Staying safe in Nicaragua.

"Why are you going to Nicaragua? You must be careful. I have heard that the guerrilla is at the mountains and the Sandinistas on the streets, they kidnap foreigners, the crime and the delinquency is increasing and the poverty you can see it in each corner..."

Surely you have heard to this when you said that you are coming to Nicaragua and perhaps there is a small voice saying, "Is this truth? Is it worth it taking this risk? Why I shouldn´t go to a safe place?"

Well from all of the previous comments there is only one certain thing: there is much poverty, According to the world-wide statistics locates Nicaragua between the poorest  countries of America along with Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador, etc.

But the rest of the comments are false or no longer they apply to the present situation of this beautiful country of lakes and volcanoes. The guerrilla or the armed front that was created in the decade of 60´s to overthrow  the Somocista dictatorship that was in the power of the country from 30´s to the 70' s no longer exists, now is a left handed political group that within certain parameters tries to obey the laws of Nicaragua, the guerrilla that later was created in the 80´s (the contras supported by the government of Ronald Reagan) to overthrow the sandinistas no longer exist now both groups either work shoulder to shoulder to be able to see the blooming of Nicaragua, Nicaragua has no longer armed confrontation, the sonorous explosions that before were listened in the streets now are replaced by the explosions of fireworks to celebrate the Catholic activities that from time to time they will wake up to you very early in the morning.

As far as the crime, Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in Central America. While the statistics of crimes in Latin America the statistics are a little bit high, Nicaragua is seconds in the  world-wide ranking behind Southern Africa. Many of the neighboring countries of Nicaragua in Central America are with an index of very high crime, Nicaragua reports only 14 crimes for each 100,000 inhabitants. Countries like El Salvador with 71 in 100,000, Honduras with 67 in 100,000, Guatemala with 52 in 100,000, Panama with 24 in 100,000, Belize with 29 in 100.000, Only Costa Rica is a bit lower than Nicaragua 13 crimes for each 100,000 inhabitants.

Follow these tips for staying safe Nicaragua:

  • Avoid political demonstrations they can become violent.
  • Never drive on rural roads at night. Don’t drive at night at all, Most of the roads don´t have light so they are really dark and many horses or cows can be on the road. If you must, stay on major highways and carry a cell phone, cell phones ($15 to $20) can be purchase at any gas station.
  • Do not resist a robbery attempt, as many robbers carry weapons and they are never alone.
  • Carry all important documents on an underclothes money belt.
  • Avoid carrying expensive jewelry and large cameras dangling from your shoulder, better around the neck. These items will only attract undue attention. When going out at night bring a digital camera instead of the expensive digital one.
  • Bring as few valuables as possible, and if you have to carry expensive items, get travel insurance.
  • Where possible, withdraw cash from inside a bank. Cloning cards is a common occurrence in some places so avoid using cash points in dodgy areas and don´t go near them at night.
  • Make sure your taxi is authorized, look for the driver’s I.D on the right hand side of the front mirror, at night time the light has to be on, but is always better to arrange a taxi back from bars and restaurants to your hotel before leaving your hotel, buy a cheap cell phone to carry around (just apply for Managua). And agree a price before you get in.
  • Cover up, it’s fine to wear tiny shorts to the beach – but make sure you dress respectably in large towns and cities. Otherwise you’ll attract unwanted attention – not something to be doing when you’re travelling alone.
  • Hikers should have appropriate dress, footwear, and sufficient consumables for any trek undertaken. Individuals who travel to remote areas are encouraged to hire a trusted local guide familiar with the terrain and area. Individuals hiking Volcan Maderas or Volcan Concepcion on Ometepe Island are by law required to hire a local guide.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your backpack. You’re usually asked to leave your backpack under the bus or on top of the bus on long journeys so carry valuables with you. Don´t put your bag under the seat as it can be taken (or cut open).