How to Stay Safe in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in Central America but that doesn’t mean your don’t take normal precautions just like you would anywhere else including the US.   Here is some basic advice that should help you be safe in Nicaragua.

1) Do your homework.  Before traveling to Nicaragua do your research on where it is safe to go and what not to do.

2) Avoid walking by yourself in dark areas in town or outside of town at night.  This is especially important for women but all foreigners should follow this advice.  Women should be careful traveling alone and going to less touristy places.  Rarely do you hear of anything happening but one can never be too safe.

3) If you are riding a bus using public transportation NEVER carry anything in your back pocket.  Put your wallet in your front pocket as well as your watch.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of people getting pick pocketed in the bus.  If you are smart you can avoid being a victim.  Aside from petty theft like that the buses are safe.

4) Avoid staying in places where there are no reviews online.  It’s always a good sign when a hotel can have full time security where people from outside the hotel can’t venture into your hotel and possibly your room while you are away.  Safety of your belongings in your hotel room while you are away for the day is an important factor to consider when booking your trip.

5) If you get stopped by the cops on the road, the last thing you want to do with them is get all upset threatening them with contacting the US embassy or some other threat.  The best thing can do is act calmly and try to reason (and charm) with them.  If they still decide to write you a traffic citation then you can proceed by trying to give them the customary bribe or go through the process of getting your license back legally.  Its up to you what you want to do, just don’t get upset.  It will make matters worse.

6) If you are driving a rental vehicle be careful wherever you may leave it for a length of time where it is out of your site.  One thing you can do to protect yourself against a break in to your car is to find a business or person nearby that can watch it for you.  Once you get back you can tip them for having watched your car.

7) Don’t carry large amounts of cash on you.  You can make yourself a target towards an easy score.  Avoid pulling out large bills when you are on the street where many people can see you.  Carry just enough for what you need for the day.  Some hotels have safety deposit boxes where you can put some of your valuables.  You can also go to the ATM if you need more money.  Remember though that in some rural places the nearest ATM may be way out of the way so plan ahead for that.

These are just a few of the safety precautions you can take for your trip to Nicaragua.  Follow these and your minimizing your chances of things going wrong on the streets.

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  1. Keith says:

    I don’t think bribing police officers is a wise advice. Driving safely is much better. I am sure there are still honest policy officers out there looking for anything but a bribe. Shame on you Nicaragua-Magazine.

    • Michael says:

      We’re simply giving visitors the options on how to handle things. If you read other articles in the magazine you would see that we advise against bribing the cops but many tourists sometimes feel they have no option. See the “Living in NIcarauga – Things You Might Encounter” article. Tourists get pulled over the day before they leave Nicaragua and their options are limited. Many times there is no way to legally get your license back within a day. You are absolutely right that not all cops are looking for a bribe but many times visitors get pulled over for ridiculous reasons. We know someone who recently got pulled over for going over a speed bump to fast.

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