Real is a good option (5 minutes from the airport).  Both options are in the $100/night range and offer a free shuttle service if requested in advance. Here are the links to each hotel: 

Where can I rent a vehicle?

There are several car rental agencies at the Managua airport but we highly recommend reserving your vehicle in advance.  While you may be able to get by without a 4wd vehicle, we recommend reserving one so that you will not be limited where and when you can go. Below are links to some of the rental agencies at the airport
Budget rental car:   http://www.budget.com.ni/
Avis rental car:       http://www.avis.com.ni/
Dollar rental car:     http://www.dollar.com.ni/
Alamo rental car:    http://alamonicaragua.com/

Are there things I cannot bring when traveling to Nicaragua?

Aside from the obvious items (drugs, weapons, etc.), leave your spear fishing guns and drones at home.  In 2014 new regulations were established to prohibit the entry of spearguns and drones in Nicaragua. If you bring them, Customs is likely to hold onto them until you leave the country.

Can I travel with surfboards?

Yes, in most instances you can.  Beware of surfboard embargoes, especially during the June-August timeframe (United has been known to turn away surfboards during our prime season).  Check the board baggage fees as traveling with boards can some times be cost prohibitive.  As always, make sure the board is safely packaged.
Don't want to travel with boards?  We have you covered. Our rental quiver has over 125 boards.  We are constantly adding new brand name boards to our quiver and cycling out those that have seen better days.  Rest assure that if you rent a board with us, it will be a quality board.   For those staying in or near Hacienda Iguana, you can also take advantage of our free rental board swap out program.  As the conditions change, so can your board.  You can change boards as often as you like at no additional charge.  All board rentals come with fins, leash, and a day bag.
Cruise through our on-line quiver here:  http://www.surfnsr.com/nicaragua-surfboard-rentals 
To ensure you receive the board you want, email us in advance to reserve it:  [email protected]

What currency is accepted in Nicaragua?

The local currency is the Cordoba.  The current exchange rate is approximately 31 Cordobas = USD $1.  In addition to the Cordoba, the US Dollar is accepted everywhere.  If the foreign currency is marked, torn, or in poor condition, many places are likely to reject it.  If you bring US currency, we recommend bringing small bills ($20 or smaller).

Are credit cards accepted?

Credit cards are accepted at most grocery stores, popular restaurants, and some stores.  We accept credit cards at our NSR rental office/surf shop.  We recommend bringing plenty of cash because many businesses only accept cash.  In addition, cash may get you better pricing in some instances. 
For people staying in Hacienda Iguana there is an ATM machine in the commercial zone, the're also another ATM 10 minutes away from the development, at the Riviera Market and another one at the Costa Esmeralda Airport. Also, there is an ATM about 30 minutes away in Tola. 
Rancho Santana has their own ATM for their visitors.

Will I need to pay an entry fee when arriving to Nicaragua or exit fee when leaving? 

There is a $10 entry fee and currently no exit fee.

Are there are specific medicines and vaccines needed prior to a visit to Nicaragua?

Most people come here without any special vaccines or medicines.  In the rainy season, we encourage packing bug spray.  If you are concerned about this topic, we recommend you consult with the CDC website for a thorough overview: 

Is there medical care available?

Depending upon where you are staying, there should be a nearby clinic for basic treatment or illness.  In the southern region of Nicaragua where we are based, you will find a medical clinics in the SJDS, Gigante, and Limon (near Rancho Santana).  Please note these clinics are suited to treat very basic injuries and medical attention needs.  Some clinics are also equipped with a pharmacy.  For anything outside of basic medical care, we recommend Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas in Managua, which offers the best care in Nicaragua: http://www.metropolitano.com.ni/
For a serious medical complication, consult a doctor in your home country and consider returning home when possible.
Contact an NSR representitive if you need help with a medical emergency. 

When is Surf Season?

We generally see the first of the Southern Hemisphere swells in early April.  Swells run consistently through November and we even get infrequent offseason swells from December - April.  Although we are not located in a position to get hit by hurricanes, we are effected by the tropical depressions and hurricanes that tend to form off our coasts during hurricane season.  September/October tend to be the most active around here so those two months can bring some unsettled weather (more often in October).  For this reason October rates are generally more affordable. Those who have rolled the dice and booked October have occasionally scored all around with cheaper accommodation rates and less crowds.

When is the best time for learning to surf?

Lessons can generally be given year round, though we sometimes have to schedule around swells.  The ideal months are November, December and January.  February and March also offer mellow surf, however those also tend to be months when we see cooler water temps and stronger waves. 

What water temps can be expected?

Water temps late April-November are generally nice and warm and hover around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  January, February and March are when we see the coolest water temps (and these dips in temperatures are generally only the case for the southern part of the Pacific coast). Believe it or not, water temps during this timeframe can be anywhere from lower 60's to mid 70's.  This is due to strong offshore winds and the upwelling of the deep cool water.  Visitors coming to Nicaragua during this timeframe should definitely come prepared for cooler temps.  Most of the time a long-sleeved top will suffice (it's still 85 deg air temp) and rarely you'll want a wetsuit. Email your NSR rep leading up to your visit for a report on water temps. If you forget to pack gear, visit the NSR shop for gear.

What is the weather like in Nicaragua?

Our rainy season is May-October.  Do not be alarmed by "rainy season".  A rainy season day generally consists of sunny skies with scattered showers in the afternoons or evenings.  It's usually a welcome break from the sun and heat.  The trees and brush are green and we generally see our best surf.  Fishing is also better during the rainy season.
November-April are our dry months so it's a safe bet that these months will bring constant sunshine. For those looking to escape harsh winters, this could be the perfect time to visit.  The surf is typically mellower during this timeframe so it's a great time for lessons.  You may also pay a bit less for accommodations during the dry season months. Note the off shore winds tend blow harder in the January through March timeframe.  

What activities are available in Nicaragua?

Although Nicaragua offers world class surf, many other fun family activities are available.  Where you stay will determine what activities are available and how easily they are accessed.  Ask your NSR rep to set you up with the following: 
  • Boat trips
  • Surf photography
  • Surf lessons
  • Motorcycle and scooter rentals
  • In house massage
  • Horseback riding
  • Fishing
  • Zip line tours
  • Rural tours in local villages
  • Satori Spa (inside Hacienda Iguana)
  • Hiking
  • ATV tours
  • Golf (two courses close by)
  • Shopping trip to Masaya
  • Granada Colonial City tour
  • Island of Ometepe tour
  • San Juan Del Sur trip

Is there cell phone service?

Usually, there is service for most international providers.  Check with your local phone company regarding roaming services and fees.  Visitors may want to purchase a local cell phone with minutes.  Phones can be purchased at many locations, including the airport.  This is a more affordable way to stay connected in country and even call home (a phone should run $30 plus roughly $20 in phone minutes).

Are there power outages in Nicaragua? 

We experience occasional power outages.  These generally occur once a week and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours.  It's very rare we have longer outages.  Many rental properties are equipped with back up generators or battery systems.  For those condos with a back up battery system, it's important to only use those lights and fans that are necessary.  Conserving electricity will extend the amount of time the battery system works.  We also experience occasional internet outages.  These outages are out of our hands, but we will do our best to follow up with the providers to ensure utilities are restored as quickly as possible.
For any other question related to Nicaragua, reach out to your NSR rep. We will answer your questions and help you prepare for your vacation!