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).
Nicaragua is a developing nation in the lower half of the world's economies. Located in Central America along both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean (north of Costa Rica and south of Honduras), the climate is extremely diverse with classifications that range from humid equatorial (long dry season) in the west to humid equatorial (no dry season) in the east, with cooler temperatures in some high-altitude areas.
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: A vaccination certificate is required for travelers aged ≥ 1 year coming from countries with risk of YF transmission. Note: This does not apply to airport transit stops (no exit through immigration checkpoint) in risk countries.
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.
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)(2018) Malaria risk due to P. vivax (79.2%) and P. falciparum (20.8%) 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. Risk due to P. falciparum is high mainly in Región Autónoma del Atlántico Norte, specifically in the municipalities of Rosita, Siuna, Bonanza, Puerto Cabezas, and Waspán. No chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum reported.
- Recommended prevention in P. vivax risk areas: B – Risk of P. vivax malaria only. Mosquito bite prevention plus chloroquine chemoprophylaxis. a
- Recommended prevention in P. falciparum risk areas: C – Risk of P. falciparum malaria, in combination with reported chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine resistance. Mosquito bite prevention plus atovaquone–proguanil or doxycycline or mefloquine chemoprophylaxis (select according to reported side effects and contraindications) a
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.
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
Other Disease and Health Risks
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) and Australia (DFAT) advise reconsidering travel (or avoiding nonessential travel) to this country. Canada (GAC) and U.K. (FCO) have no current warnings.
No intrinsic risk of attack by terrorist groups exists, but unforeseen attacks are possible.
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.
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.
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.
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 less than 10 in most high-income countries. Seek local advice before traveling on roads outside urban areas after dark. Driving at night is not advised.
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.
Many taxis are unsafe. Use taxis from official ranks or dispatched via smart phone app or radio from a reputable company and ascertain the license or identification number of the dispatched vehicle.
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.
The hurricane season is from June through November. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Seismic and volcanic activity frequently occur.
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: email@example.com
HIV testing may be required to obtain a work or residence visa.