This blog was updated for 2023 requirements
As of June 16, 2022, Nicaragua entry requirements have changed, allowing travelers to fly to Nicaragua with fewer restrictions. Nicaragua’s new entry requirements allow vaccinated travelers to enter the country without a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test. Vaccinated travelers may enter Nicaragua by presenting a digital or physical vaccination certificate of the following vaccines: Sputnik V, Sputnik Light, Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Soberana 02, Abadala, Janssen from Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, and Coviran. However, Nicaragua entry requirements state that unvaccinated travelers must still present a negative RT-PCR Covid test 72 hours prior to arrival. This applies to both children and adults.
Travelers should keep in mind that Nicaragua entry requirements strictly enforce the type of Covid test and the time it was taken. Neither antigen tests nor results older than 72 hours will be accepted. Non-nationals must fill out an immigration form available here at least seven days prior to travel. The recent change in Nicaragua’s entry requirements allows vaccinated travelers to fly into Managua or cross the southern border from Costa Rica with relative ease and this guide will detail the process to prepare you for your trip.
Nicaragua Entry Requirements 2022 Traveling by Air
Travelers can fly directly to Augusto C. Sandino airport, located in the capital city of Managua. Currently, Avianca, Copa Airlines, and Aeromexico are the only major airlines flying into Managua. If you’re traveling from the United States, most flights will connect from Miami, Florida. According to Nicaragua entry requirements, unvaccinated travelers must send their negative RT-PCR Covid test to the airlines via e-mail for approval by MINSA, the Nicaraguan health ministry. Nicaragua entry requirements for unvaccinated travelers must be followed stringently, as the airlines will turn away those who have not registered their Covid tests at least 36 hours beforehand. The airline company sends detailed instructions on how to register your negative RT-PCR test to your email once you have booked your ticket. Following the airlines Covid test protocol is the most important part of Nicaragua’s entry requirements.
Arrival at the Airport – Nicaragua Entry Requirements
After landing in Managua, you will encounter a brief and simple customs process. Nicaragua entry requirements include a $10 travel visa and some basic information about your trip. Make sure to carry some cash, either USD or Nicaraguan currency, the Cordoba, as you cannot pay with a credit card. Bear in mind that the travel visa is only valid for 90 days and that if you decide to extend your trip beyond three months you will have to apply for an extension. Have your trip information on hand because the customs agents ask for your destination in Nicaragua and a telephone number at which you can be contacted. If you are traveling with any pricy electronics, you should avoid keeping them in their original packaging. Customs agents keeps an eye out for expensive items that can be valued and taxed at their discretion. Items that may draw attention include:
• Binoculars (these will be confiscated)
• High end camera lenses
• Drones (these will be confiscated)
• Glasses/Contact Lenses in their original packaging
• Prescription medications
• Expensive electronics
Once you’ve cleared Customs, there are taxi drivers waiting to take you to your destination. Overall, Nicaraguan’s entry requirements by air are straightforward and travelers seldom find themselves encountering any problems. The stunning beaches of Popoyo are approximately 3 hours from Augusto C. Sandino airport.
General Tips for Air Entry
As Covid restrictions begin to loosen around the world, Nicaragua entry requirements have followed suit. Here are a few general tips to travelers who decide to travel by air to Nicaragua while following Nicaragua’s entry requirements.
1. Many major airlines list flights to Managua and almost always cancel. American Airlines is the primary culprit.
2. Carry USD in small denominations. Border agents may not have change on hand.
3. Arrange your taxi driver beforehand. You can negotiate a better price and you won’t have to worry about an important leg of your journey.
4. Carry your prescription for your medicine and receipts for expensive items. Customs agents are fickle and can confiscate your goods if they deem it to be worth over $500 or lacking the proper documentation.
Nicaragua Entry Requirements 2022 Traveling by Land
Nicaragua travel requirements are similar when travelers cross into Nicaragua by land through Peñas Blancas, the southern border along Costa Rica. Nicaragua entry requirements are the same for this route but the process differs slightly. Typically, travelers fly to Liberia, a northern city in Costa Rica situated a little over an hour away from the border. Similar to Nicaragua’s travel requirements, Costa Rica also recently loosened their Covid protocol. As of April 1st, 2022, Costa Rica no longer requires travel insurance, proof of vaccination, or a negative Covid test to enter the country. However, travelers require proof of onward travel out of Costa Rica. A bus or plane ticket suffices. If necessary, travelers can purchase a bus ticket on site to satisfy this requirement. The border is open from 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM on Monday – Saturday and 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM on Sunday.
Arrival in Liberia – Nicaragua Entry Requirements
After landing in Liberia, Costa Rica, you can find a host of taxi drivers that can take you to the border. The ride should cost approximately $80.00 – $90.00 USD. This rate may vary depending upon the size of the vehicle. You can also arrange a taxi beforehand to pick you up upon arrival. The drive to the border is smooth and only lasts a little over an hour. Ideally, you want to arrive at the border in the morning or as early as possible. The Peñas Blanca border can be rather busy during the afternoon and the mid-day heat is unforgiving. Once arriving at the Costa Rican border, travelers have to pay a $10.00 USD exit fee. Look for a small, unassuming office on the right side of the Costa Rican border. Travelers can pay the fee in either Colones or USD.
After paying your exit fee, move on towards the immigration office to your left. Customs officers request your passport, exit fee payment, and proof of onward travel. Keep all of these documents on hand in order to avoid unnecessary hassle. Assuming no congestion, travelers can expect to clear Costa Rican customs in approximately 15-20 minutes. Finally, you will pass your bag through an X-ray machine and be on your way. Again, the earlier you arrive to the border the more likely you pass through in a timely manner.
After clearing Costa Rican customs, you trek about 200 meters towards the Nicaraguan customs office. If luggage burdens you or you are otherwise fatigued, tricycle drivers can ferry you to the other side for a nominal fee. Nicaraguan officers will stop you in the middle of the walk between borders to check your passport and confirm that you have been processed correctly according to Nicaragua entry requirements.
Nicaraguan Customs at the Border
Nicaragua entry requirements are simple and clearing customs should not take longer than 15-20 minutes. Upon arrival, you pay a $1.00 USD municipal fee as part of a standard Nicaragua entry requirement. Customs agents request your passport, the address of your destination, and your occupation. The 90 day travel visa costs $10.00 and you pay in either USD or Cordobas. Nicaraguan customs does not accept credit or debit cards. After clearing customs, your luggage passes through an X-ray machine in accordance with Nicaragua’s entry requirements and you will be on your way to your destination. Travelers can find taxi drivers ready to take you to any one of the breathtaking destinations in Nicaragua. The popular beaches of Popoyo and lively city of San Juan del Sur are both rather close to the southern border so make sure to visit.
General Tips for Land Entry
Covid restrictions are beginning to ease up around the world and the change in the Nicaragua entry requirements reflects this global trend. Here are a few general tips to travelers who choose to travel by land into Nicaragua through the Peñas Blancas border while following Nicaraguas entry requirements.
- Carry USD with you in small denominations (bills under $20.00). Border agents oftentimes do not have change on hand and waste your time looking for it.
- Dress for comfort. After clearing the Costa Rican border, you have to lug your bags on a somewhat long, albeit flat, stretch of road. Long clothes may not be comfortable.
- Have your travel documents, including your itinerary, readily available. Customs requests your passport a minimum of three times throughout the border crossing.
- Be wary offers to help cross the border in exchange for money. Crossing the border is easy and those offering their assistance will oftentimes inflate the difficulty of the process.
- Schedule all of your taxi rides before you land. You may be able to negotiate a better rate with a taxi driver beforehand and arranging everything prior to your arrival will give you peace of mind.
- Don’t forget to factor your taxi rides into your overall travel budget. Flights to Liberia are generally cheaper than flights to Managua. A round trip taxi ride from Liberia to your destination in Nicaragua could sway your budget in the wrong direction.
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