Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find the most frequently asked questions. However, in case you still have any question, do not hestitate to contact us.  


1. What is the climate in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua has a tropical climate and like other countries in Central America it has two different seasons. These are the dry season (December-April) and the rainy season (May-November). In central and northern Nicaragua the temperatures are cooler than elsewhere in the country. In the southern and Pacific parts it is often very hot. Temperatures in the country vary between 22-35°C.

2. Is Nicaragua a safe country for traveling?

Regardless the turbulent past of Nicaragua, it is nowadays considered to be one of the safest country in Central America. Petty crime occurs regularly, but when taking normal precautions rarely something happens. We advice you to use a safety box when available and carry your personal belongings in a money belt. During stops on the road, your belongings can be left in the vehicle, however you will always be responsible for your own belongings and valuables.

3. What and where can I eat?

Nicaragua has many traditional dishes and each region has its own specialty. Most are based on beans, rice and corn. One of the most famous dishes is Gallo Pinto: rice with beans, which can be eaten for breakfast or dinner. You will also find a lot of street food in Nicaragua, which can absolutely be delicious. When traveling by bus you will notice that some sales man and woman sell food (and drinks) such as sweet bread, rice and chicken or fried banana's ('platanos'). Regarding street food we advice you to be careful and to use your common sense; do not eat anything you don't trust. In well established restaurants you will find international cuisine and/or typical Nica food. Some other typical dishes:

  • Nacatamales – Pork or chicken with tomato, garlic and other vegetables in corn dough, wrapped in banana leafs (special dish on Sunday)
  • Tostones – Fried green plantains (type of banana)
  • Plato Tipico – Gallo Pinto, corn tortilla, cuajada (cheese) and plantains
  • Fritanga – Fried chicken, often comes with a salad
  • Vigorón – Meat (pork), cooked yucca and other vegetables, served with a cabbage salad (famous in Granada)

4. Drinks

Many Nicaraguan restaurants serve their dishes with drinks (often included). These drinks are juices (non-alcoholic) made from natural ingredients, such as fruits mixed with water, milk or yogurt, and daily produced by the local restaurant. The most known beer brands of Nicaragua are Toña and Victoria, but also more internal brands are being sold, such as Heineken. Another very famous drink is Flor de Caña, a rum that is known as one of the best in the world. Drink it with coke (nica libre) or just on the rocks. 

5. Can I drink tap water?

Although the water quality in urban areas is adequate for drinking, we do recommend bottled or filtered water. Tap water might cause traveler's diarrhea. In order to consider the environment we recommend to buy a bottle and refill it with filtered water. As one of our sustainable practices, Matagalpa Tours carries filtered water on the bus, which allows you to refill your bottle. In some communities filters are being used as well. In any other case you can buy water at supermarkets and local stores.

6. How is the infrastructure in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua has different highways, such as 'La Panamericana', which are in perfect condition. The roads in the northern rural area are rough, as well as the roads to the local communities. The roads to communities are often not paved and, especially in combination with rain, in bad condition.

7. Who do I contact in case of emergency?

Police & emergency number: 118 (or 911)

US Embassy in Managua: 2268-0123 (Fax: 22669943 - Address: Km 4 1/2 Carretera Sur)

Besides contacting the alarm center, you can always contact us.  

8. Do I need a visa to enter Nicaragua?

No. A visa is not required to enter Nicaragua as a European, North American or Canadian citizen . You do need a passport which is valid for at least six months on the day of arrival. Additionally you need to pay an arrival tax of $10,-.Bring also some copies of your passport.

9. What is the Nicaraguan currency?

The currency of Nicaragua is the Cordoba. There are bills from 10 up till 500 and coins from 0.05 till 10. Next to the Cordoba, the US Dollar is widely accepted. When paying in Dollars it is recommended to use small bills ($20,- max.) and you will receive your change in Cordoba.

10. What is the national language of Nicaragua?

Spanish is spoken in the western and central part of Nicaragua. In the Caribbean areas other languages are spoken: Creole, Garifuna and Miskito. English is often spoken by tourism service providers in touristic areas. Some locals speak English as well, because they have lived in the US.

11. What should I not bring to Nicaragua?

Knifes or other weapons and shirts with questionable content. Furthermore, be careful with revealing clothes. Due to the 'machismo' culture you might draw attention that you do not want to get. We also recommend to think about your choice of jewelery, especially gold, silver, plutonium or precious stones. 

12. What is the time-zone of Nicaragua?

Nicaragua time zone: GMT -6hours. There is no daylight savings time. 

13. What is the Voltage used in Nicaragua?

Electricity in Nicaragua is 110-120 Volt and 60 Hertz. This is the same as in the US, which is a plug with two flat pins. However, this means that tourists from Europe and other countries cannot use their electrical equipment unless suitable for this voltage. It is recommended to bring an adapter or buy one in a local hardware store in Nicaragua.

14. Which payment methods can I use?

Besides cash, Credit cards are accepted in many stores, hotels and restaurants through-out the country, however not in small towns or off-road destinations. To take money from an ATM the BAC Bank is most likely to accept European and North American debit cards. Be aware of the fact that you will not find ATM's in smaller villages. Additionally, traveler checks are difficult to exchange. Therefore we recommend to only bring them for emergency cases.

Lastly, in some countries it might be necessary to change the settings of your debit/credit card. Please check this with your bank before you leave home.   

15. Where can I change money?

Money changers are often situated next or close to the banks. Changing your money here is often a lot faster than with a bank and the exchange rate from Dollar to Cordoba is favorable. They often change Euro's as well although with a less good exchange rate.

16. Do I give tips?

Every service provider in Nicaragua, such as drivers, guides and cleaning employees at hotels, appreciate tips. However, tips are not obvious and they need to be in realistic balance with the delivered quality of the service. The better restaurants often include 10% tax in their bills, whenever this is not the case a tip of 10% can be added to the bill. 

17. Are there ethical issues of which I should be aware when traveling in Nicaragua?

Yes, different cultures have different norms and values. It is very important to realize this when traveling, but is might be even more important to realize this before you go to visit Nicaragua. Therefore we highly recommend to do research on the country before you will arrive. Do research on the norms, values and all other cultural related issues to not be unpleasantly surprised, but also see it as anticipatory pleasure.

Some other norms and value will count in every country, such as asking for permission when you want to take a photo of someone or someone's belongings.

We can recommend reading the following:

websites:,http://www.everyculture.... Book: Culture and customs of Nicaragua, written by White & Calderón

18. Do I need to behave in a certain way when watching wildlife?

Yes, you do. Viewing wildlife is without a doubt connected to the adventurous tours of Matagalpa Tours. It is also one of the main reasons to choose for an adventurous tour because viewing wildlife is beautiful. It is important to consider the following; do not disturb the animal by getting to close or by making loud noises, this can cause a change in the animal's normal behavior. Another important rule is that you will never feed an animal, this could be dangerous for you as well for the animal.

19. How can I minimize the environmental impact when hiking or mountain biking in natural reserves?

In order to minimize the environmental impact of our hiking and biking tours in natural reserves we always consider the size of the groups, these can not be too big as it will increase the chance to harm the environment. The guide of Matagalpa Tours will always carry a bag in which you can put small waste. Furthermore, there are some aspects you have to take into consideration yourself when doing such an activity;

  • Stay on the prepared trails when you are hiking or mountain biking
  • Do not take anything away from nature and don´t leave anything behind besides footprints
  • Respect wildlife

20. Do I need special equipment for Matagalpa Tours' activities?

Yes. Many of our excursions focus on nature and adventure and most of them include a hike. Some hikes will be longer and more intense then the other ones, depending on the excursion. The general rule for excursion that include hiking is that you need to bring: proper hiking shoes, water, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and a rain coat. In case the hike takes places in a rain forest or cloud forest we highly recommend to wear long trousers and long sleeve. For our rafting tours we recommend, besides the already mentioned items, to bring swim gear and shoes or sandals that can get wet. 

21. Who do I contact in case of complaints?

Whenever you are unsatisfied about our services you can do the following. In case of complaints during a tour it would be best to discuss this right away with our guide. In this case we can anticipate quickly and try to solve the problem instantly. Is this not possible due to circumstances you can always contact us.