The official language of Nicaragua is Spanish, and it is spoken by 95 percent of the population. There are several minor indigenous languages spoken in rural areas such as Garifuna, Miskito, Rama, Sumo, and Criollo although all speakers will have bilingual comprehension of Spanish.
The official currency of Nicaragua is the cordoba, although US dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas when paying for larger purchases, for example accommodation. It is recommended to have some local currency in case the vendor is not happy to accept US dollars. The cordoba, which is sometimes referred to as peso by locals, is divided into 100 centavos or 10 reales. It is fairly easy to exchange US dollars in banks, although more difficult to exchange other currencies, including euro, so it is advisable to change money in your own country before traveling, and only bring cordoba and US dollars for your trip. Credit cards will be accepted in larger hotels, and ATMs are not so common.
The time zone in Nicaragua is GMT-6.
Electricity runs at 120V and 60Hz in Nicaragua, and you may need a transformer if your electrical appliance differs from this standard. Nicaragua uses a two-pronged North American plug, but if your appliance has a third ‘grounding’ prong you will need a convertor.
To use a current cell phone in Nicaragua it will need to be a GSM phone that will work on 850MHz or 1900MHz networks. If you do not have international roaming available you can purchase a local SIM card from Claro or Movistar and make pre-paid calls at local rates. If the SIM card is not compatible with your phone, a good option is to buy a cheap handset for about US$20 and install the pre-paid SIM into that. Internet cafés are ubiquitous across Nicaragua.
Duty-free goods can be purchased at Augusto C Sandino International Airport. If you are travelling to the US you are allowed to import one liter of alcohol and 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or four pounds of tobacco.
Institute of Nicaraguan Tourism: http://www.visit-nicaragua.com/
Consulates in Nicaragua
US Embassy, Managua: +11-505-2252-7100 Canadian Embassy, Managua: +11-505-268-0433 Spanish Embassy, Managua: +11-505-2276-0966 French Embassy, Managua: +11-505-222-6210 German Embassy, Managua: +11-505-266-3917
Emergency services (police and medical): 118 Fire: 115 or 120