2022 Best Travel Tips for Flying to Nicaragua
So you’re considering a trip to Nicaragua for the first time and you’re wondering the best way to get there. Unfortunately, this information is not always easy to find so we comprised our 2022 Best Travel tips for flying to Nicaragua.
With all International travel, it’s important to know the norms and regulations for the country you’re traveling to. It may surprise you just how easy it is to get around after you have all this needed information available. With this guide, you should have no problems getting to your next adventure-filled vacation in Nicaragua.
Here are the most important things you’ll need to know before planning your trip.
- Which Airlines to fly with
- Travel Advisories
- Covid 19 Regulations
- What to expect at Customs / Visas needed
CHOOSE THE RIGHT AIRLINE
The first thing you need to know for 2022 travel to Nicaragua is that there is only one reliable commercial airline that is traveling to and from Nicaragua and the USA right now.
That airline is Avianca.
Since the Covid 19 epidemic other airlines have occasionally opened up flights to Nicaragua only to cancel them shortly before the flight date.
This happened to me two times in late 2020 so learn from my mistake and book your flight with Avianca from the get-go. I ended up booking flights on JetBlue and United only to have them both cancel my flights just days before the trip. This ended up leaving me having to pay more for my flight because prices had risen and I was now buying it last-minute.
The Primary international airport in Nicaragua is in Managua and is called Augusto C Sandino Airport (MGA). Managua is the capital of Nicaragua and fortunately for most on the Central Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, it’s not far. Some of the closest popular beaches to MGA Airport are Playa El Transito, Playa San Diego, and Playa Pochomil.
All are less than an hour and a half drive from the airport making them logistically convenient for those traveling back and forth often.
In recent years there has been political unrest within Nicaragua, which does not help with Nicaragua’s tourism industry. Despite its amazing beaches and natural beauty, this unrest has kept a vast majority of visitors away. Unless you are politically involved or plan on rustling feathers with Nicaragua’s Political climate you should have nothing to worry about.
The people of Nicaragua are some of the kindest and most generous people.
I’ve traveled to hundreds of countries and I’ve felt more welcome by the Nicaraguan people than almost any other place I’ve been to.
Either way, I feel it’s always best to let people collect as much information as they can and let them make the best decision for them.
Here is the United States Department of States official website page that will give you all the current and up-to-date travel advisories. US Department of State – Nicaragua Travel Advisory
So do your due diligence and make the right choices based on your comfort level.
COVID 19 REQUIREMENTS / MANDATES
On December 15th, 2021 Nicaragua reported 215 deaths from Covid 19 on the Nicaraguas US Embassy page. Neither The United States nor Nicaragua has imposed travel restrictions or mandates for passengers going to or fro.
It is required to have a Negative Covid 19 PCR rest that was taken within 72 hours of the flight to be able to board your flight.
It’s very important to note that you will need to take this test and then send a copy of the results to Avianca ( or your airline ) at least 24 hours before your flight. So this leaves you almost an impossible amount of time to get this all done.
It’s a bit of a catch 22 so you should get a PCR test that will give you results within 24 hours if possible. Don’t go cheap and get a test that takes longer.
Avianca will send your test results to the Nicaraguan consulate to approve your permission to board the flight and enter the country. When you arrive at the airport and go to enter the check-in line there is now another layer of verification. That first layer is now getting past the Covid 19 GateKeeper who will or will not give you permission to line up and check-in for your flight. If the Nicaraguan consulate has not approved you you will not be given permission to board the plane. For this reason, I advise that you end up arriving even another hour earlier than you normally would.
The stress levels won’t be worth it. Trust me. When you’re waiting at check-in and they’re telling you the Nicaragua consulate is not allowing you entry just minutes before boarding ends you’ll wish you prepared better. That’s exactly what happened to me and I did everything right too. You won’t get any answers why your negative test isn’t good enough, just a big fat ‘NO’. And that’s more frustrating than anything else.
You can see up to date information on the Covid 19 regulations from the Nicaraguan US Embasy page
CUSTOMS / VISAS PROCESS
Congratulations! You’ve made it to Managua, Nicaragua.
When you arrive you will go through a standard customs interview. The customs agents will usually speak English so you won’t need your Google Translate just yet.
Of course, you’ll need your passport and will be asked where and how long you will be staying in Nicaragua.
An entry Visa is needed for entry.
For US citizens entering Nicaragua, a Visa for entry can be purchased at Customs without any prior paperwork needed. The Fee is $10. Make sure that you have the cash to pay for this. The customs agents do not accept Credit Cards. They take Cordobas or US dollars. 1 dollar = approximately 32 Cordobas.
To see the exact conversion today see the USD/CORDOBA CONVERSION
These Visas are good for 90 days. If you extend your stay past 90 days you should request an extension of stay and apply for this at the main offices of Nicaraguan Immigration. You can see more information directly from the US Embassy Website
After you exit your immigration interview you will walk out to the baggage claim room. After claiming your bags you will go through customs security. Your bags will be sent through security devices and x-ray machines and if you are anything like me you’ll be pulled aside and asked to go through your bags. I proudly have a 100% search rate, so if you’re smart you’ll stand behind me in line and certainly float on through.
The primary thing that they will question you on are the values of new items that you are bringing in. If you are bringing in brand new items like electronics they will tax you a duty tax. They expect that you are bringing it in to sell it. This tax is about 15% of the value that you claim the item as.
I suggest being nice to these guys because they can make your day long if they do decide to really go through everything. The last thing you feel like doing after a long flight is getting searched and harassed, I get it. But be polite and they usually won’t give you too hard a time and it’ll take 15 minutes.
I also found out the hard way that Drones and Walkie Talkies are banned from being brought into Nicaragua. You won’t really find this information anywhere. But you will find out when you try to get it in with them.
I wish I could find a list of banned items somewhere to provide you, but I couldn’t. When I go through customs again I’ll make sure to get more documentation on this.
For now, the only reasonable thing I could find was this list on FEDEX site for Prohibited and Restricted Items into Nicaragua.
If you attempt to bring any banned items they will simply confiscate the item. You will have the option to pick the item back up when you are departing the country. So if it’s an expensive item you’ll be happy to know that you won’t lose it completely.
We took a virtual tour of the MGA airport just so you can see what it’s like there before you go.
Check it out here: MGA AIRPORT VIRTUAL TOUR.
If you’re planning a trip to Nicaragua, there are important things you’ll need to know before booking your flight. The country is beautiful and full of culture but it can be difficult for visitors at times because there is limited information given to travelers
Are you traveling to Nicaragua soon? Have you ever traveled to Nicaragua before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments!