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General Map

General map of Nicaragua

Medical Summary

The health risk information presented here is summarized from Shoreland Travax®, a decision-support tool used by health care providers to perform a detailed health risk analysis based on specific locations, individual travel styles, and traveler risk behaviors. Travax provides practitioners current, independently researched malaria risk and prevention recommendations in a map-based format that goes beyond the annual WHO and CDC statements included here. Not included here are current reports from Travax of disease outbreaks or environmental events that may pose elevated risks to travelers’ health and safety. The Providers section of this site offers a directory of health care providers who utilize Shoreland Travax for travel health counseling. Learn more about the detailed reports and maps available from these practitioners (includes links to samples).

General Information

Nicaragua is a developing nation in the lower half of the world's economies. Located north of Costa Rica and bordering both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean in Central America, its climate is tropical in the lowlands and cooler in the highlands.

Immunizations

Yellow Fever

See also: Library article for Yellow Fever

Although yellow fever does not occur in Nicaragua, an official yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required depending on your itinerary.

  • Requirement: No requirements for any traveler. Note: Nicaragua's government has implemented an entry requirement for proof of YF vaccination for travelers coming from countries with risk of YF transmission and all African countries (except Democratic Republic of the Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, and Tanzania), despite Nicaragua's published declaration to the contrary under the International Health Regulations.

Other Vaccines

Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, or typhoid fever. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.

Malaria

See also: Library article for Malaria

The following is current information as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

WHO—International Travel and Health (current online update, Country List)

(2017) Low malaria risk due predominantly to P. vivax (82%) exists throughout the year in a number of municipalities, mainly in Región Autónoma del Atlántico Norte, with sporadic transmission also reported in Boaca, Chinandega, Jinoteca, Léon and Matagalpa. Cases are reported from other municipalities in the central and western departments but the risk in these areas is considered to be very low or negligible.
  • Recommended prevention in risk areas: B – Risk of P. vivax malaria only. Mosquito bite prevention plus chloroquine chemoprophylaxisa
    aAlternatively, for travel to rural areas with low risk of malaria infection, mosquito bite prevention can be combined with stand–by emergency treatment (SBET).

WHO Country List footnote: When available, the date of the most recent update or confirmation is indicated in parentheses in the country list. If no date is indicated, the most recent update or confirmation was provided before 2013.

CDC—Health Information for International Travel (current online edition)

Areas with malaria: Present in Región Autónoma Atlántico Norte (RAAN) and Región Autónoma Atlántico Sur (RAAS). Rare cases in Boaco, Chinandega, Esteli, Jinotega, Leon, Matagalpa, and Nueva Segovia. No malaria in the city of Managua (see Map 3-33).
  • Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: Low.
  • Drug resistance4: None.
  • Malaria species: P. vivax 90%, P. falciparum 10%
  • Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Región Autónoma Atlántico Norte (RAAN) and Región Autónoma Atlántico Sur (RAAS): Atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Other areas with malaria: Mosquito avoidance only.
    4 Refers to P. falciparum malaria unless otherwise noted.

Other Concerns

Travelers' Diarrhea

See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea

High risk exists throughout the country, including in deluxe accommodations. Food and beverage precautions may reduce the likelihood of illness.

Travelers should carry loperamide for self-treatment of diarrhea and, if risk is moderate to high, an antibiotic to add if diarrhea is severe. Consult a knowledgeable health care provider regarding which antibiotic is appropriate for you and most effective for your destination.

Insect- and Arthropod-Borne Diseases

Chagas' disease (American trypanosomiasis), chikungunya, dengue, leishmaniasis, snakebites, West Nile virus, Zika may pose a risk. Personal protective measures are important.

Other Disease and Health Risks

Additional concerns include helminths, leptospirosis, marine hazards, tuberculosis.

Consular Advice

The material below includes information from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as well as from additional open-source material. Standard safety precautions that apply to all international travel can be found in the Library article Safety and Security.

Consular Travel Advice

Due to civil unrest, U.S. (DOS), U.K. (FCO), Canada (GAC), and Australia (DFAT) advise reconsidering travel (or avoiding nonessential travel) to this country.

Terrorism Risk

No intrinsic risk of attack by terrorist groups exists, but unforeseen attacks are possible.

Crime

High risk of violent crime (armed robbery, sexual assault, and murder) and petty crime exists throughout the country, especially in Managua (particularly in Mercado Oriental and in and around public transportation terminals), Granada (Granada Department), and San Juan del Sur (Rivas Department) and on Little Corn Island.

Express kidnappings to force cash withdrawals at ATMs occur throughout the country.

Scams involving the use of distraction techniques to commit robbery and false identity (such as criminals posing as tour guides) have been reported.

Civil Unrest

Protests and demonstrations occur throughout the country, especially in Managua and other major cities, and have the potential to turn violent without warning. Bystanders are at risk of harm from violence or from the response by authorities. Disruption to transportation (including access to Augusto C. Sandino International Airport), free movement, or the ability to carry out daily activities may occur.

Water Safety

Hazardous water conditions (including currents, tides, and undertows) may occur, especially along the Pacific coast. Heed posted warnings, and avoid beaches that are not patrolled. Do not swim alone or after dark, and do not walk on any beach after dark.

Rent water sports equipment from reputable operators. Scuba dive only with personnel certified by PADI or NAUI, and use equipment only from PADI- or NAUI-certified dive operators.

Transportation Safety

High risk of traffic-related injury or death exists. The road-traffic death rate is 12 to 24 per 100,000 population. The rate is < 10 in most high-income countries. Driving at night is not advised. Seek local advice before traveling on roads outside urban areas after dark.

Many taxis are unsafe. Use taxis from official ranks or dispatched via smart phone app or radio from a reputable company. Ascertain the license or identification number of the dispatched vehicle.

Traffic flows on the right-hand side of the road. Travelers (including drivers and pedestrians) accustomed to traffic moving on the opposite side should be vigilant when navigating traffic.

Airline Safety

U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has determined that the civil aviation authority of this country oversees its air carriers in accordance with minimum international safety standards.

Natural Disasters

The hurricane season is from June through November. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.

Seismic and volcanic activity frequently occur.

Consular Information

Selected Embassies or Consulates in Nicaragua

  • United States: [+505] 2252-7100; ni.usembassy.gov
  • Canada: [+505] 2268-0433; travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates/nicaragua
  • United Kingdom: U.K. does not have an embassy or consulate in Nicaragua.
  • Australia: [+505] 2298-5300

Nicaragua's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries

  • In the U.S.: consuladodenicaragua.com
  • In Canada: Nicaragua does not have an embassy or consulate in Canada.
  • In the U.K.: www.cancilleria.gob.ni
  • In Australia: nica.consul@gmail.com

Visa/HIV Testing

HIV testing may be required to obtain a work or residence visa.