About Nicaragua (NI)
The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua (NI) has both Atlantic and Pacific Ocean coastlines, and shares borders with Honduras to the northeast, and Costa Rica to the southwest. Home to the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Cocibolca, Nicaragua an interesting yet somewhat challenged country offering a wide range of natural and historic attractions.
Its terrain consists of coastal lowlands and a mountainous interior, while its climate is defined by wet and dry seasons. With the majority of its population concentrated in the southwestern region dominated by the capital city, Managua, the bulk of north and southeastern Nicaragua is uninhabited wilderness. There’s a little bit of everything in Nicaragua — modern city life, colonial architecture, rural farmland, extinct volcanoes, wide river valleys and basins, swamplands, soft sandy beaches, outlying islands, plus massive wildlife and nature reserves.
For many years, Nicaragua was at the forefront of the emergent ecotourism industry; however, social and political unrest put a damper on foreign visitation, but that trend is due for a reversal of fortune.
The best way to experience all that this country has to offer is to rent a car in Nicaragua from one of the major car hire providers at the airport.
The habitable zones are serviced by an adequate system of national highways and major roads, providing relatively efficient and hassle-free access to most major attractions and destinations. That said, crime is a persistent problem and visitors are advised to exercise extreme caution outside of Managua and the major tourist destinations. Driving at night is definitely not a good idea, while venturing out into the wilderness should take place with a local guide. Otherwise, there are numerous areas that could pose significant risks to unsuspecting foreigners.
It’s not all bad news and travel warnings though; Nicaragua is an exceedingly affordable travel destination where a little bit of money goes a long way.
Choosing your car
For a great deal on a cheap car rental in Nicaragua, reserve your car hire with Alamo, Hertz, Enterprise, Sixt, Europcar, or Dollar. Choose from mini cars, economy 3-door hatchbacks, intermediate and fullsize 4-door sedans, estate wagons, specialty, premium and luxury vehicles, SUVs, and 7-12 seater minivans.
Tips and advice
Check with your home country’s state department (or equivalent) for travel warnings about Nicaragua. As of this writing, the situation remains in flux.
Your Nicaragua car hire is likely to be a newer make and model, but not without some pre-existing minor damage. Do a thorough inspection of the vehicle and make sure all dents and scratches are documented. More importantly, make sure you don’t drive off without a copy of the car rental agent’s assessment.
English is not widely spoken outside Managua, Pacific coast beach resorts, and most of the top tourist destinations. Meanwhile, all road signs are in Spanish.
Solo travel is not recommended in Nicaragua.
Vaccinations for Hepatitis A and typhoid are strongly advised for travelers headed to Nicaragua. Dengue fever is a problem throughout the country, while malaria is only a concern near the Caribbean coast.
Inform your Nicaragua car rental vendor if you have plans to take the car out of the country.