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Nicaragua
General Information / Regions / Activities / Services / Important tips for the trip
 
 SERVICES
 
• Electricity • Credit Cards and Travelers Checks
• Business Hours • Health care & Hospitals
• How to call to / from Nicaragua • Shopping
• Road System • Food & Drinks
• Banking • About the "Euro" in Nicaragua
• Taxes • Tipping
 

ELECTRICITY Top

110-volt AC is found nationwide in Nicaragua. A few outlying areas use their own power source so check ahead before travelling.

 
CREDIT CARDS AND TRAVELERS CHECKS Top

Most major credit cards are accepted throughout Nicaragua, but some smaller businesses will only accept local currency or US dollars.

 
BUSINESS HOURS Top

Government offices are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Commercial offices are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 
HEALTH CARE & HOSPITALS Top

Health care and sanitary standards in Nicaragua are good and the major cities have hospitals.

 
HOW TO CALL TO / FROM NICARAGUA Top

To call to Nicaragua, use your country's international access and then (505). To call inside Nicaragua, use the local seven-digit number only. The telephone network was modernized in March 2005 and there is no longer a need to add a (0) before the 7 digits. Note that some city access numbers (first three digits) were changed at the same time.

To call internationally, use the "Enitel" phone company office available in any city or town. To phone outside the country, dial (00) or use an international operator for collect calls.

 
SHOPPING Top

Nicaragua is famous for its artisans and, therefore, shopping is terrific. The local and regional markets offer everything from hammocks, leather goods, woodcarvings, ceramic pottery, to wicker and wooden furniture, all handmade and at very reasonable prices. Bargaining is common, and (depending on your skills) you may be able to get a 10-20% discounton products sold in markets.

 
ROAD SYSTEM Top

Roads are in good shape in most parts of the country especially main roads, like the Pan- American Highway, or roads leading to/from the capital. Secondary roads are usually gravel or clay; Some require four-wheel drive year-round; others require four-wheel drive during the wet season only. Check with us to make sure you reserve the right vehicle for traveling by car in Nicaragua. We also recommend avoiding night driving due to additional hazards such as animals and children on the road, vehicles and bicycles without lights or reflectors, etc. If you rent a car for traveling, note that fuel is measured in liters and distance in kilometers. A liter of gasoline costs approximately $1.10, while a liter of diesel costs about $0.85 (as of August 2006).

When asking for directions in cities and towns, it is common to receive instructions in blocks ("cuadras") and in relation to local landmarks (central park, church, major shops, etc.).

 
FOOD & DRINKS Top

Besides the famous typical "Gallo Pinto"(rice and beans), or the Granada specialty called "Vigoron," a wide selection of food is available. Beef and chicken are favorites and fresh seafood is very popular near the coasts. Food is commonly accompanied with rice, plantains, potatoes or manioc, and salad. The vegetarian visitor to Nicaragua will find an assortment of fresh vegetables and tropical fruits not found outside Central America.

Cooked and served on the street, the famous "fritanga"(grilled chicken, beef or pork accompanied usually by plantain and salad) is a great meal for visitors traveling on a budget.

Visitors will also find many international restaurants and well-known fast-food chains.

The most common Nicaraguan drinks are "pinolillo" made from corn and cacao, the national beers "Victoria", "Toña", "Premium" and the new "Buffalo," and Nicaragua's internationally famous rum, "Flor de Caña", excellent for mixed drinks and cocktails.

Outside of luxury hotels, the average price for a complete meal will start  at $6.00; a beer costs about one US Dollar, and soft drinks are about fifty cents.

 
BANKING Top

All Nicaraguan banks are now private and offer a full range of financial services. You can open an account in local currency or US dollars with no restrictions and money transfers from abroad can be easily arranged. The local currency is the cordoba, and as of May 2007 the exchange rate was 18.48 Cordobas to one US dollar. You can also visit the Central Bank of Nicaragua website for an updated exchange rate at: www.bcn.gob.ni. US cash can be exchanged for cordobas almost anywhere. Traveler's checks in dollars can be cashed at any bank  for cordobas, at a slightly lower exchange rate (Bancentro, Banco de Finanzas, BAC and others with some restrictions).

Most banking institutions are open from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm, without closing at midday. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diner's Club are widely accepted at major hotels, restaurants, and larger stores. You can get cash advances from major credit cards at ATMs in Managua and other major cities in Nicaragua.

 
ABOUT THE "EURO" IN NICARAGUA Top

The Euro was introduced to Nicaraguan banking in January 2002. Euro banknotes are now accepted by the main banking institutions; you can exchange Euros for Cordobas at teller windows (but still in relatively small quantities). You can also open a bank account in the new European currency (Euro) in the major banking institutions of Nicaragua in order to get bank transfers.  Euros are exchanged for our local currency (Cordoba) and the rate is quoted daily. As of August 2006, one Euro (Û) was worth 21.50 Córdobas (C$).

 
TAXES Top

Hotels, restaurants and services add a 15% sales tax to their prices.

 
TIPPING Top

A 10% tip is appropriate. Most restaurants will add the tip to your bill so read your bill before paying a tip. Other services do not include tips, as it is voluntary depending on the services you receive.

 

 

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