Like many other destinations, travel to Nicaragua for the past two years has been ever evolving as international & national travel restrictions consistently change. As the world returns to normal and travel restrictions loosen, traveling to Nicaragua is getting easier every day.
How to travel to Nicaragua by Air
The Augusto C. Sandino International Airport is located in the capital city of Managua. The commercial airlines currently flying into Managua are Avianca, Copa Airlines, and Aeromexico. The most common flight paths to Managua are via Miami, San Salvador, and Panamá with Avianca and Copa Airlines. All travelers including Nicaragua Citizens and foreign tourists MUST present a negative COVID-PCR test at the Airport taken a maximum of 72 hours prior to entry. If you are traveling from Asia, Africa, and Oceania, the test must be taken a maximum of 96 hours prior to your arrival in Nicaragua.
The COVID-19 test results will need to be sent via e-mail to the airline prior to the date of travel. The testing times are monitored very closely by the airline and the airport. It is important to follow the instructions and guidelines provided by your airline regarding testing requirements and scheduling. In addition to the COVID PCR test, a health-form issued by the Nicaraguan Ministry of the Interior should be downloaded, filled out, and emailed back to [email protected] a minimum of 7 days before travel.
Once you land in Nicaragua the customs agents will ask for the destination or address where you are staying and how long you will be in Nicaragua. They will also ask for a local phone number. The Ministry of Health personnel routinely calls people while they are in Nicaragua and ask if they are feeling OK or experiencing any COVID-like symptoms. Once you exit the immigration section you can proceed to the x-ray machine. Then exit the airport. It is easy to catch a cab at the airport or arrange transport ahead of time with a number of transport companies. Gaby Transport is one option. It is about 2 hours and 45 minutes by car to San Juan del Sur.
How to Travel To Nicaragua by Land
The other popular option for traveling to Nicaragua is to fly into Liberia, Costa Rica, and travel across the border to Nicaragua. The Daniel Oduber International Airport is approximately 88 kilometers and one hour and twenty minutes from the Peñas Blancas border crossing into Nicaragua.
There are more than one dozen airlines flying into Liberia including JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, and KLM just to name a few. As of April 1, 2022, Costa Rica will no longer require travelers landing in Costa Rica to have a digital health pass and unvaccinated visitors will no longer be required to purchase a travel insurance policy.
It is important to note when landing in Costa Rica you must still have a PCR test taken a maximum of 72 hours prior to entry. The first stop when you get off the plane in Costa Rica will be immigration. Tell them you are in transit to Nicaragua and you will not have to pay the tourist tax. If in transit you will be required to exit the county the same day. Also when you tell them you are traveling to Nicaragua, they will ask to see a copy of your PCR test. It is strongly suggested to take the test before arriving to Costa Rica. After making it successfully through immigration, collecting your bags, and going through the x-ray station you will exit the airport.
At this point, grab a taxi and tell them Penas Blancas or you can organize transport ahead of time. If you organize ahead of time someone will meet you at the airport exit with your name on a placard. One of the options for private transport are Caribe Shuttle.
Once you get to the border you will proceed to the Costa Rican Immigration building. If you got the transit stamp at the airport in Liberia, then you will not be required to pay the exit tax. Inside the Costa Rica immigration building, they will ask to see your COVID test again. They will stamp your passport and send you on your way to Nicaragua. Exit the building and pass through one more checkpoint where they will just ensure you have the exit stamp. Then you will walk to Nicaragua.
The first stop in Nicaragua will be the health building. It is a little window in front of the immigration building.
There are no vaccine requirements or mandates to enter Nicaragua. Every traveler must have taken the COVID test no more than 72 hours before entry. At the health building, they will ask to see a copy of our PCR test results and give you a small piece of white paper. Next, proceed inside the immigration building.
Once inside there is another window immediately to the left to pay a $1 municipal fee. Then line up in one of the immigration lines to get a passport stamp to enter Nicaragua. The immigration agent will ask for the white paper from the health window. The agent will also ask where you are staying. Make sure to have the complete name, address, and phone number of the accommodations. A copy of the reservation is helpful. Know the local phone number because The Ministry of Health personnel routinely call people while they are in Nicaragua and ask if they are feeling OK or experiencing any COVID-like symptoms.
There is a $12 U.S. entry fee for Nicaragua. The customs agent will ask for this after he completes the paperwork. Next, proceed to the x-ray machine with your bags and then exit the building. Once outside there will be one additional checkpoint at the end of the parking area where the passport will be checked again for the entry stamp.
After this you are free..Welcome to Nicaragua. Now proceed to the rental car agencies on the left, catch a taxi or meet your transport service to your final destination. Traveling to Nicaragua is easier this year than last and it will get easier as time goes on so start planning a trip now.