If you have done any travelling at all you know that each country has its own traditions and customs that seem completely unfamiliar. Below we have put together some basic information as well as some fun and interesting facts to keep in mind while enjoying your visit to Nicaragua.
Greetings and Language
Let’s start with hello! Hola! A common greeting, but here is the funny part… when you are walking down the street and you think oh, there is someone who looks friendly and I will say hola to them, and you are fully expecting for them to say hola back to you, but they do not! Instead they say adios! Adios means goodbye, so remember, instead of saying hello, say goodbye when you are passing someone on the street.
Let’s agree with someone. Instead of saying OK, the Nica people say dale pues, pronounced dolly pwes, for example, let’s go for a cerveza, and you would say, dale pues.
There are not a lot of English speaking people in Nicaragua so if you can find a small English Spanish dictionary you may find it a great benefit if you do not know a little Spanish.
Baseball is the number 1 sport in Nicaragua and it’s played all year round. The stadiums are full and the fans are as much a part of the team as the members. You can buy food and pop and beer, listen to the drummers and join in the many songs sung throughout the game. If you enjoy baseball, make sure to go to a game during your visit!
There is lots to do in Nicaragua, it is a lively country full of fun things to do. Karaoke, salsa lessons for a couple dollars, live music, and different festivals throughout the year.
Nicaragua is full of street vendors, mostly in the evening and you can eat typical food for a very reasonable price. If you are unsure of which to choose, find where the most people are, chances are this is the best food. Beans and rice are the most popular food and when put together they are called Gallo Pinto. Most Nica people have them every day along with a kind of a coleslaw with a lime dressing, and of course don’t forget to ask for some fried cheese!
The currency used in Nicaragua is the cordoba and is easily attained on the corner of most popular downtown streets. Money exchangers sit each day and are very reliable and trustworthy if you follow a couple basic rules. Rule number 1, know the exchange rate and ask the Coyote or money exchanger what the rate is, if you agree then he will show you his calculator and ask how much you are exchanging. Rule number 2, wait until he counts out the cordoba and hands it to you, then give him your dollars. That’s it.
Getting Around Town
One of the things you will notice when you arrive in Nicaragua is most of the streets do not have names, nor do the houses and businesses have addresses. So when you are asking for help it is very important to know North and South, and Arriva “which is East” and Abajo “which is West”. Nica people use reference points or landmarks like churches, gas stations, drug stores, parks, stores, bars, restaurants and even popular people. So for example someone may tell you the restaurant you are looking for is two blocks north of the cathedral and half a block abajo, so good luck!
Public transportation is available for all your needs. From fully air conditioned buses to “chicken buses”, you can choose any kind of bus you want depending on how much you want to pay and what your time limits are. For example if you want to experience the culture and the way the locals travel, take a chicken bus from Leon to Estelli for around 60 cordobas, around $2, keep in mind there are no facilities on the bus and there will no doubt be loud music and quite possibly a chicken. On the other hand you can pay $35 and travel in style from one country to the next with movies included and sometimes even a meal.
Taxi drivers in general are very good and trustworthy, however if you want to get the best fare, it is best to ask a local what it would cost them to go from a to b and then when you get your cab, hand him that amount. Also most cabs will pick up many people along the way until their taxi is full. This is common practice and unless you’re nervous or do not want this then you can talk to your driver in advance and advise him this is unacceptable to you. Also remember in large cities, it is best when you in a cab with the window open to put your purse or camera towards the inside of the car. Nicaragua is very safe but petty crime such as grabbing something from a car at a stop light is something to be aware of.
- Ruben Dario, famous poet
- Augusto Cesar Sandino, military figure
- Armando Morales, artist
- Violeta Chamorro, first female latin american president
- Jose de la Cruz Mena, muscian
- Denis Martinez, baseball pitcher
Significant Historical Events
- 1821 Independence Day
- 1972 Earthquake
- 1979 Sandinista Revolution
- 1998 Hurricane Mitch
Visitors are permitted to stay in Nicaragua for 90 days and must on the 90th day or before, either visit the immigration bureau in the city of Managua for an extension of 30 to 90 days depending on how they are feeling on that particular day or you must go to Costa Rica and have your passport stamped. Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are all a part of the CA4 treaty and therefore you may “not” get your passport stamped in these countries. If you are a day late, you will be required to pay a fine for each day you are late exiting Nicaragua. Also you will pay an exiting fee regardless of the date you leave whether crossing a border or leaving by air.