USA

Is Nicaragua Safe To Visit Right Now? Travel Advisory 2024

Nicaragua is a safe destination worth visiting, but given the high rate of crime and ongoing political unrest, visitors should proceed with caution.

Travelers should be aware of the political climate and potential for natural disasters in addition to general crime, which includes pickpocketing, robbery, and small-time theft.

Areas to avoid 

Violent crime rates are highest in:

  • Managua
  • Granada and San Juan del Sur
  • Bonanza
  • La Rosita Siuna
  • Corn Island

Major hotels, bus terminals, beaches, and markets are all potential locations for gang violence.

U.S. Travel Advisory – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

According to the U.S. Department of State, you should “reconsider travel” and “exercise increased caution in Nicaragua due to crime.” (Last Update: January 11, 2024)

Government and law enforcement agents continue to target groups and people in Nicaragua who are thought to be adversaries of President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, his wife. Revocation of Nicaraguan citizenship, reentry prohibitions, expulsion, and other measures have been applied to U.S. citizens, including dual U.S. and Nicaraguan citizens. The following reports have been made to the government and its affiliates:

  1. Conduct searches on personal phones, computers, and documents for anti-government content, restrict the photography of government property, and occasionally seize devices.
  2. Systematically focus on individuals for political reasons, irrespective of nationality, including former allies, political activists, business representatives, clergy, human rights advocates, civil society leaders, academics, and members of the press.
  3. Arbitrarily target advocates of pro-democracy and their family members.
  4. Confiscate privately owned land, residences, financial assets, and personal belongings without prior warning or due process.
  5. Arbitrarily detain, accuse, and charge individuals with terrorism, money laundering, and organized crime offenses for political reasons without adherence to fair trial guarantees.

Nicaragua’s political climate is unpredictable. Since April 2018, the nation has gone through periods of political unrest that have resulted in hundreds of detentions and deaths.

Government employees and law enforcement in Nicaragua have brutally suppressed anyone who is critical of or opposed to government policies since the 2021 presidential elections.

If you travel to Nicaragua:

  • Avoid talking about the political situation in public or on the internet.
  • Steer clear of any political activity.
  • Refrain from sharing content on social media.

Protests and rallies have the potential to turn violent. Foreign participation in politics of any kind is prohibited in Nicaragua. You may be deported or placed under arrest for:

  • Engaging in a protest against the government, such as a political gathering or campaign using the national flag of Nicaragua or its colors (blue and white)

LATEST UPDATES / NEWS from Nicaragua

January 26 – A priest and an exiled bishop denounce the Nicaragua regime in Los Angeles

An exiled bishop urged Nicaraguans living in the Los Angeles area to “fight for peace, liberty, and justice without ever losing hope or giving up”.

Days after several priests were detained by local authorities in Nicaragua, Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Báez of Managua and Father Edwing Román, who had been banished for openly criticizing the administration of Daniel Ortega and his spouse, Vice President Rosario Murillo, arrived in Los Angeles.

He addressed the hundreds of people gathered on January 6, many of whom were wearing hats and clothing with the Nicaraguan flag on them. “We Nicaraguans know well that in our history as a people we’ve lived through very dark periods in which terrible errors have been committed,” the speaker said.

Tips for Staying Safe in Nicaragua 

  • Steer clear of isolated locations. Refrain from going out alone or during nighttime. Limit travel to recognized tourist areas.
  • Be cautious of violent crime incidents in unofficial taxis. Opt for official taxis displaying a red number plate or those dispatched through radio communication. Avoid public transportation.
  • Exercise caution along the Honduran border, where armed gangs are known to operate. Use only the highways crossing at Guassaule, El Espino, or Las Manos.
  • Take note of the hurricane season, occurring from June to November. Hurricanes may lead to flooding and service disruptions. Familiarize yourself with the evacuation plan of your hotel or cruise ship and locate the nearest shelter.
  • Nicaragua hosts three active volcanoes. Avoid hiking near these volcanic areas or exploring remote regions without an experienced guide.

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