Travelling to Nicaragua – Is it Safe?
We go travelling to enjoy ourselves, to experience an adventure, to relax from everyday life. We’re travelling to take time out from responsibilities, deadlines and worries. The last thing we want to do while travelling is be concerned about safety.
“Nicaragua is an amazing place.”Erika, UK
Many people look to travelling to Nicaragua for a vacation because of the beauty that Nicaragua has to offer.
- The prices are great for budget travelers
- The waves are incredible for surfers
- The local cuisine is simple but delicious
- The land, nature, and architecture is breathtaking
- The people of Nicaragua are genuine and friendly
When people research travelling to Nicaragua, especially in the last year, they see travel advisories from their governments. Should tourists be worried about travelling to Nicaragua?
Travelling to Nicaragua – Is it Safe?
In April 2018, protests began in Nicaragua by the people against their government. Although the roadblocks were removed and large demonstrations subsided towards the end of 2018 the advisories have been lowered, but not removed.
Nicaragua is an amazing travel experience so long as tourists avoid protests and practice certain precautions, as they would in any country.
Many who consider travelling to Nicaragua look to online communities such as Backpacking Nicaragua to ask questions about the safety of travelling to Nicaragua. If you’re going to be a traveler, what better source for information about travelling, than from other travelers. The posts in these groups are worth reading.
Below are the experiences of 40 tourists interviewed about travelling in Nicaragua between April 2018 and now.
1. Did you know about the travel advisories before travelling to Nicaragua?
Of those interviewed for this article, 85% of respondents said they were aware of the advisories. Some found information through their own online research, while others were notified by their upcoming hosts in Nicaragua.
2. Did you consider not travelling to Nicaragua after learning of the travel advisories?
Of those who knew about the travel advisories, 64% of them did not consider changing their plans of travelling to Nicaragua.
Some said on the contrary, they were glad to be able to surf with less crowds than normal, less tourists sounded good to them. Others said they wanted to come to help the Nicaraguan people.
Of those 36% who considered changing their plans of travelling to Nicaragua, many said they looked online to ask fellow travelers how their experience was. Once they read many great experiences their minds were eased and they continued with their plans of travelling to Nicaragua.
Ralph from Ottawa said that he and his wife considered putting a halt on their plans of travelling, “but some last min emails to the hotels and 1 or 2 people we knew that were already in the country re-assured us that it was safe for tourists and that we should go. I have to say we had a wonderful time. Nicaragua is such a beautiful country and the Nicaraguans are beautiful people. ”. Ralph and his wife were travelling in Nicaragua at the onset of the crisis, in May 2018.
Many responded that Nicaragua was part of a larger Central America travelling plan. Tourists in other countries told them they felt safe while travelling in Nicaragua and advised them not to miss out.
Kirrilee from Australia commented, “I was travelling from Panama to Mexico so I had to pass thru and at the time I read a lot of posts online saying that Nica was OK and safe so that was good enough for me.”.
Ashley from the US who had bought a house in Granada in 2016 said, “They told me not to come for a few months, but by Sept or so I felt OK going back, and was pleasantly surprised to see more tourists than I expected when I went back in January.” Ashley said that she wanted to return because of her love for the people of Nicaragua. She said she was, “determined to see the girls I sponsor at a local school and my local friends in Granada, and wanted to get some money into the restaurants.”
These tourists continued their plans of travelling to Nicaragua because they connected with other travelers who told them of their own experiences.
“I was travelling around Central America and met lots of people who had been to Nicaragua. They all said it was amazing and not to miss it and that they did not feel unsafe.”Laura, England
3. Did you feel unsafe while you were travelling in Nicaragua?
Of the 40 travelers interviewed, 37 of them said they always felt safe while travelling. The three respondents that said they did feel unsafe at times while travelling are addressed here first. Followed by the comments for the remaining 37 travelers. Those who simply answered, “No.”, have not been included in the quotes below.
“So glad I went there I loved it, the places were beautiful and the people friendly. The only time I felt unsafe was in Managua when I was tired and had been travelling a long time.”Laura, England
Mady from Canada said she felt slightly unsafe a couple of times while travelling, but continued to say, “It’s unsafe in so many places, even in Canada.” Of those interviewed many agreed with the sentiment that every place in the world has unsafe areas and that we need to exercise common sense no matter where we are travelling.
“While in Granada we witnessed a demonstration. We were leaving the restaurant Pita Pita when this demonstration started. We asked the staff if it was safe and they reassured us that this was a planned peaceful demonstration. We stood outside and watched for about half an hour. It was amazing to see a diverse representation of the Nica society. Old, young, mothers with babies dogs on leashes the whole spectrum of the community. It was peaceful, it was friendly, Lots of flag waving, national pride, felt nothing but positive energy, It was simply quite beautiful. At one point we needed to cross the street to get back to the hotel and I gestured as such pointing to us and the other side of the street. The protesters seeing this held open their arms to hold up the procession, created a gap for us and while crossing the street they waved, flashed us peace signs and blew us kisses. It was amazing, When I think back I realize It was at this point that we fell in love with Nicaragua.”Ralph, Ottawa
Ralph and his wife were close to another demonstration while travelling in Nicaragua that they said was not peaceful. They could hear people shouting and noise makers going off but they never did see what was happening and never did find out what or why the yelling was taking place. Even with this event Ralph and his wife closed out their comments by saying, “We had an amazing time everywhere we went and we hope to return some day.”.
Leah from the US said she never felt unsafe travelling in Nicaragua and when I asked her if she was glad that she came, she said, “I would visit Nicaragua again and go to all the towns I haven’t visited before! I love the country. I have traveled to Nicaragua twice: December 2014 and April 2019. Both times I have felt warm, welcomed and happy.“
“I felt 100% safe and looked after from the locals. I was following their advice and just using common sense.Erica, UK
Victoria, a Greek American, said that her recent trip to Nicaragua was “life-changing”. She never felt unsafe while travelling and that, “Nicaragua is an Amazing place.”.
“Never. I’ve been here for 5 months now, and I felt much more unsafe in Guatemala and El Salvador.”Regula, Switzerland
“Not at all. I traveled all over the place on chicken buses and even though I was usually the only tourist (it wasn’t like this a year before) I felt safe and people always helped me.”Antje, Germany
And finally I asked the travelers…
4. Anything else you’d like to share?
This was my favorite part of the interviews! These tourists had SO much more that they wanted to share about travelling to Nicaragua!
“I’m so happy I went. I stayed much longer than expected, and it’s now my favorite country in Central America. I loved it and I will try to convince people not to believe all the ‘fear spreading!”Liesbet, Belgium
Erica from the UK said, “I absolutely loved the country, nature, their culture and especially their people.” Erica continued to speak of how, instead of not travelling to Nicaragua where people need the help of tourism dollars, she used much of her time travelling in Nicaragua to help support the locals by eating at local restaurants, distributing clothing and supplies to those on the streets and to a local school.
“I decided on Nicaragua because I always heard it was up and coming in the Central American travel circuit and trying to become more travel friendly. It is also one of the more inexpensive countries to travel in the area. As with any developing country, take your normal precautions and always be aware of your surroundings, but get to know the culture and people. After all, that is why you are there!”Leah, US
Victoria from the US said, “People NEED to go there!“. Victoria is a part of a development project in Nicaragua called the MAYSEA Movement, a group that does work on sustainable development projects that allow communities to rise above poverty.
Michèle from Germany commented that travelling to Nicaragua was, “the best decision while travelling! I love Nicaragua. To every traveler: go and visit Nicaragua. The weather, the people and the whole country is great. It’s also good for budget traveler because Nicaragua is pretty cheap. If you want to party you will have the best parties in Central America.”
“It’s still one of my favorite countries and I highly recommend going there!”Antje, Germany
“Best decision ever, it was one of our favorite countries!”.Claudia, England
“The most nicest people I have ever met in my life (and I traveled a few countries). Humble, nice, always smiling, always willing to help and if they have nothing, they will share this nothing with you. Big hearts, very warm. I am totally in love with the mentality.”Georgia, Germany
“It was my favorite country out of a 6 month trip through South and Central America. The bad news in the media sells, so that’s what people read. The more good press about Nica the better because it truly is a magical place that should not be feared.”Luke, USA
“Everyone who has actually traveled around here recommends coming.”Charlotte, Germany
“I assumed that the political uprising wouldn’t have an impact on me as a traveler as long as I stayed away from protests.”Alex, New Zealand
“Wish there was more awareness in general – about the people and culture and how safe and lovely and authentic it really is. So many misconceptions, even before the unrest.”Ashley, US
“I felt that because it was so quiet in the hostels I moved on a lot quicker and therefore didn’t spend as much time there as I had planned, I do feel for the people that are suffering due to lack of tourism. Nica was by far the cheapest country I had traveled.”Kirrilee, Australia
“Nicaragua is a beautiful country and it still is safe for travelers. Nicaraguans are super nice people, and they need tourism more than ever. In Little Corn Island, a resident I crossed walking in the street stopped, said “thank you for being here” and hugged me.”Regula, Switzerland
If you are considering travelling to Nicaragua, look for as much information as you can from other tourists travelling to the country and ask them about their experience!