When talking to people prior to our trip to Nicaragua, I got the same question over and over again, “Is it safe there?” To which my reply was always the same, “It’s safe enough.” When I say I want to see the world, I really mean I want to see all of it, not just the places that have a Four Seasons. With that being said, there are many things a tourist can do to travel safely. Here are a few tips should you ever decide to visit Nicaragua:
Language: I have been to several Spanish-speaking countries before, even though I do not speak Spanish. During my other travels, I never felt like it created too much of a problem with communication as many of the locals spoke a fair amount of English. However, that was not the case in Nicaragua. Luckily, Rob and Tami both spoke Spanish so it was not an issue during our vacation. But, if you don’t speak Spanish, and neither do your travel companions, Nicaragua might not be the best choice for you.
Transportation: As I mentioned in a previous post, police corruption is definitely an issue in Nicaragua. This can make driving in a rental car a bit stressful; and let’s be honest, not everyone can afford to charter a helicopter! A good solution to this problem is to hire a driver rather than renting a car. This can be done at a reasonable cost. You won’t have the same amount of flexibility as you would with your own rental, but you also won’t have the headache of paying off the police for your traffic “violations.”
Safety: According to Wikitravel, Nicaragua was rated the safest country in Central America. I definitely felt much more “at ease” in Costa Rica, but I still thought Nicaragua was fairly safe. With that being said, common sense and good situational awareness will go a long way! Previously, I mentioned our neighbors at Playa Coco were robbed by a guy with a machete, but I doubt they were savvy travelers. Walking around after dark, in an isolated area, is just asking for trouble no matter what country you are visiting. Don’t make yourself an easy target.
Our trip to Nicaragua was an adventure, to say the least. The country really does have a lot to offer for tourists, so don’t write it off just yet.
5 thoughts on “Should You Travel to Nicaragua?”
I LOVED my time in Nicaragua. I hitch-hiked everywhere (and when I tried to pay, the drivers just waved me off). It seemed like they were SO HAPPY that a foreigner was there/getting a ride from them, that it just made their whole day/week. (Note: no seat belts were worn. Adding this fact to my adventure.)
We really enjoyed Nicaragua as well, but renting a car and driving ourselves was very stressful! Maybe next time we will try your method! ; )
Thanks for liking my blog. I get the same safety questions every time I come to Mexico. (and on past trips to Guatemala and Nicaragua) I think people often forget what happens in the US! Mexico has a wonderful bus system, and I have traveled all over by bus. Your travel advice was good, especially the part about getting a driver. They know how to get around and can tell you many things. Plus it helps them financially.
Nicaragua seemed perfectly safe to me, and feels much more authentic (less touristy) than Costa Rica. Speaking Spanish is definitely a plus – not only to get around, but also to be able to get to know people, the culture and the local way of life. The country has some amazing volcanoes and lakes, as well as shade-grown coffee farms that serve as nature reserves. I’ve written a couple of blogs about my trips there. Check them out at abitravelblog.wordpress.com
Thanks Abi, I will definitely check them out!