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.